Meet the Current Casts of Broadway's Long Running Hits - THE LION KING
A great, big Broadway season is on its way, with fourteen productions already slated to open in the next few months. With several weeks until the craziness begins, there is still plenty of time to catch up on what's been going on at Broadway's already occupied theaters .
BroadwayWorld will be profiling the hits of the Great White Way that continue to draw crowds after months, years, and (in some cases) decades. Meet the current cast of Broadway's The Lion King below!
In its 17th year, The Lion King remains ascendant; it is the highest-grossing Broadway show in New York history and one of the most popular stage musicals in the world. Since its Broadway premiere on November 13, 1997, 22 global productions have been seen by more than 70 million people and, cumulatively, run a staggering 104 years. Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher), The Lion King is only the second show in history to generate five productions worldwide running 10 or more years. Translated into eight different languages (Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Mandarin, Spanish and Portuguese), productions of The Lion King can currently be seen on Broadway and on tour across North America, the U.K., and Japan, and in London's West End, Hamburg, Tokyo, Madrid, Sao Paulo, and Sydney, Australia. The Australian production marks the tenth concurrent worldwide production of The Lion King, the highest number of productions running at any one time in the show's history. To date, The Lion King has played 18 countries on every continent except Antarctica.
Among the most successful titles in entertainment history, with a cumulative gross in excess of $5 billion, the stage production of The Lion King has already earned more than the biggest hit films in movie history: more than the Lord of the Rings trilogy combined, more than the six Star Wars films combined, and more than Avatar and Titanic, the two highest-grossing films in movie history, combined.
The Broadway score features Elton John and Tim Rice's music from The Lion King animated film along with three new songs by John and Rice; additional musical material by South African Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymorand Hans Zimmer; and music from "Rhythm of the Pride Lands," an album inspired by the original music in the film, written by Lebo M, Mark Mancina and Hans Zimmer. The resulting sound of The Lion King is a fusion of Western popular music and the distinctive sounds and rhythms of Africa, ranging from the Academy Award-winning song "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" to the haunting ballad "Shadowland."
Broadway: The Homecoming, Heartbreak House. Off-Broadway: Richard III, The Winter's Tale (Public); Echoes of the War (Mint Theater). Regional: A Moon to Dance By(George Street Playhouse); Hamlet, Dangerous Liaisons (Shakespeare Theatre of NJ); Sexual Perversity in Chicago (American Conservatory Theater); iWitness (Mark Taper Forum). Film and TV: Michael Mann's Public Enemies, "Law & Order," "SVU." MFA: NYU.
ALTON FITZGERALD WHITE
Alton has been truly blessed with his decade long journey as King Mufasa and as a member of the Disney Family! Alton is celebrating his gratitude with a new, critically acclaimed recording- DISNEY:MY WAY!, full of wonderful Disney classics, that is available in the lobby and on his website, www.ALTONFITZGERALDWHITE.com. To find out more about Alton's bio, updates, videos and recordings, please visit his website, become a fan on his Facebook Fan Page or follow him on Twitter. Thank you and GOD BLESS! :-)
Nteliseng Nkhela is honored to be making her Broadway debut and joins directly from the Hamburg company of The Lion King. Other credits include Miriam Makeba in The Journey (Zurich), Brenda Fassie in Memeba (Johannesburg) and I'm African (Welkom).
Broadway: The 39 Steps, Spamalot, Wicked, Assassins, Ragtime. Off-Broadway: John Guare's 3 Kinds of Exile (Atlantic). Regional: An Enemy of the People (Centerstage), Next Fall (St. Louis Rep),Romeo & Juliet (Shakespeare Theatre), Sea of Tranquility (Old Globe), Love's Labour's Lost, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Antony & Cleopatra and many others (Stratford Festival), Barrington, Alliance, Pittsburgh Public, Cincinnati Playhouse. Tour: The Who's Tommy.
Ben Jeffrey is thrilled to be joining the Gazelle tour after three and half fabulous Warthog-filled years in the Broadway company. Ben holds an MFA (Acting) from Rutgers University, where credits included Antigone, Romeo and Juliet, In the Sawtooths, and more. His BFA (Acting/Musical Theater) is from Abilene Christian University where credits included Jane Eyre and Seussical! TV: "The Good Wife," "Louie." Endless thanks to: God, his incomparable wife, and the family.
Broadway debut. Off-Broadway: Bury the Dead, Room Service, Shockheaded Peter, The Normal Heart, The Vocal Lords. Nat'l tour: The Buddy Holly Story. Regional: North Shore Music Theatre, Paper Mill Playhouse, O'Neill Theater, Geva Theatre, Huntington Theatre, New Repertory, Cleveland Play House. Film: Twelve Thirty, A Very Special Episode, Goin' Down, Redirecting Eddie. TV: "Law & Order," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "Daily Pops," "All My Children." Award-winning narrator of more than 50 audio books. All my love to Kate, Benjamin and Isabella! For Mom and Dad.
