The West End production of Disney's The Lion King welcomes 14 new cast members when it reopens its doors July 29 at the Lyceum Theatre.
New to the company are Kayi Ushe (The Book of Mormon, Motown the Musical) as Simba and Phil Adèle (Our Town, The Invisible Man), who is making his West End debut as Ed, plus ensemble members Gesztenye Botos, Reece Darlington-Delaire, Shak Gabbidon-Williams, Ryesha Higgs, Candice Holdford, Angela Marie-Hurst, Duane Lamonte, Jane Carla Leynes, Deja Linton, Jonathan Lutwyche, Kearabetswe Mogotsi, and Taela Yeomans-Brown.
Gabbidon-Williams and Darlington-Delaire previously played Young Simba, and Marie-Hurst and Linton both previously played Young Nala, all now rejoining the show as ensemble members.
These actors join George Asprey as Scar, David Blake as Banzai, Janique Charles as Nala, Gugwana Dlamini as Rafiki, Shaun Escoffery as Mufasa, Gary Jordan as Zazu, Jamie McGregor as Timon, Melone M’Kenzy as Shenzi, and Mark Roper as Pumbaa.
The Lion King began its stage life in October 1997 at Broadway's New Amsterdam Theatre, before transferring to the Minskoff in June 2006. Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, The Lion King won six 1998 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The show’s director, costume designer and mask co-designer, Julie Taymor, was the first woman to win a Tony Award for Direction of a Musical; she continues to supervise new productions of the show around the world.
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 John and Rice; additional musical material by South African Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymor, and Hans Zimmer; and music from Rhythm of the Pride Lands, an album inspired by the original music in the film, written by Lebo M, Mark Mancina, and Hans Zimmer.
The book was adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed the animated feature, and Irene Mecchi, who co-wrote the film’s screenplay.