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Disney’s The Lion King Casting Announced

By Urbanmatter Chicago @UMatterChicago

Casting Announced for the World’s #1 Musical

Chicago’s Limited Return Engagement Plays the Cadillac Palace Theatre December 2, 2015 To January 17, 2016

CHICAGO (Nov. 18, 2015) – Broadway In Chicago is pleased to announce casting for the return engagement of Disney’s The Lion King. The World’s #1 Musical will leap onto the stage of the Cadillac Palace Theatre (151 W Randolph) from December 2, 2015 to January 17, 2016.

Aaron Nelson, who plays “Simba”, is a Chicago native and first saw The Lion King at Broadway In Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre in 2005. Nia Holloway, who plays “Nala”, is originally from Markham, Illinois.

“Coming home to Chicago to play Simba feels like my own Circle of Life, after seeing The Lion King for the first time at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in 2005 and then working with Broadway In Chicago as an usher,” says Nelson.

The production also 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”, Keith Bennett as “Banzai”, Tiffany Denise Hobbs as “Shenzi” and Robbie Swift as “Ed.”

The role of “Young Simba” is alternated between BJ Covington and Tré Jones and the role of “Young Nala” is alternated between Savanna Fleisher and Mikari Tarpley.

The North American touring productions of The Lion King have been seen by more than 15 million theatergoers and grossed over $1 billion to date.  Having already played more than 70 cities across North America, The Lion King now proudly makes its Chicago return at the Cadillac Palace Theatre.  

About The Lion King

In its 18th year, The Lion King remains ascendant as one of the most popular stage musicals in the world.  Since its Broadway premiere on November 13, 1997, 22 global productions have been seen by more than 80 million people and, cumulatively, run a staggering 112 years.  Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher), The Lion King is only the second show in history to generate five productions worldwide running 10 or more years.  Translated into eight different languages (Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Spanish, Mandarin and Portuguese), productions of The Lion King can currently be seen on Broadway; London’s West End; Hamburg; Tokyo; Madrid; Melbourne, Australia; Mexico City; and on tour across North America and Japan, for a total of nine productions running concurrently across the globe.  Having played 20 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 has in recent years supervised new productions of the show around the world.

The Broadway score features Elton John and Tim Rice’s music 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 the haunting ballad “Shadowland.” 

The book has been adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed The Lion King animated 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), John Stefaniuk (associate director), Marey Griffith (associate choreographer), Clement Ishmael (music supervisor) and Doc Zorthian (production supervisor). Anne Quart serves as associate producer.

For more information worldwide, visit

Ticket Information

Individual tickets for Disney’s The Lion King at the Cadillac Palace Theatre are available now. Tickets for groups of 10 or more can be obtained by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710.  Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations and online at

For a complete performance schedule for Disney’s The Lion King, please visit

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