Monday, March 3, 2008

Casting Announced for Disney’s THE LION KING

Casting has been announced for Atlanta’s return engagement of Disney’s THE LION KING. The eagerly awaited stage production will leap onto the Atlanta Civic Center stage from April 3 through May 4, as part of the Fidelity Investments Broadway Across America – Atlanta 2008 season. The press opening night is Saturday, April 5 at 8:00 p.m. This Atlanta engagement is currently one of eight productions running worldwide along with New York, London, Hamburg, Tokyo, Fukuoka, Johannesburg, South Africa and a French-language production in Paris.

The malevolent and evil “Scar” will be played by Timothy Carter, who is a native of Lexington, Kentucky. Mr. Carter’s credits include The Three Musketeers and Macbeth with The Acting Company; King Lear, As You Like It, and Julius Caesar at Colorado Shakespeare Festival; Richard III and Merry Wives of Windsor at Nebraska Shakespeare Festival; and Hay Fever at Westport County Playhouse. Dionne Randolph will play the lion king “Mufasa.” Mr. Randolph’s credits include Smokey Joe’s Café, Little Shop of Horrors and Once on this Island. Phindile Mkhize, a native of South Africa, is the wise “Rafiki.” Ms. Mkhize has traveled to Germany, Australia, Holland and Amsterdam performing and sharing her talents, and her credits include The Lion King Soundtrack ‘94, Sarafina 2; Mama, Maria, Maria, and WozaMyFohloza.

The meerkat “Timon” will be played by Mark Shunock, who has appeared in productions of Romance, Beauty and the Beast, Princess Turandot, The Skin Of Our Teeth, Howie The Rookie and Lovelace: The Musical. Tony Freeman, who will portray “Zazu”, has previously played the role on Broadway for over 1,300 performances. Mr. Freeman recently performed in Kander and Ebb’s new musical All About Us and in Caroline, or Change in Los Angeles and San Francisco. And Ben Lipitz, is “Pumbaa,” the warthog; Mr. Lipitz’ stage credits include Red, Hot and Blue, Just So, ART, Dirty Blonde, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

Ta’Rea Campbell, a native of Philadelphia and a graduate of Marymount Manhattan College, is the lioness “Nala.” Ms. Campbell’s Broadway credits include Aida (Aida), Little Shop of Horrors, Aida National Tour (Nehebkah), and Gospel According to Fishman (Jolene); television credits include Law & Order, Whoopie, and Primetime Live. Mufasa’s son, “Simba,” will be played by Dashaun Young, who also appeared in the 1st National Tour of Hairspray and regional productions of Hairspray, Hello Dolly, Aida and Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

The three hyenas will be played by: Randy Donaldson (“Banzai”), whose past credits include “Five Guys Named Moe” and Broadway’s “Wonderful Town” and “Annie Get You Gun;” Jayne Trinette (“Shenzi”), whose credits include Caroline or Change, Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Nuncrackers; and Michael Nathanson (“Ed”), whose credits include Romeo & Juliet, God of Desire, Don’t Hug Me and TempOdyssey.

Performances in the role of “Young Simba” will be alternated between Christopher Borger and Jeremy Gumbs. Mr. Borger has been in numerous commercials and print ads. Mr. Gumbs, from Long Island, NY, and has appeared in productions of The Merry Wives of Windsor, Margaret Garner and the film Mind the Gap. Performances in the role of “Young Nala” will be alternated between Georgette Francois and Chantylla Johnson. Ms. Francois is an 11 year-old from Brooklyn, NY and is making her professional debut in The Lion King. Ms. Johnson’s credits include Young Nettie in the Broadway production of The Color Purple and regional theatre productions of Annie and Cinderella.

Now in its second sold-out decade in New York, THE LION KING is the winner of six Tonyâ Awards including Best Musical, eight Drama Desk Awards, six Outer Critics Circle Awards, the New York Drama Critics award for Best Musical, the Evening Standard Award for the Theatrical Event of the Year, two Olivier Awards, a Theatre World Award, the Astaire Award for Outstanding Choreography, two Drama League Awards and a Grammyâ Award for Best Musical Show Album.

Director Julie Taymor became the first woman in Broadway history to win the Tony® Award for Best Director of a Musical. Taymor, along with Michael Curry, created hundreds of masks and puppets for THE LION KING. Choreography is by Garth Fagan, scenic design is by Richard Hudson, costume design is by Julie Taymor and lighting design is by Donald Holder. The book has been adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed the animated film and Irene Mecchi, who co-wrote the screenplay for THE LION KING. The score features Elton John and Tim Rice's music from the 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.

In Atlanta, THE LION KING will play Thursday, April 3 through Sunday, May 4; Tuesday - Saturday evenings at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday matinees at 2:00 p.m. and Sundays at 1:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Ticket prices range from $21.00 to $63.00. VIP Ticket Packages are also available for $132.50, which include premium seating, a complimentary souvenir program and the commemorative VIP show merchandise item. Tickets are available through authorized ticket sellers at the Atlanta Civic Center Box Office and through Ticketmaster outlets, online at or by phone at 404-817-8700. Orders for groups of 20 or more may be placed by calling 404-881-2000.

The Atlanta engagement of THE LION KING is presented by arrangement with Broadway Across America-Atlanta. Broadway Across America-Atlanta proudly presents Broadway productions in Atlanta as a member of Broadway Across America. Broadway Across America-Atlanta thanks its sponsors for their continued support of the Series: The Georgian Terrace, as the Official Hotel, Sprint PCS as the Official Wireless Provider, Fidelity Investments and Publix.
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