Owen Chaponda and Merryl Ansah to star in The Lion King in the West End of London

Owen Chaponda and Merryl Ansah have been announced to take over the roles of Simba and Nala in Disney’s The Lion King in London.

The award-winning West End production of Disney’s The Lion King will welcome Owen Chaponda (Back to the Future; The Colour Purple) and Merryl Ansah (Heathers; Crazy for You), who will step into the iconic roles of ‘Simba’ and ‘Nala’, this spring on 9 May 2023. This will mark their return to the show, both having previously performed in the ensemble in the West End production.

Owen Chaponda said, “Taking over the role of Simba in the West End is unbelievably exciting. I loved every minute of being in the show as an ensemble member so returning as such an iconic character is a real dream come true.

Simba is a diverse character , his playfulness in contrast to his soft and vulnerable side is extremely fun to play with, he is young and full of energy but also has this huge emotional journey that he embarks on with his father Mufasa, his uncle Scar and his best friend Nala every night. He really needs Nala’s help to do that growing up so taking on the role with Merryl as she grows into Nala too will really add an extra level on and off stage which i can’t wait explore”

Merryl Ansah said, “Nala is amazing! She’s such a strong female character who leads with integrity and also allows herself to be vulnerable while really holding the Pridelands together. She has her own journey with the lionesses as well as with Simba and I’m excited for both those parts of the role.

I cannot wait to be back in this show, and, not only that, to be stepping into the role at the same time as Owen joins makes it an even more special journey for us both. We’re ready to take the Pridelands together!”

The production will also welcome Rhiane Drummond as Shenzi, Jorell Coiffic-Kamall as Banzai, along with new ensemble cast members: Gibsa Bah, Shaquille Brush, Stedroy Cabey, Nikki Cheung, Kat Collings, Marlee Jay, Tomas Larraguivel, Gennaro Maffettone, Lanya Matthews, Daniel Mejia, Sipho Mlombile, Ntethelelo Nhlapo, Dillan Hope Suttle and Francesca Thompson. They will begin performances on Tuesday 9 May.

The new cast will join a uniquely international company of over 50 actors, dancers and singers from 15 countries from around the world, led by, George Asprey as Scar, Shaun Escoffery as Mufasa, Gary Jordan as Zazu, Jamie McGregor as Timon, Thenjiwe Thendiva Nofemele as Rafiki, Mark Roper as Pumbaa and Mark Tatham as Ed.

Since the UK premiere in 1999, The Lion King London has entertained more than 18 million theatre goers at its home at the Lyceum Theatre and is the sixth longest-running West End musical of all time. The show is currently booking at the Lyceum until 15 October 2023.

Book tickets to Disney’s The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre London.

📷 Main photo: Owen Chaponda & Merryl Ansah - (c) Disney

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