Rehearsals are underway for the return of The Lion King’s North American tour. The hit Disney musical is set to resume performances at Cleveland’s Playhouse Square October 1 after going dark due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Directed by Julie Taymor, the production opened in 1997 at the New Amsterdam Theatre on Broadway before moving to its current home at the Minskoff in 2006. The stage adaptation of the animated film, featuring music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice, and a book by Irene Mecchi and Roger Allers, earned 11 Tony Award nominations and won six, including Best Musical.
The tour stars Gugwana Dlamini as Rafiki, Darian Sanders as Simba, Spencer Plachy as Scar, Gerald Ramsey as Mufasa, Nick Cordileone as Timon, Jürgen Hooper as Zazu, Ben Lipitz as Pumbaa, Kayla Cyphers as Nala, Keith Bennett as Banzai, Martina Sykes as Shenzi, and Robbie Swift as Ed with Jaylen Lyndon Hunter and Charlie Kahler alternating as Young Simba and Kalandra Rhodes and Nia Mulder alternating as Young Nala.
The ensemble features Derek Adams, Kayla Rose Aimable, Sandy Alvarez, William John Austin, Eric Bean, Jr., Kalilah Black, TyNia René Brandon, Sasha Caicedo, Sean Aaron Carmon, Kyle Robert Carter, Thembelihle Cele, Adrianne Chu, Daniela Cobb, Lyric Danae, Paige Fraser, Tony Freeman, Mukelisiwe Goba, Jamal Lee Harris, Alia Kache, Jane King, Gabisile Manana, Christopher L. McKenzie, Jr., Marq Moss, Nhlanhla Ndlovu, Aaron Nelson, Sihle Ngema, Sicelo Ntshangase, Sayiga Eugene Peabody, Kevin Petite, Yael Pineda-Hall, Nathan Andrew Riley, Maurica Roland, Christopher Sams, Jennifer Theriot, Courtney Thomas, and Shacura Wade.
The Lion King features choreography by Garth Fagan, scenic design by Richard Hudson, lighting design by Donald Holder, costume design by Taymor, sound design by Tony Meola, puppet and mask design by Michael Curry and Taymor, projection art by Caterina Bertolotto, and projection design by Geoff Puckett.
The tours will follow CDC, local, state, and city health and safety guidelines, as well as all union protocols.