With puppetry and storytelling, Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ musical brings the Serengeti to life at Altria Theater Tuesday
The animals of Pride Rock will return to Richmond tomorrow to bring the African Serengeti to life in the touring production of Disney’s “The Lion King.”
One of the most popular and highest grossing musical of all time, “The Lion King” entertains with puppetry, song and dance, and evokes nostalgia with its telling of Disney’s classic tale of lion cub Simba coming into his own and claiming his kingdom.
The production, adapted from the 1994 film, features Patrick R. Brown as “Scar,” Gerald Ramsey as “Mufasa,”Mukelisiwe Goba as “Rafiki,” Drew Hirshfield as “Zazu,” Ben Lipitz as “Pumbaa,”Nick Cordileone as “Timon,” Aaron Nelson as “Simba,” Nia Holloway as “Nala,” Keith Bennett as “Banzai,” Tiffany Denise Hobbs as “Shenzi” and Robbie Swift as “Ed.”
With a worldwide gross of over $6.2 billion, “The Lion King” stage musical has now achieved the most successful box office total of any work in any media in entertainment history.
Broadway in Richmond premiered the musical here in 2011 and people have lined up around the block each season its returned.
“Performing in “The Lion King” has been a great experience and has given me the opportunity to connect with people from all over the world and to work with some of the most hard-working, talented and professional people in the field,” said Mukelisiwe Goba who plays the role of “Rafiki.”
Born in South Africa, and returning for her second year in the musical, Goba shared why she enjoys performing in the musical so much.
“As an African lady, it feels like I’m home, it talks about everything that is here, it’s something i grew up with,” she said.
With music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice, “The Lion King” features nearly 20 musical numbers. Besides the classics “Circle of Life,” and “Hakuna Matata,” the musical also features songs in Zulu and Swahili.
In a statement, Thomas Schumacher, president and producer at Disney Theatrical Productions recalled their mission from the start of the production which began in May 1997.
“Our goal then was to tell the story purely and theatrically so that audiences could feel it in their heart,” he added.
Between the elaborate, colorful and lifelike animal costumes, the music, and choreography, Goba said she couldn’t decide on what stood out the most in the musical.
“Everything is amazing,” she said. “It’s such an incredible experience.”
Take a look behind the scenes at the costumes used in the stage performance with Gretchen Heidenreich, wardrobe assistant for “The Lion King.”
Attendees will even receive a personal and interactive experience at the musical as cast members dressed as giraffes, elephants and of course lions, parade through the aisles taking them on an exotic safari as they tell the story.
“The reaction from the audience when we are performing is always overwhelming,” said Goba. “It’s an honor to connect with audiences while we are performing and it’s so rewarding for the cast when we see patrons crying tears of joy from the performance.”
Lion King opens at The Altria Theater April 19 and will run through May 8 and performances will run on Tuesdays through Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays at 8:00 pm, Saturdays at 2:00 and 8:00 pm and Sundays at 1:00 and 6:30 pm with one weekday matinee on Thursday, May 5 at 2:00 pm.
Tickets range from $28 to $159. and can be purchased here. Premium Ticket Packages, which include prime seat locations, a commemorative souvenir program and an exclusive merchandise item, are also available.
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