“The Lion King” is halfway through its run at the Kennedy Center, and audiences can’t get enough. The production is in D.C. until July 29 and some of the cast gathered at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library to discuss their background, the musical, and the work it takes to bring a show such as “The Lion King” to life.
Before seeing the award-winning stage production, the team for the musical admitted that audiences often expect to see something like the animated film.
“There [are] enough parallels to the movie, but the action, the fighting, the hyenas, and the other theatrical spectacle elements do grab the audience,” said Khalifa White, adult Nala in the production.
At various points during the musical, it seemed like hundreds of people were on the stage. Darian Sanders, who plays adult Simba, explained that the ensemble rotated between multiple roles.
“A fun fact is that I actually started in the ensemble understudying Simba,” Sanders said. “I had about 12-15 costume changes in the ensemble, which was pretty crazy.”
White said traveling is also an added bonus of performing in the touring production of “The Lion King.”
“I like the travel aspect of it a lot. I love seeing new cities and different audiences,” said White about the national touring company of the musical. “We get different audiences and feel their cultural vibe.”
Sanders shared he was on a different path before getting the theater bug. He was in ministry for 16 years and has a perspective about “The Lion King,” which supports his life vision.
“It’s been an unexpected journey, but it has also been beautiful.”
For tickets and more information, go to kennedy-center.org