Broadway's The Lion King Welcomes New Young Stars December 5 | Playbill

Broadway News Broadway's The Lion King Welcomes New Young Stars December 5

The Tony-winning international hit continues at the Minskoff Theatre.

Annika Franklin, Nia Thompson, Ezekiel Kekuna, and Albert Rhodes Jr.

The Broadway production of the long-running Disney musical The Lion King welcomes Annika Franklin and Nia Thompson as Young Nala and Ezekiel Kekuna and Albert Rhodes Jr. as Young Simba beginning December 5. All four actors are making their Broadway debuts.

Donovan Louis Bazemore, Ava Hailey Harris, Davis Matthews, and Jillian Page Platero played their final performances December 3.

The cast currently features Stephen Carlile as Scar, L. Steven Taylor as Mufasa, Tshidi Manye as Rafiki, Nick Lamedica as Zazu, Ben Jeffrey as Pumbaa, Fred Berman as Timon, Vincent Jamal Hooper as Simba, Pearl Khwezi as Nala, and James Brown-Orleans, Bonita J. Hamilton, and Robb Sapp as, respectively, the Bonzai, Shenzi, and Ed.

Watch: International Casts of The Lion King Perform Multilingual 'Circle of Life'

Director, costume designer, and mask co-designer Julie Taymor, the first woman to win a Tony for Best Director of a Musical, remains actively involved in the show, launching new productions and maintaining the flagship Broadway production. Composer Lebo M and Tony-winning choreographer Garth Fagan hold their own records: With The Lion King at over 10,000 Main Stem performances, they are the longest-running Black composer and choreographer in Broadway history.

Many of the artists and craftspeople who launched the show remain an integral part of it. Lindiwe Dlamini has performed in the musical since its first pre-Broadway preview in Minneapolis summer 1997. Eight musicians have been in the orchestra pit since its Broadway opening, including Karl Jurman, who has been musical director since 2005. All told, 16 original staff members continue their work onstage and off.

READ: Bonita J. Hamilton Has Played the Hyena Shenzi in Broadway's The Lion King for 17 Years

The worldwide gross of The Lion King musical exceeds that of any film, Broadway show, or other entertainment title in box-office history.

The Lion King won six Tony Awards in 1998: Best Musical, Best Scenic Design (Richard Hudson), Best Costume Design (Julie Taymor), Best Lighting Design (Donald Holder), Best Choreography (Garth Fagan), and Best Direction of a Musical. The international hit musical has also earned more than 70 major arts awards, including the 1998 NY Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, the 1999 Grammy for Best Musical Show Album, the 1999 Evening Standard Award for Theatrical Event of the Year, and the 1999 Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Choreography and Best Costume Design.

The Broadway score features Elton John and Tim Rice’s songs from The Lion King animated film, along with three new songs by the pair. There's also additional musical material by Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymor, and Hans Zimmer. It also inspired an album: Rhythm of the Pride Lands, written by Lebo M, Mark Mancina, and Hans Zimmer.

The book was adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed the animated The Lion King feature, and Irene Mecchi, who co-wrote the film’s screenplay.

Other members of the creative team include Michael Curry (who designed the masks and puppets with Taymor), as well as sound designer Steve Canyon Kennedy, hair and makeup designer Michael Ward, associate director Anthony Lyn, associate choreographer Marey Griffith, music supervisor Clement Ishmael, production supervisor Lisa Dawn Cave, and general manager Thomas Schlenk with casting by ARC's Mark Brandon. Anne Quart serves as executive producer.

The musical is produced by Disney Theatrical Group, under the direction of Andrew Flatt, executive producer Quart, and Thomas Schumacher.

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