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Disney and The Lion King

The Best On Broadway (Story)

The Film
Simba
Mufasa
Scar
Timon and Pumbaa
Rafiki
Nala
Zazu
Shenzi Banzi and Ed
Sarabi
Sarafina
Disney Land
Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
Elias Disney (Father of Walt Disney)
Roy Oliver Disney (Brother of Walt Disney)
Lillian Disney
Walt Disney Theatrical
Disney Channel
Walt Disney Television
Walt Disney Televison Animation
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
Walt Disney World
Walt Disney Feature Animation
Disney TV Shows
Disney Televison Movies
Out Of Print Disney DVD's
Animated Classics
Other Animated Films
(Live Action 1980 Present)
Live Action (Pre 1980)
Direct-To-Video
Disney Documentaries and IMax
Disney DVD and Video
The Lion King III Simba's Heir Ver. 1.4 (Story)
Crossing the Desert (Story)
The Lion King IV Dark Ruler Ver. 1.4 (Story)
The Lion King V : The Final Clash Ver 1.4 (Story)
The Lion King VI Human Encounter Ver. 1.4 (Story)
Scar's Revenge (Story)
The Best On Broadway (Story)
Redemption (Story)
How Shenzi and Banzai Met (Story)
Relations (Story)
The Scarring of Taka (Story)
Zira and Timon (Story)
Fond Memories (Story)
Scar's Revenge (Story) Rene Gorydon
Roy E Disney
The Walt Disney Company
Walt Disney
Jason Raize
The Lion King Broadway CD Reviews
The Lion King Fan Reviews
The Lion King Critics Reviews
Lion King Broadway Reviews
The Lion King Movie Pictures

 

Original Cast

Adult Simba =Jason Raize

Adult Nala = Heather Headley

Simba= Scott irby-Ranrar

Nala = Kajuana Shuford

Mufasa= Samuel E. Wright

Sarabi = Gina Breedlove

Scar = John Vickery

Zazu= Geoff Hoyle

Timon = Max Casella

Pumbaa = Tom Allen Robins

Rafiki  = Tsidii Le Loka

Shenzi = Tracy Nicole Chapman

Bonzai = Stanley Wayne Mathis

Ed = Kevin Cahoon

Ensemble = Members of Alvin Ally dance troop, Dance Theater of Harlem, and many other skilled professionals in this field.

 

* This story will be released in monthly segments called episodes until it completion.  To be informed when a new episode is released please E-mail me with your request*

 

Episode1

May 23, 1997

Time Square NYC

Prologue

                The young woman who looked to be about 20-25yrs old nonchalantly made her way up the steps of the 42nd street station. She glanced at her watch taking note of the time quickened her pace. “I’m going to be Late.” she mumbled to herself pushing her way through the crowd in pursuit of the Ford Center, the theater at which ragtime is playing.

                Today was the first rehearsal for the production of the lion king and she was anxious to get to the theater early to mingle with the other actors and actresses before the actual reading began. Judging by the way things were going it didn’t look like she’d even make it on time for the rehearsal, she had yet to stop by the Ford Center across the street to pick up a few final things from her old dressing room. The dressing room she’d had while in Ragtime.

In her Junior year at Northwestern University she had to make the agonizing decision of whether or not to go to Toronto and understudy for the part of Sarah in Ragtime, or to go to New York and read for the part of Nala in the August 97 workshop for the production of the Lion King. Ragtime won out and after she completed her junior year she went to Toronto and was actually on stage about half a dozen times. The Casting directors for the Lion King called her again and asked her to read for the part at the final audition, she did and was chosen for the part.

Finally she made it to the Ford Center. She entered through the backstage door and hurriedly went to her dressing room waving and being greeted by friends as she went along the way.  To her surprise when she got there, Byran her long time sweetheart was waiting her arrival.

                “Oh Hi sweetie, how are you doing?” she said greeting him with a hug and kiss. “Got to run, maybe we can set something up with later.” She finished as she gathered her things and prepared to leave.

                “Wait, before you leave there’s something I have to tell you.” He said a pensive look on his face.

                “Okay but hurry I have to go.” She said looking at the time as it appeared on her watch.

                “See that’s what I mean, I’m always working around your schedule. I never get to see you anymore.”  Byran paused trying to find the right words. “I’ve thought a lot about this and I think we should see other people.”

                “But Byran we’ve been together so long lets not let something like this come between us.”  She thought frantically “Maybe we could have time on weekends or, No that won’t work what about holidays.”

“Sweetie that’s not enough, you know I love you and always will but people back home are starting to doubt the fact that we actually still have a relationship.”

                “Well you tell them about my career right?”

                “I try.”

                “And my parents they understand right?”

                “Of coarse and we all support you they just doubt the success rate of this next piece your doing and frankly so am I.”

                “Byran” she gasped.

                “C’mon what is it The Lion King isn’t that a kids movie, I think you need to think about what you’re doing. You’ve made some pretty unstable decisions in the past. You left school after your junior year to go to Toronto for a year to be on stage all of 24 times.”

                “26 thank you very much.”

                “Whatever. Your Dad’s pretty upset with all that money down the tube. You can barely support yourself.”

                “I had a Job.” Heather defended a bit perturbed.

                “Yeah If you call that a job, but come back home. We can be so happy. I’m Pre-Med. now.”

                “No Byran we can’t be happy. The engagement's off.  All I ask for is your support and if you can’t give me that then I don’t want anything else. ” She said sarcastically and stormed off to her rehearsal for which she was already late. She wasn’t even sure if she wanted to be in The Lion King, and Byran’s doubtful behavior didn’t help her confirm her decision. Between Byran, and her father she’d had enough, if it weren’t for her ever understanding mother she didn’t know where she’d be right now. Still the role being offered to her was one the principle role in a Broadway musical, she couldn’t afford to pass up an opportunity like this.

 

Chapter I

 

There was chatter in the large studio room at 890 Broadway. Today was the first New York rehearsal for the production of the Lion King.  Almost one hundred persons who ranged in apparent age were there. Everyone from Disney’s theatrical office and puppet shop was there. It was a thrilling and nerve-racking day for everyone involved, presentations for Scenic design, Puppetry, and Costumes were to be made. There were light refreshments being served as people mingled and got to know each other.

The middle-aged women went to the head of the room and called everyone to attention. Her voice echoed through the room, as everyone became silent. “Hello everyone I am the director. For those of you who haven’t had the chance to meet me my name is Julie Taymor. I’ve heard very many positive things about all of you. I hope we can all work together to make this show the best in Broadway.” She paused a moment as she scanned the crowd “I’m sure everyone’s here, and were about to get started, but before we do I tried to come around and meet each individual actor personally but I must have overlooked one, has anyone seen Heather Headley.” and no one responded “Heather Headley.”  She repeated this time a little louder and almost on cue the figure of a small-framed young women could be seen in the doorway. Heather was humbled as all eyes were on her.

                “Are you Heather Headley ” Ms. Taymor asked.

                “Yes I am.”

                “Yes Ms. Headley, let me take this as an opportunity to remind all of you that tardiness is not looked highly upon in this business.”

                “I’m sorry it won’t happen again.” Heather said as she found an empty seat.

                “Of coarse Today is an exception I’m being lenient since it is the first day. Now with everyone here lets get started. Everyone turn to page 3 of your scripts…”

                Meanwhile Heather turned to the young lady next to her and whispered  “What Did I miss?”

