The Lion King roars into Sydney tonight (Thursday 12 December) with an opening night gala performance. Our homegrown production of director Julie Taymor’s vision features the most multicultural cast of any Australian-produced stage musical to date.
It is the 10th production of The Lion King running concurrently around the world, with shows on Broadway and on tour across North America, in Tokyo and on tour in Japan, in London’s West End and on tour throughout the UK, and in Hamburg, Madrid and Sao Paolo.
Nick Afoa ICK (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 ensemble cast features representatives from Zimbabwe, China, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Brazil and the United States.
Other principals include Cameron Goodall as Zazu, Russell Dykstra as Pumbaa, Jamie McGregor as Timon, Ruvarashe Ngwenya as Shenzi and Andre Jewson as Ed.
The musical score features Elton John and Tim Rice’s music from The Lion King 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; and music from Rhythm of the Pride Lands – an album inspired by the original music in the film, written by Lebo M, Mark Mancina and Hans Zimmer.
The resulting sound of The Lion King is a fusion of Western popular music and the distinctive sounds and rhythms of Africa, ranging from the Academy Award-winning song Can You Feel the Love Tonight to the haunting ballad Shadowland.
With its return to Australia, the award-winning musical will be the tenth concurrent worldwide production of The Lion King , the highest number of productions running at any one time in the show’s history. Five of those productions have been running for 10 years or longer, an accomplishment shared by only one other show in history.
Since its Broadway premiere in November 1997, 21 global productions have been seen by more than 70 million people and translated into eight different languages (Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Mandarin, Spanish and Portuguese).
The Lion King can currently be seen on Broadway and on tour across North America, in Tokyo and on tour in Japan, in London’s West End and on tour throughout the UK, and in Hamburg, Madrid and Sao Paolo. To date, it has played 18 countries on every continent except Antarctica.
The show’s director, costume designer and mask co-designer Julie Taymor, the first woman to win a Tony Award for Direction of a Musical, continues to play an integral part in the show’s ongoing success.
For more information, visit: www.lionking.com.au for details.
Image: Buyi Zama as Rafiki – photograph by Deen van Meer ©Disney