Record number of participants at this year’s Children’s Theatre

The 2017 OSF Children's Theatre cast of The Lion King. Photo provided.

Inside the air-conditioned halls of Montgomery Auditorium is where many local children have been spending afternoons this June.

More than 100 kids have made it halfway through the four-week preparations for the 2017 Children’s Theatre production of ‘The Lion King.’

And this year is the biggest to date, according to Riley Risso Coker, the Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival producing director, who also oversees Children’s Theatre.

“We have a record number of kids and ‘The Lion King’ this year,” Coker said. “It’s such an exciting thing to look out over the auditorium and see 149 faces out there with 25 staff members.

“It’s just a miracle that a town the size of Durant would place that much emphasis on the arts and allow their children to be exposed to an art form that they don’t really get in the public school system. It’s really inspiring and makes me love living in the town of Durant every summer.”

Children’s Theatre has been an event giving children the chance to learn and have fun for many years.

“When OSF arrived on the scene, Children’s Theatre had already been in existence,” Coker said. “I’m not really sure how long it had been going on, but as the years progressed, once OSF got started in 1980, the Children’s Theatre got folded into OSF.

“OSF has been here for 38 years and I want to say that Children’s Theatre was going on for at least 20 years before we got here, so it’s an awesome legacy that this town”

The Lion King will be presented at Montgomery Auditorium on the campus of Southeastern on Friday, June 30, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, July 1, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, July 2, at 2 p.m.

Coker suggested those wanting to attend should call the box office quickly, because some performances are close to selling out.

And for good reason.

“There is nothing like hearing 150 children singing ‘The Circle of Life.’ I cry every day.”

OSF Children’s Theatre 2017 cast for The Lion King:


Emma Burkhart, Peacock 2
Blair Burrage, Bug 2
Paisley Dollar, Field Mouse
Daryan Eubanks, Bug 1
Rylee Gosnell, Zazu 2
Chloe Henderson, Pumba
Braden Hill, Zazu 1
Riley Lehrling, Rafiki 2
Jacey Lowery, Nala
Dylan Nelson, Scar
Addison Pettett, Rafiki 1
Tanner Piearcy, Simba
Emma Reeves, Sarafina
Nate Rudolf, Mufasa
Clare Safe, Young Nala
Gaius Sanchez, Frog 2
Emma Sherrer, Frog 1
Scarlet Sturch, Sarabi
Brooklyn Sullivan, Timon
Isabella Walters, Peacock 1
Ayden Williams, Young Simba

Pride Rock Chorus

Hannah Balkenbush
Andrew Burleson
Chloe Cagle
Kyle Clements
Will Coker
Emma Dorman
Josie Griffith
Gracyn Gross
Jayden Manous
Olivia Ortega
Phillip Salas
Saxon Schomer
Lauren Sherrer
Jada Warren


Ethan James Bishop
Lauren Boone
Harrison Davis
Elijah Foster
Brandon George
Vivian Lee
Molly Martens
Mark Salas
Naomi Claire Usry


Addi Blankenship
Cruz Carper
Reese Carper
Evan Coker
Kira Ann Dennis
Makayla Hammel
Elizabeth Hitchcock
Claire McCoy
Avery Rawling
Collin Rhynes
Kylie Rae Rollins
Braelyn Shepard
Kase Smart
Baylee Sullivan


Charlee Jeen Bell
Felicity Cardoza
Berkeley Clymore
Roman Collette
Jaden Cottingame
Samuel Dennis
A.J. Dunn
Xander Franklin
Mya Fuller
Finn Henderson
Lilliam Henderson
Lauren Hill
Ethan McDaniel
Gianna Meza
Jahnah Nash
Scarlett Pena
Elena Safe
Oliva Trammel
Ryan Uber
Ansleigh Watson

Giraffes / Leopards

Chloe Blackwell
Rozlyn Brumley
Abrielle Cagel
Bryson Coyle
Addison Daniel
Ellery George
Ridlee Kay Glory
Colton Hammel
Chasen Henslee
Ri’Khel Jones
Dayla Kelley
Nora Knight
Hudson Lee
Braxton Manous
Maggie Martens
Kai Pratt
Blake Preston
Melynna Sallee
Caylee Smarr
Riley Standifer
Kaydee Williams


Damien Almos
Katie Balkenbush
L.T. Blakley
Kylie Blankenship
Molly Coker
Khloe Hall
Ellie Henderson
Ian Mackey
Carlee Faye Matlock
Katie McCoy
Samuel Rawlings
Stella Rhynes
Joyanna Smith
Brylee Smothers
Edara Wingard


Tori Allmon
Parker Gosnell
Matthew Johnson
Ashely Keeble
Kyrie Lehrling
Jolie McWilliams
Joseph McWilliams
Caden Tyler Musset
Hannah Parker
John Salas


Paris Al Khateib
Carly Bagby
Hannah Baskin
Ameera Cardoza
Rylee Claxton
Kennedy Coyle
Elaina Dark
Virginia Delagarza
Lylith Harris
Asjia Johnson
Aubree McDaniel
Laura Swearengin
Nora Wagner


Keely Blakley
Gavin Coley
Jacee Cottingame
Haylee Griffin
Georgia Jones
Audrey McClour
Kiera Nix
Taylor Piearcy
Kenzie Singleton

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