Photo Flash: Dionne Randolph, Timothy Carter and Chaz Marcus Fleming in San Diego's THE LION KING

Disney's THE LION KING, San Diego's eagerly awaited stage production, will leap onto the Civic Theatre stage from Tuesday, October 13 to Sunday, November 8. Opening night is Thursday, October 15 at 7:30PM. This engagement is currently one of seven productions running worldwide along with New York, London, Hamburg, Tokyo, Paris and Las Vegas.

The malevolent and evil "Scar" will be played by Timothy Carter, whose credits include The Three Musketeers and Macbeth with The Acting Company; King Lear, As You Like It, and Julius Caesar at Colorado Shakespeare Festival; Richard III and Merry Wives of Windsor at Nebraska Shakespeare Festival; and Hay Fever at Westport County Playhouse. Dionne Randolph will play the lion king "Mufasa." Mr. Randolph's credits include Smokey Joe's Café, Little Shop of Horrors and Once on this Island. Phindile Mkhize, a native of South Africa, is the wise "Rafiki." Ms. Mkhize has traveled to Germany, Australia, Holland and Amsterdam performing and sharing her talents, and her credits include The Lion King Soundtrack ‘94, Sarafina 2; Mama, Maria, Maria, and WozaMyFohloza.

The meerkat "Timon" will be played by Tyler Murree, who has appeared in productions of Dirty Dancing, The Lord of the Rings: The Musical and Disney's Twice Charmed. Tony Freeman, who will portray "Zazu", has previously played the role on Broadway for over 1,300 performances. Mr. Freeman recently performed in Kander and Ebb's new musical All About Us and in Caroline, or Change in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Bob Amaral is "Pumbaa," the warthog; his Broadway credits include Guys & Dolls, Forum, and The Lion King; tours of The Producers, Annie Get Your Gun, Wizard of Oz; and he was Eddie Hayes in "Morton & Hayes."

Marja Harmon, a graduate of the University of Southern California, is the lioness "Nala" and was recently seen on Broadway in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and in the National Tour of Aida. Mufasa's son, "Simba," will be played by André Jackson, who is an alumnus of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and has numerous Broadway, film and television credits.

The three hyenas will be played by Omari Tau ("Banzai"), a graduate of Michigan State University who has performed with the National Tour of The Lion King for the past 5 years; Andrea Jones ("Shenzi"), a graduate of Michigan State University who has performed with Jessica Simpson and Babyface; and Ben Roseberry ("Ed"), a graduate of Webster University whose stage credits include Rent, Emma, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick and Max Understood.

Performances in the role of "Young Simba" will be alternated between Chaz Marcus Fleming and Jerome Stephens, Jr. Mr. Fleming has studied acting and dance at the Harlem School for the Arts and has appeared in commercials and print ads for The Gap and Toys"R"Us. Mr. Stephens was recently seen in The Lion King on Broadway and in the feature film Away We Go. Performances in the role of "Young Nala" will be alternated between Sadé LouAnn Murray and Jamariana Tribble. Ms. Murray is an 11 year-old from Springfield, MA and is making her professional debut in The Lion King. Ms. Tribble, a native of Van Nuys, CA, is also making her professional debut in The Lion King.

Two San Diego natives appear in the company: Granite Hill HS grad Jared Tanner is the
standby for Pumbaa, Timon & Zazu) was raised in San Diego - - Lake Side/El Cajon; graduated from Granite Hill High School; and Wardrobe Assistant Gretchen Heidenreich attended San Diego State University, and was an acting student at The Old Globe Theatre.

Now in its second sold-out decade in New York, THE LION KING is the winner of six Tonyâ Awards including Best Musical, eight Drama Desk Awards, six Outer Critics Circle Awards, the New York Drama Critics award for Best Musical, the Evening Standard Award for the Theatrical Event of the Year, two Olivier Awards, a Theatre World Award, the Astaire Award for Outstanding Choreography, two Drama League Awards and a Grammyâ Award for Best Musical Show Album.

Director Julie Taymor became the first woman in Broadway history to win the Tony® Award for Best Director of a Musical. Taymor, along with Michael Curry, created hundreds of masks and puppets for THE LION KING. Choreography is by Garth Fagan, scenic design is by Richard Hudson, costume design is by Julie Taymor and lighting design is by Donald Holder. The book has been adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed the animated film and Irene Mecchi, who co-wrote the screenplay for THE LION KING. The score features Elton John and Tim Rice's music from the 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.

THE LION KING will play Tuesday - Sunday; tickets range from $20 to $79. Additionally, Premium Ticket Packages are available for $132.50, which includes a prime seat location, a commemorative souvenir program and an exclusive merchandise item. Orders for groups of 20 or more may call (619) 564-3001. The San Diego engagement of THE LION KING is presented by arrangement with Broadway/San Diego ~ A Nederlander Presentation and is a subscription offering of the 2009-2010 Season.

Photo Credit: Joan Marcus




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