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Statesboro High's Lion King is twice the fun, twice the casts
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King Mufasa, played by Michah D'Arcangelo, right, tells a young Simba (Katie Calhoun) that the stars are all of the former kings looking over him during a scene from Cast B's performance during Statesboro High School's production of "The Lion King."

    Statesboro High School drama teacher Eddie Frazier had a dilemma. One spring musical to direct and produce. Two drama classes full of aspiring actors. 

The solution? Two dynamite casts, of course. 

Frazier double cast “The Lion King” with  students in his drama classes, and with help from middle and elementary school thespians, they were able to fill out the entire cast twice — Cast A and Cast  B. The casts alternated shows, performing six times in five days from March 20-24 in front of about 4,000 people between three matinees for elementary school children and three public shows.  

The show, based on the Broadway stage version of the classic animated Disney film, is known for its ornate costumes. Three-dimensional artist Zoe Alexandra, who has worked as costume designer on other Statesboro High productions, began her work on the show last spring. Former SHS art teacher Bunyan Morris pitched in during the final push by painting headpieces. 

Each cast got to experience enthusiastic audiences, with children and adults alike singing along during the many well-known songs. Frazier anticipates the dual cast concept becoming a regular feature.

“It worked for both of our large shows this year.  Fewer costumes and sets to create, and it truly focuses me!  With both casts working on the same show, I can really concentrate on character and details and not have another show on my mind at the same time,” Frazier wrote in an e-mail.

He also wanted to mention that the support of Principal Ken LeCain and Superintendent Charles Wilson have been very important in the success of the Statesboro High drama program.

If you would like to experience more of Statesboro High talent, the school's annual variety show is coming up. This will be the 20th anniversary of this show, and several alumni will be performing with current students. The show is May 4 at 7 p.m. in the Statesboro High auditorium.  Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for SHS students and children 12 and under. 

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Cast A ends their show as Simba (C.J. Simmons) and Nala (Madelyn Wolfe) assume their rightful place on the throne as Rafiki (Julian Schwarz) raises their child for all their loyal subjects to see.
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