“Nothing much The one who’s speaking in the director and the and the older one next to her he’s choreographer. And the Musician /Composer guys they’re over there, somewhere ”she said as she briefly searched the room.

                “Oh, Okay thanks.” She said realizing that Garth Fagan the choreographer, was her uncle, he did mention he’d be doing some work on Broadway earlier that summer when she’d seen him at some of the family barbecues.  However she didn’t mention any of this to the young lady next to her, Heather was never the type to brag about relatives. Also she wanted to keep her interaction with her uncle to a minimum dancing wasn’t her strong point and she knew her uncle would make her strive for excellence. “By the way what’s your name?”

                “Gina Breedlove.”

                “Hi Gina My name’s Heather.” Heather was so lost in her own thoughts she didn’t notice the young man seated across from her was looking at her and he seemed to be enjoying the view, but Gina noticed.

                The director had just given a brief explanation of what she was expecting “… Let’s begin the reading. I’m sure all of you are familiar with the animated Film the Lion King this is a derivative of that. But as we read through try not to mimic the original work lets bring our own authenticity to the work.” The actors began to read through pieces of the script. This was the beginning, Ms. Taymor and all the others involved were finally getting the opportunity to have life breathed into a project that they had given birth to almost a year ago.

 

                                                       *    *   *

 

                About two and half-hours later the reading was over. Samuel and Jason were waiting for a cab on the same corner, when they both flagged down the same cab.

                 “Mind Sharing?” Jason said.

                “Sure which way you headed.” Samuel cordially responded.

The two of them were headed in the same direction.

                Once they were both comfortably seated in the interior of the cab “So have you seen the director’s sketches for costumes.” Jason says giving an attempt at polite conversation.

“Yes, in fact I have I was looking at sketches earlier today and it’s a corset of some type, for males and females alike.” Samuel answered.

                “I know, but I just can’t see myself prancing around on stage in a corset.”  Jason joked.

                “Yeah, but lets just say it’s all in the name of acting.”  Samuel replied, they both shared a moment of light-hearted laugher each thinking about the things they had done ‘in the name of acting.’ Then a silence hung over the two of them.

Until Jason finally came out and said what was on his mind. “So what do you think of Heather?”

                “Heather who’s that, is she in the cast?”  Samuel asked.

                “You remember Heather, short hair, brown skin, came in late to rehearsal today.” Jason explained                Samuel took a moment to refresh his memory “Oh…Heather” Samuel said shaking his head in unison with Jason as if the both understood what was meant by this. “Yeah what about her?”

                “What do you think of her?”

                “She’s cute. A little young for me, but she’s cute. Why, you interested?”

                “Of coarse but she seems so classy like the type of woman who’s off limits to people like me.” Jason explained.

                “Classy as she may seem, she’s human just like you and me and probably enjoys simple companionship start there and if you two were meant to be it will grow.”

                “Yeah.” He said although Jason believed what Samuel said to be true he still felt that he’d have to step to Heather with a superior game plan.

 

 

                                                                    *    *   *

                Meanwhile down 41st street Heather Headley and Gina Breedlove were walking in the same direction to the train station.  It took a brief moment for Heather to realize that this was the same young lady who she had seen in rehearsal, and who had given her a brief update.

                “Hey stranger.” Gina Began.

                “Oh Hi I didn’t even realize it was you.” Heather said “Which way you headed?”

                “Time Square station I take the F.” Gina answered matter of faculty.

                “Oh well I take the E, but at least we can walk there together.” The two began to walk in the direction of the train station.

                “Well how are you thinking the success of this production is going to be?”

                “I don’t know.” Heather was a bit unsure, Byran’s line about it being only a kids movie ran through her mind “It is The Lion King, I mean what are we going to be dressed up in lion suit’s.” Heather tried to make light.

                “Oh no it’s nothing like that! Didn’t you see the costume sketches?” Gina assured.

                “Actually no I haven’t. I must not have been paying attention. What did they look like?” Heather had been so caught up in so many of her own problems that she really didn’t take a look.

                “Well it was some type of corset.” Gina began  “African textiles, and a lion mask but it doesn’t actually cover your face.” She tried to explain what she remembered, but Heather seemed to be caught up in her own thoughts to imagine “You seem to have a lot on your mind, care to share?”

                “I’d rather not talk about it.”

                There was a locket around Heather’s neck that caught her eye. In the locket was a picture of a handsome young man. Although the picture was small the eyes stood out they were the deepest most entrancing brown eyes she ever seen “Heather who is this?” pointing to the locket.

                “Oh him, that’s just Byran.” Heather nonchalantly replied as she placed the locket inside her T-shirt so the picture was no longer visible.

                “What’d you do that for.” Gina questioned.

                “You’re right, I shouldn’t waste a perfectly good locket on someone like him.” Heather was trying her best to put all memories of him behind her. It was still hard seeing as how she would have professed her undying love to him only two hours ago.  “I’ll have to take his picture out when I get home.”

                “Who is Byran?”

                “Just my very UN-important X-fiancée.” Heather replied.

                “So you were gonna marry this guy, I take it you two had an abrupt ending?”

                “Talk about abrupt he sprung this on me today before I came here and I! ---” Heather suddenly stopped speaking realizing she was telling a bit too much of her life story “I’m over it, I‘ve moved on.”

                “All in…”she paused glancing at her watch “two hours that’s good to hear.” Gina saw right through Heather’s mirage, but wasn’t interested in patching up anyone’s old relationship. “Guess who I saw checking you out today.” Gina enticed.

                “Who?” Heather inquired because although she wasn’t really looking for someone the whole idea that someone was ‘checking her out’ intrigued her.

                “Jason Raize.”

                “Who’s that?”

                “The Spanish looking guy, Simba.”

                “You sure he was looking at me?”

                “Positive he was staring dead at you, and the way he was reading those lines with you. Tssst…. Brother was hot; I’d look out if I were you. Aren’t you interested?”

                Heather was a bit amused to that someone might have a crush on her, however she doubted it was true. “It’s called acting that’s what we do, let’s not make more out it than it really is.” Heather thought a moment the possibility of dating someone who was also in her line of work did have it’s advantages, then reality dawned love stories like that never happened in real life “Let’s say you’re right, while I would be flattered, I just don’t think I’m his type.” And although she did not admit to it, she wasn’t really over Byran.

                “Well at least give him a chance.”

                “I will. If he even pursues me.”

The two headed down the steps of the train station, this was only the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

 

Chapter II

 

                The week went by all members of the cast having casual introductions in passing. One night after rehearsal Jason was at his apartment with his friend Nigel who reclined on the couch watching TV as Jason fervently searched through his little black book full of the names and #’s of women who he’d had a relationship with at one point or another.

                “Well do you still have her telephone #. ” Nigel inquired trying to sooth his friend.

                “Yeah but when I called her the other day the # was disconnected.”

“Disconnected, Dang man what’d you do to her.” Nigel jested.

                “Nothing, actually the last time we were together I thought it went pretty damn good, you know what I’m saying.” Jason replied.

   They shared a moment of hearty laughter before Jason addressed the issue at hand “I guess all I can do is just call this # again.” He dialed the # and again received the same response. “It’s still disconnected” he informed.

