Who's the king of this jungle/savannah? In this case, it's a more good-natured rivalry than Mufasa and Scar as two youth theater groups put on productions of "Disney's The Lion King Jr." this weekend.
The new kid on the block is courtesy of Bakersfield Youth Fine Arts Academy and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County. Their journey from Pride Rock takes place at 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday at Bakersfield City School District’s Education Center, 1300 Baker St.
The cast of 52 children features Jesse Magdaleno as young lion Simba, Ava Briscoe as lifelong pal Nala, Lauren Kaff as wise-cracking meerkat Timon, Wyatt Hatfield as Simba's scheming uncle, Scar; and Cameron Lindquist as Hyena, his henchman.
Performers have attended a morning summer workshop at Downtown Elementary School that included dance, voice and acting lessons.
Tickets are $10; proceeds will benefit future collaborative theater productions and youth participants.
The continuing show comes from Tonicism Productions, which held two summer workshops — the Disney tale and teen drama “She Kills Monsters” — with performances this weekend and last.
Actors Mason McCarthy then Noah Wallace Lague play Simba at different parts in the story. The show also stars Gracie Darling and Claire Michael (Nala and young Nala, respectively), Josephine Dethlefson (Rafiki), Najila Miller (Mufasa), Diego Porras (Timon) and Maggie Lehman (Pumbaa).
“She Kills Monsters” deals with themes of acceptance and popularity, centering on Agnes (Bella Long), a popular cheerleader who loses her younger sister, Tilly (Maggie Lehman), in a car accident. Agnes begins playing “Dungeons & Dragons," to learn more about her sister who played, and encounters characters played by Shaylee Treadwell, Antoinette Dethlefson and Gracie Darling.
Performances for "Disney’s The Lion King Jr.” are at 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday. “She Kills Monsters” will be performed 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. All shows will be held at The Empty Space, 706 Oak St. Tickets are $10, $5 for children 18 and under, available at tonicism.com.
Another youth theater option this weekend comes from the Bakersfield Music Theatre Summer Workshop, which closes out its last summer workshop with performances of “Singin’ in the Rain Jr.”
The musical, which takes its cue from the popular 1952 film starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor, makes great use of its young dancers.
Performances take place at 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday at the Masonic Temple, 1912 18th St. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door.