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Northview Presents Full-Scale Production of “The Lion King”

April 11, 2022- Lights, camera, action! Northview High School’s gymNorthview students act out a scene of the "Lion King." was a full house on April 7, when they presented their full-scale theater production of “The Lion King.” Directed by SSD Paraprofessional Barbra Raney, she credits the dozens of students and staff, some of whom have been involved since summer 2021, for their commitment to putting on an unforgettable performance.

“The kids have been working hard and put in a lot of effort”, said Raney. “This was a huge commitment from the staff who put this together and major props to everyone for holding onto the vision and seeing it through to the end.”

Casting took place in January and scene rehearsals were held every day after school until the live performance. This is the sixth year staff have produced a play and the reason it continues happening year after year is to give students a voice. The production’s Assistant Director Trish Billeau feels this category of the arts broadens students’ horizons and provides an outlet for them to express themselves.

“Students with disabilities especially have never really been given the opportunity to perform and they do have a voice,” said Billeau. “We wanted to be able to include their voices and also make all our plays inclusive.”

While students auditioned for lead roles, everyone got to be a part of the cast. Junior Keonna Johnson had never been in a play but was cast as “Nala.” She wanted to be involved because she loves to sing and thought it was a fun activity that would keep her busy.

“I didn’t think I was going to get it because we always have a little self-doubt when we try out for things,” said Johnson. “When I actually got it, I was so excited! I was even more excited when they said I was going to play both the younger and older ‘Nala.’ I thought that was so cool.”

Junior Julian Thomas played “Scar” and wanted the experience of being in a play before heading off to college. He says his character matched him perfectly.

“I was kind of excited because I wanted that part from the beginning. It kind of fits my personality in real life too. The sarcastic, funny kind of guy.”

Thomas says the hardest part of it all was learning to stay in character and keep a straight face when someone would say something funny. He and Johnson both learned teamwork and enjoyed watching the entire cast grow and improve.

“There is nothing I do that brings out the singing and the acting skills,” said Raney. “That is not something I do. It all comes together because they have that in them. They have that sense of humor and find their characters.”

The Special Education Foundation (SEF) funds the production every year through a grant. For more information about future productions, contact Barbara Raney at