                “Well whatever you did…” Jason playfully glared at him “…Or didn’t do, you obviously won’t be talking to her anytime soon. Maybe you should set your sights on someone else. Got anyone in mind.”

                “Actually I do, her name’s Heather she works in the Lion King with me.” Jason began to explain.

                “Really who’s she play?”

                “Nala.”

                “A bit coincidental don’t you think.”

                “Maybe.” Jason shrugged  “But I’d really like to get to know her, she seems like the type that plays hard to get, strong willed.” Jason finished.

                “You mean the type, that can be a real bitch at first.” Nigel joked.

                “That’s not funny, I wouldn’t call her a bitch, She just has a few walls to break down before we get to the real Heather. I don’t know.”  Jason said sort of at a loss for words to describe her, she was so uniquely beautiful it was hard to explain what he felt for her.

                “Sounds Like you’ve really thought about this.” Nigel was trying to understand his friend’s plight. “Well if this is something you really want we’ll have to work on getting Heather for you.”

Jason and Nigel watched TV and talked about how Jason would go about wooing Heather.

 

                                                   *   *   *

Five weeks was all the time the cast had until they were to debut in Minneapolis. Therefore they had to begin work immediately. They were given four large studio rooms in which to begin work. One for chorus and vocal with Leo M. and Joe Mancina, One for choreography with Garth Fagan, One for staging and other such activities with Ms. Julie Taymor, and A puppet hospital where puppet’s were stored and actors could go and work with mirrors by themselves if they felt necessary.

 First Ms. Taymor began to work with the principle actors individually. They spent a lot of time moving back and forth between reading and blocking text and working in mirrors. Director and performer one on one delving into their respective characters. Together in front of mirrors she worked on developing a specific set of movements for each animal being played. Much of the Dialogue in the Lion King was conversational. Julie suggested something called an “Ideograph” to help the actor improve their performance.

“An “Ideograph” is something that helps you understand your character better It something that sums up the basic personality of your character without distracting the details or intricacies. The essence of you character if you will.” Julie always took the time to explain. With that said she then asked “So how do you interpret your character?”

“Well I think he’s regal, proudly carries the responsibility of a Kingdom.” Began Samuel Wright.

 

                                                         *    *    *

                “I see him being neglected as a cub, always over shadowed by his big brother.” Began John Vickery.

                                                         *    *    *

                “I think he’s a joker.” Began Max Casella.

                                                         *    *    *

“I think she has feelings, although their never expressed behind the shadow of her husband the king.” Began Gina Breedlove.

                                           *    *    *

“I think he’s confused as he comes into adolescence he longs for a territory, a mate, and a family all the things that most lions do.” Began Jason Raize this was something he has felt in his own life.

                                         *    *    *

“I think he’s very sensitive, and has a huge heart, not to mention odor problem.” Began Tom Robbins.

                                                        *    *    *

“I think she’s a girl who is sometimes forced to be a woman when she has to deal with being run out of town basically. Began Heather Headley.

                                          *    *    *

“He’s a Manly Man…” He made a little muscle “…or a…. Lionly Lion.” Said Samuel.

                                        *    *    *

“Feeling UN-loved he turns to the hyenas for companionship, and meticulously plans the demise of his brother.” Explains John.

                                       *    *    *

“Don’t get me wrong he has a head on his shoulders, he’s just always able to find the humor in situations.” Explains Max.

                                      *    *    *

                “She has her own way of ruling from back there.” Finished Gina.

                                                     *    *    *

“He want’s all this but not willing to accept the responsibilities that come along with it.”  Explains Jason.

                                      *    *    *

“She’s surrounded by jokers yet has to remain serious and deal with the task at hand, but not be overbearing.” Explained Heather.

                                     *    *    *

“He know ‘s his way around street wise…if there are streets in the jungle.” Finished Max.

                                     *    *    *

“Underneath it all he’s a big softie.” Finished Samuel.

                                     *    *    *

“Above all he’s contented with himself.” Finished Tom.

                                     *    *    *

“She has to let the audience fall in love with her, and understand why Simba does.” Finished Heather.

                                     *    *    *

“So evil no, I wouldn’t say that, just misunderstood.” Finished John.

“It’s scary how well I cast this.” Julie always jested to herself.

Once all the actors learned their lines, and dances were choreographed they took their first stab at staging and a full run threw. The first scene they began work on was the Circle of life scene and Julie Taymor tried to explain the vision she had for the show, not being as successful as she would have hoped. Taymor was a visualist she imagined steps that would slowly rise out of the center of the stage with the King and Queen atop. This was to represent pride rock. The others were to gather around in a ver y choreographed movement and pay homage to the coming of the newborn prince.

The set was not ready yet; there were no costumes and it was a bit difficult to imagine. All the dancers and actors in the large studio room acting out the movements of various animals. How had her vision turned into the scene before her? Julie thought to herself.   Still the cast cooperated as much as possible and took directions, stayed in character. Samuel and Gina were in the middle of this scene doing what they could to mimic a King and Queen.

“I’ve noticed that you and Heather are friends correct?”  Samuel began.

“Yes, I guess you could say that, and you with Jason right? ” Gina replied.

“Yes, You wouldn’t happen to know what she thinks of him would you?”

“Maybe. Why are you interested?” Gina answered having a pretty good idea of where things were headed.

“Let’s just say Jason has a little crush on her.”

“I figured as much. Tell Jason next time to stop staring and come over and talk.” Gina said in her usual cheery encouraging mood.

“Was he that obvious?”

“Sweetheart, obvious isn’t the word.”

“All he talks about is Heather.”

“Heather looks like she might need as little convincing.” There was a second of silence as Ms. Taymor asked everyone to hold the pose they were in. She took a moment to ponder as she decided if she like the look of the stage, trying to imagine the costumes and other aspect of the set.

“Between you and me lets see what we can do to get these two together.” She said through the teeth of her smile a smile.

“Sure Thing.” Samuel responded through pursed mouth of his regal smile.

And so the deal was made…

 

 

                                            *    *    *

Meanwhile Heather was sitting in the same room quietly listening and watching Ms. Taymor observing the show and listening to her critics. When Jason came up and sat next to her. And said.

“We’re gonna be up in a few minutes.”

“Yup.” Heather nonchalantly replied.

“Nervous?”

“No.” again she answered trying to make as little conversation as possible, the idea of talking to someone who she knew was interested made her nervous.

“Well have you acted before?” Jason however was doing just the opposite He was trying really hard.

 Until finally she gave in “Yes before this I was across the street at ragtime, I’ve had my share of acting lessons, and I’ve been singing in church since as far back as I can remember. But what about you I hear you’ve been in a lot of different plays Miss Saigon, Jesus Christ Super Star this must be a piece of cake for you.”

Jason was caught off guard by her friendly behavior for some reason he couldn’t look her in the eye, not really paying full attention to what she was saying he looked around for something else to focus on “One of the breast… Oh…. I mean one of the best.” Almost as soon as he ‘d said it he was sorry.

                Heather’s attempt at being friendly backfired he wasn’t paying attention to her he was looking at her chest she wasn’t quite sure how to respond to a situation like this, should she become offended and smack him. “Umm okay” was all she could say as she excused herself and left the room.

                Jason silently cursed himself and walked away. One of the breast, he thought how could I be more stupid. Right Now Jason couldn’t really think about his character, all he wanted to do was crawl under a rock.

