On Aug. 26 Kissy Simmons — who toured with the "Gazelle" company of The Lion King — will join the New York company of the Tony-winning musical. A production spokesperson confirmed that Simmons will replace Reneé Elise Goldsberry in the role originally created on Broadway by Heather Headley.
The Lion King spokesperson added that Simmons was originally spotted during an open casting call at the Apollo Theatre, where she wowed the casting agents with both her "striking beauty and powerful voice."
A graduate of the University of South Florida, Simmons has appeared in regional productions of The World of Jacques Brel, Gift of the Magi and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The Lion King will mark the actress' Broadway debut.
The Elton John-Tim Rice musical, The Lion King, has won over 30 major awards since its Broadway debut. Those include six Tony Awards, including one for Best Musical; eight Drama Desk Awards; six Outer Critics Circle Awards; two Sir Laurence Oliviers; the Evening Standard Award for Best Theatrical Event; and three Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards.
The Lion King plays the New Amsterdam Theatre (W. 42nd Street); call (212) 307-4747 for tickets. Go to www.disneyonbroadway.com for more information.