The International School at Dundee (ISD) is pleased to announce its debut production of The Lion King KIDS, presented as part of a new pilot in-school residency program with Open Arts Alliance to promote arts education in the curriculum.
The musical, which is based on the Disney film and Broadway production, is the first ISD has staged in recent years. The 40-minute show will feature 32 fifth graders and 11 students in grades two through four. Directed by Kyle LeMaire, director of education for Open Arts Alliance, and produced by ISD co-president Ana Laborde and the ISD Parent Teacher Association, the musical is the culmination of months of rehearsals for the talented cast.
“We could not be more thrilled to be partnering with the International School At Dundee to pilot this in-school residency of The Lion King KIDS,” said Rocco Natale, executive director of Open Arts Alliance. “Now more than ever it is vital that the arts curriculum—at both state and national levels—be taught to our students by certified teaching-artists…We applaud ISD for welcoming us into their learning community to work with their lions, hyenas and meerkats!”
The Lion King KIDS tells the story of the epic adventures of a curious cub named Simba as he struggles to accept the responsibilities of adulthood and his destiny as king. Along the way, the young lion encounters a colorful cast of characters including spunky lioness Nala, charismatic meerkat Timon, and loveable warthog Pumbaa. To claim his rightful place on the throne and save his beloved Pridelands, Simba must find his inner strength and learn to confront his fears with the help of others—so the circle of life continues.
The story brings to life key aspects of ISD’s International Baccalaureate program—the goal of which is to develop world citizens who recognize universal human values. Specifically, the students explored being risk-takers and took an inquiry-based approach to growing as performers.
“My strengths in performing were really being the character,” said fifth grader Connor Keenan, who plays Pumbaa. “I like to be funny characters because I call myself a funny person! One of my weaknesses was memorizing the lines—as Pumbaa, there are so many lines to memorize. I feel like it’s my job to really memorize my lines.”
After every rehearsal, director Kyle LeMaire asked the students to think about meaningful ways to improve their skills and overcome obstacles, a lesson that extends beyond the show.
“Giving children an opportunity to step out of their comfort zone and take risks and challenges on stage broadens their perspective and helps build courage for future challenges,” said Amy McCooe, parent of fifth-grader Maggie, who plays Banzai.
Open Arts Alliance’s Rocco Natale added,”Because theater is a collaborative art form the students are not only learning music, dance and public speaking, they are coming to know one another in a new light and working toward a goal that is larger than any of their individual abilities. Hakuna Matata and enjoy the show!”
Performances for The Lion King KIDS are 40 minutes in length and will be held in the Learning Commons at ISD on Thursday, June 6 at 6:30pm and Friday, June 7 at 4:00pm and 6:30pm.
General admission tickets are $5 and on sale now for ISD families. Tickets will go on sale on Friday, May 24 for the public at ISDPTA.ORG
Disney’s ‘The Lion King KIDS’ is presented through special arrangement with and all authorized materials are supplied by Music Theatre International.
Open Arts Alliance is a Connecticut-based 501c3 non-profit social service organization that uses the performing arts to bridge the gap between the youngest and eldest members of our community. Through their educational programs for children and senior citizens, Open Arts Alliance is dedicated to bringing literacy and art to Greenwich and the surrounding community. Their educational programs use theatre to speak to students of all ages about personal wellness, bullying and making positive life choices. Learn more at OpenArtsAlliance.com
The International School at Dundee was authorized in July of 2003 as an official International Baccalaureate school. ISD is one of only 181 authorized IB Primary Years Programme (IBPYP) schools in the US, and one of only a few elementary schools in Connecticut to receive the IBPYP accreditation. ISD offers programs for students from kindergarten through fifth grade.