 

                                                         *    *   *

 

 

The rest of rehearsal went as planned, they didn’t get to finish running the show yet and before everyone was headed to their respective home rehearsal schedules for the next couple of weeks. Heather left the room before she had received one so Ms. Taymor gave one to Gina to give to Heather. On the way back to find Heather, Gina spotted Samuel.

                “Psst.  Samuel Come here.” Gina whispered.

                He complied “what is it?”

                “Tell Jason to give this to Heather.”

                “Why can’t you do it?”

                “I’m gonna go sit in the lounge for a while, y’know give those two a bit of time alone, if they’re not already together.  Did you notice how they both left near the same time.”

                “Don’t you think your being a bit pushy with this? Give them time. What if they get sick of each other?” Samuel was a bit older and perhaps a little more experienced in matters of the heart, and although he wanted them together he didn’t want to rush things.

                Gina felt just the opposite as far as she was concerned the sooner the better “I guess, but just tell him to give it to her. I’ll leave them alone if this doesn’t work.”

                “I’ll see.” Samuel said as he took the folder and headed on his way.

                Maybe the balance working together could be good…

 

                                                          *    *    *

                Meanwhile Jason was in the animal hospital sulking, when Samuel came in and said.

                “Hey Pal I need you to do me a favor.” He paused seeing the look of dismay in his friend’s face.

“What Happened?”

                “I am such a loser. I finally get a chance to talk to Heather and do you know what I say. One of the breast.” Jason gave a sorted explanation.

                “What?”

                “What I meat was One of the best, but I slipped and said One of the breast.”

                “Well were you looking at her chest.”

                “No.” Jason responded right away but after he thought about it a second “Maybe, But it was an accident. I’m such an idiot. I’m not usually like this with women. I’m usually smooth calm and collected, but Heather’s not gonna fall for that rap. After today I’d be grateful if she’d even talk to me.”

                “Yes she will just be yourself, you can start by going to give her this I’m sure she probably forgot what you said earlier.”

 

                                                         *    *    *

                Meanwhile Gina went to the lounge, as she said she was and to her surprise Heather was there.

                “Hey Girl why’d you leave the room so suddenly? You said you’d stay and watch, was it really that bad?” Gina joked unaware of her friend’s apparent mood.

                “I just need some time to think, that’s all.” Heather said.

                “Heather you think too much, don’t over analyze situations just have a fun! I saw you and Jason chatting today….” Gina rambled on until she saw the tears forming in her friend’s eyes “Heather what’s wrong? You been doing more than thinking, now tell me what’s up.” She went to cradle Heather’s head on her shoulder,

                “I just miss my mom, and my home and …Byran.” She said in a haze of her own tears “I know I said I was over him but I feel so lonely sometimes.” She paused “If I wasn’t in this play what would I be doing in a big city like New York.”

                “The city is not as big as it looks and you do, have me…” Gina continued a trying to cheer her friend up…

 

 

                                                                     *    *    *

                Jason had taken the folder and was looking for Heather so that he could give it to her. He was a little nervous not knowing what to expect from her after what he said earlier. Each step he took was one step closer to the impending. He didn’t see her any of the four rooms and was getting a little discouraged, when he saw one of his fellow cast members.

                “Hey Tracy you seen Heather around?” He asked.

                “Yes I think I saw Her and Gina in the lounge, I’m headed that way.”

                “Oh well can you see that she gets this, it’s her rehearsal schedule.”

                “Okay.”

                And then they were on their way…

 

                                                                      *    *   *

                Meanwhile Gina was still helping Heather “…I’ve never been away from him for so long, he always comes to visit wherever I’m this far away. It’s been three weeks and he hasn’t even called.” Heather was referring to Byran.

                “Forget about him apparently he doesn’t know when he’s got a good thing going, so let it go. You can do better than that.”

                “What do I do?”

                “The first thing we’re gonna do is call your Mom and tell her what a good time your having, you wouldn’t want her to worry about you.”

                “But wouldn’t that be a lie?”

                “Not once I’m done with you, ‘cause after rehearsal tomorrow I’m taking you to a club.”

                Just then Tracy entered “Who’s going to a club.”

                “We are, want to come?”

                “Sure.” She paused and handed the folder to Heather “It‘s your rehearsal schedule.”

                “Who gave that to you?”

                She thought a moment “Jason I think it was.”

                “Oh Gods do you know what he said to me today?”

                “What? ”

                “Well we talking about our careers and previous things we’d been in. I was complimenting him some of the good things I’d heard about him and he was agreeing with me. What I think he meant to say was ‘one of the best’ and he slipped and said ‘one of the breast’ ”

                “Well was He looking at your chest.”

                “Probably. But the way I was feeling what he said really didn’t help.”

“Hey at least you know he’s not a fruit.” It was Gina’s silly little way of helping her friend. Everyone caught that joke, even Heather despite her tears “Things may not have gone the way you would have hoped, but give him a second chance.”

                “I’ll try.” Heather smiled “But what about this club I’m not so sure.”…

 

 

 

Chapter III

 

                The next day intermingled with rehearsal Ms. Taymor took costume fittings. With such little time until the show’s debut Julie usually had to split her attentions.  A rehearsal scheduled was developed to get the most out of each person at all times. Therefore in between staging and popping her head into chorus and, choreography to see what was up, Julie watched the costume fittings being done by the staff from Barbara Ltd. She’s seen the work they had done for other productions and requested their help.

                As Ms. Taymor and her assistants discussed textiles and beading to be used the seamstress took measurement often as the actors held uncomfortable positions.

                It was 8: 25pm Gina and Tracy were waiting for Heather to finish her fitting so they could go to the club.  They were all decked out in their make up and jewelry for the club.

                Jason had just finished his fitting and was finished for the day so he was on his way home. He noticed Tracy and Gina chatting in the lounge.  “Bye guys see you tomorrow,” he said at a quick glance. He hadn’t taken the time to look at what they were wearing, but now that he played it back to himself they were kinda dressed up to just be at rehearsal. He poked his head back in the room “When they said it was costume fitting today I didn’t know they let you take them home.” Jason made a little joke.

                It wasn’t completely lost as Tracy and Gina laughed “Well actually we’re going to a club.” Tracy explained.

                Gina elbowed her in the side she’d promised Heather she wouldn’t tell Jason.

                “Hey!” Tracy winced.

                “No we’re not going to a club we just… wanted to play dress up today.” Gina tried to cover up.

                Jason became a little suspicious.

                “What’s your problem. Yes we are we’re going to the Vertigo, it’s lady’s night you know.” Tracy further informed.

                “Oh.” Jason thought it was a relatively popular club, why were they trying to keep it from him “Well if you don’t mind my asking what are you waiting for?”

                “Heather’s coming with us, and she’s still getting her fitting.”

                Gina placed her head in her hands.

“Oh.” Now it became clear to him. Heather had probably told them about their little mishap the other day and didn’t really want him around, but if he wanted to clear the air between them this was the chance. “Well you just might see me there.” With that Jason was off to find the quickest route to his apartment to get dressed and then to the club.

Leaving Gina and Tracy alone. “You know Tracy if your gonna roll with us, your gonna have to learn to shut that trap of yours” Gina scolded.

“What did I do?”

“Tell Jason where we’re going, you know Heather only agreed to go if Jason didn’t come.”

