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Willmar Middle School's "The Lion King Jr." continues through Sunday

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Kylie Newcomer, left, is a young Simba and Pedro Cruz is Mufasa in the Willmar Middle School’s production of “The Lion King Jr.” Performances open tonight and run through Sunday at the high school theater. (RAND MIDDLETON | TRIBUNE)2 / 2

WILLMAR — The Willmar Middle School presents Disney’s “The Lion King Jr.” at 7 p.m. through Saturday, with 1 p.m. matinee performances Saturday and Sunday, at the high school theater.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and are available at the Community Education and Recreation office, 1234 Kandiyohi Avenue, Willmar or on the school website at

The 60-minute musical, designed for middle school-aged performers, is based on the Broadway production directed by Julie Taymor and the 1994 Disney film.

The pack of hyenas includes Tasha Klatt, from left, and Kim Albeno. (RAND MIDDLETON | TRIBUNE)

It tells the story of the epic adventures of a curious cub named Simba, played by Kylie Newcomer, as he struggles to accept the responsibilities of adulthood and his destiny as king.

Along the way, the young lion encounters a colorful cast of characters including spunky lioness Nala, played by Emily Malmgren and Rachel Lanning; charismatic meerkat Timon, played by Chris Wright, and loveable warthog Pumbaa played by Torri Muzik.

To claim his rightful place on the throne and save his beloved Pridelands, an older Simba, now played by JP McCormack, must find his inner strength and confront his wicked Uncle Scar played by Julia Thaden.

“The Lion King Jr.” features classic songs from the 1994 film such as “Hakuna Matata” and the Academy Award-winning “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” as well as additional songs penned for the Broadway production.

Julia Thaden is Scar. (RAND MIDDLETON | TRIBUNE)

Other cast members are Bailey Stahl, Pedro Cruz, Reagan Bos, Matthew Weiss, Madelyn Gregory, Emma Lippert, Lydia Engle and Addy DeKraai.

The lionesses are played by Addison Hogan, Ashley Guse, Grace Monson, Jen Harasyn, Juliana Palmer, Kaitlin Delfosse, Kate Dimler, Kristine Anderson, Lydia Meier and Serena Mobley.

The hyenas are played by Allie Evink, Amber Evink, Carter Ochsendorf, Eli Hulstein, Elliot Christensen, Hali Ziehl, Kacy Knofczynski, Kim Albeno, Maria Garcia and Tasha Klatt.

Playing the Prideland animals are Abigail Mathiasen, Alexa Kath, Chelsey Diaz, Crisstill Duaso, Danna Espadas, Emma Anderson, Izzy Klein, Kairi Brinson, Kaitlin Schwartz, Kaylee Schroeder, Kimmi White, Lily Wachsmuth, Savana Eckhoff, Stacy Meraz, Stephanie Reyes, Sydney Heid,

Sydnie Staebell and Valentina Urrutia.

The set, sound and light crew members are Preston Iverson, Makenna Hogan, Avery Hovland, Cassidy Hanson, Kya Egge, Carson Selander, Alan Mangen, Tayler Olson and Katelyn Cook.

 Bailey Stah is Rafiki. (RAND MIDDLETON | TRIBUNE)

The seventh- and eighth-grade cast is led by producer Travis Michelson and directors Julene Haugen and Neal Haugen.

The music director is Steve Trochlil and choreographer is Kari Michelson.

Terry Brau is in charge of the lights and sound.

The set designers are Sara Bos and Neal Haugen.

Carol Parker is the costume designer, assisted by Chris Lindgren.

Sara Bos created the masks, and Trevor and Shannon Eckhoff assist with makeup.

Chris Lindgren and Tracey Erickson assist with the Prideland animals.