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Posts Tagged ‘Lion King Cast News’

PostHeaderIcon Lion King Nashville Return Engagement Schedule and Cast Update

Lion King musical national tour is all set to return Nashville from May 07 to June 02, 2013. The lion King engagement is presented by arrangement with TPAC and is a subscription offering of the HCA/Tri-Star Health Broadway at TPAC series.

Casting has been announced for the Nashville return engagement of Lion King musical. Nashville’s most eagerly awaited stage production ever will leap onto the stage in the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s Andrew Jackson Hall from Tuesday, May 7 to Sunday, June 2, 2013. The show’s six-week premiere engagement in 2006 played a sold-out run at Tennessee Performing Arts Center – Andrew Jackson Hall.

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The production features Timothy Carter as “Scar”, Dionne Randolph as “Mufasa”, Nteliseng Nkhela as “Rafiki”, Mark David Kaplan as “Zazu”, Ben Lipitz as “Pumbaa”, Nick Cordileone as “Timon”, Jelani Remy as “Simba”, Syndee Winters as “Nala”, Keith Bennett as “Banzai”, Rashada Dawan as “Shenzi” and Robbie Swift as “Ed.”

The role of “Young Simba” is alternated between Zavion J. Hill and Adante Power and the role of “Young Nala” is alternated between Sade Phillip-Demorcy and Kailah McFadden.

Lion King will be in Nashville TN through June 02, 2013. Buy Lion King Tennessee Performing Arts Center Tickets Online – Buy NOW and SAVE $10 on ALL ORDERS of $350+, Use code: TICK13.

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PostHeaderIcon The Lion King Star Alton Fitzgerald White – Interview Via Playbill

Disney’s The Lion King Mufasa Alton Fitzgerald White brief chat on Playbill.com. He commented on their recent theatregoing experiences, what productions they are looking forward to and more.

What show recently impressed you?
The last show that I saw that impressed me was One Man, Two Guvnors. It was not at all what I expected. I was looking forward to some witty, high-brow, intellectual, British humor, but instead got an evening of fantastic, broad, slapstick comedy with the brilliant, extremely likeable James Corden at the helm! Fun! Fun! Fun!

What are your current/upcoming projects?
On top of it being my most favorite season, this coming autumn is my most exciting to date! The week of Sept. 16, I will sail and perform Disney classics on my second Disney cruise and promote my new upcoming Disney CD. Oct. 1 is the release date of my already critically acclaimed “Disney: My Way!” CD, full of Disney on Broadway tunes re-imagined with mostly jazz-infused arrangements, produced by the phenomenal Jim Abbott. Thomas Schumacher, The President of Disney Theatrical Group, wrote liner notes that took my breath away! The Record Release Concert will be performed at 54 Below on Monday, Nov. 5 at 9:30 PM, and I will be performing my Annual Holiday Cabaret at The Metropolitan Room on Monday, Dec. 10 at 7 PM. And then, of course, there are my eight-shows a week as King Mufasa in the phenomenon that is The Lion King on Broadway!!! For song samples from my upcoming “Disney: My Way!” CD, please visit my audio page at altonfitzgeraldwhite.com.

Read the complete conversation {Via Playbill.com}

Lion King on Broadway is a standing production. Buy Lion King Minskoff Theatre Tickets Online at discounted prices, Get $10 OFF on Orders of $350 or more by using code AFF$10.

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PostHeaderIcon Andile Gumbi Joins The Lion King Broadway Cast as Simba

The Lion King Broadway Musical welcomes Andile Gumbi as the newest Simba on August 28, 2012. Though Gumbi is making his Broadway debut, he has played the role of Simba in four different countries and has been the face of The Lion King in advertisements throughout the world. The Lion King is a standing production at the Minskoff Theatre.

Andile Gumbi in The Lion King Musical

Andile Gumbi in The Lion King Musical


Andile Gumbi joins the New York company of The Lion King. Gumbi has also performed the role of Simba in London, Sydney, Melbourne, Shanghai and South Africa. A South African native, his other theatrical credits include Dance Through Me, Nkonyeni High and Ntsikana. His screen credits include Australian’s Good Friday Appeal and Carols By Candlelight.

