After a week of sold-out preview performances, the world’s #1 musical has opened its first international tour at The Theatre at Solaire. A spectacular gala saw guests flying in from all corners of the world, led by Disney Theatrical Group President and Producer, Thomas Schumacher who was joined by celebrated composer Lebo M, Producer of the international tour, Michael Cassel, and theatrical impresario Sir Cameron Mackintosh. Joining them were the leading lights of Filipino media, fashion and entertainment.
Thomas Schumacher said “When we opened our production of THE LION KING on Broadway in 1997, none of us could have imagined that we’d one day be taking this show on an astonishing tour around the world, featuring a wonderfully diverse company and crew from more than 18 countries across the globe. We couldn’t be more excited to begin right here in Manila.”
Due to overwhelming demand, producers have decided to extend the season for 2 more weeks. Disney’s THE LION KING is now playing and runs until 20 May 2018. Presented by Michael Cassel Group and Concertus Manila in association with Disney Theatrical Productions, the production’s co-presenting sponsors in Manila are Globe and Visa. “It has been a dream come true to partner with Disney Theatrical Productions to present the world’s first international tour of this magnificent production. I am delighted that we can begin this journey with Manila’s enthusiastic and welcoming audiences,” commented Michael Cassel.
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“The Philippines has been our home since we began rehearsals in January and the country is now firmly a part of this production’s DNA. We will take that with us as the show embarks on its world tour”, he added. The principal cast of THE LION KING includes Ntsepa Pitjeng who returns to the role of ‘Rafiki’, having performed the role in the USA, UK, Brazil, and Switzerland productions.
Direct from London’s West End production is Mthokozisi Emkay Khanyile in the role of ‘Mufasa’. Also from the United Kingdom is music theatre performer Antony Lawrence as ‘Scar’. Australian actor André Jewson features as ‘Zazu’; the charismatic New Zealand-born performer Jamie McGregor plays ‘Timon’ and South African favourite Pierre van Heerden returns as ‘Pumbaa’.
Joining the company are six actors from the Philippines. Sharing the role of Young Simba are Julien Joshua M. Dolor Jr., Gabriel P. Tiongson, and Omar Sharief L. Uddin; sharing the role of Young Nala are Sheena Kirsten Bentoy, Uma Naomi Martin and Felicity Kyle Napuli.
We just caught up with our Young Simba’s and Young Nala’s after The Lion King gala last night! Juan Gabriel Tiongson and Felicity Kyle Napuli absolutely killed it! Julien Joshua Dolor, Uma Martin, Omar Uddin, and Sheena Bentoy will be alternating in the roles. Fly high kids! We couldn’t be prouder! #TheLionKingPH #LionKingInternational
Rounding out the principal cast are South African performers Calvyn Grandling; playing the much-loved role of ‘Simba’; the up-and- coming star Noxolo Dlamini as ‘Nala’; Candida Mosoma returns to the role of ‘Shenzi’; Björn Blignaut as ‘Banzai’; and Mark Tatham as ‘Ed’.
THE LION KING ensemble includes: Chachano Báez, Dayan Kingsley Beukes, Tertia Coetzee-Dippenaar, Viridiana Cortés, Felipe Flores, Jabulani Gambu, Liso Gcwabe, Sheila Hernández, Phumelele Jili, Kudzai Christine Kapswarah, Amanda Kunene, Sfiso Matlala, Lungile Mkhize, Fumane Moeketsi, Noluyanda Mqulwana, Zodwa Mrasi, Lwazi Mzimase, Zolina Ngejane, Thato Nkwe, Thabani Ntuli, Peace Nzirawa, Nonofo Olekeng, Angeles Reyes, Khanyisani Shoba, Phumelele Sikhakhane, Romy Jo Swales, Clifford Tlomatsana, Vuyelwa Tshona, Tlholo Tsotetsi, Benn Welford, Zi-Rong Wu, Daniel Zazueta, Monde Zondi, and Sandile Zondi.
After the Philippines, the international tour of THE LION KING heads to Singapore, Korea and Taiwan with more engagements to be announced soon.