Disney announces new and returning cast members for The Lion King and Aladdin on Broadway

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Shoba Narayan and Michael Maliakel of Aladdin. Photo by Rebecca J Michelson.

The Lion King Resumes Performances on September 14, 2021 at the Minskoff Theatre

Aladdin Resumes Performances on September 28, 2021 at the New Amsterdam Theatre

NEW YORK, NY: Disney Theatrical Productions, under the direction of Thomas Schumacher, is pleased to announce 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 begins performances on Tuesday, September 14 at the Minskoff Theatre. Aladdin resumes performances 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, and Alayna Martus and Sydney Elise Russell will alternate as Young Nala.

Back row: Stephen Carlile (Scar, The Lion King), Michael Maliakel (Aladdin, Aladdin), L Steven Taylor (Mufasa, The Lion King), Brandon McCall (Simba, The Lion King); Middle row: Bonita Hamilton (Shenzi, The Lion King), Jonathan Freeman (Jafar, Aladdin), Don Darryl Rivera (Iago, Aladdin), Shoba Narayan (Jasmine, Aladdin); Front row: Michael James Scott (Genie, Aladdin), Tshidi Mayne (Rafiki, The Lion King).

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.

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 is also pleased to welcome Zach Bencal as Babkak and Frank Viveros as a Genie/Sultan/Babkak standby, both joining the Broadway cast after performing the 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, bringing to the stage the role he indelibly created in the animated film, 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.

Left to right: Jonathan Freeman, Michael Maliakel, Don Darryl Rivera, Michael James Scott, Shoba Narayan of Aladdin.

New Aladdin Cast Members:

MICHAEL MALIAKEL (Aladdin). Broadway debut! National tour: The Phantom of the Opera (Raoul u/s). NYC: Anything Can Happen: The Songs of Maury Yeston. Regional: Other World – Bucks County Playhouse; Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding – Berkeley Rep; She Loves Me – PlayMakers Rep; Bernstein’s MASS – Ravinia Festival. TV: “Bull” (CBS), “FBI” (CBS). Big thanks to my family, Michael Kirsten, HCKR, & the Tara Rubin team. Sarah – all my love. Look ma, we made it! Representation matters. @michaelmaliakel

SHOBA NARAYAN (Jasmine) made her Broadway debut in 2016 opposite Josh Groban in the 12-time Tony-nominated musical Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, notably becoming the first South Asian female in a principal role since Bombay Dreams, which Playbill called “a personal milestone and a key moment on Broadway.” Among her numerous stage credits, she starred as Eliza Hamilton in the national tour of the world phenomenon and Broadway smash hit Hamilton from Lin-Manuel Miranda; and most recently appeared on Broadway in 2020 as Nessarose in Wicked. Film and television credits include the award-winning independent feature film Growing Up Smith directed by Frank Lotito, “Quantico” (Mark Gordon / ABC), “Halal In The Family” with Aasif Mandvi, “Gossip Girl” (The CW), Coin Heist (Netflix) and Mistress America directed by Noah Baumbach. Shoba is a Bharatanatyam (South Indian Classical) dancer and teacher, and has performed extensively throughout the US and India, including major prizes at several international dance competitions.

ZACH BENCAL (Babkak). Broadway debut! Goodspeed, Hartford Symphony, Forestburgh Playhouse, Monomoy Theatre, NCL, Theatreworks USA, & various NYC theatre. Off-Broadway: The Anthem! & The Civil War. BMI 2016, aspiring composer. BFA MT, The Hartt School 2013. Thanks to creative, Eric Woodall/TRC. Love to Mom, Dad, Jonah, family/friends, teachers. For KG. @zbencal

FRANK VIVEROS (Standby Genie/Sultan/Babkak). Favorites: The Phantom of the Opera (Piangi), Once on this Island (Agwe), Sweeney Todd (Pirelli), Ain’t Misbehavin (Ken), Finding Nemo: The Musical (Bloat) and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (Lord Pinkelton). Gracias to the creatives, TRC, Meg & Katie, Familia, Amigos and Matt! @frrankly

Left to right: Stephen Carlile, L. Steven Taylor, Bonita Hamilton, Brandon A. McCall, and Tshidi Manye of The Lion King.

New Lion King Cast Members:

BRANDON A. MCCALL (Simba). Brandon is humbled to make his Broadway debut! Proud native of Birmingham, AL. Alabama State University alumnus. Brandon is grateful to God, his wife, Denika and two daughters, Bréa and Briley. Without them, he has no purpose. Much love and thanks to his mom, sister, family, supporters and The Lion King family! In memoriam: Pastor Linda Whitt. Instagram @_bam.i.am_

VINCE ERMITA (Young Simba at Certain Performances) is so excited to be making his Broadway debut! School of Rock, Tuacahn (Lawrence); lead singer of The Ermita Brothers band, featuring Vince’s three brothers. He’s 11 years old and a proud Filipino. Thank you to Disney Theatrical, Binder Casting, Leorah Habefield, DDO, Amelia Demayo and his amazing family. Mabuhay! @vince_ermita

COREY J. (Young Simba at Certain Performances) is a singer/dancer/actor/model who is thrilled to be making his Broadway debut. He is honored to be a part of the Pride and grateful to everyone who has helped along this journey. He thanks his Mom for her love and support that keeps him motivated.