Based on the popular Disney film, The Lion King opened on Broadway on November 13, 1997 at the New Amsterdam Theater, before transferring to the Minskoff in 2006. Now in its 15th year, the show has spawned 19 productions around the world and has been translated into seven different languages. The Lion King is the fifth longest-running show in Broadway history and won six Tony Awards in 1998 including Best Musical. Director Julie Taymor became the first woman in history to win the Tony for Best Direction of a Musical.

The Lion King currently stars Alton Fitzgerald White as Mufasa, Patrick R. Brown as Scar, Tshidi Manye as Rafiki, Jeff Binder as Zazu, Ben Jeffrey as Pumbaa, Fred Berman as Timon and Syndee Winters as Nala.

Buy Lion King New York NY Tickets Online at discount prices.

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PostHeaderIcon Lion King’s Young Simba Judah Bellamy in Broadway

Judah Bellamy who plays young Simba in the Broadway production of “The Lion King,” in front of the Minskoff Theatre in Times Square, Manhattan.

Judah Bellamy in Lion King Broadway

Judah Bellamy in Lion King Broadway

When Judah was 6, he announced he would play Simba one day on Broadway. With Judah’s father, Bellamy being a writer in Baltimore, and his mother a day care provider, the dream was brushed off as a childish fantasy.

The Bellamys were so profoundly impacted by the rich African culture embedded in the show that Bernita played “The Lion King songs” to her belly in 1999 when she was pregnant with her first born, Judah Bellamy—who now plays Simba on Broadway.

“None of us can sing. It is just not a part of our make up. I’d probably be less surprised if they told me he could move objects with his mind,” his father said. But not only could Judah sing, he also memorized the entire “The Lion King” script by age 5. He then moved on to memorizing the Danish and German versions. His father could no longer ignore Judah’s wish when he turned 9, and began taking him to “Lion King” auditions.

Judah Roars in Lion King

Judah Roars in Lion King

Without ever taking a single singing or acting lesson, Judah left for his trip to New York. As a 4’3” 9-year-old, he walked into the large auditioning room, getting lost among 50 Simba hopefuls who were at least 3 inches taller than him. To the judges’ surprise, the most regal, resounding voice bustled from the little body. But it was more than the voice that captured the directors’ attention; it was Judah’s passion for ” The Lion King” scenes, his striking familiarity and natural ease with the script, and his compelling bearing as Simba. There was one small problem. He was too short for the role. Over the next two years, Judah was invited to audition five times. Although he was rejected each time, Judah held firmly to his dream.

“I’m going back to get it, at no time did I think I wasn’t going to get it,” he said. He got the auspicious phone call at age 11. Although his dream finally came to fruition, strangely, at such a young age, Judah’s excitement did not affect his rationale. “I ate dinner… I went to bed, because, you know, I wouldn’t really do anything until a month later,” Judah said.

Judah’s first four weeks on Broadway consisted strictly of trainings, with zero break days. But that did not stop Judah from being “a big ball of energy,” his father recalled.

Even today, at age 13, “The Lion King” is still Judah’s favorite movie. He continues to sing “Into the Night” in the shower, which happens to be his favorite scene—where Simba meets his father’s spirit in the starry sky.

Judah aspires to be a screenwriter, director, and film actor after his Simba days are over. He recently completed an independent film with Jono Oliver, an award-winning director. The film, called “Home,” is about the complex relationship between a mentally ill father and his young son. The director was originally looking for younger actors for the role of the son, but out of an array of actors, Judah was chosen for his “nuance” in the difficult role, his father said.

Although Judah has had a string of luck in his acting career, in his father’s eyes, the most important thing Judah has learned is having compassion and love for others.

Read the complete story {Via TheEpochTimes.com}

Buy Lion King Minskoff Theatre Tickets Online, Save $10 by using the Code SUMMERFUNTN at Checkout on Orders of $250 or more!

