Las Vegas Sun

June 18, 2024


The Lion King’ announces international cast

Lion King

Courtesy photo

Young Simba’s Duane Ervin, left, and Elijah Johnson, center, along with Young Nala’s Ruby Crawford, far right, and Jade Nelson, middle. They will perform in the new Las Vegas production of The Lion King, which opens with a preview performance May 5, 2009, at the Mandalay Bay Theatre. The 80-member cast and crew began preparing for the show Monday, March 9, 2009, at the rehearsal hall in a fittingly named place — the Safari Business Park, 7850 Dean Martin Dr.

Lion King

Thomas Schumacher,President and Producer, Disney Theatrical Productions welcomes  cast members of the new Las Vegas production of The Lion King, which opens with a preview performance May 5, 2009, at the Mandalay Bay Theatre. The 80-member cast and crew began preparing for the show Monday, March 9, 2009, at the rehearsal hall in a fittlingly named place -- the Safari Business Park, 7850 Dean Martin Dr. Launch slideshow »


What: "The Lion King"

Preview performance schedule:

8 p.m., May 5, 6, 7, 8,

4 p.m. and 8 p.m., May 9

8 p.m., May 10, 11

Dark, May 12

8 p.m., May 13, 14

Schedule after May 15 opening:

8 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays

4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays

No performances on Fridays

Where: Mandalay Bay

Tickets: $54 to $113.50; VIP packages available for $168.50

Information: 632-7580

An international cast - from South Carolina to South Africa - will be featured in the upcoming production of Disney's "The Lion King."

Preview performances of the musical begin May 5 at Mandalay Bay. The official opening is May 15.

Tickets will go on sale to the public on Saturday, March 14.

The cast includes three ensemble members from Las Vegas - Joseph Rivera, Renata Renee Wilson and Deon Ridley.

"The Lion King" will feature nine performers who were born in South Africa as well as performers from New York, Taipei, London, Los Angeles, Australia, Toronto, Shanghai, Paris and Holland.

The Las Vegas company is among eight around the world, including a touring company.

Lead performers in the local production include:

- Thom Sesma as the evil "Scar." Sesma's credits include "The Times They Are A-Changin'," "The Man of La Mancha," "La Cage Aux Folles" on Broadway.

- Alton F. White as the lion king “Mufasa.” White’s credits include "The Lion King" on Broadway and a national tour, "Ragtime," "Tommy," "The Color Purple" and "Miss Saigon" on Broadway.

- Marvette Williams, a Los Angeles native, will play “Sarabi.” Her credits include the "Hair" and "Tommy" along with vocals in the film "Tears of the Sun."

- Buyi Zama, a native of South Africa, will be the wise “Rafiki.” Ms. Zama has performed in seven productions of "The Lion King," including London, Sydney, Melbourne, Shanghai, South Africa, Taipei and the national tour.

- Kissy Simmons, a native of Floral City, Fla., will be the lioness, “Nala.” She joins the Las Vegas cast from the Broadway production of "The Lion King" and previously performed in the national tour.

- Mufasa’s son, “Simba,” will be played by Clifton Oliver, who is an alumnus of Douglas Anderson School of Arts and has numerous theatre credits including featured roles in "The Lion King's" Los Angeles production and national tour, in addition to "Grease," "Rent" and "Wicked" on Broadway.

- The meerkat “Timon” will be played by Damian Baldet, who has appeared in "The Lion King's" national tour in addition to productions of "Frankenstein," "Attempts on Her Life," "The Rats Are Getting Bigger" and "Gone Missing."

- Patrick Kerr, who will portray “Zazu,” recently performed in "The Ritz" on Broadway.

- Adam Kozlowski will portray “Pumbaa” the warthog and has appeared in "Scrooge" the musical on national tour.

- The three hyenas will be played by Keith Bennett (“Banzai”), an original cast member of "The Lion King," whose additional credits include the Broadway productions of "Oh, Kay!" and "The High Rollers Social and Pleasure Club"; Jacquie Hodges (“Shenzi”), who has performed off Broadway in "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide" and in the national tours of "The Lion King" and "Aida"; and Robbie Swift (“Ed”), acting graduate from The Theatre School at DePaul University, who toured nationally with "The Lion King" and recently played "Linus" in the West Coast premiere of "Snoopy."

- Duane Ervin and Elijah Johnson will alternate performances in the role of “Young Simba.”

- Ruby Crawford and Jade Nelson will alternate as “Young Nala.”

"The Lion King" has been on Broaday for 12 years and has been seen by more than 45 million people in 11 countries.

It won six Tony Awards including Best Musical, eight Drama Desk Awards, six Outer Critics Circle Awards, the New York Drama Critics award for Best Musical, the Evening Standard Award for the Theatrical Event of the Year, two Olivier Awards, a Theatre World Award, the Astaire Award for Outstanding Choreography, two Drama League Awards and a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album.

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