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Hickory – Two Catawba County teachers are joining forces to bring the Hickory Community Theatre’s upcoming youth theatre production of Disney’s The Lion King, Jr. to life. Allison Andrews, who teaches Theatre Arts and TV Production at Bandys High School, is the guest director for the show and Jeremy Whitener, the Music teacher at Sherrills Ford Elementary, is the stage manager.

Andrews and Whitener have been friends since middle school. They began their theatrical adventures together when they played the hilariously troubled couple Nathan Detroit and Adelaide in Guys and Dolls at Bandys. Since then they have acted together in numerous productions. The most recent of those are Shrek, the Musical in 2014 and the revival production of Junk in 2016, both at HCT.

When Andrews was asked what she most enjoys about working with Whitener she replied, “We are best friends. We each know what the other is thinking with one look.

Whitener offered a similar response to the question but added a little more color to his when he added, “We feed on each other’s creative energy and ridiculousness!”

Besides the opportunity to work together behind the scenes for the first time, as director and stage manager, they were both drawn to The Lion King, Jr. by their mutual love for the material.

They also share a love for working at Hickory Community Theatre.

Andrews says, “When Pam (Livingstone, the Theatre’s Artistic Director) asked me to direct the production I was floored, and honored that Pam would trust my direction of such a huge show.

”Whitener shares a similar enthusiasm for working with Livingstone. He says, “I have enjoyed every production at HCT, especially working with Pam. Her organization, vision and work ethic make it so easy to interpret and perform.”

Disney’s The Lion King, Jr. is a condensed version that includes all of the popular characters and songs but is tailored for young actors. The Hickory production features a talented cast of 30 youth actors playing a multitude of characters.

Performances of Disney’s The Lion King, Jr. are October 5 through 28 with evening performances on Thursdays (Oct 18 & 25), Fridays (Oct 5, 19 & 26) and Saturdays (Oct 6, 20 & 26) at 7:30pm and matinee performances on Sundays (Oct 21 & 28) at 2:30pm. There are no performances on the weekend of October 11th due to the Downtown Hickory Oktoberfest.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and youth 18 & under. To purchase tickets call the box office at 828-328-2283 or visit hickorytheatre.org.

Photo: Allison Andrews and Jeremy Whitener, two Catawba County teachers, are joining forces on Disney’s The Lion King, Jr. at the Hickory Community Theatre. The family musical is on stage October 5 through 28 at the Hickory Community Theatre. Call 828-328-2283 or visit hickorytheatre.org for tickets and other information.
Photo by John Koval.

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