Aphiwe Nyezi. Photo by Disney

Disney’s The Lion King UK & Ireland tour announces new cast

The UK & Ireland Tour of Disney’s award-winning musical The Lion King has revealed new casting for the show.

Aphiwe Nyezi is set to star as ‘Simba’, with Brian Gilligan as ‘Scar’ and Andre Jewson as ‘Zazu’. The trio start performing from 5 September 2023.

Also joining the cast are Aleasha Grace, Francessca Daniella-Baker, Phumelele Jili, Joshua Lloyd, Abon Saliljan, Keorapetse Sebokolodi and Karlene Wray.

The existing principal cast members include Thandazile Soni as ‘Rafiki’, Jean-Luc Guizonne as ‘Mufasa’, Janique Charles as ‘Nala’ (until 16 Sep), Nokwanda Khuzwayo as ‘Nala’ (from 28 Sep), Alan McHale as ‘Timon’ and Carl Sanderson as ‘Pumba’.

The talented, truly international company are from 17 countries around the world.

The show is currently playing at the Birmingham Hippodrome until 16 September, and then moves to Dublin’s Bord Gáis Energy Theatre from 28 September to 11 November 2023, where it completes its UK and Ireland Tour.

Aphiwe Nyezi was born in Cape Town, South Africa and is currently a member of The Lion King company in London’s West End. Brian Gilligan, from Dublin, Ireland, is currently covering the role of ‘Scar’ in UK & Ireland Tour cast and has featured in numerous stage productions including Romeo & Juliet at Mill Theatre Dublin and Jimmy’s Hall at Abbey Theatre Dublin. Australia’s Andre Jewson has played ‘Zazu’ across the globe in the International Tour and Australian Tour of The Lion King.

Julie Taymor’s internationally celebrated stage adaptation of The Lion King opened on Broadway in 1997 and 25 global productions in nine different languages have been created since then: English, Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Spanish, Mandarin and Portuguese. The Lion King is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, under the direction of Thomas Schumacher.

Since the UK premiere in 1999, The Lion King in London has entertained more than 18 million theatregoers and is the sixth longest-running West End musical of all time.

Scenic design for the production is by British designer Richard Hudson and lighting is by Donald Holder. Costume design is by Julie Taymor, and choreography by Garth Fagan. The book was adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed the animated feature and Irene Mecchi, who co-wrote the screenplay.

The original score from the animated film by Elton John and Tim Rice was expanded for the stage and now features 15 musical numbers. As well as Elton and Tim writing completely new songs, South African composer Lebo M created an evocative blend of African rhythms and chorales, with additional material by Julie Taymor and Mark Mancina.

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

Disney's The Lion King

Book tickets

📷 Main photo: Aphiwe Nyezi. Photo by Disney

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