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Wednesday, 30 September 2009 12:49

"The Lion King" Welcomes New Young Lions to the Pridelands in Broadway Debut





Broadway’s landmark musical event THE LION KING is pleased to welcome ALPHONSO ROMERO JONES II and MARQUIS KOFI RODRIGUEZ as “Young Simba” and SHEREEN PIMENTEL and SHANNON SKYE TAVAREZ as “Young Nala” to the company.  Rodriguez and Pimentel made their Broadway debuts on Tuesday, September 29.  Tavarez will make her Broadway debut on Wednesday evening, September 30 and Jones will make his Broadway debut on Thursday, October 1.  Produced by Thomas Schumacher of Disney Theatrical Productions, THE LION KING is currently playing at Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre (200 West 45th Street).  The show officially opened on Broadway on November 13, 1997. 

ALPHONSO ROMERO JONES II, 10, is a native of Trenton, New Jersey.  He made his NY stage debut last year in A Christmas Carol.  He trains with Calvary Dance Academy and is an avid drummer.

MARQUIS KOFI RODRIGUEZ, 11, attends Tompkins Square Middle School in the East Village and maintains straight A’s.  He recently played Young Simba in the national tour of The Lion King (Gazelle company).  Other credits include “Law & Order: SVU” and the upcoming feature film, Phoebe in Wonderland.

SHEREEN PIMENTEL, 10, has attended The Ailey School for dance since the age of four.  Other credits include the Kidz Theater’s productions of Ragtime and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

SHANNON SKYE TAVAREZ, 10, is an honor student at PS 176 in Queens, NY.  Shannon attended the Harlem School of Arts and is currently studying at The American Dance and Drama Studio in Flushing.

The sardonic and deviously cunning “Scar” is played by DEREK SMITH.  NATHANIEL STAMPLEY is the regal lion king “Mufasa.”  TSHIDI MANYE is the wise baboon shaman “Rafiki.”  CAMERON POW portrays the prim and proper hornbilled bird “Zazu.”  BEN LIPITZ is the warm-hearted warthog “Pumbaa” and DANNY RUTIGLIANO is the wisecracking and hyperactive meerkat “Timon.”  Mufasa’s son, “Simba,” is played by DASHAUN YOUNG and TA’REA CAMPBELL is the courageous and loyal lioness “Nala.” 

The three hyenas are played by JAMES BROWN-ORLEANS (“Banzai”), BONITA J. HAMILTON (“Shenzi”) and ENRIQUE SEGURA (“Ed”). 

Now in its 12th year, Disney’s THE LION KING continues to reign as one of the most popular shows on Broadway and around the world.  This landmark musical event recently surpassed the 50 million mark in worldwide attendance, becoming the first American musical to reach that milestone and only the fourth in theater history.  The Broadway production will play its 5000th performance this November and the London company will celebrate its 10th anniversary in October making THE LION KING one of only five musical productions in theatre history to play for ten years or more on both Broadway and the West End.

THE LION KING made history on September 24, 2009 when two of its signature costumes, a stylized lion mask and headdress of Simba and costume, custom shoes and hat designed for Rafiki, were inducted into the permanent entertainment collection of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

The global phenomenon is the winner of more than 70 major awards worldwide, including the 1998 Tony Award® and NY Drama Critics Award for Best Musical, the 1999 Grammy® for Best Musical Show Album, and the 1999 Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Choreography and Best Costume Design.  In 1998, Taymor won the Tony Award® for Best Costume Design and Best Direction of a Musical for THE LION KING.  The directing honor made Taymor the first woman in theatrical history to win the coveted award.

The show has been seen by over 50 million people in 13 different countries (US, Canada, UK, Japan, Germany, Holland, France, Mexico, Australia, China, Taiwan, South Africa and Korea).  In addition to Broadway and a North American tour, THE LION KING can also be seen on stage in London, Hamburg, Paris and Tokyo.  On May 2009, a sit-down production of THE LION KING opened at Mandalay Bay Theatre – the first Disney Theatrical Production to be launched in Las Vegas.

THE LION KING began as a 1994 animated feature-length film developed and produced by the Walt Disney Company.  The story, a coming of age parable set among animals indigenous to its setting, the African veldt, tells the tale of Simba, the lion cub who rises to be the King of the jungle.

Julie Taymor, along with designer Michael Curry, has created hundreds of masks and puppets for THE LION KING.  Scenic design is by Richard Hudson; costume design is by Julie Taymor; lighting design is by Donald Holder.  Choreography is by Garth Fagan.  The book has been adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed the animated feature and Irene Mecchi, who co-wrote the screenplay of THE LION KING. 

The score features Elton John and Tim Rice’s music from the 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 an album inspired by the animated film, "Rhythm of the Pride Lands," written by Lebo M, Mark Mancina and Hans Zimmer.  The resulting sound of THE LION KING score is a fusion of Western popular music and the distinctive sounds and rhythms of Africa, embracing the Academy Award®-winning “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” and the haunting “Shadowlands.”   

THE LION KING ticket prices range from $61.50-$121.50, and are available online at, in-person at the Minskoff Theatre Box Office (200 West 45th Street) and Ticketmaster outlets, or by calling Ticketmaster's Disney on Broadway hotline at 866-870-2717. 

Performance & holiday schedule varies; check online for current schedule (running time is approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes).

For more information, visit

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Last modified on Wednesday, 30 September 2009 12:54