Hear Them Roar: Meet The Cast Of The Lion King

April 12, 2016

The Lion King has captivated audiences around the world with its powerful narrative and its soaring score. Today it stands as the top-earning title in entertainment history (for both stage and film), and continues to entrance new fans everyday. With its Broadway production still in full swing, lucky fans across North America can also join in all the fun as the production touches down across the country during its national tour. Read our exclusive interviews with some of the cast below, and make sure to catch The Lion King in a city near you! Check out lionking.com for more information.


Tshidi Manye as Rafiki

What makes the role of Rafiki so unique, and what do you love about playing it?

For me, the role of Rafiki is so special because she represents the traditional healers of South Africa. She’s the connection between this world, and the other world—that’s how I see her—she can tell the future and knows the past. I have family members who are healers back home, and I love pulling from them for this role making it as truthful as possible.

Which of the many hit songs is your favorite to sing?

My three favorite songs are ‘Shadowland,’ ‘Circle of Life,’ and ‘Endless Night.’ They’re all amazing, but those are my absolute favorites because they speak to the truths of life.


Jelani Remy as Simba

What is life like behind the scenes at The Lion King?

Behind the scenes makes for some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever seen! It’s such a great group of people that I work with, and we have so much fun doing the show. You know, when you love what you do it’s not work! It’s kind of like having 50 brothers and sisters I never knew I wanted, ha. But we’re all together doing this amazing production, and I think that really translates to the stage.

Why do you think so many people around the world love The Lion King?

Everybody asks that, and I think that The Lion King just has so much heart behind it. There’s something about this show that everyone can get behind—whether it’s the story, the costumes, the lights, the sounds, Simba, Nala, Mufasa, Scar—they all have such different stories that everyone can relate to.


Chantel Riley as Nala

How did you prepare for the role of Nala and how do you keep it fresh?

It was hard for me starting out, because The Lion King was actually my first professional acting job—so I really had to learn everything from scratch. When I first started playing the role it was hard, because of the pace of the production and playing the character every day was pretty draining, but the director taught me new techniques around how to bring freshness to the role every day. So now I try and say a line a little differently, or do a different move, stand in a different place—even those minor changes keep it fresh for me. It gets me in the mindset for the show every day.

If you could have any cast member from the beloved 1994 film could join the stage cast for a night who would that be?

Can I choose two?! Jeremy Irons and James Earl Jones, who voiced Scar and Mufasa in the film. I had a chance to meet Mr. Jones a few times, and he’s just the sweetest guy.


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