It's a case of Hakuna Matata for the cast and crew of an exiting Levin stage production that was put on ice due the outbreak of Covid-19.

Like all theatre groups around the New Zealand - and the world - the curtain was lowered prematurely on Levin Performing Art's production of Lion King Jr.

With 50 young people involved in the show, and people putting the hard work in backstage, the Covid-19 lockdown stopped all momentum leading into opening night, which was originally planned for April 17-26.

The cast of Lion King Jr.
The cast of Lion King Jr.

As Covid-19 restriction began to ease, the big question was – how much of what they had already rehearsed would they remember?

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The answer – almost everything. Musical director Ria Saili came out from his first musical catch-up for more than two months with a smile on his face and two thumbs up.

Production manager Lorraine Lepper said while lockdown had been disappointing for everyone involved in the show, as they had worked hard with the original date in mind, they were now poised to pounce.

The Hyenas.
The Hyenas.

"Seeing the lights go out for eight weeks on a set that simply begged for a cast to bring it to life was never going to be easy," she said.

"There were many things for theatre groups to consider with overheads still going out and no income. The announced government lifeline for the creative communities unfortunately did not apply to voluntary community groups."

Rights to shows had to be postponed and in many cases cancelled, but for Levin Performing Arts, level 2 easing of gathering numbers has enabled it to reapply for rights and get the show up and running again.

Young Simba (Alrich Hoffman) and Mufasa (Kyrian Aitchison).
Young Simba (Alrich Hoffman) and Mufasa (Kyrian Aitchison).

Rehearsal commenced again with groups of 10, and then there was a "magic moment" when all our cast could get together again.

"Unfortunately four cast members could not return due to other commitments within the newly scheduled dates and they will be missed, but a little rejigging of roles filled those gaps," she said.

"Costumes and animal masks that looked quite eerie just sitting in dark storage are all ready to go – hopefully not too many adjustments to make after eight weeks of limited activity by everyone.

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Zasu (Aaliyah Wicks), Rafiki (Kaydence Mose-Tuialii), Mufasa (Kyrian Atchison), Sarabi (Charli O'Brien).
Zasu (Aaliyah Wicks), Rafiki (Kaydence Mose-Tuialii), Mufasa (Kyrian Atchison), Sarabi (Charli O'Brien).

"The next step is to get the show back to performance level and our cast are well on the way to that.

"There are posters to reprint, dates on billboards have been altered and tickets reordered and are back with the booking office."

Tickets are now available at Camera Place in the Levin Mall, phone 368-7543.

New production dates are Friday, July 10, Saturday, July 11, Sunday, July 12, Friday, July 17, Saturday, July 18, and Sunday, July 19.

Friday and Saturday performances start at 7.30pm. Sunday performances start at 2pm.

Old Simba (Kai Smith), Old Nala (Tiana Fryer), Pumbaa (Kalanee Wicks).
Old Simba (Kai Smith), Old Nala (Tiana Fryer), Pumbaa (Kalanee Wicks).