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Kyle Richardson and More Join the Cast of THE LION KING UK and Ireland Tour

The tour will welcome 12 new members to its cast!

The Lion King

The UK and Ireland Tour of Disney's The Lion King will welcome 12 new members to its cast of over 50 actors, singers and dancers this winter. The award winning landmark musical is currently playing a season at Manchester Palace until 11 March, where over 300,000 people will experience the show during the only North West dates.

The newcomers join a talented international company from 17 countries around the world.

Kyle Richardson will be stepping into the role of Simba. From St Kitts in the Caribbean, Kyle has previously performed in the show as part of the ensemble in Madrid and is in the current UK & Ireland production.

THE LION KING also welcomes Alex Bloomer as Ed and Candida Mosoma as Shenzi and current ensemble cast member Jorell Coiffic-Kamall will be taking on the role of Banzai. The ensemble cast will be joined by Tanisha-Mae Brown, Asmara Cammock, Zodwa Mrasi, Felipe Flores, Reece McKenzie, Aphiwe Nyezi, Peace Nzirawa and Ebby Sama. The new cast will join the production from Sunday 11 December.

The newly announced cast members join principals Matthew Forbes as Zazu, Jean-Luc Guizonne as Mufasa, Richard Hurst as Scar, Nokwanda Khuzwayo as Nala, Alan McHale as Timon, Thandazile Soni as Rafiki and Carl Sanderson as Pumbaa.

The UK & Ireland tour cast also includes: Khanyisani Beato, Tanisha-Mae Brown, Mamido Bomboko Souchu, Asmara Cammock, Bethany Chan, Tau-En Chien, Elisa Chou, Tevin Daniel, Lwandolwethu Dennis Bam, Tim Driesen, Felipe Flores, Oraine Frater, Adebunmi Gabriel, Brian Gilligan, Daniel Griffith, Gavin Hart, Caleaf Henson, Dillan Hope Suttle, Olivia Jones, Melvin Le Blanc, Reece Mackenzie, Zanele Mazibuko, Zodwa Mrasi, Zanele Ndlovu, Buhle Nkomo, Aphiwe Nyezi, Peace Runyararo Nzirawa, Ebby Sama, Cristiane Santos De Jesus, Francesca Thompson, Vuyelwa Laura Tshona, Ricardo Walker, Maria Yim and Bukiwe Zinganto.

The tour is currently in Manchester until 11 March before seasons in Sunderland, Bristol and Birmingham.

The story of The Lion King roars into life using spectacular masks, puppets and costumes to tell the story of Simba's epic adventures, as he struggles with the responsibilities of adulthood and becoming king.

Julie Taymor's internationally celebrated stage adaptation of The Lion King opened on Broadway in 1997 and 25 global productions in nine different languages have been created since then (English, Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Spanish, Mandarin and Portuguese). The Lion King is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, under the direction of Thomas Schumacher.

The previous tour of The Lion King broke attendance records across the nation, including at the Palace Theatre in Manchester. Since the UK premiere in 1999, The Lion King London has entertained more than 18 million theatregoers and is the sixth longest-running West End musical of all time.

The stunning artistry of the production is the work of a team of designers which drew on diverse cultural influences to recreate the rich colours and vast expanses of the African savanna in this daring and inspiring reinvention of one of the most successful animated feature films of all time.

Julie Taymor, one of the world's most innovative directors, brought a vast array of disciplines to The Lion King, including extensive experience staging epic theatre and opera productions, exploring classic myths through ritualised puppetry, mask, and movement. The Lion King was the first musical Taymor directed in the commercial theatre and she made Broadway history by becoming the first woman to win the Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical.

The Broadway show's full creative team, which won five Tony Awards for its work on The Lion King, reunited in 1999 to recreate the show in London. Julie Taymor and Michael Curry created hundreds of masks and puppets.

Scenic design is by British designer Richard Hudson and lighting is by Donald Holder. Costume design is by Julie Taymor, and choreography by Garth Fagan. The book was adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed the animated feature and Irene Mecchi, who co-wrote the screenplay.

The original score from the animated film was expanded for the stage and now features 15 musical numbers. As well as writing completely new songs, South African composer Lebo M created an evocative blend of African rhythms and chorales, with additional material by Julie Taymor and Mark Mancina.

Elton John and Tim Rice have added three new numbers to the five that they wrote for the award-winning score of the animated film. The resulting sound of The Lion King is a fusion of Western popular music and the distinctive sounds and rhythms of Africa, including the Academy Award-winning Can You Feel The Love Tonight and the haunting Shadowland.

