By Matt Glickstein
On February 24th, three cast members from “The Lion King” musical—Andrew Gorell (Zazu), Selena Moshell (ensemble), and Thembelihle Cele (ensemble)—flew to Lanai to work with 4th and 5th grade students from Lanai High and Elementary School (LHES) and the Lanai Academy of Performing Arts (LAPA).
Kepa Maly, Senior Vice President of Culture and Historic Preservation for Pulama Lanai took the cast member guests on a guided tour which included visits to Lanai Hale and Keahiakawelo and a complimentary lunch at The Lodge at Koele. Many thanks to Kepa and Alice Bouman of the Four Seasons Lanai for their hospitality.
At LHES, the cast member Thembelihle, originally from South Africa, taught words from her native language and performed a short story from “The Lion King.” At LAPA, Thembelihle offered singing tips as fellow cast member Selena taught dance choreography steps from the Lion King show. Cast member Andrew led a series of fun acting warm-ups using homemade puppet — Honu the turtle.
In addition, the Lion King actors worked with LAPA on “Bystander Blues,” a short play that LAPA performed at the Lanai Youth Summit on March 8th in the Lanai County Gym. When it was time to say goodbye, the LAPA kids gave the Lion King cast members a big group hug and didn’t want to let go!
To see video clips from the rehearsal, please check out LAPA’s Youtube page.
A big mahalo for the generous airfare donations from Gail and Jason Allen, and Pulama Lanai. LHES and LAPA are extremely grateful to Andrew, Selena, and Thembe for lending us their time and talent and giving everyone an unforgettable experience!