PS 217 kids shine in production of ‘The Lion King’

Hail the king: Ras Murphy was one of the kids who played Simba at PS 217 in Flatbush’s rendition of “The Lion King” on June 2.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

These kids really roared!

Kids sang the Broadway classic “The Lion King” at PS 217 in Flatbush on June 2. Their theater teacher said the kids particularly enjoy doing musicals at the school because they get to help with production.

“It’s very collaborative and student-driven,” said Gaspare DiBlasi. “They had to make a lot of choices.”

The show on June 5 was the first year they performed “The Lion King,” since the school does a different musical every year. Kids from kindergarten through fifth grade not only performed the songs, but also worked on making the iconic masks, doing makeup, set designs, and more.

“They had a big say in production,” said DiBlasi. “It was really cool to see them take ownership.”

Theater is popular at the elementary school, and around 100 kids tried out for about 18 roles. DiBlasi said they ended up having two kids for many main roles in the cast, such as Simba, and gave kids who didn’t earn lead roles the chance to sing in the ensemble. The program strives to include all who are interested regardless of the competitive audition process, according to DiBlasi.

“We try to make it inclusive of the whole community,” she said.

The highlight of the show was singing the classic tune “Circle of Life” before the captivated audience.

“It’s the song that brings the most students together,” said DiBlasi. “You see the masks. It’s so iconic, a lot of kids enjoyed that.”

Reach reporter Adam Lucente at alucente@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_Lucente.
Team effort: More than 100 kids took part in performing and producing the classic musical.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

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