Upcoming Tour Dates

Manchester Palace Theatre
Currently playing until Saturday 11 March
On Sale Now

Sunderland Empire
Thursday 16 March - Saturday 6 May 2023
On Sale Now

Bristol Hippodrome
Thursday 18 May - Saturday 1 July 2023
On Sale Now

Birmingham Hippodrome
Thursday 6 July - Saturday 16 September 2023
On Sale Now

Biographies

Kyle Richardson will play Simba. Kyle is from St. Kitts in the Caribbean. He has previously performed in productions of The Lion King as part of the ensemble in Madrid and the UK & Ireland Tour.

Alex Bloomer will play Ed. Born in Sunderland, Alex's theatre credits include Zog and the Flying Doctors (UK Tour, Freckle Productions); The Elephant in The Slightly Annoying Elephant (Little Angel Theatre UK tour and HOME Manchester); Sparky in Plaid Tidings (Bridge House Theatre); Jokey in Snow White (Qdos, Crewe Lyceum); Sam and Friends (Leicester Square Theatre); Elf in Dear Santa (Capitol Theatre, Horsham); Steve the Monkey in Spot's Birthday Party (UK Tour).

Jorell Coiffic-Kamall will play Banzai. Jorrell is from London and trained at The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. His theatre credits include Robin Hood (Watermill Theatre); Dennis of Penge (Oval House Theatre); The Wind in the Willows (UK tour & London Palladium); Ross (Chichester Festival Theatre); Bend It Like Beckham (Phoenix Theatre); Beauty And The Beast (Theatre Royal Stratford East); The Jungle Book (Birmingham Rep & Camden Roundhouse); The Water Babies (Leicester Curve); The Jungle Book (Citizen's Theatre, Glasgow); The Warriors (Barbican Theatre); Jack And The Beanstalk (Theatre Royal Stratford East); Jackson 5 Alive (UK tour).

Leicester-born Matthew Forbes will play Zazu. Having trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, his previous stage credits as an actor include War Horse (National Theatre), Kiki's Delivery Service (Southwark Playhouse), The Wizard of Oz (National tour), Alice's Adventures Underground (Les Enfants Terribles) and The Witches (Dundee Rep). Screen work includes Robin Hood for the BBC and Hot Fuzz (Working Title Films). Matthew also works internationally as a director, with a strong focus on puppetry, object manipulation and physical theatre, having directed numerous productions including the 2019-20, 2017-18 and 2013-15 international and national tours of War Horse, Treasure Island (Leicester Haymarket Theatre), Dinner at the Twits (Les Enfants Terribles, The Vaults) and The Steadfast Tin Soldier (Little Angel Theatre and The Old Vic).

Jean-Luc Guizonne will play Mufasa. Born in Bondy, France, he has previously performed in The Lion King in Hamburg, Singapore and Paris. Other stage credits include Chicago (Mogador Theatre, Paris), Madiba the Musical (Comedy Theatre, Melbourne and Olympia, Paris) and Gospel Sur La Colline (Folies Bergères Theatre, Paris).

British actor Richard Hurst will play Scar. He has previously performed in productions such as The Duchess of Malfi and The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich (RSC), Sunny Afternoon (National tour), Jane Eyre (National Theatre) and My Night With Reg (Apollo Theatre and Donmar). Screen work includes EastEnders (BBC), Doctors (BBC), Casualty (BBC), Look (ITV) and The Sitcom Trials (BBC).

Nokwanda Khuzwayo will play Nala. Nokwanda was born and raised in Umlazi, Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa. She has previously played the role of Nala in Germany and is currently performing in Brazil. Her television credits include telenovela Imbewu: The Seed, winner of Most Popular TV Soap at the 2020 South African Film and Television Awards.

Alan McHale will play Timon. Born in County Mayo, Ireland, he trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts and has performed across the world in productions including The Clockmaker's Daughter (The Landor Theatre), Lohengrin (Royal Opera House), Best Of Irish Rock (Holland Tour), Macbeth (Shakespeare 4 Kidz), Rebel Song (The Other Palace) and Snow White (Dubai).

Carl Sanderson will play Pumbaa. Born and raised in Yorkshire, he trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. He has worked extensively in theatre including the West End productions Stephen Ward (Aldwych Theatre), Cats (New London Theatre and National tour), Acorn Antiques: The Musical! (Haymarket Theatre and National tour), The Phantom of the Opera (West End and National tour), The Mikado (Savoy Theatre), Starlight Express (Apollo Victoria), Guys and Dolls, The Pajama Game and The Music Man (Chichester Festival Theatre) and A Midsummer Night's Dream, Crazy for You and Hello Dolly! (Regents Park Open Air Theatre). Carl's screen work includes The Victoria Wood Christmas Special and Acorn Antiques The Musical!, That Day We Sang and The Dresser (all for the BBC).

Thandazile Soni will play Rafiki. Born in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, she grew up in Umlazi. She has performed the iconic role in the Broadway and West End productions of The Lion King as well as the North American tour and the Netherlands.



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