BWW Previews: Florida Drama Kids Brings THE LION KING JR. AND INTO THE WOODS JR. at HCC Brandon Campus Theatre
Under co-direction of Faith Clark and Jake Indano, on June 8 and 9, Florida Drama Kids will bring to stage Disney's The Lion King Jr. & Into the Woods Jr. at Hillsborough Community College, Brandon campus.
As the creative arts are being stripped from schools, Florida Drama Kids gives students of all ages the opportunity to showcase their acting talents on stage and behind the scenes while forging lifelong friendships.
A conversation with several cast members of both The Lion King Jr. and Into the Woods Jr. revealed just how important theatre and Florida Drama Kids has been to these young actors.
Zoe Coxdale, 11 (Nala) explained the audience reaction was what she liked best about performing. "It makes me feel warm inside."
Both ten-year-old Bradley Clark (Young Simba) and Dylan Chastain, 11 (Older Simba) enjoy the opportunity to become characters that are different from their own personalities.
Said Dylan, "I like to play people I'm not and build up different personalities to create other characters. It's also fun to meet new people and make new friends."
Seventeen-year-old Kal Slaton (Rafiki) said, "I really enjoy embodying a character and having people connect and get an emotional response to that."
All the actors interviewed agreed that performing can help in all aspects of their life - from school to better communication.
Bradley said, "It helps your speaking skills. It's important to be able to connect with people you're working with or even a random person on the street."
Ten-year-old Ava Zientk (Nala) added, "It can also help boost confidence."
Jackson Hamilton, 15 (Baker), Maren Ping, 13 (Witch), McKenna Slater, 14 (Cinderella), and Nicole Brower, 14 (Baker's wife) discussed their favorite songs in Into the Woods Jr. and why being performing was so important to them.
McKenna said "It Takes Two" was her favorite song because it showed the connection between the baker and his wife.
"It shows how much they really love each other," she said and Jackson seconded the song. "It's when the baker, often frustrated with the world and his wife, realizes how much he truly loves her and wants to have a kid with her."
Nicole stressed the importance of the feeling of family found in Florida Drama Kids.
"I love acting here because you get treated like family. Really it is a huge family and I love that sense of welcome."
The statement "it takes a village" is easily applied here, as parent volunteers work in all areas to help bring the productions to life. The older middle school and high school students also work with the younger actors to help them prepare.
"All of our vibrant costumes and set were done in-part by parent volunteers who signed up to help with the production," explained Jake. "It's been a wonderful experience because it allows our parents to become part of the show. Nobody does it better than our Drama Kids' parents."
Maren hopes that after seeing the show, the audience will realize how much hard work went into producing it.
"I hope when it's sad, someone notices, when it's happy, someone cheers and laughs and they notice similarities of what people might go through in the real world like they do in the show," she said. "This play requires a big commitment. Just because we are little, we can do a lot that many people might not realize that we could."
DISNEY'S THE LION KING JR. presented by Florida Drama Kids has performances at the Hillsborough Community College Brandon Campus on Saturday, June 8, 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, June 9, 3:00 p.m.
INTO THE WOODS JR. presented by Florida Drama Kids has performances at the Hillsborough Community College Brandon Campus on Saturday, June 8, 3:00 p.m. and Sunday, June 9, 7:00 p.m.
Tickets are on sale now for $10.00. Tickets can be purchased online at ticketsource.us/drama-kids.