Cast continues ‘Lion King Jr.’ rehearsals

By: By Bruce Caldwell - Contributing columnist

Anne Wicke has done it again — transformed the big stage of the Sampson Community Theater from a bare floor surrounded by drapes to an African savanna with a most impressive backdrop that 72 youngsters are rehearsing in front of now and will be performing in front of in two weeks.

It shows a banyan tree with the sun going down in the background and lying on one of the tree limbs is a tiger, waiting for his next meal to come along. Michael Oakes has painted the roll-away panels and Charlie Knowles, who painted the stage and made the actors look like cats in “Cats”, has added her talents by painting the side panels.

We are fortunate to have such talented individuals as Anne, Michael and Charlie working to help make our productions works of art because that’s what they are and we are proud of it. Many talented individuals help out where and when they can without any recognition but this is what a community effort requires and the Sampson Community Theater is a leader in getting community involvement which includes the folks who attend our efforts in the live arts.

Simon Ussery is playing the part of a young Simba. He is from Elizabethtown where he lives with two brothers and two sisters and is home schooled being in the fourth grade. He plays basketball and his favorite school subject is history. His grandmother drives him to each rehearsal and says she enjoys helping out . This is probably true for many of the cast because at rehearsals there are almost as many parents or grandparents in the audience as there are actors on stage.

Tickets for “Lion King, Jr.” may be purchased at Inkspot or Matthews Gifts and you are advised to get tickets early because there will probably be sellouts for this show. Prestage Farms and Larry King Associates are proudly sponsoring the show.

Any youth groups or daycares that are interested, should know there will be two daycare shows on Aug. 4 and Aug. 11 at 10 a.m. Contact Angela Martin at 910-379-8737 for more information.

Upcoming events

Lion King Jr. — Currently in rehearsal. Sponsored by Prestage Farms and Larry King Associates. Director Angela Martin. Eight shows Aug. 4-7 and Aug. 11-14

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat — Directed by Dan Holland. Auditions Saturday Aug. 20 at 10 a.m. Performances first two weekends of October.

How to Succeed Without Really Trying — TBA

Community Theater Summer Camp — Angela Martin is directing. Aug. 8-11, 9 a.m. – noon each day. Contact Angela if interested to secure a spot for your child at 910-379-8737 or by email at

Christmas show — TBA

Thoughts until next week:

Intuition is seeing with the soul.

Friendship improves happiness and abates misery by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief.

“The old believe everything; the middle-aged suspect everything; the young know everything.” — Oscar Wilde

The Sampson Community Theater production of ‘Lion King Jr.’ will be held the first two weekends in August. Rehearsals for the show are being held this week and next week. Sampson Community Theater production of ‘Lion King Jr.’ will be held the first two weekends in August. Rehearsals for the show are being held this week and next week.

By Bruce Caldwell

Contributing columnist