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PostHeaderIcon Lion King Musical gallery – In the dressing room with ‘Lion King’s Rafiki

From the opening song “Circle of Life,” Rafiki is one of the most beloved characters in “The Lion King.” Actress Buyi Zama brings life to the character with an engaging spirit that shines from inside out.

khou.com were invited backstage to watch makeup artist Jennifer Anderson transform Buyi into the wise baboon of Pride Rock.

Watch the Gallery Below:
Lion King’s Rafiki – Actress Buyi Zama

Lion King Actress Buyi Zama

Lion King Actress Buyi Zama

The Lion King musical is playing at Houston’s Hobby Center through August 12, 2012. Watch the Lion King musical live, Get Lion King Houston TX tickets Online. Avail $15 OFF on Lion King Sarofim Hall Hobby Center Ticket Orders of $350 or more by using code SUMMERTIXTN at Checkout.

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PostHeaderIcon Buyi Zama, Who Plays Rafiki in The Lion King – Interview Via BWW

The Lion King is currently playing on tour in Greenville, SC. The Lion King tour is looking forward to bringing the show to Houston, Texas for the third time from July 10 to August 12, 2012.

On the morning of June 14, the charming and personable Buyi Zama, who plays Rafiki, took some time out of her demanding performance schedule to talk to me about playing Rafiki all over the world, the wax figurine of Rafiki at Madam Tussauds Las Vegas and some siggestions for everyone with dreams and aspirations. Here is the glimpse of the Musical review by David Clarke at broadwayworld.com

Buyi Zama as Rafiki in The Lion King

Buyi Zama as Rafiki in The Lion King


As a child, you never saw yourself as a performer. Is there a unique and interesting story behind how you came to be in the beloved and well known and musical, The Lion King?

Is that a question? (Laughs) I never saw myself… (Pauses) I used to sing. I used to sing all the time, but anything other than just singing, I never saw myself as that. And, I thought everyone could sing, so I didn’t think it was anything special. So, yeah! (Pauses) My audition, I was hanging out on with a friend, so I didn’t really plan to audition for Lion King. And, they gave me a job for some reason. I don’t know. I still think they’re going to find out one day that I’m not really trying to do it; I was just at the right place at the right time and they were desperate enough to give me a job.

Rafiki is a fan-favorite character. What has been like playing this role all over the world?

You know, what’s great about Rafiki is that no one understands her, but everyone understands her at the same time. (Pauses) Me included. (Laughs) Because she is a mysterious being, you know. She is half baboon, half woman. She is just wise woman. I mean, I sing in a language that most people don’t understand wherever I’m at, except when I performed in South Africa where they understood each and every word. Everywhere else we don’t understand her, but they just get the character. They get what I’m about. They get what the character is about. And, that’s partly, or mostly, I think, because (Pauses) emotions have no language. People are actually able to let go of trying to analyze everything, and they just feel. So when you get to use that part of you, which is feelings, you enjoy something more. It’s just like when you love someone and you can’t put it in words, only because you feel it and you can’t explain it.

While playing Rafiki in Las Vegas, Madame Tussauds commissioned a wax figurine of you in the Rafiki costume. What was that experience like?

Buyi Zama stands next to the wax figure of the Rafiki character

Buyi Zama stands next to the wax figure of the Rafiki character


Um! (Laughs) Firstly, maybe I’m weird, but whenever things like that happen, I always just think, “Aw, that’s not me. They’re not doing this becuase… It’s just something that they want to do. It’s not… (Pauses) It’s not real.” I never believe those things, even though they are happening for real. (Laughs) I guess that’s the weird part of me. Because… (Pauses) I mean, when I was there to unveil the thing, I was, “Why is everyone taking so many pictures? It’s this wax thing. It’s not me, of course. It’s Rafiki.” And also, I think there is that separation, of course, between me and Rafiki. I always just think that Rafiki upstages me all the time. (Laughs) She’s that strong. (Pauses) It is mostly about Rafiki. It’s never me. I just bring her to life. That’s all.

Rafiki displays incredible strength in the show, always believing in Simba and being a good mentor to Simba. Do you share this personality trait or any other personality trait with the character you portray?

