The final cast has been named for the Los Angeles production of Disney's The Lion King. The award-winning production, directed by Julie Taymor, begins previews Sept. 29 at the Pantages Theatre. Opening night is Oct. 19.
This first domestic presentation of The Lion King outside of the original Broadway production also marks the first show to be presented in Nederlander's soon-to-be-restored Pantages Theatre. The ongoing, landmark theatre restoration, now widely reported as the most extensive and significant of its kind in the city's history, has added to the public anticipation and general cachet attached to the Disney opening.
Production sources report a 48-member cast comprising many newcomers in the show. Even so, Broadway production vets John Vickery (Scar) and Danny Rutigliano (Timon) will join the cast and reprise their roles. Other stars include Rufus Bonds (Mufasa), Fuschia Walker (Rafiki), Clifton Oliver (Simba), Moe Daniels (Nala), William Akey (Zazu), Bob Bouchard (Pumbaa), Carla Renata Williams (Shenzi), Jeffrey Polk (Banzai) and Price Waldman (Ed). In addition, Adrian Diamond and KaRonn Henderson will alternate as Young Simba, and Jazmin Guy and Lisa Tucker will alternate as Young Nala.
Featured in the ensemble are Nelson Cabassa, Keisha Clarke, Tonya Dixon, Hassan El-Amin, Bernard Gaddis, Melissa Haizlip, Celise Hicks, Shameika Hines, Kris Jobson, BK Kennelly, Jennifer Logan, Brian Makiwane, Tabbatha Mays, Ian McGinnis, Alan Mingo, Albertina Nkhela, Bradley Bogani Nxumalo, Stephanie Powell, Cinda RamSeur, Shari Washington Rhone, Shane Scott, Lubabalo Sidindlana, Jose Silva, Marc Cedric Smith, Keena Smith, Victor Talmadge, Rocklin Thompson, Miles Wesley, Cherice White, Harrison White, Marvette Williams, Kevin Wilson and Adrian Young.
Disney's The Lion King is the winner of six Tony Awards (Best Musical), eight Drama Desk Awards, six Outer Critics Circle Awards, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, a l998 Theatre World Award, the Astaire Award for Outstanding Choreography, a Drama League Award, and a Grammy® Award for Best Musical Show Album. Director Julie Taymor was the first woman in history to win the Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical. Elton John and Tim Rice wrote the music for The Lion King, (Disney's animated film). For the stage version, additional music was contributed by South African Lebo M and Mark Mancina, plus new songs written by John and Rice in collaboration with Julie Taymor, Hans Zimmer and Jay Rifkin.