“That may be what she said but that’s not what she meant, didn’t you tell me you trying to set those two up.”

“Well Yeah but--”

Tracy cut her off “Alright then I hardly think keeping them apart is going to help.”

“I guess your right. This could be good for Heather ”

“Besides if she does see him we can always say it was just a coincidence.

 

                                                                *    *    *

 

                The club was jumping, and everyone was moving to the pumping beat of the music. There were two floors one that played R&B and Hip-Hop, and one that played Techno and other. Heather and her friends were dispersed among these floors. When they first arrived, Heather began dancing and trying to put herself in the mood for her surroundings. It was unusually hot in the club for a day in May. As the night wore on Heather didn’t feel much like dancing anymore; instead she found a seat at a nearby table. Still close to the dance floor she bopped and snapped her finger to the music. A few men came by and offered to buy her a drink, alcoholic of coarse. Heather didn’t drink alcohol, however she politely humored their conversation and said no thank you. Gina spotted her friend from the dance floor and wanted to help her friend enjoy her birthday.

                Gina snuck up behind Heather placed her hands on her friends shoulder and said in her best attempt at a deep voice and said “Hey baby, why don’t we cut through the drama and you come on back to my place.”

                Heather turned around a bit puttered and said “Excuse me, but that’s not the w—Gina!”

                Gina burst out laughing “You fell for it!” in her fit of laughter she managed to have a seat nest to Heather.

                “Very funny.” Heather said trying to resist laughing at herself.

                “Lighten Up. What’s with you, why aren’t you dancing?”

                “I’m just not feeling like it right now, maybe later.”

                “Well you got a drink right?”

                “No Gina, you know I don’t drink.”

                “So what exactly are you doing? Your not dancing, you’re not drinking. Your in a club have party.” Gina rose and looked down at Heather as if she were truly serious  “I’m having a drink sent to you. So don’t try to stop me.”

                Heather smiled as Gina left; she had always been the one who could make Heather laugh in spite of her mood. Heather felt a hand on her shoulder again.

                “Hey stranger.” The voice said.

                “Gina, give it up.” Heather responded without even glancing around to see who it was.

                “Not exactly, But you can call me Gina if you like.”

                “Jason!” she said a bit surprised to see him.

                “He smiled  “Can I buy you a drink?”

                “Well…” Heather thought, her first reaction would have been to say no to this person who had been so intently staring at her chest earlier that afternoon but she really didn’t have anything else she was doing so… She crossed her arm across her chest as a nervous gesture.

Jason saw this” before you answer that. Let me just say I’m sorry for anything I might have said or done that made you feel uncomfortable. I was trying to impress you and it backfired. So now I’m just gonna be myself.  So how ‘bout that drink?”

                “Since you put it so nicely sure I’d love a drink, but not right now. Come sit let’s talk.”

                Jason pulled up a chair.

                 With that said and out of the way Heather felt a lot better. That is what was bothering her “So how’s life. Are you as excited about being in this musical as I am?”

                “Actually I am. This may sound silly but I’ve but I’ve always secretly thought The Lion King was a beautiful movie. And that’s saying a lot because with my busy schedule I rarely ever get to see movies, But I think it will be interesting to see how Ms. Taymor goes about putting it on stage live.”

                “Yeah some of the ideas I’ve heard her talk about sound really interesting. I can’t wait to get started and see it all in motion.” Heather said.

                “Me too, but this is really the last week we have to chill, after this rehearsal gets pretty intense. I plan to enjoy my week.”

                “I didn’t really get a chance to look at my rehearsal schedule.” Heather said. Then a silence hung over the two of them they had gotten off to a good start but they had to keep the conversation going.

                “Enough about the play, what about you Heather.  I hear a slight accent in your voice do you mind my asking, where are you from?” Jason finally asked.

                “Trinidad originally, but I’ve lived in the states most of my life. I guess it’s just the way I’ve adapted to speak. What about you where are you from.”

                “It’s a long story, one I’d rather not tell right now.”

                “Okay so what do you want to talk about?”

                “Nothing Let’s dance.” Jason said.

Heather thought for a moment  “Sure, why not. But first what about that drink?”

Before they were headed towards the bar a tender came over “This is for a… Heather.” He looked at her with a questioning glance.

“That would be me.”  She said.

“Looks like someone beat me to it.” Jason said.

“No my friend Gina sent this to me she feels that in order for me to have a good time I need to be dancing or drinking, but it has alcohol and I don’t drink.”

“Oh well I’ll get you a drink.”

“Fine but not here let’s go for a walk or something I really just want to talk.”

“Okay. It is getting kind of late.”

“Great let me just tell my friends I’m leaving.”

The two of them left the club at about 2:45 am they just went for a little walk around the city talking about their careers, making silly jokes, music and just having a good time. They seemed to be hitting it off pretty well; still they said nothing more about their pasts or families.  It was 5:00 am when Heather reached home. They figured they’d keep their relationship at a friendly distance for now, but with time perhaps it would grow to be more.

 

                                                           *    *    *

                Jason and Heather became fast friends; they spent all their free time chatting in the puppet hospital during brief breaks from rehearsing. Heather’s whole disposition seemed to change, with time she became friendly with everyone, and simply a lovely person to be around. The cast as a whole, which had grown to become a family noticed signs of the budding relationship between those two, and the positive effect it seemed to have on Heather. When confronted about it by individuals both Jason and Heather insisted they were still just friends… and they were.

                It was Wednesday. The cast had rehearsal; everyday this week including Saturday, therefore everyone had become pretty close almost like a family. Today they continued to run through the show, the main scenes that they working on were The Jungle scenes taking place after Hakuna Matata. Two extra scenes had been added for the musical, one of, which was very difficult to stage due to the lack of a set and the space given to work with. Still Ms. Taymor let the cast work their way through it. She simply looked on giving little interruptions with a pensive look on her face. They had worked all the way up through the chase scene.

                “…how much this will mean to everyone.” Heather (Nala) paused “What it means to me.”

                “Hey, it’s okay.” Jason (Simba) comforted.

                “I’ve really missed you.”

                “I missed you too.”

Ms. Taymor was fiddling with a pencil as if she were trying to restrain herself from saying anything There was a little over a week before they left for Minneapolis she was frantic “Okay cut!” she finally said “Everyone gather round.”

                The four members who had been working with her the last hour and a half sat by her.

                “Now guys I know you’ve never worked through those first couple of scenes before so I’ll assume you don’t understand it, but what is with all of you today.” She went back over their performance in her mind “Max I know it’s kind of hard to work with that big puppet, but let me just say less is more. You don’t have to move his whole head just so he can walk.” She thought a bit “And Tom with this ‘she’s gonna eat me’ make it more imperative. Let’s pretend you don’t like to be eaten, Okay.”

                The four of them started to laugh at each other as Julie thought of more directions for them but nobody took hard feelings. They realized they might have been getting a little relaxed.

                “And Simba, Jason I know we said unsure and confused but everything is not a question, lets get some declarative sentences in there.” Heather was laughing up a storm seeing as how she had yet to receive a direction “And Heather I don’t se what’s so funny. Nala is a young lady; you can’t put on that mask and have a conversation with Simba as if she were meeting him on the street.”

                “Well isn’t she?” Heather asked.