Aaron Nelson is making his Broadway debut as a brand new member to The Lion King family. A proud Chicagoan, Aaron received his BA in Arts Management from Columbia College Chicago. His regional theater credits include columbinus 2.0 (ATC), RENT (ATC), and Dreamgirls (Theater 47). He made his television debut as "Kyle" in NBC's "Chicago Fire." Love to Ashley and Aaydin, his parents and the rest of his family. He dedicates his performances to his uncle Dr. Larry E. Ross.
Broadway Debut! I'm excited to be given this opportunity after having my first audition and theatre experience that landed me the role as Nala in The Lion King Germany. Dreams do come true! Thank you Jesus for continuing to be faithful and keep me strong. Family and friends I love you and thanks for your support and prayers. @chantel_riley, www.chantelriley.com
James Brown-Orleans originated the role of Banzai on The Lion King Gazelle Tour and is thrilled to be part of the Broadway company. James can be seen as Doc Motors in Disney's The Princess Diaries. He is also the founder of Protected by Imagination Inc. "media to inspire." Check out his website to find out more about his passion to empower.
BONITA J. HAMILTON
Broadway debut. Hallelujah! A native of Montgomery, AL, Bonita is overjoyed to join this talented cast. Credits: Ain't Misbehavin', Guys and Dolls, The Piano Lesson, The Old Settler, In the Blood, Dreamgirls, The Color Purple (workshop). Education: MFA, Brandeis University. Special thanks to God, my family, Lori Swift, KSR, Tonea Stewart, my husband Neil Caesar and lovely children Nia and Noah.
"¡Arriba y Adleante!" Enrique is delighted to make his Broadway debut after appearing in German productions of The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Cats and Joseph.... Other credits include Cats(national tour), West Side Story, A Chorus Line, Pippin, Grease (regional) and the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts in L.A. NYC is great, but I miss you Schatzi.
Young Simba (at certain performances)
Cole, age 10, is living a dream come true! His theater credits include the Original Broadway cast of Kinky Boots. South Pacific National Tour. He attends Broadway Dance Center and ATDF. Cole thanks his teachers, parents, Shirley Grant Management and the rest of his family for their love and support.
Young Simba (at certain performances)
Caleb, 10 years old, makes his Broadway debut in The Lion King. Caleb has performed in several productions, most recently the Kurt Weill/Maxwell Anderson Opera Lost in the Stars. Caleb is so grateful for this amazing adventure. Thank you God and all those who support me.
Young Nala (at certain performances)
Teshi Thomas is elated to be making her Broadway debut in The Lion King. "I would like to thank God, my mother & father, my awesome vocal coach Ms. Nicole, and my Broadway In The HOOD family for giving me the training & the motivation to believe in myself!! www.facebook.com/teshithomas
Young Nala (at certain performances)
Age 9, Brooklyn, NY. "My dreams came true, I'm here!" Appearing in commercials, print and recurring on TV's Army Wives she is thrilled to make her Broadway debut! Grateful to God, Buchwald, Binder, Maureen Brown (voice), Class Act NY, TADA, Bonniis, Mom, Dad, Kaden, Grandparents, Auntie Cheryl, family, and friends. www.facebook.com/kaciwalfall
BFA-Boston Conservatory. Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Broadway: Follies 2011 revival.Anything Goes 2011 revival. 1st Nat'l Tours: Young Frankenstein, Radio City Christmas Spectacular. NY credits: Show Boat(Carnegie Hall) On The Town (NYCity Center)TV: NBC's "Smash"! twitter.com/LaAlexander_
A Camden, NJ native makes his Broadway debut. B.F.A. University of the Arts graduate. Stella Moore Award Recipient. Companies: Eleone Dance Theater, RDDC, PHILADANCO. Thank you God, family & friends!
India Bolds is excited to be making her Broadway debut! Graduate: Ailey/Fordham BFA. Experience: NBA Brooklyn Nets, Elisa Monte and Balance Dance Theatre. Television: ABC's "GMA" and PIX 11 News. Film: The Other Woman (Dir. Nick Cassavettes). Much love and thanks to my family and friends.
Elishah was born in Newark, NJ, where he attended Arts High School, majoring in Dance. Elishah attended Alvin Ailey School as a fellowhip scholarship student and performed in the repertory works Revelations and Memoria.
Enraptured to be making his Broadway debut! Proud Equity member; BFA from LIU C.W. Post. Credits: The Lion King Las Vegas (Ensemble), U.S. national tour (Mufasa), Nevada Philharmonic soloist: Show Boat, Die Fledermaus. Step 3! Glory to God!
