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Middle School Actors Prepare for their Big Show

Choreographer+Caitlin+Roberts+sets+a+group+number%2C+%E2%80%9CI+Just+Can%E2%80%99t+Wait+to+be+King%2C%E2%80%9D+with+the+cast+of+%E2%80%9CThe+Lion+King+Jr.%E2%80%9D+
Andi Jacobs ’26
Choreographer Caitlin Roberts sets a group number, “I Just Can’t Wait to be King,” with the cast of “The Lion King Jr.”

Everyone knows about Staples Players. It is Westport’s beloved high school acting troupe, filled with Broadway-bound singers, dancers and actors. But where do these students come from? Where did they begin their careers? 

Lots of their careers began in the Bedford Acting Group (BAG), Bedford’s acting program. With around 120 students, it is one of the largest clubs at Bedford. 

Currently, BAG members are working on their sixth grade show, “The Lion King Jr.,” which will be performed on March 15, 16 and 17. In the midst of the rehearsal process, these young actors are hard at work. 

“It’s more intense [than elementary school], but it’s not bad in that way,” actor Will Iglehart ’30 said. “It feels like you gotta work more to do well.” 

The process of putting together these shows starts with picking the show. Director Ryan Smith tries to find shows that the kids will want to perform because that will make more students want to audition. Then, he assembles his staff, decides on the show’s aesthetic and holds auditions. Once the cast list comes out, the kids rehearse five days per week for two to three hours per day; this schedule lasts for three months. All of that work culminates in one performance weekend. 

Seeing how happy the kids feel after performing and all the hard work that they’ve put into it, seeing the joy that they feel and seeing my choreography come to life, that’s one of my favorite things.  

— choreographer Caitlin Roberts

“Seeing how happy the kids feel after performing and all the hard work that they’ve put into it,” choreographer Caitlin Roberts said, “and seeing my choreography come to life, that’s one of my favorite things.”

In addition to Smith and Roberts, student directors help run the show. They help put together the cast list and assist during rehearsals. 

“I had a really good experience with the student directors that we had in sixth grade,” director Maggie Donovan ’28 said. “That was a really big piece of why I stayed and still do the musicals and plays here, so I wanted to be that for the sixth graders here.” 

Overall, the club is filled with passionate kids and adults.  “The most fun I have in a year,” Smith said, “is putting these productions together and being able to share that experience with the community.”

 

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About the Contributor
Andi Jacobs ’26, Paper Arts Editor
Paper Arts Editor Andi Jacobs ’26 loves to write. When she heard about Inklings, she was excited to have the opportunity to pursue her interest. “I wanted to be part of the school,” Jacobs said. “So I feel like Inklings was a good way to do that and to be able to write.” In addition to writing, Jacobs is also a dancer. She particularly values the joy she experiences while dancing.  “It’s like I can have a time when I’m not really thinking about the other stuff going on in the world,” she said. “Instead I’m just thinking about dance.”

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