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'The Lion King' opens this weekend

Woodbury will be saying "Hakuna Matata" this weekend.

Woodbury Middle School's spring musical, "The Lion King," will open Friday at the school.

"There will be lots of excitement and enthusiasm," director Lori Sager said. "It's going to be a lot of fun."

"The Lion King," based on the Disney animated film, follows the adventures of the young lion Simba, the heir of his father, Mufasa. Simba's wicked uncle, Scar, plots to usurp Mufasa's throne by luring father and son into a stampede of wildebeests. But Simba escapes, and only Mufasa is killed. Simba returns as an adult to take back his homeland from Scar with the help of his friends Timon and Pumbaa.

"It's a family-friendly show," Sager said. "It's good for all ages to come and watch."

Sager said she has been having a lot of fun bringing "The Lion King" to life, especially since she's fresh off directing Woodbury Community Theatre's "Stars on Broadway: Star 3," which featured Disney favorites including "The Lion King."

Putting on a full show, rather than just a revue, has given Sager the opportunity to delve deeper into "The Lion King" and the characters.

"It's been a great show," she said.

Disney has a special place in Sager's heart having grown up and Florida and having performed in a few off-site Disney shows.

"I spent all my summers at Disney World," she said. "It's a big part of my family."

For Sager, the thing that makes Disney shows so much fun is the music and the messages.

"They teach morals and ethics in a fun, vibrant way," she said. "The music is playful, but yet some of these songs are very poignant with a lot of deep messages that register across all ages."

For WMS' production of "The Lion King," Sager doublecast show, which means that each character will be played by two students, because it provides more opportunity for more students to perform.

"We have a lot of kids who love to sing and perform," she said of the roughly 70 students involved in the production.

Sager said she's looking forward to opening night and showing off the musical's great costumes and sets.

"What I love is the costuming that our costumers are coming up with and our set pieces are going to fabulous," she said. "Plus we can't forget the great characters."

Woodbury Middle School's production of "The Lion King" will run 7 p.m. Friday, April 29, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, April 30, and at 2 p.m. May 1. Tickets are $6, $8 or $10, depending on the seats. Tickets can be purchased before the show or by visiting

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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