                “In a way, yes but this is her long lost childhood friend.” Julie squished Jason’s cheeks in her hand “Look at that face with that boyish charm, get to know that face, love that face.” She thought  “Get it together and let’s take it from the top of that scene again please. Jason, Max, and Tom stage center please.”

“Okay Max, Timon they’ll be some leave dancers here which you’ll lean on as they were your bed.” Ms. Taymor began to explain “Tom you just kinda squat and…” They went over it more carefully this time.

Heather sat on the side and observed until it was time for her to participate. “Don’t get too comfortable.” She told herself.  Heather looked on and as she did she noticed that Ms. Taymor was taking extra care and time with Jason, to make sure his movements were impeccable. Too much unnecessary groping and pawing as Heather saw it. “Whoa get a grip.” Heather thought she couldn’t actually be getting jealous of Jason, it was Ms. Taymor’s job to do what she was doing and Jason and her where still just friends… So Heather put it to the back of her mind and didn’t give it another thought that day, instead she turned to the task at hand and stay in character…

                                                        *    *    *

 

                The music in the Lion King was, and always will be phenomenal. It took a lot of hard work and dedication from the actor to bring it to such a high level of quality. Composed in Swahili, Zulu and Lethu there were workshops held on language for both the choir and the actors. Almost everyone in the show had some type of one liner in one of these languages during the coarse of the show.  Workshops conducted by either Tsidii Le Loka who wrote her own chants or Lebo M. were a regular occurrence. Their responsibilities included blending South African performers with the American cast members. To teach Americans the specific beat, range, and rhythm that are so crucial to the language.

.               Today the cast was preparing for the original cast recording, to be recorded tomorrow. The musical geniuses in charge of this process were Lebo M. and Joe Mancina. The live orchestra was working with them to get all cues and other such things running smoothly for tomorrow’s recording. The chorus worked together as a group with them where as the principle actors received individual attention. The instructing styles of the two were somewhat different. Joe was the classical instructor who worked from sheet music where as Lebo went with the flow and harmony he felt at any particular moment. It took a little time to get used to, but by this time all the performers had gotten used to it.

                It was well after 10: 00pm and Joe, Lebo, Max, Heather, Tom and Jason were still there working on ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’. Realizing that the problem was coming from only them, the chorus and orchestra had been dismissed almost an hour ago. Only the six of them remained. Still the problem persisted…

                “…Okay once more from the top.” Joe said as he accompanied them on the piano.  The group sang the song one time through. After it was completed Joe and Lebo consulted for a brief moment.

                Then Lebo spoke “Okay Tom, Max you two may go.”

                As they left Max whispered to Jason “We’ll wait for you pal.” Seeing as how they took the train the three of them made it a habit to wait for each other when they could.

                Once only Jason Heather and the two instructors were left. Joe spoke “Okay you two lets take it from the second Chorus, the one directly after Heather’s verse.” He played a bar or so “…begin, 2, 3, 4,”

They sang the verse as requested. About half way through the verse it was visible he was losing patience.  “Okay once more this time try to keep in mind that Heather is singing the harmony and Jason the melody. I know it’s a change from the usual but lets try it.”

They repeated this about 7 times before the instructors finally said “Work On it for tomorrow.”

                Heather turned to Jason and said, “We can get this.”

                “Probably… just not tonight.” Jason yawned, “Maybe we should sleep on it.”

                “Yeah I’m sure it will come out a lot better in the morning.”

                They gathered up their belongings and made a slow approach across the large echo room towards the door.

                “We work so well together.” Jason said.

                Although she’d put it behind her she sorta half mumbled “Not as well as you seem to work with Julie.” as soon as she said it she was sorry.

                “What did you say?”  Jason quickly responded.

                “Nothing.” She tried to cover up.

                “You sure.”

                “Jason I think I know when I’m speaking or not.”

                “Okay.’ He knew what he’d heard her say, but if she wasn’t going to admit it then how was he going to deal with it.

The two went their separate ways that night.

She didn’t give it another thought assuming he hadn’t heard what she said. Heather went home and ran the notes for the song over and over in her mind, she even listened to the recording Joe made for them on the piano of how their voices should sound when harmonizing once before she went to sleep, she wanted things to run smoothly tomorrow.

Jason however let it fester and eat at his mind like a wound. He couldn’t really defend himself to Heather seeing as how he did think Ms. Taymor touched him a bit much for his liking, but that was how she was with everyone. He knew there was nothing between he and Ms. Taymor, if he bothered to explain that to Heather without her bringing up the topic herself it would seem suspicious. But there wasn’t really anything between he and Heather either so who was he defending to, still he felt some sense of loyalty to her. As he ran these thoughts over in his mind he realized that his life was beginning to sound a lot like a High School Mellow drama.  He didn’t approve. He’d have to put an end to it.

                    The next morning bright and early the recording equipment had been setup. Jason was sitting in the chorus room waiting, for what he didn’t know, perhaps for Heather…or not.

She walked in the room “Good Morning.” she greeted fully refreshed.

“Hey.” Jason nonchalantly replied barely audible.

In the mind’s eye Heather caught this “Wake up sleepy head.” Heather gave him a little bump.

“It’s a new day.”

“I don’t see what’s so good about it.” He said sarcastically.

“Of coarse it is we’re here toge—”

Her cheeriness was unusually annoying “---Enough childish games!” He shouted.

Heather was completely taken aback, she had no idea what he was talking about, here she was trying to extend a hand of friendship and he blew up at her.

As soon as he said it he was sorry he saw her look of shock, He softened his face “I’m sorry forgive me?” He pleaded her hand in his.

Was this man crazy, was the first thing that ran through her mind. One minute he was screaming at her the next he was begging her forgiveness “Umm… Sure forget it. You want to go over the song once before, Joe and the others get here.”

“Yeah sure,” Jason cast a shallow smile.

This time their voice soared together perhaps their little confrontation had been good for the song's situation…

The day Heather dreaded was finally here. Due to her request they’d put it off for as long as possible. Today was the day that her “Shadowland” scene was to be choreographed and staged. This meant she’d have to dance for her uncle none the least, not the worst thing in the world but pretty bad. Still Ms. Taymor put it off for a while due to her request, with less than a week before they left for Minneapolis for technical rehearsals it had to be done.

Heather had spent the previous week agonizing over this. Here it was the morning of and Heather said a silent prayer that things would go all right today. She entered the room designated for staging, It seemed like everyone was there, Her uncle Garth Fagan, Ms. Taymor, the dance ensemble, she thought she recognized a few Disney exec’s, not to mention half the cast. It felt like the first day all over again, but not quite the same seeing as how not everyone was paying attention to her. Everyone had their own little task; the room was a buzz with the chatter of preparation for the trip to Minneapolis.

“When you’re ready Heather.” Ms. Taymor said.

Heather put down her bag and other belongings as she told herself not to worry just try her hardest and everything would be fine. She bent to take off her shoes.

Gina came over “Hey, we’ve been waiting on you.” She greeted.

“Hi.” Heather said she had forgotten that Gina was also in scene she was in the ensemble.

“C’mon let’s get started.”  And they did.

The rehearsal was commenced they worked from “The Madness of King Scar” to “Shadowland”. Heather did as she said and tried her hardest, perhaps a bit too hard. Her movements were very rigid and didn’t flow, as they should. Her uncle the choreographer noticed this. After several tries with the ensemble he suggested they rest while he worked individually with Heather.

