The New Orleans premiere of Disney's THE LION KING opens tonight, Friday, March 16 at 8 p.m. at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for a limited engagement of five weeks through Sunday, April 15. In New Orleans, THE LION KING plays Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 8 p.m., Sunday evenings at 6:30 p.m. and matinees on Saturdays at 2 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m., with an additional performance on Thursday, April 12 at 2 p.m. "We are thrilled to present the long-awaited New Orleans premiere of THE LION KING. The response from Broadway fans has exceeded our expectations, and we encourage people to buy tickets soon while they are still available," said David Skinner, general manager of the Mahalia Jackson Theater.
Tickets to THE LION KING are available in person at the Mahalia Jackson Box Office, via phone at 800-982-2787 (ARTS), online at BroadwayInNewOrleans.com and through all Ticketmaster outlets. Ticket prices for the engagement start as low as $32.75. Premium Ticket Packages, which include prime seat locations, a commemorative souvenir program and an exclusive merchandise item, are also available. Orders for groups of 15 or more may be placed by calling 504-287-0372.
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 savanna, tells the tale of Simba, the lion cub who rises to be the King of the jungle. The sardonic and deviously cunning "Scar" is played by J. Anthony Crane. Dionne Randolph is "Mufasa," the great warrior and ruler of the Pridelands. Buyi Zama is the wise baboon shaman "Rafiki." Mark David Kaplan portrays the prim and proper hornbilled bird "Zazu." Adam Kozlowski is the carefree warthog "Pumbaa" and Nick Cordileone is the wisecracking meerkat "Timon." Mufasa's son, "Simba," the lion prince born to be king, is played by Jelani Remy and Syndee Winters is the loyal lioness "Nala." The three evil hyenas are played by Keith Bennett ("Banzai"), Rashada Dawan ("Shenzi") and Robbie Swift ("Ed"). The role of "Young Simba" is alternated between Zavion J. Hill and Adante Power and the role of "Young Nala" is alternated between Sade Phillip-Demorcy and Kailah McFadden.
The talented cast of more than 40 actors includes several local connections. Maurica Roland (Ensemble/Understudy Nala, Shenzi & Sarabi) is a Pensacola, FL native and graduate of the Louisiana State University music education program. Additionally, Amyia Burrell (ensemble) graduated from Sam Houston High School in Lake Charles, and this will be the first time she performs professionally in New Orleans. The North American touring production of THE LION KING has been seen by over 13.5 million theatergoers and grossed over $875 million to date. Having already played more than 60 cities across North America, THE LION KING now proudly makes its New Orleans premiere at the Mahalia Jackson Theater.
In its 15th year, THE LION KING remains ascendant, continuing to reign as a cultural phenomenon and one of the most popular stage musicals in the world. Since its Broadway premiere on November 13, 1997, 19 productions around the globe have been seen by more than 63 million people, grossed over $4.7 billion and have, cumulatively, run a staggering 89 years. Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher), THE LION KING is the seventh longest-running musical in Broadway history and one of only six productions in theatre history to play for ten years or more both on Broadway and in the West End. Translated into seven different languages (Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Mandarin, Spanish), the show has been performed in 14 different countries on five continents. THE LION KING can currently be seen on Broadway, on stages across North America, and in Tokyo, London's West End, Hamburg and Madrid.