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LION KING Opens in New Orleans at the Mahalia Jackson Theater, March 16

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The New Orleans premiere of Disney's THE LION KING opens tonight, Friday, March 16 at 8 p.m. at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for a limited engagement of five weeks through Sunday, April 15. In New Orleans, THE LION KING plays Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 8 p.m., Sunday evenings at 6:30 p.m. and matinees on Saturdays at 2 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m., with an additional performance on Thursday, April 12 at 2 p.m. "We are thrilled to present the long-awaited New Orleans premiere of THE LION KING. The response from Broadway fans has exceeded our expectations, and we encourage people to buy tickets soon while they are still available," said David Skinner, general manager of the Mahalia Jackson Theater.

Tickets to THE LION KING are available in person at the Mahalia Jackson Box Office, via phone at 800-982-2787 (ARTS), online at BroadwayInNewOrleans.com and through all Ticketmaster outlets. Ticket prices for the engagement start as low as $32.75. Premium Ticket Packages, which include prime seat locations, a commemorative souvenir program and an exclusive merchandise item, are also available. Orders for groups of 15 or more may be placed by calling 504-287-0372.

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. The sardonic and deviously cunning "Scar" is played by J. Anthony Crane. Dionne Randolph is "Mufasa," the great warrior and ruler of the Pridelands. Buyi Zama is the wise baboon shaman "Rafiki." Mark David Kaplan portrays the prim and proper hornbilled bird "Zazu." Adam Kozlowski is the carefree warthog "Pumbaa" and Nick Cordileone is the wisecracking meerkat "Timon." Mufasa's son, "Simba," the lion prince born to be king, is played by Jelani Remy and Syndee Winters is the loyal lioness "Nala." The three evil hyenas are played by Keith Bennett ("Banzai"), Rashada Dawan ("Shenzi") and Robbie Swift ("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.

The talented cast of more than 40 actors includes several local connections. Maurica Roland (Ensemble/Understudy Nala, Shenzi & Sarabi) is a Pensacola, FL native and graduate of the Louisiana State University music education program. Additionally, Amyia Burrell (ensemble) graduated from Sam Houston High School in Lake Charles, and this will be the first time she performs professionally in New Orleans. The North American touring production of THE LION KING has been seen by over 13.5 million theatergoers and grossed over $875 million to date. Having already played more than 60 cities across North America, THE LION KING now proudly makes its New Orleans premiere at the Mahalia Jackson Theater.

In its 15th year, THE LION KING remains ascendant, continuing to reign as a cultural phenomenon and one of the most popular stage musicals in the world. Since its Broadway premiere on November 13, 1997, 19 productions around the globe have been seen by more than 63 million people, grossed over $4.7 billion and have, cumulatively, run a staggering 89 years. Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher), THE LION KING is the seventh longest-running musical in Broadway history and one of only six productions in theatre history to play for ten years or more both on Broadway and in the West End. Translated into seven different languages (Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Mandarin, Spanish), the show has been performed in 14 different countries on five continents.  THE LION KING can currently be seen on Broadway, on stages across North America, and in Tokyo, London's West End, Hamburg and Madrid.

THE LION KING won six 1998 Tony Awards®: Best Musical, Best Scenic Design (Richard Hudson), Best Costume Design (Julie Taymor), Best Lighting Design (Donald Holder), Best Choreography (Garth Fagan) and Best Direction of a Musical, making Taymor the first woman in theatrical history bestowed with the honor. THE LION KING has also earned more than 70 major arts awards including the 1998 NY Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, the 1999 Grammy® for Best Musical Show Album, the 1999 Evening Standard Award for Theatrical Event of the Year and the 1999 Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Choreography and Best Costume Design.

On stage, Taymor's creative vision blends elements of African art and Broadway artisanship to depict anthropomorphic animal characters. Taymor, along with designer Michael Curry, has created hundreds of masks and puppets for THE LION KING. The book has been adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed The Lion King animated feature, and Irene Mecchi, who co-wrote the film's screenplay. Other members of the creative team include: Steve Canyon Kennedy (sound design), Michael Ward (hair and makeup design), John Stefaniuk (associate director), Marey Griffith (associate choreographer), Clement Ishmael (music supervisor). Anne Quart serves as associate producer. 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 "Shadowland." For more information worldwide, visit LionKing.com.

The New Orleans engagement of THE LION KING is presented by arrangement with East Jefferson General Hospital Broadway in New Orleans and is a subscription offering of the Broadway Across America Series. NORTH AMERICAN TOUR SCHEDULE THROUGH SEPTEMBER 2012: New Orleans – Mahalia Jackson Theater March 14 – April 15, 2012 Orlando – Bob Carr Performing Arts Center April 17 – May 13, 2012 Miami – Adrienne Arsht Center May 17 – June 10, 2012 Greenville – Peace Center for Performing Arts June 12 – July 8, 2012 Houston – Hobby Center for the Performing Arts July 10 – August 12, 2012 St. Louis – Fox Theatre August 15 – September 2, 2012 The Mahalia Jackson Theater is located in Armstrong Park at 801 N. Rampart Street, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Information on the Broadway Across America - New Orleans series and venue policies and accommodations may be obtained online at www.mahaliajacksontheater.com. Group Sales information is available at 504-287-0372. Box Office information is available at 504-287-0351. Arts Center Enterprises – New Orleans, LLC - (ACE) is a theatrical facility management company with more than 30 years of experience in the field of professional performing arts facility management and theatrical property development. Allen Becker, together with his partners David Anderson, Gary Markowitz and Kirk B. Feldmann have succeeded in establishing a successful business model that combines an entrepreneurial operating strategy, with a wealth of industry relationships, which result in active, vibrant, well-managed and self-sustaining performing arts facilities. Not only has this business model served to uplift communities through the presentation of powerful live performances, but it has served to also provide economic stimulus into urban corridors in need of revitalization. Please visit ACE New Orleans online at www.mahaliajacksontheater.com.

BROADWAY ACROSS AMERICA (Producer), part of the Key Brand Entertainment family of companies which includes Broadway.com, is owned and operated by British theatre producer John Gore (CEO) and entertainment industry veteran Thomas B. McGrath (Chairman). Broadway Across America presents first-class touring musicals and plays across 40 North American cities. Broadway.com is the premier theater website for news, exclusive content and ticket sales. Under the supervision of Beth Williams (CEO-Theater Division), Broadway Across America is also dedicated to the development and production of new and diverse theatre. Current Broadway productions include How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying starring Darren Criss and Beau Bridges, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever starring Harry Connick Jr, The Mountaintop starring Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Godspell, Memphis, Lysistrata Jones, and the New York, West End, and national touring productions of Million Dollar Quartet. For more information, please visit BroadwayAcrossAmerica.com and Broadway.com. New Orleans Theatre Association (NOTA) is a 501(c) 3 non-profit corporation whose mission is to attract and present the finest theatrical and performing arts attractions available in New Orleans. NOTA is also dedicated to financial and technical support of local non-profit institutions in New Orleans that are dedicated to the furtherance of theatrical and musical education and production.

 

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