This gave Gina a chance to sit down. She seated herself by Samuel and Jason.

Jason seemed to be in a trance staring at Heather.

 Gina peered at him for a moment as she wiped a bit of sweat off of her forehead, then backs at Samuel.

“He’s been like this since you guys started.” Sam said.

“What’s wrong with him?” She asked.

Samuel shrugged “I haven’t really had a chance to talk to him with these busy rehearsal schedules, but how have things been going?”

“Pretty good.” Gina thought, “For some reason they seem to be distancing themselves now.”

They both shrugged.

Then Max, who had just finished getting the final fittings for his puppet costume came over. “What are you guys talking about?”

“You know what’s up with Jason?” Asked Gina.

Max looked at the direction of the gaze of his friends “Ohh…” he said a knowing smile rising to his face. “Well you know about the…” he cast his gaze to Heather and then back to Jason.

Gina and Samuel nodded.

“Things were going great until Jason thought he heard Heather say something about he and Ms. Taymor being touchy feely, but he wasn’t sure so he didn’t address it and he did kind feel guilty himself. He doesn’t know why they don’t even go out but he just did so he just finds it hard to talk to her.” Max explained.

“What?” They said in unison.  They were fully confused.

“Aww ask him yourself.” was his response as he got up and walked away.

Jason was oblivious to this entire conversation. He was to busy admiring Heather and how her waist was so small that the drawstring in her sweat pants had to be drawn around and tied in the back, how her waist slowly meshed with the soft curve of her hips, how her---

“Jason!” Samuel had been trying to get his attention for at least a minute.

“Yeah.” Jason responded a bit startled.

It was apparent to almost everyone in the room that Heather was struggling to get the moves  “Why don’t you help her” Samuel suggested to Jason.

“I doubt that ‘d be a good idea.”

“Why not I thought things were going pretty good between you two. But lately I haven’t seen you two talk, or any of the usual, and that song ‘Can you feel the love…’ I didn’t feel it.” Gina jokingly probed.

Jason gave a shallow laugh “Me either. Ironically.”

“Why, what happened?” Gina persisted.

“Gina.” Samuel said as he gave her the look that said ‘can we be alone?’

“I’m going.”  She got up t o leave “I want a full report later.” She whispered as she brushed pass Samuel.

“So pal what’s on you mind?”

Jason explained exactly what happened between he and Heather between he and Heather the last six weeks, more importantly what happened in the last few days. Everything, the suspicion of each other, how he blew up at her the other day, how she probably thought he was physco, and that’s probably why they weren’t speaking right now.

Samuel listened with an impartial ear, but still he couldn’t understand “What is this High School?” was his first response.

Jason wasn’t quite sure what he meant.

                “Are you a lion or a cub.” Samuel was trying to encourage him.

                Still not quite sure what he meant “Lion…I guess.”

                “Well start acting like it. It seems to me that you guys have been beating around the bush, if you want a relationship go for it.”

                “We already tried the friendship bit. It blew up in our faces, what’s the sense in pretending we’re friends if we know we both want more.”

                “You’ve got a point there.” Samuel thought “Well I guess you should just apologize, start fresh then see what happens. You might start by offering her some much needed help with her dance.”

                Jason hadn’t really noticed Heather’s dancing. In her eyes she could do no wrong. He smiled at Sam when he realized his error in thought “I’ll do that.”

                                                              *    *    *

                Garth was losing his patience even for his niece over an over they went over the choreography. It had been almost two hours straight and there seemed to be no helping her. She was too tense; he had faith she’d get the steps once she relaxed so he told her “Work on it for tomorrow.”

                Heather slowly gathered her stuff and water bottle, feeling slightly defeated, Gina and Tracey were waiting for her. " Did you see how badly I bombed out there.”

                “I think everyone saw. You’ll get it just relax. Go home take a nice long soothing bath and come back refreshed for tomorrow.” Tracey suggested

                “Yeah one of those massages from Jason to help those tense muscles.” Gina wittingly added.

                It pained Heather to think of Jason ever since their incident the other day their relationship grew into a mass of unspoken tension. “Very funny….”

 Amidst their laughter Heather heard Ms. Taymor’s foreboding voice. “Heather would you come here for a moment.

Heather slowly approached where Julie was tailoring Jason’s Headdress it was a bit too large for Jason’s head as they discovered yesterday during rehearsal as it flew during his choreography. “Ms. Taymor I know what your gonna say. What is with you and this dance? I know it looks like I’m not trying but I am, all I need is a couple of days and I can get it. Give me till the end of the week before you fire me.” Heather said in a haze of her own thoughts.

“Gee Heather I hope I wasn’t to hard on you.” Julie jested she was firm with the cast but always able to find the humor in situations. In spite of her laughter she managed to say   “No really Heather, It’s okay you’ll get it. I have faith in you.” Still chuckling to her. Jason was also laughing she pricked him with a pin. “Hold still.”

“Ouch.”

“Sorry.”

“Heather you really need to relax, if you want I’ll help you.” Jason offered.

“You dance?” Heather asked.

“Yes I do dance.”

“Quite well might I add.” Julie said

“Well do you know my choreography?”

                “Not really but I think I caught enough of it in the past half hour to get the general gist of it.”

                “Okay, well when are available.”

                “Today. If you are?”…

                                                         *    *    *

That evening after rehearsal Jason and Heather stayed to work on her choreography. Everyone was gone even Gina and Tracy, he insisted he figured it would help her concentrate. The only person’s who remained besides was Ms. Taymor who was busy working on things in the puppet hospital, and the guard.

                They went through a complete warm-up to relax the muscles and get the body acclimated to dancing. After that was done they went over her choreography without the help of an orchestra or even a recording simply their imaginations and a bit of accompaniment by Heather’s voice. She seemed to improve very much under his attention as he took the time to correct her movement and form.

It was little after 9:30pm before they were done and it was raining torrentially. This was odd for a day in June. Heather didn’t have a jacket or an umbrella so she called a cab, it would’ve been too much to ride back to Queens on a subway, so she waited patiently outside the door so she would see the cab as she shielded herself with a large plastic bag.

Jason who did have an umbrella went to her aid “Hey, Why you waiting out here in the rain like this” as he opened the umbrella over them.

“Thanks.” she said” I called a cab and I have to be able to see when it comes, and there aren’t really any windows” she pointed back to the raw space building which they had been using for their rehearsals.

“Oh.” He said.

A silence hung over them as neither wanted to say what was on their mind. She was very grateful for hi s help but still wasn’t sure she wanted to accept him as a friend again, but was still a bit reluctant. As was Jason speaking about doing and actually doing were two different things.

Finally he said it “Look… I’m sorry…. I shouldn’t have blown up at you, it’s just that what ever I feel for you makes me… makes me do crazy things…things I don’t even believe sometimes … I guess what I’m trying to say is can we start over…. complete honesty, and total trust this time.” It felt good to get that off his chest after so long and he was glad he said it too. That is until he saw the look of reluctance on her face, he wanted to take it all back.

Heather didn’t feel completely comfortable accepting an apology like that; she wasn’t totally innocent here.  “Jason I’m sorry too, maybe if I’d been completely honest from the beginning then none of this would have happened. …. But anyway all that’s already forgotten.”

As the rain fell around them.