Yes. I basically believe in everyone, in my life. I feel that I always want to see the best out of people, be it my family, my friends. You know, I always look for that good part of them, and I want that to be seen by everyone else. People spend enough time doubting themselves. Yes, for that, and taking care of everyone and having everyone come to me for advice, I guess Rafiki and I share that. We’re there to help.

In your opinion, what is it about The Lion King that makes it appeal to such diverse audiences?

I think because it’s a good versus evil story, and, you know, people always want good, being good, to outshine evil, of course, to win. And everyone can identify with it. It’s a family story. It’s a family show. It’s one of those family shows that you can take the whole family [to]. And everyone, you know, the dad’s will identify with Mufasa, and the mother’s with Sarabi. And, you know, being part of a community is what The Lion King is about. Everyone can identify. I think that’s what it is. (Pauses) And, also, it’s more than just, as much as we would think that it’s just about animals, it’s a human story. (Pauses) You know, it’s very human. It goes to that part of ourselves—it’s that emotional center, again; you get to that part. And, the puppets! (Laughs) They make it amazing. People feel like they’re part of the story because they see how everything works. They feel like they, you know, are backstage. They see the gazelle wheel, and they see that, you know, of course, this thing is attached to these wheels that look like a bicycle, but they’re still able to use their imagination. You know, they’re not just limited just to what we want to show them, they also feel like they see how things work. That’s why.

Now that you have established yourself as a musical theatre actress, is there now a dream role that you’d love to play?

See, this is the thing; I wish I had played another role then I would be dreaming of playing Rafiki. (Laughs) But now, I think I’m playing my dream role. Even though I didn’t plan it. I didn’t ever… it’s just this is where it started for me. It just started big! So, (Pauses) I mean, I was in the ensemble a long time ago, when I started. You know, I was having fun then. But then they gave me Rafiki. They believed in me more than I believed in myself. Which is why I always try to make people believe in them[selves]. People never stop and see their potential, and I think I did not see mine. I didn’t know that I could do what I do, until someone else saw it in me and believed in me. Now, I always try to spark that in people and just encourage them. So, you know, this is my dream role, and, of course, I’m living my dream because I travel. That’s all I can ask for, really. (Pauses) You know. That’s it. I don’t know if I… Let me think. I’ve never actually [thought] about it. Maybe when I see you, after the show, I will know. (Laughs) But, I think I’m playing my dream role. (Pauses) Yeah. People tell me I’m pretty funny (Pauses). Sometimes! (Laughs) People tend to laugh around me, so maybe I should get into some comedy. I don’t know. (Laughs) But, I don’t know. I don’t know if there’s a role that I’d like… I don’t know. It hasn’t been written yet.

Read the complete interview {Via BroadwayWorld.com}

The Lion King roars into Houston on July 10, 2012 and it plays at Sarofim Hall Hobby Center until August 12, 2012. Buy Lion King Houston TX Tickets Online, Use Code SUMMERFUNTN to Save $10 on Orders of $250 or more!

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PostHeaderIcon The Lion King’s Syndee Winters Talks Music and She Being Nala

Syndee Winters, the multi-talented singer, dancer and actress, has had a passion for the arts since she was an adolescent dreamer growing up in Miami.

The Lion King's Nala Syndee Winters

The Lion King's Nala Syndee Winters


The youngest of three children, the Palmetto High grad moved here from New York at age 13 to live with her father and grandmother. Now she returns to Miami as Nala in the Broadway tour of the Tony award-winning smash hit The Lion King, is currently performing at Ziff Opera House At The Adrienne Arsht Center and runs through June 10, 2012.

Chris Joseph of Miami New Times, spoke to Syndee about growing up in Miami, The Lion King, her solo career, and her unbridled excitement for being featured in Miami New Times. Read the interview below:

Syndee Winters: I remember being a kid in Miami and, going to college and picking up the New Times and going “Ah man! I wanna be in this publication! But I don’t know how, because I don’t know what I’m doing! This newspaper is so rad! There’s always stuff about musicians and artists and stuff that’s going on! How do I get into this thing?”

