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Eisenhower MS Brings Broadway to the School Stage

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The Eisenhower Middle School drama club has lots to boast about with their upcoming spring musical, Lion King Jr.

The 80-person cast and crew had a special afternoon on March 9th with none only than Jelani Remy, who plays Simba in Disney’s The Lion King on Broadway at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City.

Eisenhower Middle School Practices with Broadway’s Jelani Remy

  • Jelani Does Warm Up Exercises with Students
    Jelani Does Warm Up Exercises with Students
  • Jelani Works on Warm Up Exercises with Students
    Jelani Works on Warm Up Exercises with Students
  • Jelani gives Scar Brendan Coulthurst advice
    Jelani gives Scar Brendan Coulthurst advice
  • Jelani works with Jaclyn Ezra who plays older Nala
    Jelani works with Jaclyn Ezra who plays older Nala
  • Jelani works with Young Simba and Zazu
    Jelani works with Young Simba and Zazu
  • Jessica Harrison Calderon and Jelani
    Jessica Harrison Calderon and Jelani
  • Lion King Cast and Crew with Jelani
    Lion King Cast and Crew with Jelani
  • Miah Moore as Rafiki works with Jelani
    Miah Moore as Rafiki works with Jelani

Students spent more than two hours receiving tutelage from this New Jersey native. Remy held warm-up and projection activities like Zip-Zap-Zop with the students before diving right into a dress rehearsal of the show.

He worked one on one with the different characters as needed. One student shared, “Jelani’s excitement and willingness to work with us made it most enjoyable.” Another student added, “I enjoyed when he was working on Scene 6 and when he was helping us with blocking and telling us how to improve our characters.”

Lion KingThis once in a lifetime opportunity came to the school through the EMS Drama Club Advisor, Jessica Harrison Calderon. She shared, “Jelani is from Cedar Grove, NJ and I am friends with the music teacher there. When she found out that our drama club was doing the Lion King, she reached out to me and told me about this amazing experience her students had when Jelani came to work with them. She encouraged me to contact him to see if he was interested in coming to Eisenhower.”

Afterward, Harrison Calderon asked her students what they liked best about working with Jelani.

One student shared that they liked the games and feedback about not being afraid to be big while another student mentioned how “He didn’t really focus on what you did well. He just made you know what you needed to work on and how to work on it.”

One student, in particular, Alex Brinkman who plays young Simba in the EMS show received an extra bonus. He was headed to the Broadway show on the 14th. Alex’s mom Kristen Brinkman shared in an email with Harrison Calderon that said, “This is life-changing stuff, his first time performing in a play and his first time seeing a Broadway show.”

Adding, “Alex thoroughly enjoyed the show and connected with Jelani in the lobby after. He got a great selfie and was invited to a scheduled Q and A and backstage tour after. My husband couldn’t say enough about what a generous, down to earth guy he was! Many, many thanks for reaching out on Alex’s behalf. Priceless lifetime memories were made today!”

Eisenhower Middle School’s workshop with Jelani Remy was also featured on his Broadway.com Vlog at https://youtu.be/in2kWEXcXmE.

The Eisenhower Middle School’s production of Lion King, Jr. will take place Thursday, April 26th at 7 p.m., Friday, April 27th at 7 p.m., and Saturday, April 28th at 2 p.m. Reserve your tickets now by going to www.roxbury.org!

PHOTOS ATTACHED (courtesy of Eisenhower Middle School)

  • Jelani Works on Warm Up Exercises with Students
  • Jelani Does Warm Up Exercises with Students
  • Miah Moore as Rafiki works with Jelani
  • Jelani gives Scar Brendan Coulthurst advice
  • Jelani works with Young Simba (Alexander Brinkman) and Zazu (Evan Paddock)
  • Jelani works with Jaclyn Ezra who plays older Nala
  • Lion King Cast and Crew with Jelani
  • Jessica Harrison Calderon and Jelani
  • Alex Brinkman and Jelani after the show

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