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EJES’ Musical Theater Club has ‘No Worries’ about taking the stage


The EJES’ Musical Theater Club will take the stage on Saturday, March 18th at 3pm at East Jackson Comprehensive High School. 


Lion Kings will be roaring at East Jackson this weekend. Not the actual animal, but instead students from East Jackson Elementary School who will perform Disney’s The Lion King Kids. 


Fifty-six students from EJES have been working hard since October to prepare for the moment they step foot on stage, as part of the school’s Musical Theater Club. Those students involved are exhilarated to see their hard work come to life. The student leadership team at EJES has gotten involved to help make their dreams come true.


During Valentine Day, the leadership team raised money for the musical club by selling candy grams. The outpouring of support was overwhelming. 


“It was astounding to see all the students working together, because not everyone in the Student Leadership team is in Musical Theater,” Abby Potts, an agricultural teacher at East Jackson Elementary, said. “ To see them collaborating was inspiring for us to see.”


With one blow pop at a time, the students were able to raise all the money within three days to fund the entire school musical. They were able to raise $1,000 to put toward all the costumes and cost of producing this musical.


The musical is significant for the students because a majority of them have never been involved with a musical or even watched live theater, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. That was until this school year when EJES made the decision to move forward with this year’s production. 


“I think people are going to love it, we are super excited because we’ve never done anything like this before and it is a big opportunity for all of us. I play the role of Zazu and it has been really fun,” said Riley Parker, fourth grade student at EJES.


“This is a big time for me because my grandparents and aunt are coming from New York to watch me in the play. We do a lot of singing and dancing and I think everyone who comes will love it,” said Luke Purcell, fourth grade student at EJES playing the role of young Simba.


Ten songs will be sung throughout the duration of the show. Some are similar to the original Disney movie while others were written specifically for the Broadway musical. 


“My role is Mufasa and I am the father of Simba. I get to roar really loudly,” said Adriana Tarpkins, fifth grade student at EJES. “My favorite song within the musical is ‘I Can’t Wait to Be King.’”


Students from East Jackson Comprehensive High School have even gotten involved to help the elementary students prepare for the show. Members of the high school’s dance department as well as the drama department have become mentors for the students. 


Those students from EJCHS visit with the elementary students and teach choreography and techniques to prepare the younger students. 

“It is awesome to have mentors from the top of the hill visiting with our students. The kids get so excited whenever they see them.” said Laurie Bunn, Music Teacher at EJES.


Even two former students of EJES have volunteered to give assistance for the show. Abigail Cornelius will be running the spotlight, and Courtney Cameron will be working backstage. Having the extra set of helping hands from the alumni is meaningful to the team.


“It warms my music teacher heart to have kids that enjoyed Musical Theater so much during their elementary school years that they want to return to help create that magic for others,” said Bunn.


“When we began rehearsing, we had nine students that only wanted to be behind the scenes, but now a majority of those students are feeling confident and want to perform with the team. That is huge to give a child that confidence to have a voice.” said Ali Merk, teacher at EJES.


The Musical Theater Club’s time poured into this show will not go unnoticed. The show, which will be held at East Jackson Comprehensive High School, will be free admission to all. The show will begin at 3 p.m. on Saturday.