Cultist: And now you’re going to be featured in it!
So excited! I’m going to frame it!

Where did you study theatre?
Well, I attended Palmetto Senior and started dancing there, and when I graduated I joined several dance studios and did some auditions, and did a few music videos and did some background work for some reggeaton artists.

And from there you left Miami to New York?
Yeah. I figured, let me see what New York has to offer. I danced for the Knicks, then when my dancing days were over, I decided to continue my acting career and whanot and I was a wedding singer for a while. And then the audition for The Lion King came up in 2007 and I didn’t even get a call back.

Here I am thinking my dreams are gonna come true! This is it! I have hit it! Well that didn’t happen because I didn’t get a call back. And then in 2010, I got another call to come back for Nala, and then performed for them and did a couple of songs and, here I am! I’ve been on the tour for two years. I can honestly say I don’t ever get tired of it.

Have you always been into singing and theatre?
Oh I studied everything in high school. Chorus, dance, musicals. I was in every single extracurricular activity. I did stuff for Latin History month, even though I’m really not even Hispanic. If anyone was like, “Syndee you wanna do —” I’d be like, “Yes! I’ll do it!” Any time I got any opportunity to dance or perform I was like, I’m there.

And you pursued your dreams in New York not long after high school. What route did you take to get your career rolling?
Yeah. I was born in New York, and moved to Miami when 13. Getting back to New York, I was able to do auditions and network. When you go out on auditions you test the waters, see what fits, see where you belong, that kind of thing. There’s no formula. It’s just, when the time hits, you gotta be ready to do it. There’s nothing like the experience of going to auditions and being a part of it.

How does the stage version of The Lion King differ from the animated movie?
It’s very similar. You have your standard characters. You have your Simba, your Mufasa, your Scar. What differs is everything else. You’re going there expecting furry costumes and a jungle setting and that sort of thing. But that’s not at all the experience you’ll have. You will definitely have a full, culturally enriched experience. There’s so much African and Asian culture put into the show, lots of puppet work and you’ll be completely entertained. It’s not just for kids. The whole family will walk away fully entertained.

And this will be the first time you perform professionally in front of a major audience in Miami?
Yes! So excited! I can’t even tell you!

And what do you hope your adoptive hometown audiences take away from this show?
I hope they walk away with a sense of theatrical culture and appreciation. Respect for theatre and respect for the arts. There weren’t many musicals coming to Miami when I was growing up. Coming from New York, I understand that.

A lot of people are like, “I’m not a theatre person! I don’t like how you randomly break into song. That’s weird.” But there’s more to it than randomly breaking into song. There’s the visual aspects. And I think Lion King feeds that, especially in a mainstream, artistic, avant-garde type of way.

Read the complete convesation Via {MiamiNewTimes.com}

Lion King at Ziff Opera House At The Adrienne Arsht Center will perform through June 10, 2012. Avail discounts on Lion King Miami FL Tickets, Use Code #SpringSavings at Checkout to Get $10 OFF on Orders of $350 or more!

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PostHeaderIcon Broadway’s The Lion King Welcomes Back Dashaun Young as Simba

The Lion King will welcome Dashaun Young back to Broadway as Simba. Dashaun Young returns as the King of Pride Rock in Broadway’s The Lion King beginning May 16.

Dashaun Young Returns to The Lion King on Broadway

Dashaun Young Returns to The Lion King on Broadway


Young has previously played the role of Simba on Broadway, North American tour, and most recently in the Las Vegas company. Young will assume the role from current Simba, Adam Jacobs, who is taking a brief hiatus but plans to return to the Tony-winning production on June 26.

Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, The Lion King is playing at Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre (200 West 45th Street).

In addition to The Lion King, Young has appeared in New York and on tour in: Hairspray (first national tour), Legends (NY premiere), The Scottsboro Boys (reading), Emerald Man (workshop). His regional credits include: Hairspray; Hello, Dolly!; Aida; and Radio City Christmas Spectacular. He appeared in the film Sex and the City 2 and received training at California State University, Fullerton.

