By Mike Dougherty

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Seventh and eighth grade students from String Theory Performing Arts Charter School got a special presentation today from the puppet master of the Broadway smash hit “The Lion King,” now playing at the Academy of Music.

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Puppet master Michael Riley says hours and hours of work go into making and maintaining the puppets and props used in “The Lion King,” noting that he and his staff are constantly doing touch-ups.

“Painting and fixing the puppets, there’s a lot of different aspects to what we do backstage,” he said.

For the actors, learning to move with a puppet is a huge challenge.

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“If you can infuse human elements into the puppet, and bird-like elements in my case, into the puppet and yourself, kind of fusing those things together was the most difficult thing,” says Cameron Powell, who plays “Zazu.”

Powell said he spent a lot of time sitting outside, studying how birds move, before he took the stage.

 

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