By Zach Johnson
The curtain is almost up!
Disney Theatrical Productions, under the direction of Thomas Schumacher, today announced casting for The Lion King and Aladdin, returning to Broadway this fall. Both companies will welcome back nearly all of the cast members who were performing when Broadway shut down last March, along with exciting fresh faces, including new actors in the starring roles of Simba in The Lion King and Aladdin and Jasmine in Aladdin. The Lion King will resume performances on Tuesday, September 14, at the Minskoff Theatre, and Aladdin will open a week later on Tuesday, September 28, at the New Amsterdam Theatre.
Returning to the Broadway cast of the The Lion King are Stephen Carlile as Scar, L. Steven Taylor as Mufasa, Tshidi Manye as Rafiki, Cameron Pow as Zazu, Ben Jeffrey as Pumbaa, Fred Berman as Timon, Adrienne Walker as Nala, James Brown-Orleans as Banzai, Bonita J. Hamilton as Shenzi, and Robb Sapp as Ed. New to the cast is Brandon A. McCall in the role of Simba. McCall makes his Broadway debut in the role, having previously starred in the North American tour. Additionally, newcomers Vince Ermita and Corey J. will alternate as Young Simba, while Alayna Martus and Sydney Elise Russell will alternate as Young Nala.
Top Row (L-R): Vince Emrita, Corey J.
Bottom Row (-R), Alayna Martus, Sydney Elise Russell
The Broadway company of The Lion King also features Lawrence Keith Alexander, Cameron Amandus, Leanne Antonio, Andrew Arrington, India Bolds Browne, Lindiwe Dlamini, Zinhle Dube, Bongi Duma, Angelica Edwards, Jim Ferris, Rosie Lani Feldman, Daniel Gaymon, Pia Hamilton, Daniel Harder, Michael Alexander Henry, Michael Hollick, Pearl Khwezi, Lindsey Jackson, Lisa Lewis, Mduduzi Madela, Jaysin McCollum, Ray Mercer, S’bu Ngema, Nhlanhla Ngobeni, Nteliseng Nkhela, Jacqueline René, Kaylin Seckel, Kellen Stencil, Housso Semon, Derrick Spear, Michael Stiggers Jr., Jamie J. Thompson, Bravita Threatt, Natalie Turner, Donna Michelle Vaughan, Nicholas Ward, and Stephen Scott Wormley.
Top Row (L-R): Michael Maliakel, Shoba Narayan
Bottom Row (-R), Zach Bencal, Frank Viveros
New to the Broadway company of Aladdin are Michael Maliakel and Shoba Narayan as Aladdin and Jasmine. Maliakel makes his Broadway debut, having recently toured the country in the 25th anniversary production of The Phantom of the Opera. Narayan’s previous Broadway credits include Natasha in Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 and Nessarose in Wicked, as well as Eliza in the North American tour of Hamilton. Aladdin welcomes Zach Bencal as Babkak and Frank Viveros as a Genie/Sultan/Babkak standby, who both join the Broadway cast after performing those roles in the North American tour.
The returning cast of Aladdin features four original company members in principal roles: Michael James Scott as Genie, Tony Award® nominee Jonathan Freeman as Jafar, Don Darryl Rivera as Iago, and Dennis Stowe as the Jafar/Sultan standby. Also returning to the company are Milo Alosi as Kassim, Brad Weinstock as Omar, JC Montgomery as Sultan, and Juwan Crawley as a Genie/Sultan standby. Aladdin also features Tia Altinay, Mary Antonini, Netanel Bellaishe, Michael Callahan, Mike Cannon, Matthew deGuzman, Jacob Dickey, Mark DiConzo, Olivia Donalson, Josh Drake, Samantha Farrow, Jacob Gutierrez, Heather Makalani, Stanley Martin, Paul Heesang Miller, April Holloway, Amber Owens, Jamie Kasey Patterson, Bobby Pestka, Ariel Reid, Tyler Roberts, Jaz Sealey, Charles South, Angelo Soriano, and Katie Terza.
(L-R): Caroline Innerbichler, Caroline Bowman
Additionally, Disney Theatrical Productions announced casting for its two blockbuster North American touring productions. Frozen will resume performances Friday, September 10, in Buffalo, New York, at Shea’s Buffalo Theatre, and The Lion King will resume performances Friday, October 1, in Cleveland, Ohio, at Playhouse Square. Both of the tours will follow all of the CDC, local, state, and city health and safety guidelines, as well as all union protocols.
Returning to the cast of the Frozen North American tour are Caroline Bowman as Elsa, Caroline Innerbichler as Anna, Austin Colby as Hans, F. Michael Haynie as Olaf, Mason Reeves as Kristoff, and Collin Baja and Evan Strand alternating as Sven. Joining them are new tour principal cast members Robert Creighton as Weselton, a role he originated in the Broadway production of Frozen; Natalia Artigas as Young Elsa; Olivia Jones as Young Anna; and real-life sisters Natalie Grace Chan and Victoria Hope Chan as Young Elsa and Young Anna, respectively. The cast of the Frozen North American also features Caelan Creaser, Jeremy Davis, Colby Dezelick, Michael Everett, Berklea Going, Michael Allan Haggerty, Tyler Jimenez, Hannah Jewel Kohn, Marina Kondo, Dustin Layton, Nika Lindsay, Tatyana Lubov, Adrianna Rose Lyons, Michael Milkanin, Kyle Lamar Mitchell, Jessie Peltier, Naomi Rodgers, Brian Steven Shaw, Daniel Switzer, Zach Trimmer, Brit West, and Natalie Wisdom.
Returning to the cast of The Lion King North American tour are Spencer Plachy as Scar, Gerald Ramsey as Mufasa, Nick Cordileone as Timon, Jürgen Hooper as Zazu, Ben Lipitz as Pumbaa, Kayla Cyphers as Nala, Keith Bennett as Banzai, Martina Sykes as Shenzi, Robbie Swift as Ed, Charlie Kahler as Young Simba, and Kalandra Rhodes as Young Nala. Joining them are new tour principal cast members Gugwana Dlamini as Rafiki, who since 2002 has played the role in multiple worldwide productions of The Lion King; Darian Sanders, who returns in the role of Simba; Jaylen Lyndon Hunter as Young Simba (alternating with Charlie Kahler); and Nia Mulder as Young Nala (alternating with Kalandra Rhodes).
The cast also features Derek Adams, Kayla Rose Aimable, Sandy Alvarez, William John Austin, Eric Bean, Jr., TyNia René Brandon, Sasha Caicedo, Sean Aaron Carmon, Kyle Robert Carter, Thembelihle Cele, Adrianne Chu, Daniela Cobb, Lyric Danae, Paige Fraser, Tony Freeman, Mukelisiwe Goba, Jamal Lee Harris, Alia Kache, Gabisile Manana, Christopher L. McKenzie, Jr., Marq Moss, Nhlanhla Ndlovu, Aaron Nelson, Sihle Ngema, Sicelo Ntshangase, Sayiga Eugene Peabody, Kevin Petite, Yael Pineda-Hall, Nathan Andrew Riley, Maurica Roland, Christopher Sams, Jennifer Theriot, Courtney Thomas, and Shacura Wade.