Check out Shekinah’s production of ‘Lion King Jr.’

Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick
Among the students performing in Shekinah Christian’s production of “Lion King Jr.” are: (front row, from left) Cara Dobey, Malina Furr, Elaina Cosik; (back row) Dean Harris, Allison Beachy, Lydia Masula, and Nava Showalter.

(Posted April 11, 2024)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The music and the artwork are the primary factors that prompted Christian Bechtol, music director at Shekinah Christian School, to choose “Lion King Jr.” for the school’s spring musical. Performances are set for April 19 at 7 p.m. and April 20 at 12 p.m. and 7 p.m.

“The songs are nostalgic to the audience. (The show) is filled with powerful melodies created by the greatest songwriters and film scorers of our time,” Bechtol said. “As far as the artwork, we have a very strong visual arts program at Shekinah. All scenes have been hand-painted by the students at Shekinah.”

In preparation for the shows, Bechtol has placed a heavy emphasis on making sure the songs are the key point of the musical.

“Students with solos have worked hard to blow their songs out of the water and make an impact on the audience,” he said.

The music side of the production is further enhanced through the creation of a makeshift studio in the cafeteria which sits across the hall from the stage and gymnasium.

“Any student who is not on the stage will also be singing from the cafeteria. This brings out the effect of a full choir,” Bechtol said, explaining that the voices from the cafeteria will be piped in through the speakers on stage.

He also praised the cast members for the effort they have put into learning their lines and some challenging choreography.

“The students are doing great in their roles. They have even taken the opportunity to work on their parts and come up with their own ideas while I am working with other groups in the musical. They always show up to rehearsal with their lines memorized and ready to move the project forward,” Bechtol said.

“This has also been some of the hardest choreography the students have had to learn in a while. I am very proud of the hard work and efforts they have put in to make this a success.”

A total of 28 students are performing in the show. Seven students are on the backstage crew. Students playing lead roles are: senior Allison Beachy as Rafiki, sixth-grader Kenna Showalter as Young Nala, sophomore Nava Showalter as Nala, sophomore Malina Furr as Young Simba, junior Max Kilzer as Simba, junior Isaac Showalter as Mufasa, senior Dean Harris as Scar, junior Jacob Newman as Timon, junior Peyton Purdy as Pumbaa, freshman Lydia Masula as Zazu, junior Grace Ferguson as Banzai, senior Alinea Slabaugh as Shenzi, senior Taylor Helmuth as Ed, sophomore Haylee Beachy as Sarafina, and junior Cassidy Wise as Sarabi.

General admission is $10. The ticket price for students and seniors is $7. Tickets can be purchased at They also can be purchased at the door as long as the show isn’t sold out.

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