Lindiwe Dlamini, an original cast member, has appeared in Sarafina! (Broadway and national tour). Performances: Radio City Music Hall, Pocahontas in Central Park, Grover Washington, "Arsenio," "David Letterman," "Jay Leno," 1998 Tony Awards and Essence Awards.
Bongi Duma was born in Durban, South Africa. Credits: Africa Africa; Mighty Zulu Nation across England, Italy and Ireland. Thanks to African heroes Ian Sotrey, Duma Ndlovu, Lebo M and my beautiful Mother. Original cast, The Lion King (Germany).
Angelica Edwards is making her Broadway debut. She has danced with Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, Kevin Iega Jeff/Deeply Rooted and the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theatre, and received her BFA from Ohio State University. She thanks God.
Standby Zazu, Timon, Pumbaa
Broadway debut! Tours: The Lion King (1st national); Hello, Dolly! Off-B'way: Prelude to the First Day (Emerging Artists). Regional: Privates on Parade (Studio Theatre), Into the Woods (Signature Theatre), Over the River... (Totem Pole Playhouse). Thanks for coming and keeping me employed!
Christopher Freeman began his career as a member of the Joffrey Ballet and danced three seasons with Complexions. Theatre credits include the Broadway productions of La Cage aux Folles, The Boy From Oz, The Lion King, Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake. National tours include West Side Story, Rent and Carousel.
Broadway debut! Credits: A Chorus Line (Connie), Aida, The Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Companies: Deeply Rooted, River North (apprentice). TV: original cast member (Min) on "Barney and Friends." Proud owner of Intrigue Dance. Love to family, friends and Dustin.
JAMAL LEE HARRIS
Broadway Debut! Tours: Miss Saigon, The Full Monty. Other credits: Ragtime, ...Spelling Bee andThe Wiz. Special thanks to Dustin Flores and The Mine, Rose, my sister Kellee, and my Mom for their love and support. Graduate of Ithaca College. Follow me on Twitter @Jamallee
A Los Angeles, CA, native, is making her Broadway debut! BA: Fordham University. MS Ed: University of Pennsylvania. 2008 Lorna Strassler Award. Companies: Lula Washington, Liss Fain, Philadanco. Olive juice Corey. Love to my wonderful family, friends, mentors. Glory to God!
Broadway debut! Original member, Cheetah National tour; Taipei, Taiwan with The Lion King. Chicago credits: Ragtime; Show Boat; Joseph...; The Good Person of Setzuan w/Cherry Jones;Kiss Me, Kate (Paul). Jeff Award for Mr. Magix in My One and Only.
Andre enthusiastically makes his return to Broadway after starring as Simba in both the Las Vegas and U.S. National Touring casts of The Lion King - receiving a BroadwayWorld Best Lead Actor Award nomination for his performance. Andre is a proud alumnus of the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts and is currently starring in the upcomin military action series, "BLACK." This and every performance is a tribute to the two great loves of his life: his beautiful wife CJ and his awesome son Luke. "Hakuna Matata!" www.andrejackson.com
Broadway debut after performing as Simba in The Lion King German company. Credits: Sammy inSaucy Jacks (West End, London), Dancing in the Streets (West End), Ain't Misbehavin' (Sheffield, UK), Mereb in Aida (Germany).
Ron Kunene earned AA, BA, MA, C. Phil. degrees (UCLA). An educator on African and world history, musicology, Afrocentricity and cosmo-centricity and consultant on the audio book Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela. Thanks: Mantimande and Kunene.
Lisa Lewis began her career with Dance Theatre of Harlem. Credits: Radio City Rockettes (Asst. Dance Captain), West Side Story (La Scala Opera), Broadway Cares' Nothing Like a Dame,Grammy®/Tony® Awards. Thanks to family and friends.
Born and raised in Durban, South Africa. Has a profoundpassion for music. Acclaimed for successfully producing a debut album sung in French, Zulu and Creole. Ideal: No level of satisfaction.
Kimberly's thrilled to join the Pridelands! Broadway: Sister Act. Select tours: The Book of Mormon,Sister Act, Dreamgirls. Brooklyn, NY, native/Dartmouth College graduate. Endless love to family, friends, Avalon, CLA and MA. www.kimberly-marable.com, @misskimizzo. Salaams!
Jaysin McCollum was born in Cincinnati, OH. He has performed with North Carolina Dance Theatre, Chautauqua Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Lula Washington Dance Theatre, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and the Las Vegas company of The Lion King.
Ray Mercer, an Omaha, NE, native, comes directly from The Lion King Cheetah tour. Danced with Deeply Rooted/Chicago and George Faison and has toured with Aretha Franklin. Thanks to family and friends for their love and support.
KYLE LAMAR MITCHELL
Kyle is exhilarated for his Broadway debut! A graduate of Yale University, favorite productions include A Chorus Line, The Wiz and Parade. Endless love to his friends, family and his superhuman Mom!
