Youth Theatre News

Lion King LogoThe Lion King Experience

April 20–May 7
Disney's The Lion King has captivated the imagination of audiences around the world. The African savannah comes to life on the Kaplan stage with Simba, Rafiki and an unforgettable cast of characters as they journey from Pride Rock to the jungle...and back again, in this inspiring, coming-of-age tale.

Teen Cast
Thursday, April 20 | 7:00 PM
Sunday, April 23 | 12:00 PM

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Thursday, April 27 | 7:00 PM
Sunday, April 30 | 2:00 PM
Sunday, April 30 | 5:00 PM 

Thursday, May 4 | 7:00 PM
Sunday, May 7 | 2:00 PM
Sunday, May 7 | 5:00 PM

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Ellie and SofiaMeet Our Youth Theatre "Veterans"

Our youth theatre program showcases many young performers from our community in our popular JCCS productions twice a year.

Many of our students have been with us for many years, and this month, we sat down to talk to two of our students. Ellie Irwin and Sofia Potoczniak started in the JCCS program as third graders and are about to close out their JCCS tenure as sixth graders in the current production of The Lion King.

We sat down with them and their parents to reflect on their four years in our program. 

What has been your favorite show here at the J?

Ellie: I loved the Performing Arts Camp production of Honk, Jr., because I got to have a lead role! I was a comic relief, and I had a fun time.

Sofia: The Sound of Music was my favorite because I had grown up watching the movie with Julie Andrews, and when I found out we were performing it, I was very excited. I love the music from that show and still listen to the sound track.


What do you like most about performing?

Ellie: The part that I like the most is when we get our roles for the upcoming show. 

Sofia: I love watching the show come together with the set and costumes and all the different scenes and songs.


Have you ever had a backstage mishap?

Sofia: In our last show, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, my leotard strap snapped in half during intermission.  We were scrambling to fix it with a pin so I could get it fixed and back on stage in time.  It was really nerve-wracking! 


What do you want to be when you grow up?

Ellie: I would like to be on Broadway somehow – whether I am part of the crew, a director or onstage. 

Sofia: I have so much fun performing, but I actually want to be a meteorologist. I love weather, especially studying storms!  Maybe I'll be on TV one day telling people to watch out for weather approaching.


What is your favorite musical of all time?

Ellie: Either Seussical or Wicked.

Sofia: I love the music from Grease!  But honestly, I don't think I've ever seen a musical I didn't really like!


Do you still get nervous before a performance?

Ellie: Yes. But only on opening night because I have a different character each time on opening.

Sofia: It's funny that you ask this, because when I was really young (preschool age), I was the kid that had to be pulled off the stage because I was crying hysterically with stage fright.  I guess I outgrew that somewhere along the way.  Now I get nervous but it's more like excitement. My trick is to give myself a pep-talk and get my confidence up for a good show.


Alright, parents.  You’ve seen your child grow up onstage. Tell us how the JCCS program has impacted your child.

Robin (Ellie’s Mom): I believe the program has really brought Ellie out of her shell and let her shine in something that she enjoys and shows talent. She first asked to be in a show when we saw Wizard of Oz. Her first show was the very next one, Willy Wonka. I was so nervous that she would be shy and not want to talk or sing by herself. She proved us wrong!!  I was so proud and am always very proud when I see her onstage! She's gone from one small line of a singing solo to now sometimes having a lead role and singing/dancing/acting all alone on stage. 

Michelle (Sofia’s Mom): Sofia has really grown over the years in this program.  She's blossomed into a real performer but more importantly she has the self-confidence to believe she can do it, to try things outside of her comfort zone, to know she can be successful with practice and commitment. I'm looking forward to when her younger sister can follow in her footsteps and join this program!


Keep an eye out for Ellie and Sofia in the upcoming JCCS production of The Lion King, premiering April 27. Tickets go on sale April 3!