Disney’s ‘The Lion King, Jr.’ Opens with a Sensory-Friendly Matinee at JGMS on Wednesday, April 5

March 29, 2017
“Circle of Life” rehearsal photograph – Courtesy image (c) 2017 all rights reserved – Click twice to view larger image
“Hakuna Matata” – Courtesy image (c) 2017 all rights reserved – Click twice to view larger image

Submitted by the JGMS Department of Music and Theatre Arts

The John Glenn Middle School Department of Music and Theatre Arts will present Disney’s THE LION KING, JR. April 5 through 8 in the JGMS Auditorium.

‘Just Can’t Wait’ – Courtesy image (c) 2017 all rights reserved – Click twice to view larger image

The musical tells the story of young Simba, son of the lion king Mufasa, who runs away from the pride lands after a terrible accident and must return to face his past and lead his people to the future. Based on the beloved animated movie and adapted from the Tony-winning Broadway musical, THE LION KING, JR. features familiar songs such as “Circle of Life,” “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King,” and “Hakuna Matata.”

For the first time, the middle school will offer a sensory-friendly matinee on Wednesday, April 5, at 3:30 pm. Although it is open to all, this show is tailored specifically for children and adults who would benefit from a slightly lower-key performance. For this matinee, the lights will be dimmed but not completely out, the sound system volume will be lowered, and audience members will have the option to move around or leave the auditorium as needed. “Fidgets” (squishy balls to squeeze, for example) will be available for audience members who need them.

The idea for the sensory-friendly performance came from Lariza Panagiotou, one of the parent co-coordinators for the musical. One of her children benefits from sensory-friendly accommodations and has enjoyed other performances that feature these adaptations. With the support of Amy Budka, chorus teacher and musical director, Ms. Panagiotou connected with Melissa Hegarty and Rachel Orlovsky, teachers at Davis School, to create a Social Story for audience members to review before the performance, to help them understand what they’ll experience.

Mrs. Budka has arranged for Dr. Rhoda Bernard from The Boston Conservatory at Berklee to work with the cast and crew during one of their upcoming rehearsals. She will explain what kinds of accommodations can be made in their production, and answer any questions they may have. Dr. Bernard is the Director of Autism Spectrum Programs and Chair of the Music Education Department at TBC/Berklee.

In addition to the April 5 matinee, performances run Thursday and Friday, April 6 and 7, at 7 pm, and Saturday, April 8, at 6 pm. Tickets are available for purchase now through https://www.showtix4u.com/. Tickets for the sensory-friendly matinee are $5 per person; tickets for the other shows are $10 per person. All tickets will incur a small online service charge.

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