JACKSON TWP.  Students from Jackson Memorial Middle School will be presenting "The Lion King Jr." live on stage on Friday and Saturday. It’s the first time the school will be performing this musical. Holly Bantum is this artistic director and Jennifer Vaughn is the music director.

There are 45 kids in the cast and another 50 kids helping in the publicity and stage crews. Music and lyrics are by Elton John and Tim Rice, with additional lyrics by Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin and Hans Zimmer. It’s based on the book by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi, and the Broadway production was directed by Julie Taymor. It’s copyrighted by Disney.

"We held auditions last October and the kids have been rehearsing since then," Bantum said. "I think the kids have 200 hours of rehearsal time for this production. The students have worked diligently on the show and we are excited and proud of their accomplishments," she said.

The costumes are from Akron Design Costumes and students from Jackson High School built the sets. The five lead roles are played by:

Rafiki – storyteller Lucy Jane Geiser, 8th grade

Mufasa – father lion Louis Martino, 8th grade

Scar – Aaron Soltis, 8th grade

Young Simba – Camden Swanson, 7th grade

Mature Simba – Zachery Charlick, 8th grade

Young Nala – Morgan Leach, 6th grade

Mature Nala – Kamri Beard, 8th grade