Clements, Ewing, Tolpegin, Zappola and More Will Sing "Lion King" Songs With Tokyo Philharmonic

News   Clements, Ewing, Tolpegin, Zappola and More Will Sing "Lion King" Songs With Tokyo Philharmonic Broadway and regional American performers will be singing Disney songs in a symphonic concert tour in Japan Oct. 22-Dec. 21.

Harmony Japan's seventh annual Disney on Classic concert, this year called Promise, will feature Disney film music, eight singers and the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. The concert features music from Disney's animated classic, "The Lion King," as well as selections from Hanz Zimmer's score for "The Pirates of the Caribbean" films.

The 2009 cast, led by director Tony Clements, includes Timothy Booth, Tim Ewing, Brian Runbeck, Ian Simpson, Malkia Stampley, Anne Tolpegin and Jen Zappola. Brad Kelley conducts the Tokyo Philharmonic "Neverland" Orchestra.

The tour includes performances in Osaka, Okinawa, Yokohama and Nagoya, plus a sold-out weekend in the 5,000-seat Tokyo International Forum. The tour will also play Tokyo's Suntory Hall, a gala that includes added musicians.

Zappola hails from Cleveland and currently resides in New York City where she has spent the last few years performing as well as teaching. She most recently appeared in Vermont's first regional production of Les Miserables at the Weston Playhouse, where she has also been seen in Big River and The Full Monty.

Stampley recently moved to New York from Chicago and was last seen in The Talented Tenth at Congo Square Theatre where she is an artistic associate. Tolpegin's Broadway and national tour credits include Ragtime, Les Miserables and A Tale of Two Cities, where she covered and performed the role of Madame DeFarge. She recently played Marmee in Little Women at the John Engeman Theatre on Long Island.

Runbeck just completed a successful run as Oscar Wilde in Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde at the Cortland Rep and has worked extensively at regional theatres throughout the U.S.

Booth currently covers all three "dads" in Broadway's Mamma Mia!

Simpson just finished a stint as Leo Bloom in Toronto's Stage West production of The Producers, and spent seven years touring with Mamma Mia! and has performed in Canada in Les Miserables and Anne of Green Gables.

Ewing has lived in New York City for the last 30 years, working professionally in film, television and theatre (including Mamma Mia!), and also with a theatre-based company promoting and raising awareness on diversity issues and inclusion.

Clements played Sam Carmichael in the North American tour of Mamma Mia! and recently directed A Year with Frog and Toad for First Stage Milwaukee. He is producing the upcoming The Sky Is Not Falling, a benefit concert for the Skylight Opera Theatre on Oct. 5 at St. Luke's Theatre.

Disney On Classic was conceived seven years ago by Katsunori Kusakabe, producer and owner of Harmony Japan, Inc. The concept of presenting Disney film music in a classical setting arose from a conversation between Kusakabe and his friend Akitoshi Nakata, head of Disney Music Group Japan, and since then the two have worked closely to develop the project. What began in 2002 as three performances featuring guest soloist Jodi Benson, has since grown into a two month, 30-plus performance tour that in 2008 included a week in Seoul, South Korea and has plans for future stops in other Asian countries.

Tomoki Takahashi is the tour's company manager.

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