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THE LION KING Welcomes New Principals To The Company As Of 6/15

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Broadway's landmark musical event THE LION KING is pleased to welcome to the company beginning Tuesday, June 15: Gareth Saxe as the evil and power-hungry lion Scar; Alton Fitzgerald White as Mufasa, the great lion warrior and ruler of the Pridelands; CAMERON POW as the prim and proper hornbilled bird Zazu; Ben Jeffrey as the carefree warthog Pumbaa; Fred Berman as the wisecracking meerkat Timon; and CHAUNTEÉ SCHULER as the loyal lioness Nala. Jeffrey, Berman and Schuler will mark their Broadway debut with The Lion King. Produced by Thomas Schumacher of Disney Theatrical Productions, THE LION KING is currently playing at Broadway's Minskoff Theatre (200 West 45th Street).

The cast also includes Tshidi Manye as the wise baboon shaman Rafiki and Dashaun Young as Mufasa's son, Simba, the lion prince born to be king. James Brown-ORLEANS (Banzai), Bonita J. Hamilton (Shenzi) and Enrique Segura (Ed) play the three evil hyenas and the role of Young Simba is alternated between Joshua Jackson and ALPHONSO ROMERO JONES II, and the role of Young Nala is alternated between KHAIL TOI BRYANT and JADE MILAN.

THE LION KING began as a 1994 animated feature-length film developed and produced by the Walt Disney Company. The story, a coming of age parable set among animals indigenous to its setting, the African savanna, tells the tale of Simba, the lion cub who rises to be the King of the jungle. On stage, Director Julie Taymor's creative vision blends elements of African art and Broadway artisanship to depict anthropomorphic animal characters.


ABOUT THE LION KING

Now in its 13th year, THE LION KING continues to reign as one of the most popular shows on Broadway and around the world. It is the eighth longest-running musical in Broadway history and, according to figures just released by The Broadway League, placed second on the Top 10 lists for both the highest-grossing and best-attended shows of the 2009-10 season, an indicator of its unprecedented success. THE LION KING is one of only five musical productions in theatre history to play for ten years or more on both Broadway and the West End.


THE LION KING has been seen by more than 50 million people in 13 different countries and translated into five different languages (Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch). In addition to Broadway and a North American tour, THE LION KING can also currently be seen on stage in London, Hamburg, Paris, Tokyo and Las Vegas.

THE LION KING made history in September 2009 when two of its signature costumes were inducted into the Permanent Collection of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

The global phenomenon is the winner of more than 70 major awards worldwide, including the 1998 Tony Award® and NY Drama Critics Award for Best Musical, the 1999 Grammy® for Best Musical Show Album, and the 1999 Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Choreography and Best Costume Design.

Julie Taymor was the first woman in theatrical history to win the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical. She is also the winner of the 1998 Tony Award for Best Costume Design. Previous credits include The Green Bird, The Flying Dutchman, Fool's Fire, Titus Andronicus and the Tony Award-nominated Juan Darien: A Carnival Mass at Lincoln Center.


Taymor, along with designer Michael Curry, has created hundreds of masks and puppets for THE LION KING. Scenic design is by Richard Hudson; costume design is by Julie Taymor; lighting design is by Donald Holder. Choreography is by Garth Fagan. The book has been adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed the animated feature and Irene Mecchi, who co-wrote the film's screenplay.

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 Taymor and 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 "Shadowlands."

The pre-Broadway engagement of THE LION KING had its world premiere on July 13, 1997 in Minneapolis at the historic Orpheum Theatre. The pre-Broadway engagement ran for eight weeks, closing on August 31, 1997. THE LION KING officially opened on Broadway on November 13, 1997 at the New Amsterdam Theatre and later moved to its current home at the Minskoff Theatre On June 13, 2006.

TICKETS & BROADWAY PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE

THE LION KING ticket prices range from $69.50-$128.50, and are available at www.LionKing.com, the Minskoff Theatre Box Office (200 West 45th Street, NYC), Ticketmaster outlets, or by calling Ticketmaster's Disney on Broadway hotline at 866-870-2717. Performance and holiday schedule varies; check online for current schedule (running time is approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes.)

Gareth Saxe (Scar) 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 (Mufasa). After originating the role of Mufasa on the first national tour, and most recently at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Alton returns to the Broadway company. Other Broadway credits: Mister, The Color Purple; Coalhouse Walker Jr., Ragtime; John, Miss Saigon; Ken, Smokey Joe's Café, The Hawker, The Who's Tommy.

CAMERON POW (Zazu) rejoins the Broadway company from the West End and National touring productions of The Lion King. Other theatre includes: 2008 Royal Variety Performance (London Palladium). Off-Broadway: Comedy of Errors, King Lear, The Iliad. Regional & Touring: Julius Caesar (Folger Shakespeare Lib.), The Tempest, Wrath of Achilles, Oedipus, King Lear/the Iliad (Aquila).


Ben Jeffrey (Pumbaa) Broadway debut. Ben holds an MFA (Acting) from Rutgers University, where credits included Antigone, Romeo and Juliet, In the Sawtooths. His BFA (Acting/Musical Theater) is from Abilene Christian University where credits included Jane Eyre and Seussical! TV: The Good Wife, Louie.


Fred Berman (Timon) 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, Papermill Playhouse, O'Neill Theater, GeVa Theatre, Huntington Theatre, New Repertory, Cleveland Playhouse. Film: Twelve Thirty, A Very Special Episode, Goin' Down, Re-Directing Eddie. TV: "Law & Order," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "Daily Pops," "All My Children."

CHAUNTEÉ SCHULER (Nala) Broadway debut. Favorite productions include: the national tour of The Lion King (Nala), Dreamgirls, You May Now Worship Me, Applause (Encores!) and the international tour of The Producers. Chaunteé was most recently seen as Bonnie McKechnie on the CBS daytime drama "As the World Turns."

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