S'bu Ngema, from South Africa, Zululand, is very excited to join The Lion King on Broadway. Credits: Sarafina with M'Bongeni Ngema, I Pintombi with Bertha Egnos. His performances are dedicated to his mother Sibongile. Love always.
A native of Durban, South Africa. Music is my passion. I started singing at an early age in school, churches, and community projects. In 2003 I joined a company called Kcap as a singer, dancer and actress. We toured America, France, Bahamas, and Hong Kong. In 2007 I joined The Lion King in South Africa, performed for 6 months in Taipei, and in 2010 joined The Lion King in Las Vegas for 3 years. I recently released my new single here home in South Africa. I'm loving all of the experiences and opportunities I have been given!
JAMES A. PIERCE III
Regional: On the Town (Paper Mill Playhouse). TV/Film: Unfaithful: Stories of Betrayal, SMASH,Civil War and The Music Of Regret. Web Series: Heather's American Medicine, The Boys Who Brunch, and Is It Me? Companies: Martha Graham, BalletMet Columbus, Ballet Hispanico, Ailey 2, Complexions and the Santa Fe Opera. Jerome Robbins Scholar. Garduate of the Ailey/Fordham BFA program. Inspiration: Michael Jackson. Look Mommy, I'm on Broadway!
CHONDRA LA-TEASE PROFIT
Broadway debut! Credits: Storyville, Twist, Once on This Island (Ti Moune), Ragtime (Sarah's Friend), Aida (Nehebka). Thanks to God for this unbelievable opportunity, to my parents, family and friends for their undying love and support. chondraprofit.com
Credits: The Lion King (Gazelle and Cheetah companies), Aida (Aida), Rent (Mimi and Joanne cover), Ain't Misbehavin' (Charlaine), The Wiz (Dorothy), Once on This Island (Andrea), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (national tour).
THANDAZILE A. SONI
From Durban, South Africa. 2009 SAMA nominee. The Lion King: Gazelle Tour ('02), originated Rafiki in the Cheetah Tour ('03), BTAA nominee ('03), West End ('05-'08), performed on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Other credits: The Festival of The Lion King (Hong Kong Disneyland). Film: Qhakaza. Thank you, Lion King, for another chance. Glory to God!
Returning from her Broadway debut in The Lion King Broadway. Companies: The Lion King Las Vegas and Gazelle North American Tour, Dallas Black Dance Theater, Lula Washington Dance Theatre. Movie: Fox Films "Avatar." Graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and Woodside High for the Performing Arts. Former Miss Black LA and Miss Suffolk. Thanks to my Heavenly Father and family.
Born in Richards Bay, South Africa. Credits include The Lion King (West End, UK and Ireland tour). I am so honored to be making my Broadway debut. Thanks to my mom and almighty God for being my rock.
Theatre credits: Movin' Out (West End, U.S. national tour), The King and I (Eliza, U.S. national tour). Dance companies: Martha Graham Dance Company, Elisa Monte Dance, Ballet Hispanico. Broadway debut: The Lion King.
DONNA MICHELLE VAUGHN
Broadway debut! Native of Baltimore. Dance companies include Chicago's Hubbard Street 2 and Dance Works (dir. Julie Nakagawa Bottcher). Original cast of The Lion King (Las Vegas). Thanks to God, family and friends for love and support.
Kellen is excited to be reunited with his Lion King Family. Credits: The Lion King (Broadway, Las Vegas, and National Tour), Franco Dragone's Le Reve, and Cirque Du Soleil's Viva Elvis. Mahalo to my family and friends for all the love and support!
THOM CHRISTOPHER WARREN
Standby Scar, Pumbaa, Zazu
B'way: The Lion King (Ed), Once Upon a Mattress (Dauntless, Jester, Harry u/s). Tours/Regional:Joseph...(Reuben), Into The Woods (Baker), Godspell (Jesus), World premiere of Harmony; La Jolla (Harry), Babes in Arms; Guthrie(Peter), Gypsy; Paper Mill (Yonkers/Pastey), H2$; Stages St. Louis (Finch), Laramie Project-Epilogue Hartford Stage (Greg, etc.), Forever Plaid; Fulton Opera (Sparky). Concerts: Stephen Sondheim's 80th Birthday; Lincoln Center, Wall to Wall Sondheim; Symphony Space, Barry Manilow - One Night Live; Madison Square Garden & Vegas. Faculty at NYFA. ILYAW - www.thomchristopherwarren.com
A Columbia, MD, native and NYU graduate, Camille is making her Broadway debut! She's taken flight with Gerstung (aerial dance) and trained/performed with Cindee Velle, Jeremy McQueen, the Kennedy Center's Ballet Series and DTG pre-professional programs.