The Special Friends ministry, in partnership with The Penguin Project, created spectacular performances of The Lion King Jr. this past weekend at Willow Creek Community Church Services.
The Special Friends
ministry at Willow Creek provides a safe space where young people with intellectual disabilities can thrive. They have a newly renovated area at Willow Creek Community Church
designed specifically for them to feel safe and meet their sensory needs so they can learn and grow. The ministry has trained professional staff leaders complimented by many volunteers. At the end of the performances, Senior Pastor Bill Hybels
shared that the ministry has grown over 150% in the past year.
The cast of The Lion King on Broadway sent the cast a special video of encouragement, click here to see it.
Each individual owned his or her role. Jessica Davy as Zazu had incredible comic timing and inflection bringing the audience to laugh on cue.
execution of Mufasa, Caleb Pilafas
as Simba and Alex Carda
as Scar, each delivered flawless performances, complimented by the hilarious antics of the actors playing the Wildebeests and Angel Zavala
as Timon & Brandon Escobar
sweet version of Nala was as engaging as the professional performance I saw of the original Lion King years ago.
The stoic Rafiki was played exceptionally by AJ Casey
Making the performance even more special were the costumes and makeup transforming the young human performers into the African animals they represented while accommodating the actor's mobility challenges.
The cast of the Special Friends
production of The Lion King Jr.
should be flying high on the afterglow of this past weekend’s wonderful performances. I can only imagine the pride the parents of these actors must be experiencing. I would bet the momentum from this production would allow the Special Friends ministry at Willow Creek Community Church to continue to experience rapid growth.
Pastor Paul Von Tobel
leads the Special Friends
ministry. The ministry’s Director Pat Cimo
has been championing these large cast productions for the past few years.
Learn more about Special Friends at Willow Creek Community Church here