The next very next week the cast and crew packed up and headed for Minneapolis. They had technical rehearsal, and out of town auditions for three weeks before their debut. Everything and everyone was coming together nicely. It was the day before their first show that Ms. Taymor gathered everyone together and told them that she felt she was ready.

The Show successfully debuted to the world on July 8,1997.In ran there for a few weeks than went on tour to other major mid western cities. The cast traveled together most of the time causing them to become even closer, if that’s possible… On opening night members of the cast sent each other flowers and other congratulatory gifts. Heather thought long and hard what to send to Jason, she wanted to give him something that would leave a lasting impression. What kept popping up in her mind were the corny jokes Jason always told, they weren’t always funny, sometimes they had to laugh at just how corny they were. So she sent him ears of colorful corn the type that you see hung on the doors of house during Thanksgiving. The note attached said:

What else do you get the corniest person alive? More Corn.

Good luck on your opening night.

Heather

               

Heather could tell a little joke too. The gift was much appreciated and he thanked her after the show. Although he hadn’t sent her anything on opening night he intended to…

 

                                                                     *   *   *

 

                After they got back home the rehearsal schedules became less intense, giving them a break before their debut on Broadway in November. There were still rehearsals, however not everyday making it conducive for cast member to do other things.  Heather took a job teaching the freshmen performing arts classes at LaGuardia high school in the city. At first the job was taken only because she could use the extra income maybe eventually it would grow to be more.

Heather sat at her desk in chorus room B24 finishing up the last bits of her lunch as she read an article from the latest issue of Essence magazine. The bell rang she cleared off the desk from her scrapings from lunch, put the magazine away, wrote her name on the board and prepared for the students arrival. The students began to trickle into the chorus room one at a time some in-groups.

                Heather observed a group of girls she overheard their conversation, they seemed to be discussing something about boys, clothing, and girl stuff. They seated themselves in the first and second rows near each other.

“Did you see that guy with the Avirex T-shirt, he was sexy and I think I saw him checking me out.” one of them said.

                “Yeah whatever.” The other disregarded “But I did like his outfit.”

                “It was hot wasn’t It.” another agreed.

Suddenly Heather’s attention was diverted by the most disturbing sound; it sounded like a barrage of dogs barking. Pretty soon the sound gained a face; it was a group of male students led by one young man in particular. The 2nd bell rang.

                “Have a seat!” Heather insisted.

They complied and seated themselves near the girls who’s conversation Heather had been so intently listening to a few sends earlier. The girls in turn covered their faces in shame of having anything to do with them. “Cut it out she heard one of the m whisper. Heather just glared at the group and thought TROUBLE as she waited for the conversation and barking to end.

                She singled out the one who seemed to be the leader of the pack “What’s your name?” she inquired.

                “Who me.” He responded.

                “Yeah you, don’t play stupid with me.”

            Simba.” He stated.

                 Heather was a bit unnerved and thought he was trying to mock her, but how did he know she was in the Lion King   “I said your, name not what they call you at the zoo.” Heather wittingly retorted.

                “Simba.” He persisted, “No jokes.”

                Heather shook her head and mumbled something about immature students she said, “Okay 'your majesty'. Care to explain why you felt such a spectacle was necessary upon entrance to my classroom.”

                 “Well my name is Simba you know the Lion King.” He got up toured the classroom, giving dap to friends  “Which means I run all this and I Figured I’d just make myself known.”  Boldly stopping at the front desk right in front of where Heather was standing.

                Heather observed his little explanation; he was so expressive with his hands, raw talent that could be molded and that is just what Heather intended to do, but first to curb this little attitude problem. “Well ‘your highness ’ I hope all your troubles were worth a five point demerit, because that’s what you’ve just earned yourself. Have a seat.”

                The one who called himself Simba turned and headed towards his seat.

                “Oh and Simba, for future reference Lions don’t bark they roar.”

                Simba had a seat he seem to be a bit dismayed, all he was trying to do was set a commanding lasting impression with the other students, and he ‘d ended up losing five points on the first day, he never expected it to affect his grades. He was usually able to test other teacher’s patience and get away with it.

                Heather caught on to this, and she did have a heart, but if she let him get away with it everyone would try to walk all over her. “If you’re good I’ll give you a chance to work it off.”

With that he seemed to perk up a bit.

She hadn’t even really given him the demerit, she didn’t even know his real name, but he didn’t have to know that.

Heather began to take the attendance. She called out all the names on the period4 register and everyone in turn was marked present, until she reached the name Kaih Peterson. The one who called himself Simba responded “Ahh so that’s your name.” She began a wry smile rising to her face  “It’s unfortunate that I have decided that you shall be addressed as Simba and only Simba. It’s a shame though  ‘cause Kaih is such a nice name.”  Heather’s sense of humor shone through “For those of you who are wondering my name is Ms. Headley, and you can keep the wise cracks to yourself.” She said having seen Kaih and a few of his friends crack a smile.  “You can call me Ms. H., Ms. Heather or just plain Heather.  I don’t have an issue with seniority and if you forget I’d be happy to give you reminder. Right, Simba?”

“Right.”

This one would be a joker she thought to herself.  She just had to learn when to joke with him and when to be serious.  “Alright let’s get to know each other.  I need one volunteer.”

Simba raised his hand.

“Anyone.” Heather said pretending not to see his hand waving fiercely “Okay Simba come up here.” She finally gave in.

He complied.

“Let me begin be saying trust between cast members is the foundation of most great performances.” Heather explained from experience “So Kaih or Simba is there any particular person in this room that you trust and that you feel trusts you?”

“You Ms. Headley.” He said as his arms went flailing around Heather embracing her in a big hug.

“How sweet.” She cooed “But I didn’t mean me, anyone else?”

“I guess that’d have to be her.” He pointed to a young lady seated in the classroom who had piercing green eyes.

“Well invite her up here.” Heather insisted.

The young lady complied.

“And what’s your name.”

“Kadiann”

“Okay Kadiann do you trust him?” Heather said referring to Kaih.

“Yes.”

“You sure.”

“Of course she does, This here is my boo.” Simba interrupted.

“Are you?” Heather asked her.

“Yes I am.”

“Oh… Well I guess that makes you Nala.” Heather jested.

“Oh Ms. Headley you are a barrel of laughs.”

“And so are you.” She said amidst he laughter the other students had produced “But seriously now. Since you trusts him Kadiann I want you to close your eyes and fall in any direction you please, he should catch you…” She explained the exercise that was to demonstrate trust. The couple tried it, with the usual antics between Heather and Kaih; Kadiann remained impartial to the whole situation. Still Heather liked the two; they seemed to be well suited for each other.

The rest of the period passed uneventful as the class went over other basic exercises for theater. Until there was flowers and a singing telegram delivered to Heather’s classroom for her. The name Jason Raize was mentioned once in the song raising the suspicion of her students. Heather was thoroughly embarrassed.

“So Ms. Headley who’s Jason Raize, could it be your significant other.” Kaih taunted.

Fortunately the bell rang before she had a chance to respond to this interrogation.

After class Heather rushed to the teachers lounge and used the computer with Internet access to Email Jason and thanks him for the flowers, however she requested that he never send anymore. While she was flattered she simply didn’t feel comfortable receiving flowers at her job, aside from the prying minds of students it was too soon after her previous relationship.

When Jason received the message later that day he didn’t really know what to think. He was under the impression that they were nothing more than friends…

 

 

End Of Episode I

 

 

 

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