Clifton Oliver joins the Broadway cast of THE LION KING as Simba

The actor will make his first performance at the Minskoff Theatre on May 13, 2011 replacing Dashaun Young. Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, THE LION KING officially opened on Broadway on November 13, 1997.

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Broadway’s landmark musical event THE LION KING is pleased to welcome CLIFTON OLIVER as Simba, on Friday, May 13. Dashaun Young, who played his final Broadway performance on Saturday, May 7 as Simba, will reprise the role with the Las Vegas company on Monday, June 20. Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, THE LION KING is currently playing at Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre (200 West 45th Street). The show officially opened on Broadway on November 13, 1997.

Clifton Oliver originated the role of Simba in the Las Vegas production of THE LION KING at Mandalay Bay (2009) and the Los Angeles production at the Pantages Theater (2000) and performed as Simba on the first national tour. He also starred on Broadway as Benny (opposite Jordin Sparks) in IN THE HEIGHTS and as Fiyero in WICKED and appeared in the Los Angeles company of RAGTIME. Oliver’s Off-Broadway credits include ‘Wig Out’ and ‘Miracle Brothers’ (Vineyard Theatre). Touring productions include Benny in RENT (Australia) and Teen Angel in GREASE (second national). Television includes a guest starring role as Mad Hoops on ‘Law & Order: Criminal Intent’.

The Broadway cast of THE LION KING also features Gareth Saxe as the sardonic and deviously cunning Scar, Alton Fitzgerald White as Mufasa, the great warrior and ruler of the Pridelands, and Tshidi Manye as the wise baboon shaman Rafiki. Cameron Pow portrays the prim and proper hornbilled bird Zazu, Tom Alan Robbins is the carefree warthog Pumbaa, Fred Berman is the wisecracking meerkat Timon and Chaunteé Schuler is the loyal lioness Nala.

The three evil hyenas are played by James Brown-Orleans (Banzai), Bonita J. Hamilton (Shenzi) and Enrique Segura (Ed). The role of Young Simba is alternated between Judah Bellamy and Aubrey Omari Joseph and the role of Young Nala is alternated between Shaylin Becton and Khail Toi Bryant.

As it begins its 14th year THE LION KING remains ascendant, continuing to reign as a cultural phenomenon and one of the most popular stage musicals in the world. Since its 1997 Broadway premiere, 18 global productions have been seen by more than 55 million people, and grossed over $4.3 billion to date. Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher), THE LION KING is the seventh longest-running musical in Broadway history and one of only five productions in theatre history to play for ten years or more, both on Broadway and in the West End.  Translated into seven different languages (Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Mandarin, Spanish), the show has been performed in 14 different countries on five continents.  

THE LION KING can currently be seen on Broadway (its flagship production), on stages across North America, and in Las Vegas, London’s West End, Hamburg, Tokyo and Singapore. In October 2011, the first Spanish production will bow in Madrid.  

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, making Taymor the first woman in theatrical history bestowed with the honor. 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.

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