THE LION KING North American Tour to Welcome Back Mukelisiwe Goba as 'Rafiki'

Goba previously played the role from 2015 – 2016 and intermittently from 2018 - 2023.

By: Aug. 28, 2023
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THE LION KING North American Tour to Welcome Back Mukelisiwe Goba as 'Rafiki'
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The North American tour of Disney’s The Lion King will welcome back Mukelisiwe Goba as “Rafiki,” beginning performances on September 26 at the Showcenter Complex in Monterrey, Mexico, where the award-winning musical will play a two-week premiere engagement from September 19 through October 1, 2023. 

 Goba, who previously played the role from 2015 – 2016 and intermittently from 2018 - 2023, succeeds Gugwana Dlamini, who will play her final performance as “Rafiki” on September 10 in Philadelphia at the Academy of Music. 

Mukelisiwe Goba

(Rafiki) was born in Durban, South Africa. Training: Mbongeni Ngema’s Academy. Credits: K-Cap, Umoja, and The Lion King (Madrid, Gazelle Tour and Broadway). Television: “Code Black,” “Telethon” (France) and “40 Principals” (Madrid). She was a back-up vocalist for South African Gospel star Rebecca Malope.

 Goba joins current tour cast members Peter Hargrave as “Scar,” Gerald Ramsey as “Mufasa,” Nick Cordileone as “Timon,” John E. Brady as“Pumbaa,” Darian Sanders as “Simba,” Forest VanDyke as “Banzai,” Martina Sykes as “Shenzi,” Robbie Swift as “Ed,” Jackson Hayes andMason Lawson alternating the role of “Young Simba” and Jaxyn Damasco and Aniya Simone alternating the role of “Young Nala.”

 Drew Hirshfield is currently playing “Zazu” through November 5, 2023 and Nick LaMedica returns to the role on November 9, 2023.Syndee Winters is currently playing “Nala” through October 22, 2023 and Khalifa White returns to the role on October 30, 2023.

 Rounding out the cast are Derek Adams, Kayla Rose Aimable, William John Austin, Iman Ayana, Isaiah Bailey, Samantha Lauren Barriento, Eric Bean, Jr., Layla Brent, Vernon Brooks III, Sasha Caicedo, Thembelihle Cele, Daniela Cobb, Lyric Danae, Camille Eanga-Selenge, Marquis Floyd, Tony Freeman, Joel Karie, Samaree Lawson, Gabisile Manana, Christopher L. McKenzie, Jr., Justin Mensah, Marq Moss, Nhlanhla Ndlovu, Aaron Nelson, Sihle Ngema, Jeremy Noel, Sicelo Ntshangase, Erick D. Patrick, Sayiga Eugene Peabody, Yael Pineda-Hall, Christopher Sams, Maia Schechter, Poseletso Sejosingoe, Jennifer Theriot, Courtney Thomas, Brinie Wallace, Diamond Essence White andJordan Nicole Willis.

 The Lion King has been touring North America for more than 21 years and, during that time, has played nearly 10,000 performances during more than 240 engagements in over 90 cities to more than 23 million theatergoers.


ABOUT The Lion King

After 25 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 Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher), The Lion King has made theatrical history with six productions worldwide running 15 or more years, with four of those running 20 or more years. 

 Performed over its lifetime in nine different languages (English, Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Spanish, Mandarin and Portuguese), productions of The Lion King can currently be seen on Broadway; London’s West End; Paris; Hamburg; Tokyo; Madrid; Sao Paulo and on tour across North America and the U.K. & Ireland for a total of nine productions running concurrently across the globe.  Having played over 100 cities in 24 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 supervises new productions of the show around the world.

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 co-producer.

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Photo credit: Matthew Murphy