The Walt Disney Company UK and Ireland has announced the full cast for the UK and Ireland tour of the landmark musical THE LION KING, including a first look at their new Simba played by Stephenson Ardern-Sodje.
After having a career behind the scenes at ITV’s Coronation Street’s story room and with Idris Elba’s production company Green Door Pictures, Stephenson Ardern-Sodje made his stage debut in the very first West End cast of Hamilton and is currently part of the Globe Theatre 2021 tour.
THE LION KING touring company will also be welcoming Nokwanda Khuzwayo as Nala, who previously played the role in Germany and Brazil. Ireland’s Alan Mchale will be returning in a new role as Timon with Cardiff born newcomer Owain Rhys Davies taking the role of Ed. They will join returning principals Matthew Forbes as Zazu, Jean-Luc Guizonne as Mufasa, Richard Hurst as Scar, Rebecca Omogbehin as Shenzi, Thandazile Soni as Rafiki, Carl Sanderson as Pumbaa and Simon Trinder as Banzai.
The tour will re-open in Dublin this December before moving on to Bristol, Bradford, Cardiff, Southampton and Manchester. Further cities to be announced in due course.
The story of THE LION KING roars into life using spectacular masks, puppets, and costumes to tell the story of Simba’s epic adventures, as he struggles with the responsibilities of adulthood and becoming king.
Having played in more than 100 cities in 20 countries on every continent except Antarctica, THE LION KING’s worldwide gross exceeds that of any film, Broadway show or other entertainment title in box office history. The landmark musical has now been seen by over 110 million people worldwide.
The UK & Ireland tour cast also includes: Lwando Bam, Mamido Bomboko Souchu, Khanyisani Beato, Jorell Coiffic-Kamall, Rushand Chambers, Tau-En Chien, Elisa Chou, Tevin Daniel, Tim Driesen, Oraine Frater, Adebunmi Gabriel, Brian Gilligan, Daniel Griffith, Alicia Hayward, Zalika Henry, Caleaf Henson, Olivia Jones, Melvin Le Blanc, Jochebel Maccarthy, Zanele Mazibuko, Fallon Mondlane, Zanele Ndlovu, Buhle Nkomo, Craig Pedro, Joaquin Pedro Valdes, Connor Pelé Williams, Tara Price, Kyle Richardson, Cristiane Santos De Jesus, Lukin Simmonds, Sherry Tay, Francesca Thompson, Maria Yim and Bukiwe Zinganto.
Julie Taymor’s internationally celebrated stage adaptation of THE LION KING opened on Broadway in 1997 and 25 global productions in nine different languages have been created since then (English, Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Spanish, Mandarin and Portuguese). THE LION KING is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, under the direction of Thomas Schumacher.
The previous tour of THE LION KING broke attendance records across the nation. Since the UK premiere in 1999, THE LION KING London has entertained more than 16 million theatregoers and is the sixth longest-running West End musical of all time.
The stunning artistry of the production is the work of a team of designers which drew on diverse cultural influences to recreate the rich colours and vast expanses of the African savanna in this daring and inspiring reinvention of one of the most successful animated feature films of all time.
Julie Taymor, one of the world’s most innovative directors, brought a vast array of disciplines to THE LION KING, including extensive experience staging epic theatre and opera productions, exploring classic myths through ritualised puppetry, mask, and movement. The Lion King was the first musical Taymor directed in the commercial theatre and she made Broadway history by becoming the first woman to win the Tony Award® for Best Director of a Musical.
The Broadway show’s full creative team, which won five Tony Awards® for its work on THE LION KING, reunited in 1999 to recreate the show in London. Julie Taymor and Michael Curry created hundreds of masks and puppets.
Scenic design is by British designer Richard Hudson and lighting is by Donald Holder. Costume design is by Julie Taymor, and choreography by Garth Fagan. The book was adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed the animated feature and Irene Mecchi, who co-wrote the screenplay.
The original score from the animated film was expanded for the stage and now features 15 musical numbers. As well as writing completely new songs, South African composer Lebo M created an evocative blend of African rhythms and chorales, with additional material by Julie Taymor and Mark Mancina. Elton John and Tim Rice have added three new numbers to the five that they wrote for the award-winning score of the animated film. The resulting sound of THE LION KING is a fusion of Western popular music and the distinctive sounds and rhythms of Africa, including the Academy Award®-winning Can You Feel The Love Tonight and the haunting Shadowland.
THE LION KING is at the Alhambra Theatre, Bradford 24 March – 28 May 2022
(Please note this is a rescheduled show)
http://www.bradford-theatres.co.uk / 01274 432000
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