The Lion King rehearsals begin in Sydney

The Lion KingThe Lion King cast and crew gathered for their first day of rehearsals at Sydney’s Carriageworks today.

Close to 100 people arrived in the morning to begin work on director Julie Taymor’s colossal and time-honored production, ahead of a December 12 opening. An atmosphere of giddy excitement settled in as the singing, dancing, laughing and hard work began.

The scale of the troop spans an adult cast of 45, eight children performers, six creatives, 12 management personnel, five musicians, six puppeteers, six wardrobes, one tutor, six make-up artists, one props master, two chaperones and a physiotherapist.

Once in the Capitol Theatre they will be joined by an additional 97 technicians and support personnel, making this one of Australia’s biggest productions. The largely Australian cast and crew have begun to recreate their home grown version of the multi award-winning Broadway musical.

The cast represents the diversity of Australian culture, with Executive Producer James Thane noting, “this exciting group of performers uniquely reflects the cultural influences of our country and our region.”

Nick Afoa (from South Auckland, New Zealand) plays Simba, Josslynn Hlenti (Durban, South Africa) plays Nala, Buyi Zama (Durban, South Africa) plays Rafiki, Rob Collins (Darwin, Australia) plays Mufasa, Josh Quong Tart (Sydney, Australia) plays Scar and Terry Yeboah (Domaa Ahenkro, Ghana) plays Banzai.

The cast also has representatives from Zimbabwe, China, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Brazil and the United States.

The Hon. George Souris, Minister for Tourism, Major Events and the Arts noted as he joined the fun: “Sydney’s Capitol Theatre and I am delighted it will return to this world-class entertainment venue for another highly-anticipated Australian premiere season.”

“The return of The Lion King to Sydney is supported by the NSW Government through our tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.”

“This is our own version of the highest-grossing stage show in the world and brings enormous benefits to NSW tourism as well as cementing our position as Australia’s major events capital,” Mr Souris concluded.

The award-winning musical will celebrate a new milestone in December 2013 when it returns to Australia, making it the tenth concurrent worldwide production of The Lion King, the highest number of productions running at any one time in the show’s history.

New tickets for Sydney’s The Lion King go on sale Thursday 17 October. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: The Lion King by Joan Marcus ©Disney