TheatreWorksEDU will stage “Seussical Jr.” beginning tonight at the New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater. 

The TheatreWorksEDU student productions of Disney’s “The Lion King KIDS” and “Seussical Jr.” begin this week at the New Albany Amphitheater.

The performances are 7:30 p.m. tonight, July 11, 12, 18, 19, and 20 and they are free to the public. Both productions are directed/music-directed by Katie Maras Haulter, assistant-directed by Brooklyn Chalfant, choreographed by Sarah Gahagen, and tech-directed by Kota Earnhardt.

The 60 plus students involved with these two shows have been rehearsing since May.

“It has been such a pleasure working with these talented young performers,” Gahagen stated in a TheatreWorks news release. “These kids have willingly given up much of their summer break to practice and that enthusiasm shines through on stage. It is such a positive experience not only for the children, but for us adults as well.”

Haulter is no stranger to working with student actors of all ages. She directed “The Lion King KIDS” at Clarksville Little Theater last summer, and is currently the theatre director at Hazelwood Middle School.

“The kids and teens in both ‘Lion King KIDS’ and ‘Seussical Jr.’ have devoted their summer to honing their acting, singing, and dancing skills, and I couldn’t be prouder of all they have accomplished,” Haulter stated in the release. “These are perfect shows for the whole family to join us in celebrating — including little ones — and to share New Albany and Southern Indiana’s love of theatre for all ages.”

These productions are an effort to provide summer activities and positive experiences for students.

“The focus of this project has been on the students,” Jason Roseberry, executive director for TheatreWorks of SoIN, stated. “From the acting, set work, lighting, and sound, these students have worked with professionals and then had the responsibility handed off to them for the performances.”

Disney’s “The Lion King KIDS” is adapted from the full-length film and includes all of your favorite “Lion King” characters. Music Theatre International, has adapted the Broadway show for young actors — including a cast of villagers and multiple Rafikis. This 30-minute version of the show includes popular songs like, “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King,” “Hakuna Matata,” “He Lives In You, and Be Prepared.”

“Oh, the thinks you can think” when Dr. Seuss’ best-loved characters collide and cavort in “Seussical Jr.” Performed by local middle and high school students, audiences will be transported from the Jungle of Nool to the Circus McGurkus, as the Cat in the Hat narrates the story of Horton the Elephant, who discovers a speck of dust containing tiny people called the Whos. Horton must protect the Whos from a world of naysayers and dangers, and he must also guard an abandoned egg that’s been left in his care by the irresponsible Mayzie La Bird. Ultimately, the powers of friendship, loyalty, family and community are challenged and emerge triumphant.

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