Physical Education Teacher, Rod Freiling, takes the cast of Disney Musicals in Schools, ‘The Lion King’ through some warm up exercises that will help them develop coordination and balance. Photo by Teri Nehrenz

Bowler Elementary School students and staff have cast and begun rehearsals for “The Lion King,” and their second year in the Disney Musicals in School program with the Smith Center for the Performing Arts.

DMS presents a special opportunity for public elementary schools to bring the magic of student performance to their communities.

The program is intended to create sustainable musical theater programs in public elementary schools and is a three year commitment.

The first year, the students and staff had teaching artists, a director and choreographer to help them with the process. The teaching artists worked with school staff members to help them learn how to launch a musical production.

The program is intended to help develop a critical awareness and appreciation of the arts within schools.

Disney and the Smith Center for Performing Arts staff wants to expose students and school teachers to the wide spectrum of skills that are developed when producing a piece of musical theater, including: critical thinking, problem solving, ensemble building, communication, self-confidence, and interpersonal skills.

Students and staff worked hard last year to bring the community a wonderful production of Disney’s “The Jungle Book.”  “The Jungle Book” was one of the easier musicals the program offers and Bowler Elementary rose to the challenge of creating a wonderful version of the Disney musical.

This year, the kids and staff have taken on the most difficult production and in the spring of 2018, you can look forward to seeing their production of Disney’s “The Lion King.”

Forty-Five third, fourth and fifth grade students have been cast for the musical while others chose to work behind the scenes creating the set. Two afternoons a week for 17 weeks, the kids and teachers are kept busy working on songs, dance moves and lines.

Cast members this year include:

Cora Rasmussen-Rafiki 1, Brielle Wakefield-Rafiki –Rafiki 2, Conner Averett-Rafiki 3, Nikki Atkinson-Rafiki 4, Rylan Jones-Rafiki 5, Carlos Gutierres-Mufasa, Mckenzie Rivas-Sarabi, Alonzo Roque-Zazu, Ben Wilson-Scar, Christopher Pantelakis-Young Simba, Joshua Matthews-Simba, Tegan Stephenson-Young Nala, Elexa Green-Nala, Weston Felshaw-Banazi, Stella Woods-Shenzi, Victor Martinez-Ed, Matthew Duran-Timon, Aaron Roque-Pumbaa, Sebastian Ochoa and Jordan Osborn-Hyenas.

Additional cast members playing villagers: Jennifer Aguilar, Ty Felix, Jaden Flores, Ava Johnston, Itzel Siordia, Brielle Wood, Averi Berry, Jaden Grant, Weston Hafen, Arabelle Whitebean, Jennica Benell, MariaJose Campo- Tenocelot, Braylan Dickason, Morgan Osborne, Akira Booth, Raylynn Woods, Dulce Cabrales, Cecelia Lopez, Kelsey Sudweeks, Athamaree Melendrez,  Synoma Smith, Erika Gueierres, Lucas Benell, Isaias Trujillo, Dimitri Greef-Martinez and Robert Smith.

You can look forward to seeing this production sometime in March both at Bowler Elementary School and at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts.

For more information Disney Musicals in Schools Program, visit their website