ALAYNA MARTUS (Young Nala at Certain Performances) is thrilled to make her Broadway debut in The Lion King. She is honored to be part of the reopening of Broadway. Special thanks to her family, ZURI, Badiene Magaziner, Amanda Barwick, Jocelyn Geronimo and her “SET Studios Family” in Jacksonville, FL for their love and tremendous support. @alaynamartus

SYDNEY ELISE RUSSELL (Young Nala at Certain Performances) is excited to make her Broadway debut in The Lion King!  Performing since the age of six, she has appeared in several theatrical productions and commercials for Disney and Ram Trucks.  Sydney thanks God and her parents and family for their love and support!

About The Lion King:
Approaching 24 landmark years on Broadway, The Lion King continues ascendant as one of the most popular stage musicals in the world.  Since its premiere on November 13, 1997, 25 global productions have been seen by nearly 110 million people.  Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher), The Lion King has made theatrical history with six productions worldwide running 15 or more years and four others running 20 or more years.

Performed over its lifetime in nine different languages (English, Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Spanish, Mandarin and Portuguese), by the end of 2021, there will be ten productions of The Lion King around the world, including Broadway, London, Paris, Hamburg, Tokyo, Madrid, on tour across North America, Japan and the U.K. & Ireland, with a separate production touring internationally. Having played over 100 cities in 21 countries on every continent except Antarctica, The Lion King’s worldwide gross exceeds that of any film, Broadway show or other entertainment title in box office history.

The Lion King won six 1998 Tony Awards®:  Best Musical, Best Scenic Design (Richard Hudson), Best Costume Design (Julie Taymor), Best Lighting Design (Donald Holder), Best Choreography (Garth Fagan) and Best Direction of a Musical.  The Lion King has also earned more than 70 major arts awards including the 1998 NY Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, the 1999 Grammy® for Best Musical Show Album, the 1999 Evening Standard Award for Theatrical Event of the Year and the 1999 Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Choreography and Best Costume Design.

The show’s director, costume designer and mask co-designer Julie Taymor continues to play an integral part in the show’s ongoing success.  The first woman to win a Tony Award for Direction of a Musical, Taymor continues to supervise new productions of the show around the world.

The Broadway score features Elton John and Tim Rice’s songs 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 Lebo M’s rich choral numbers.

Elton John, Lebo M, and Hans Zimmer all collaborated on the 2019 version of the film, executive produced by Julie Taymor and Thomas Schumacher, which has gone onto extraordinary worldwide success.

The book has been adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed the animated The Lion King feature, and Irene Mecchi, who co-wrote the film’s screenplay.  Other members of the creative team include:  Michael Curry, who designed the masks and puppets with Taymor, Steve Canyon Kennedy (sound design), Michael Ward (hair and makeup design), Anthony Lyn (associate director), Marey Griffith (associate choreographer), Clement Ishmael (music supervisor) and Doc Zorthian (production supervisor). Anne Quart serves as co-producer.

For more information worldwide, visit LionKing.com, Facebook and Instagram

About Aladdin:
Aladdin, the hit musical based on the Academy Award®-winning animated film, opened on Broadway to critical acclaim at the New Amsterdam Theatre on March 20, 2014 and quickly established itself as one of the biggest new blockbusters in recent years, breaking 14 New Amsterdam Theatre house records. Worldwide it has welcomed more than 10 million people and grossed over $1 billion. By the end of 2021, it will be playing in Holland, Germany and Mexico, in addition to Broadway.

Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, under the direction of Thomas Schumacher, the show features music by Tony Award and eight-time Oscar® winner Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Sister Act), lyrics by two-time Oscar winner Howard Ashman (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid), three-time Tony Award and three-time Oscar winner Tim Rice (Evita, Aida) and six-time Tony Award nominee Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer), with a book by Beguelin, and is directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon).

Aladdin, adapted from the animated Disney film and centuries-old folktales including “One Thousand and One Nights,” is brought to fresh theatrical life in this bold new musical.  Aladdin’s journey sweeps audiences into an exciting world of daring adventure, classic comedy and timeless romance.  This new production features a full score, including the five cherished songs from the Academy Award-winning soundtrack and more written especially for the stage.

The animated film Aladdin was released by Disney in 1992 and was a critical and box office smash, becoming the highest-grossing film of the year.

The film won the Oscar for Best Original Score and introduced the hit song “A Whole New World,” which won the second of the film’s two Academy Awards as Best Original Song.  The Peabo Bryson/Regina Belle recording of the tune soared to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Aladdin is designed by seven-time Tony-winning scenic designer Bob Crowley, six-time Tony-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz, two-time Tony-winning costume designer Gregg Barnes and sound designer Ken Travis.

The production team also includes illusion designer Jim Steinmeyer, hair designer Josh Marquette and makeup designer Milagros Medina-Cerdeira.  The music team is headed by music supervisor and music director Michael Kosarin, who also created the vocal and incidental music arrangements, joined by orchestrator Danny Troob and dance music arranger Glen Kelly.

Anne Quart serves as co-producer.

For more information, visit AladdinTheMusical.com

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