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Lion King Excitement On Stage Creates Backstage Buzz

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Kay Ragsdale is the flutist for the Lion King (credit: CBS)

Kay Ragsdale is the flutist for the Lion King (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4)- The Lion King opens a five week run at the Buell Theatre on Wednesday. Disney’s mega musical for the entire family is dazzling, but that’s in part to what happens backstage.

CBS4 Critic at Large Greg Moody took a peak behind the curtain. Watch his entire report below.

The carefully choreographed action isn’t only on stage, but also behind it and in the orchestra pit.

“The smallest instrument that we have here is a Chinese dizi. And this is young Nala,” said Lion King Flutist Kay Ragsdale. “We could go to a larger form of that same instrument when Nala gets to be a teenager.”

Every character in the Lion King has a theme, a tone that sets that character apart from the others. Those tones are provided by flutist Kay Ragsdale.

As a member of the National Tours Orchestra since the very beginning of the production, Ragsdale has a particular talent in finding the right flute for the right character.

“The largest of the pan pipe family, which is this instrument. This is Scar,” said Ragsdale.

It’s a difficult job to choreograph in such a small space as the pit, knowing right where each flute is, right when she needs it.

“I think I’ve spent more time learning the choreography of all of this than anything else,” said Ragsdale.

Despite the demands, Ragsdale is a 10 year veteran with the tour and loves each and every performance.

“Better than ever. Better than when I started. Every night is like opening night and you never can predict what’s going to happen, you have a different audience each performance, you never know how they’re going to react,” said Ragsdale. “They’re really the best character in the entire show.”

The Lion King is on stage at the Buell Theatre through Dec. 4.

RELATED LINKS: Denver Center Theatre Company denvercenter.org

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