When putting on a high-caliber production like “The Lion King,” it’s essential to have a cast of people who are capable of bringing the story to life. Since it’s the largest grossing and fourth-longest running show on Broadway, it’s safe to assume that holders of Lion King tickets have been more than happy with the results.
The show, in fact, is a veritable “who’s who” in the worlds of stage and sound. With that being said, here are the key players behind the show’s success.
The Music: Elton John
Like the film, the music for “The Lion King” stage production was written by Elton John. He has received numerous Grammy Awards and a total of 10 Tony Awards in his career.
John, in fact, ranks highly among the most famous and well-received solo artists in history, producing 25 platinum records and 35 gold ones. He has sold more 250 million records around the world. In addition, he received the Kennedy Center Honor for a lifetime of excellence and contributions to American culture in 2004.
The Writers: Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi
When you pair two creative people like Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi, you get a playbill unlike any other. “The Lion King” was Allers’ debut to Broadway. Mecchi has worked with Disney for several years, working on a number of its shows like “Recycle Rex” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”
Allers has also worked with Disney for several years, helping with conversation structure and more. Some of the productions he’s worked on include “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” and “The Little Mermaid.” The two are working on separate projects at the moment.
The Director: Julie Taymor
For her work on this production in 1998, Julie Taymor won two Tony Awards for Best Costumes and Best Direction of a Musical. Additionally, she has won numerous other awards for her costuming and direction of “The Lion King,” including Drama Desk Awards to Out Critics Circle awards.
Taymor has directed numerous other shows, including “Juan Darien: A Carnival Mask,” “Green Bird,” and “The Taming of the Shrew.” She’s currently working on “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” as a co-writer and director. Besides her stage productions, she’s directed films like “Across the Universe.”
Simba: Aaron Nelson
To start his Broadway career, Aaron Nelson landed his dream role as Simba in “The Lion King.” The 23-year-old actor is from Chicago. In his younger years, Nelson focused on football and martial arts. He also spent several years studying ballet and opera.
Nelson spent a little less than a year working at Disney World as a variety of costumed characters. In 2008, he auditioned for the first time for the part of Simba. Although he failed to get it initially, Nelson continued to come back and audition for it each year until he landed the role in 2013.
Scar: Gareth Saxe
Any actor who plays a dynamic principle villain like Scar needs to be able to take a role and run with it. Gareth Saxe is perfect for the job. He made his Broadway debut in 2006 with the Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of “Heartbreak House.”
In addition, Saxe has performed in the revival of “The Homecoming” by Harold Pinter. It was his strong performance in the role of Joey, in fact, that led Taymor to ask Saxe to join the cast as the villain for this production.
Mufasa: Alton Fitzgerald White
After touring with the first national tour of “The Lion King,” Alton Fitzgerald White joined the Broadway cast. He plays the role of Mufasa. For a short time, he was performing in “The Color Purple” in the mornings while playing Mufasa in the evenings. After leaving the show for a brief stint in TV and film, he is back on Broadway playing in the show.
R’Afiki: Tshidi Manye
Tshidi Manye has played the role of R’afiki in many places. She played the role on Broadway for nine years, then took a four-month break to travel with the National Tour of the show. However, Tshidi Manye is back on Broadway starring as R’afiki once again. Manye is originally from South Africa, and enjoys that she gets to share her culture and her language when she’s on stage.
As you can probably see, it takes a world-class cast to pull off the best show on Broadway. These talented folks have been instrumental in making this the most anticipated show on the stage today. If you want to see a roaring good performance, then ScoreBig is the ideal place to find tickets at amazing prices and no fees or shipping costs. Your family will remember this performance for decades to come.