Young joins current cast members Alton Fitzgerald White as Mufasa, Patrick R. Brown as the sardonic and deviously cunning Scar, Tshidi Manye as the wise baboon shaman Rafiki, Jeff Binder as Zazu, Ben Jeffrey as the carefree warthog Pumbaa, Fred Berman as the wisecracking meerkat Timon and Chauntee Schuler as the loyal lioness Nala.

The three evil hyenas are played by James Brown-ORLEANS (Banzai), Bonita J. Hamilton (Shenzi) and Enrique Segura (Ed). The role of Young Simba is alternated between Judah Bellamy and Niles Fitch and the role of Young Nala is alternated between NIA ASHLEIGH and Imani Dia Smith.

The musical currently plays Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre. Get discounts on Lion King New York NY Tickets Online, Get $10 OFF on Orders of $350 or more by using Code #SpringSavings at Checkout!

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PostHeaderIcon The Lion King Touring Company’s Mufasa is Dionne Randolph through 2013

Dionne Randolph is Mufasa in the Broadway touring company of The Lion King Musical. Randolph recently signed a new contract that will keep him in the lion mask through 2013. Dionne Randolph, 39, a nine-year company veteran plays Mufasa in the Lion King Touring team.

Dionne Randolph in the Lion Mask as Mufasa - Lion King Musical

Dionne Randolph in the Lion Mask as Mufasa - Lion King Musical


Randolph, in fact, was just about to sign a new contract for the theme-park show when he got the call from The Lion King tour; he originally understudied Mufasa before taking on the role full time six years ago.

He got into performing accidentally. He was studying aeronautical engineering at Morehouse College in Atlanta when he participated in Disney’s college-worker program. A show producer heard him talking in the “tunnels” under the Magic Kingdom and asked him to record some voice-overs. That led to a job as the voice of Disney’s Star Wars Weekends and a gig on the resort’s radio station. A Busch Gardens casting director heard him singing on the radio, which led to a job in that theme park, as well as cruise-ship and regional-theater work before returning to Disney.

“Every six months for me, it’s a new show,” he says. That’s because the bulk of Mufasa’s stage time is spent with children portraying young Simba, and the child actors frequently switch as they outgrow the part. “Those boys are hilarious,” says Randolph, “They bring a new energy for me.” “It shows the power of imagination. That’s the key to ‘The Lion King.’ That’s why people love ‘The Lion King,’” he says.”It’s the circle of life … that’s what we do.”

Lion King is currently performing at Mahalia Jackson Theatre in New Orleans LA through April 15, 2012. From here it moves to the Dionne Randolph’s home town Orlando Florida – Schedule (April 17 to May 13, 2012). Get $10 OFF on Lion King Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre Tickets Orders over $350! Use Code #SpringSavings at Checkout.

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PostHeaderIcon Lion King Puppeteers and Actor Michael Reilly Visit Bethune Elementary Literary and Technology School

Lion King is currently running at the Mahalia Jackson Theater through April 15, 2012. Actor Mark David Kaplan, who provides the voice and movement for the Zazu puppet character in The Musical The Lion King, came to Bethune Elementary Literary and Technology School to give a demonstration of his character and talk about being an actor and the development of characters on Thursday, March 22, 2012. The show’s master puppeteer Michael Reilly was also on hand to answer questions.

Lion King Mahalia Jackson Theater Cast - Actor Michael Reilly

Lion King Mahalia Jackson Theater Cast - Actor Michael Reilly


Lion King Cast - Puppeter Michael Reilly

Lion King Cast - Puppeter Michael Reilly


Lion King Mahalia Jackson Theater Cast - Puppeter Michael Reilly

Lion King Mahalia Jackson Theater Cast - Puppeter Michael Reilly

Photo {Via Times-Picayune – NOLA.com}

Lion King Runs at Mahalia Jackson Theater through April 15, 2012. Get $10 OFF on Lion King New Orleans LA Tickets Orders of $350or more by using code #SpringSavings at Checkout.

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