Topanga Elementary Charter School Presents The Lion King Jr.

Topanga canyon and the savannah of Africa have a lot in common right now. Both are home to majestic lions and a hot dry landscape. And, both are alive with the sounds of African drumming and song as Topanga Elementary Charter School takes on Disney’s “The Lion King Jr.” as this year’s musical production.

With more than 100 children, almost a third of the school, participating, the range of talent is impressive from pre-kindergarten to 5thgrade. “It is a coming together of all grades to produce something truly magical,” exclaimed Lisa Ward, parent and Co-producer of the production.

Under the experienced and professional expertise of Kristy Beauvais, parent and owner of the much loved local business, FocusFish, “The Lion King Jr.,” is a singing, dancing, acting, drumming extravaganza, not to be missed.

Beauvais has been with the school’s theater program for the past six years as choreographer, but this year she has taken on double duty as both choreographer and director! “The school is blessed to have the creative vision and talents of Kristy Beauvais,” said Jill Williams, Co-producer and one of the founders of Topanga Elementary Theatre Arts.

Musical Director, Tony Finetti, has been teaching the young cast how to sing melodies and harmonies in the African language and also to understand what they are singing. Destiny London has been designing and creating costumes for many years and she always raises the bar…this year will be no exception. The talented Michelle Ramos will be magically turning children’s hair and faces into that of lions, hyenas, zebras, gazelles, elephants and rhinos to name but a few.

This production is much more than just a school musical, it is an opportunity for all children, regardless of talent, to explore the world of performing arts, whether it be backstage or singing an iconic song in front of an audience for the first time. The experience is an emotional and educational journey for our children. “Not only is connection an important part of acting and telling a story, but it is also the part of our school community that makes doing this scope of children’s production possible,” Kristy Beauvais says. “Every piece is needed for the survival of our play. Every character essential to the heart of the show. Every person important in the experience. It is a true Circle of Life that has certainly moved us all.”

In addition to the performance license, “The Lion King Jr.” came with a supporting curriculum so that all the students at Topanga Elementary could participate in some way, including storytelling, drumming, and themes of the musical that include caring for our environment and all its living creatures.

The whole community is invited to be whisked away on an African adventure and be uplifted by the incredible talents of our local school children.

Performances are at 7pm on Friday, March 16th, 2pm and 7pm on Saturday, March 17th, and 2pm on Sunday, March 18th at AC Stelle Middle School in Calabasas, tickets can be purchased and seats reserved online at

All proceeds go to the Topanga Elementary School Enrichment Program, specifically Visual and Performing Arts. You won’t be just bringing your family to see a fabulous show, but you will be supporting the arts in our community, and for that we thank you.

Performances are at 7pm on Friday, March 16th, 2pm and 7pm on Saturday, March 17th, and 2pm on Sunday, March 18th at AC Stelle Middle School in Calabasas, tickets can be purchased and seats reserved online at

Transport Literary Festival, Sept. 23-24

Topanga Authors’ Group (TAG) invites you to relax and enjoy stories of the imagination at Transport Topanga Literary Festival on Saturday, September 23 and Sunday, September 24 at the Topanga Library.

The festival is free and open to the public, suitable for all ages, and includes an exciting mix of storytelling in a variety of forms—written, visual, sonic and artistic.

Presentations and readings (poetry and fiction) take place in the Zev Yaroslavsky Meeting Room, while stories for the young at heart are read aloud in the Children’s Story Corner.

Creative crafts keep visual imaginations engaged, while informal Q&As answer many questions about publishing, the craft of writing and more. An Open Mic welcomes everyone to read, while book-making demonstrations take place in the Study Room. Outside on the patio, music fills the air, while festival goers contribute a line or two to the Story Wall, authors and publishers sell their books, and converse about their experiences over delicious refreshments.

Among the confirmed presenters, panelists, authors and composers to date, are: Linda Ballou, Jacqueline Berkman, Brent Blair, Pablo Capra, Eric Dugdale, Julia Fierro, David Dayan Fisher, Lisa Desimini, Robin Lithgow, Paul Lovas, Diana Mathur, Marshall McDaniel, Gail McDonald-Tune, Deena Metzger, Lauren Polly, Lisbeth Scott, Susan Shankin, Wendy Skolfield, Duncan Thum, and Cieri Torjussen.

The full schedule will be updated as needed online at