It's Showtime!

Contributor: Morgan Haney. Lesson ID: 13422

The night of a show is such an exciting time, but it takes a ton of hard work to get to that moment! Learn how a show gets ready for an audience, and grow your theatre vocabulary!


Theatrical Arts

Fine Arts
learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio: Image - Button Play
Image - Lession Started Image - Button Start

Watch this performance of "The Circle of Life" from the musical version of The Lion King in Circle Of Life - The Lion King Musical . HD, from Louis De Nennie:

Image - Video

There is so much going on in this musical number! There are huge costumes, puppets, and many actors and dancers on stage.

While this song may just look fun and celebratory, it takes a lot of effort to put just this one song together, not to mention the rest of the show!

In this lesson, we'll look at the rehearsal process, which is how shows like this get put together, and we'll learn the terms that theatre professionals use to talk about rehearsal.

This lesson explores how a show gets ready to perform, step-by-step.

Before getting started, take a peek at the rehearsals for the London production of The Lion King in The Lion King: In the Rehearsal Room from Disney on Broadway:

Image - Video

  • How does a rehearsal look different from the finished product that you saw earlier?
  • How do the actors seem to feel about rehearsal?

Rehearsal for a play or musical is just like practice for a sport - the whole team gets together and tries to make the show as perfect as they can so that everything looks amazing when it's time to do the show for real!

The whole rehearsal process can last as long as a few months, or it can be as short as a couple weeks. So let's go step-by-step through the process and learn some vocabulary words along the way!

Before you can even start rehearsing, you have to cast the show. This means you have auditions, or tryouts. Then, the people who fit the show best get picked to be in the cast, which includes all the actors onstage.

To make it into the cast, actors have to audition for the director and casting director, who is in charge of finding the perfect people for the roles.

In this video from Ticketmaster Australia, you can peek into the casting process for the Australian production of The Lion King.

Road to Pride Rock: Episode 8 - Casting Simba and Nala:

Image - Video

  • What are some of the things casting directors look for when they're trying to find the perfect person for a role?

Once the cast is decided on, rehearsals can begin!

The first rehearsal is usually a read through, which means that everyone sits down with their scripts and reads through the show. This way, everyone can hear the other actors do their parts and read their own lines out loud.

After that, you can start music rehearsal.

In a show like The Lion King, there are a lot of songs to learn! The music director teaches everyone their singing parts and makes sure that the cast has all their music learned before they start moving around the stage.

Once music is learned, the actors start to learn their choreography, which is all the dances, and their staging, which is where they go onstage during scenes.

In The Lion King, the actors have an extra challenge of learning how to operate puppets for the show!

Listen to the woman who plays Rafiki tell you more about how the rehearsal process works for The Lion King in Australia in Road to Pride Rock: Rehearsals from Disney on Broadway:

Image - Video

Now all the actors and dancers have learned the music, lines, dances, and staging for the whole show.

  • All done, right?

Nope! The actors have been rehearsing in the rehearsal space, and now they have to switch to putting the show onto the actual stage with the set and costumes and lighting!

This can be harder than it sounds. Imagine practing a show in the same room for hours every day, and then right at the last minute you have to do the same thing in a totally different space, with new set pieces moving all around you!

This part of the process is called tech rehearsal because it is where you add in all of the technical parts of the show.

Until this part of rehearsal, designers and performers have been working separately. Now they get to bring their talents together to create the whole show!

Watch Road to Pride Rock: Final Rehearsals, from Disney on Broadway, to hear the actors who play Mufasa and Sarabi tell you about their technical rehearsals:

Image - Video

Only when all the pieces have been put together can the show start!

The first night of the show is called opening night, and the actors finally get an audience! From there, they keep doing the show until closing night, which is their last performance.

In the Got It? section, you'll test yourself on some of these new rehearsal terms and make sure you know in what order all of these steps take place!

Image - Button Next