Andile Gumbi has taken over the role of Simba in the Broadway production of “The Lion King.”
Gumbi has previously performed the same role in productions in London, Sydney, Melbourne, Shanghai and South Africa. He is originally from South Africal, and his other stage credits include “Nkonyeni High,” “Ntsikana” and “Dance Through Me.” He has also appeared in the Australian film “Good Friday Appeal” and “Carols By Candlelight.”
The Broadway version of “The Lion King” is currently in its 15th year and is the fifth longest-running show in Broadway history. The production, which plays at the Minskoff Theatre, currently stars Alton Fitzgerald White as Mufasa and Patrick R. Brown performs the role of Scar. Other current cast members are Tshidi Manye (Rafiki), Jeff Binder (Zazu), Ben Jeffrey (Pumbaa), Fred Berman (Timon) and Syndee Winters (Nala).
Based on the 1994 Disney film of the same name, the production opened on November 13, 1997. The following year, it won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Scenic Design, Best Costume Design and Best Direction of a Musical. The latter went to popular director Julie Taymor, and made her the first woman to ever receive a Best Direction Tony.
Since that time, it has spawned 19 productions around the world, and has been seen by more than 65 million people. Cumulatively, the show has grossed over $4.8 billion and has been translated into seven different languages (German, Japanese, Korean, French, Dutch, Mandarin and Spanish). As of April of this year, the New York version is the highest-grossing Broadway show of all time.
The production features music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice that was first featured in the animated film. The team also wrote three additional songs especially for the musical version. The musical features a book by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi, and is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions.