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West Salem Musical Roars in Support of Africa, WXOW

01/13/2016 9:32 am

By Dustin Luecke, Daybreak Anchor on WXOW

Stage shows adapted from movies are often new twists on an old classic. The West Salem Middle School is taking that concept to a whole new level with their latest production.

With it's colorful cast of characters, the school will bring the animated Disney classic The Lion King to life on the Heider Center stage. The 75-minute-long "Junior" version of the show features beloved songs from the film, as well as some new favorites, and the coming of age story so many of these kids say they can relate to.

"Things will change, and everything like that, but if you stay to your roots, everything will be okay," said 8th grader Meghan Hansen, who plays a lioness.

In that spirit, the cast wants to make everything okay for people half a world away.

Josie Hanson, who plays Rafiki in the show, said, "How cool would it be if we could use this show that originates in Africa and build a well in Africa?"

The idea turned into a petition from the students to work with the Jesse Parker Foundation, a group based in Tomah that digs wells in Africa. The profits from the show, instead of going into next year's coffers, will go toward providing a clean water source in a place where something as simple as that can be hard to come by.

"On top of that," said director Amy Hanson. "We're going to donate to WAFER and the West Salem Food Pantry and organizations in the Coulee Region."

Hanson said louder than the voices of the cast coming together in a crescendo, the students' commitment to a cause larger than themselves speaks volumes.

"To want to do something, use their talent--that's what they keep saying, 'We want to use our talent to make a difference in the world.' I think that's pretty cool. That's special," said Hanson.

Their goal is to raise $10,000 and Hanson said as of Monday, they're halfway to that goal with ticket and t-shirt sales. The show runs Thursday through Saturday (Jan. 14-16). Thursday and Friday night's performances are at 7:00. There are two shows on Saturday, at both 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $8 and can be bought both at the door or by going to the website showtix4u.com.

Watch the news clip here. 



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