Bison theatre produces Lion King



The cast of The Lion King included students from all four campuses.

Tristan Cole, Reporter

After months of rehearsal, set-building and costume making, Bison theatre performed The Lion King for two shows last week, their first fall musical in two years due to COVID. The show included lighting and sound effects that the group was able to try for the first time during the first show since the new system went in only days before opening night.

It was a challenge to figure out how to do everything and set all the cues, try out the new mics, and finish all the usual prep for the show,” director Melonie Menefee said. “Thankfully, our IT director, Paul Daniel, is extremely talented on the sound board. That gave me a chance to focus on the lights and Mrs. Villarreal to focus on the music cues themselves. We weren’t entirely sure we would pull it all off, but we did, despite a few bobbles.”

Working on last-minute details up to nearly show time on opening night, the performers never had a chance for a full, no-stops run-through with their new technology or with their largest props, the elephant and rhino.

“Our first performance was not perfect, but whatever mistakes were made, we made up for them,” freshman Hunter Fulmer, who played Timon, said. “We even got a standing ovation.”

Anytime the group hit a snag, they shifted to make sure things smoothly got back on track.

“We messed up in the beginning half more than we wanted to,” sophomore Payton West said, “but the mistakes we made were not really noticeable to the audience, and they were all fixed for the second show on Saturday.”

Alani Jones, who played Rafiki, introduces a baby Simba to the gathering of animals in the opening number. (menefee)

The group started working in August and spent hours outside of class working to create a performance that would wow their audience, which is what they did.

“I may not have been in the musical this year but they still killed it,” junior Millie Lane said. “It’s like the musicals just keep getting better and better every year.”

Director Katie Villarreal handled the blocking and choreography for the show, which included several students from the junior high theatre group as well as some younger students.

“Although the little kids were annoying at first and didn’t stop talking, they really pulled it together and did a great job,” sophomore Emma Cocking, who played Zazu, said. “I don’t really think we could have done as good without the other kids.”

COVID cost Bison theatre the end of their OAP season in 2020 as well as a fall performance last year when the school closed down for rising numbers, so Menefee and Villarreal were determined to make the fall production as impressive as possible.

“These kids are so incredibly talented and are willing to work so hard,” Menefee said. They amaze me every day. This show was simply incredible.”