Disney Theatrical Productions, under the direction of Thomas Schumacher, have announced casting for the North American tours of Disney’s Frozen and The Lion King which will return to the road this fall beginning in Buffalo and Cleveland, respectively.
Returning to the cast of the Frozen North American tour are Caroline Bowman as “Elsa,” Caroline Innerbichler as “Anna,” Austin Colby (Bowman’s husband) as “Hans,” F. Michael Haynie as “Olaf,” Mason Reeves as “Kristoff” and Collin Baja and Evan Strand alternating as “Sven.”
Joining these returning stars are new tour principal cast members Robert Creighton (Buffalo resident) as “Weselton,” a role he originated in the Broadway production of Frozen; Natalia Artigas (“Young Elsa”) and Olivia Jones (“Young Anna”) and real-life sisters Natalie Grace Chan (“Young Elsa”) and Victoria Hope Chan (“Young Anna”).
Frozen also features Caelan Creaser, Jeremy Davis, Colby Dezelick, Michael Everett, Berklea Going, Michael Allan Haggerty, Tyler Jimenez, Hannah Jewel Kohn, Marina Kondo, Dustin Layton, Nika Lindsay, Tatyana Lubov, Adrianna Rose Lyons, Michael Milkanin, Kyle Lamar Mitchell, Jessie Peltier, Naomi Rodgers, Brian Steven Shaw, Daniel Switzer, Zach Trimmer, Brit West, and Natalie Wisdom.
Returning to the cast of The Lion King North American tour are Spencer Plachy as “Scar,” Gerald Ramsey as “Mufasa,” Nick Cordileone as “Timon,” Jürgen Hooper as “Zazu,” Ben Lipitz as “Pumbaa,” Kayla Cyphers as “Nala,” Keith Bennett as “Banzai,” Martina Sykes as “Shenzi,” Robbie Swift as “Ed,” Charlie Kahler as “Young Simba” and Kalandra Rhodes as “Young Nala.”
Joining these returning stars are new tour principal cast members Gugwana Dlamini as “Rafiki,” who since 2002 has played the role in multiple worldwide productions of The Lion King, including the North American tour, and mostly recently in London’s West End. Darian Sanders returns to the tour in the role of “Simba.” Jaylen Lyndon Hunter joins the tour as “Young Simba” (alternating with Charlie Kahler) and Nia Mulder will play “Young Nala” (alternating with Kalandra Rhodes).
The Lion King also features Derek Adams, Kayla Rose Aimable, Sandy Alvarez, William John Austin, Eric Bean, Jr., TyNia René Brandon, Sasha Caicedo, Sean Aaron Carmon, Kyle Robert Carter, Thembelihle Cele, Adrianne Chu, Daniela Cobb, Lyric Danae, Paige Fraser, Tony Freeman, Mukelisiwe Goba, Jamal Lee Harris, Alia Kache, Gabisile Manana, Christopher L. McKenzie, Jr., Marq Moss, Nhlanhla Ndlovu, Aaron Nelson, Sihle Ngema, Sicelo Ntshangase, Sayiga Eugene Peabody, Kevin Petite, Yael Pineda-Hall, Nathan Andrew Riley, Maurica Roland, Christopher Sams, Jennifer Theriot, Courtney Thomas and Shacura Wade.
Heralded by The New Yorker as “thrilling” and “genuinely moving,” Frozen has joined Disney Theatrical Productions’ megahit The Lion King on tour across North America, and the critics agree, “It’s simply magical!” (LA Daily News).
“Disney’s struck gold! Sumptuous sets, gorgeous costumes, and plenty of special effects to wow the audience!” raves the New York Post. “With the magic, the dancing, and all those iconic tunes, Frozen was born to be a stage musical!” writes the Evening Standard. The Los Angeles Times declares “the North American tour is irresistible in its creativity and verve” and The Hollywood Reporter proclaims that Frozen is “thawing hearts from coast to coast!”
By the end of 2021 there will be five productions of Frozen around the world, including Australia, Japan, London and Hamburg. The Tony®-nominated Best Musical completed its Broadway run in March 2020 after breaking four house records at The St. James Theatre.
Frozen has been created for the stage by an award-winning team and features the songs you know and love from the original Oscar®-winning film, plus an expanded score with a dozen new numbers by the film’s songwriters, Oscar winner Kristen Anderson-Lopez and EGOT winner Robert Lopez. Joining them on a creative team that has won a cumulative 16 Tony Awards are Oscar winner Jennifer Lee (book), Tony and Olivier Award winner Michael Grandage (director), and Tony winner Rob Ashford (choreographer).
The design team for Frozen includes scenic and costume design by two-time Tony and Olivier Award winner Christopher Oram, lighting design by six-time Tony Award winner Natasha Katz, sound design by seven-time Tony nominee Peter Hylenski, video design by Tony winner Finn Ross, puppet design by Michael Curry, hair design by David Brian Brown, makeup design by Anne Ford-Coates, and special effects design by Jeremy Chernick.
Two-time Tony Award winner Stephen Oremus is music supervisor and creates vocal, incidental and dance arrangements. He is joined on the music team by Tony nominee Dave Metzger (orchestrations), Chris Montan (executive music producer), David Chase (additional dance arrangements), and Faith Seetoo (music director).
Anne Quart serves as co-producer.
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, with four of those 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 supervises 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.