THE LION KING Gets a New 'Mufasa' & 'Simba' Starting Tomorrow
Taylor returns to the Broadway company, where he performed in the ensemble and covered Mufasa and Scar beginning in 2005, followed by two years playing Mufasa on the North American tour; Remy makes his Broadway debut, after performing in the ensemble of the Las Vegas company and most recently as Simba on the North American tour.
L. Steven Taylor (Mufasa). Broadway: The Lion King (Ensemble, Mufasa, Scar). NYC/regional: Ataria, Cutman, G Word, Miss Saigon, Songs For A New World, Godspell, A Chorus Line. Film and television: "The Electric Company" (Leo Watson), "Last of The Ninth" (HBO pilot), Made For Each Other, Expiration Date, Eye Contact, Game Over.
Jelani Remy (Simba). Past shows include: The Lion King (Las Vegas), Disney's High School Musical and High School Musical 2, Parade, Cabaret and Smokey Joes Cafe. As a director, teacher and choreographer, Jelani is always putting up new works, workshops and concerts all over the country.
Taylor and Remy join fellow principal cast members Gareth Saxe as Scar, Gugwana Dlamini as the baboon shaman Rafiki, Jeffrey Kuhn as the hornbilled bird Zazu, Ben Jeffrey as the warthog Pumbaa, Fred Berman as the meerkat Timon and Chantel Riley as the lioness Nala.
The show also features James Brown-Orleans (Banzai), Bonita J. Hamilton (Shenzi) and Enrique Segura (Ed). The role of Young Simba is alternated between Isaiah D. Negron and Jahi Diallo Winston and the role of Young Nala is alternated between K'lynn Jackman and Shahadi Wright Joseph.
In its 18th year, The Lion King remains ascendant as 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 80 million people and, cumulatively, run a staggering 112 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 seven different languages (Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese), productions of The Lion King can currently be seen on Broadway; London's West End; Hamburg; Tokyo; Madrid; Melbourne, Australia; Basel, Switzerland; Mexico City; and on tour across North America and Japan, for a total of ten productions running concurrently across the globe. Having played 20 countries on every continent except Antarctica, The Lion King's worldwide gross exceeds that of any film, Broadway show or other entertainment title in box office history.
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. 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.
The show's director, costume designer and mask co-designer Julie Taymor continues to play an integral part in the show's ongoing success. The first woman to win a Tony Award for Direction of a Musical, Taymor has in recent years supervised new productions of the show around the world.
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."
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: Michael Curry, who designed the masks and puppets with Taymor, Steve Canyon Kennedy (sound design), Michael Ward (hair and makeup design), John Stefaniuk (associate director), Marey Griffith (associate choreographer), Clement Ishmael (music supervisor) and Doc Zorthian (production supervisor). Anne Quart serves as associate producer.
Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
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