THE LION KING North American Tour to Celebrate 22nd Anniversary

Since the North American tour launched in April 2002, The Lion King has welcomed over 23 million theatergoers.

By: Apr. 25, 2024
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THE LION KING North American Tour to Celebrate 22nd Anniversary
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The North American tour of Disney's The Lion King will celebrate its 22nd anniversary on Saturday, April 27 in Minneapolis. The Lion King has returned “home” to Minneapolis' historic Orpheum Theatre, where the Tony Award-winning Best Musical played its pre-Broadway run in 1997, and where the touring production is currently entertaining capacity houses through Sunday, April 28. 

Since the North American tour launched in April 2002, The Lion King has welcomed over 23 million theatergoers, making it North America's longest-running and most-attended Broadway tour. During the past 22 years, the record-breaking tour has employed hundreds of theater professionals, played over 10,000 performances during 253 engagements in 95 cities. Few tours in theatre history have achieved anything like its reach or impact.

The touring production features Peter Hargrave as “Scar,” Gerald Ramsey as “Mufasa,” Mukelisiwe Goba as “Rafiki,” Nick Cordileone as “Timon,” Nick LaMedica as “Zazu,” John E. Brady as “Pumbaa,” Darian Sanders as “Simba,” Khalifa White as “Nala,” Forest VanDyke as “Banzai,” Martina Sykes as “Shenzi” and Robbie Swift as “Ed.”

The role of “Young Simba” is alternated between Mason Lawson and Julian Villela and the role of “Young Nala” is alternated between Jaxyn Damasco and Aniya Simone

Rounding out the cast are William John Austin, Iman Ayana, Eric Bean, Jr., Layla Brent, Vernon Brooks III, Sasha Caicedo, Lauren Carr, Thembelihle Cele, Daniela Cobb, Gabriel Croom, Lyric Danae, Maurice Dawkins, Marquis Floyd, Tony Freeman, Jolina Javier, Valériane Louisy Louis Joseph, Joel Karie, Samaree Lawson, Gabisile Manana, Justin Mensah, Marq Moss, Sarita Amani Nash, Nhlanhla Ndlovu, Aaron Nelson, Jeremy Noel, Sicelo Ntshangase, Erick D. Patrick, Sayiga Eugene Peabody, Yael Pineda-Hall, Jordan Samuels, Poseletso Sejosingoe, Jennifer Theriot, Courtney Thomas, Ben Toomer, Denzel Tsopnang, Shacura Wade, Brinie Wallace, Thom Christopher Warren and Jordan Nicole Willis.

About The Lion King

Celebrating 26 landmark years on Broadway, The Lion King continues ascendant as one of the most popular stage musicals in the world.  Since its premiere on November 13, 1997, 28 global productions have been seen by over 112 million people.  Produced by Disney Theatrical Group, under the direction of Andrew Flatt, Anne Quart, and Thomas Schumacher, The Lion King has made theatrical history with three productions worldwide running 20 or more years and two others running 25 or more years. 

Performed over its lifetime in nine different languages (English, Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Spanish, Mandarin and Portuguese), there are currently eight productions of The Lion King around the world: Broadway, London, Paris, Hamburg, Madrid, Tokyo, Sao Paulo and on tour across North America. The Lion King has played over 100 cities in 28 countries on every continent except Antarctica; its 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. 

Director, costume designer and mask co-designer Julie Taymor, the first woman to win a Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical, remains actively involved in the show, launching new productions and maintaining the flagship Broadway production.

The Broadway score features Elton John and Tim Rice's songs 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 Lebo M's rich choral numbers.

Elton John, Lebo M, and Hans Zimmer all collaborated on the 2019 version of the film, executive produced by Julie Taymor and Thomas Schumacher, which has gone onto extraordinary worldwide success.

The book has been adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed the animated The Lion King 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), Anthony Lyn (associate director), Marey Griffith (associate choreographer), Clement Ishmael (music supervisor), Lisa Dawn Cave (production supervisor), Thomas Schlenk (general manager) and ARC/Mark Brandon, CSA (casting). Anne Quart serves as executive producer.

Photo credit: Deen Van Meer

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