The monumental career of international singer/songwriter and performer, Elton John, has spanned more than three decades. Since launching his first tour in 1970, Elton has delivered over 4,000 performances in more than 80 countries. He is one of the top-selling solo artists of all time, with 1 diamond, 40 platinum or multi-platinum, and 23 gold albums and more than 300 million records sold worldwide. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences had awarded Elton multiple Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Legend Award. In the early 1990s, Elton collaborated with lyricist Tim Rice on the soundtrack for The Lion King, winning him an Academy Award. The album produced two top-selling, award-winning singles: “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” and “Circle of Life.” The Tony Award-winning Broadway productions of The Lion King and Aida both awarded Elton with Grammy Awards for Best Musical Show Album. Billy Elliot was nominated for a record-tying 15 Tony Awards and won 10, including Best Musical. In 1992, Elton established the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which today is one of the leading nonprofit HIV/AIDS organizations. In 1998, the Queen of England knighted him Sir Elton John, CBE. In 2004, Elton received the Kennedy Center Honor for his lifetime contributions to American culture and excellence through the performing arts. In 2003, Elton was honored as the first recipient of the prestigious BRITs Icon Award. Elton announced the ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road’ tour at New York’s Gotham Hall in January 2018. Encompassing 5 continents, and over 350 dates, this 3-year-long tour started in September 2018 and marks his retirement from touring after more than 50 years on the road. In May 2019 it was named Billboard’s Top Rock Tour. 2019 also saw the release of the critically acclaimed ‘Rocketman’ and global bestselling autobiography, ‘Me’. An epic fantasy musical motion picture of Elton’s life ‘Rocketman’ has been a box office smash, taking close to $200m at the box office, receiving a GRAMMY and four BAFTA Award nominations and winning an Oscar, Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Award for Best Original Song.
Cast & Creative
Tim Rice Lyrics
Tim Rice has worked in music, theatre and films since 1965 when he met Andrew Lloyd Webber, a fellow struggling songwriter. Rather than pursue Tim’s ambitions to write rock or pop songs they turned their attention to Andrew’s obsession – musical theatre. Their first collaboration (lyrics by Tim, music by Andrew) was an unsuccessful show based on the life of Dr. Barnardo, the Victorian philanthropist, The Likes of Us. Their next three works together were much more successful – Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Evita. Tim has also worked with other distinguished popular composers such as Elton John (the Lion King, Aida), Alan Menken (Aladdin, King David, Beauty and the Beast), Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson (Chess) and Stuart Brayson (From Here to Eternity). He has won several awards (Oscars, Tonys etc.) mainly for the wrong thing or for simply turning up.
Roger Allers Book
Roger Allers makes his Broadway debut with co-author Irene Mecchi, with this Tony®-nominated book, adapted from the animated feature, which he co-directed. Mr. Allers has been instrumental in shaping the structure and dialogue for many Disney animated features since 1988, including Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Oliver and Company, Rescuers Down Under, and the first CGI movie, Tron. He directed the Academy Award® nominated short The Little Matchgirl for Disney and co-directed the 2006 animated feature Open Season for Sony Studios. Prior to working with Disney, he created animation on children’s programs and features for studios in Boston, Toronto and Tokyo. Mr. Allers wrote and directed the 2015 animated adaptation of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, a book of philosophical poetry. Currently, he is writing an original musical for the stage.
Irene Mecchi Book
Irene began her association with Disney in March 1992, when she wrote Recycle Rex, the 1994 Environmental Media Award-winning animated short. Irene shares a screenplay credit on Disney’s animated features The Lion King, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Hercules. Along with co-author Roger Allers, she received a 1998 Tony® nomination for writing the book for The Lion King. Irene wrote the teleplay for ABC’s “Annie.” She shares a writing credit on Disney Pixar’s Brave, which won the Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature in 2013. Irene wrote the teleplay for NBC’s “Peter Pan Live!,” and recently developed television projects with NBC Universal and Netflix. She is currently working on a stage musical for Universal Stage Productions. Irene would like to thank the cast, crew, creative team and executives who keep The Lion King roaring ‘round the world.
Julie Taymor Director, Costume Design, Mask/Puppet Co-Design, Additional Lyrics
Julie Taymor won the 1998 Tony Award® for Best Direction of a Musical and for Best Costumes for The Lion King. It also garnered Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Drama League Awards for Taymor’s direction; three Moliere Awards,
including Best Musical and Best Costumes; and myriad awards for her original costume, mask and puppet designs. Taymor made her Broadway debut in 1996 with Juan
Darien: A Carnival Mass (Lincoln Center), nominated for five Tony Awards.
Other theatre work includes M. Butterfly
starring Clive Owen (Cort
Theatre), Grounded (Public Theatre),The
Green Bird (New Victory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, the Cort Theatre on
Broadway); Titus Andronicus; The Tempest; The Taming of the Shrew
(Theatre for a New Audience); The Transposed Heads (Lincoln
Center and American Music Theatre Festival); Liberty’s Taken (Castle
Hill Festival); and Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark (Foxwoods Theatre on Broadway). Her opera productions include the Pulitzer finalist, Grendel,
composed by Elliot Goldenthal (Los Angeles Opera and the Lincoln Center
Festival); Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, in repertory at the Metropolitan Opera since 2004; and Oedipus Rex with Jessye Norman, conducted by Seiji Ozawa, for which she earned the International Classical Music Award for Best Opera Production and an Emmy® for a subsequent film version. Her first film, “Fool’s Fire,” an adaptation of an Edgar Allan Poe short story, aired on PBS in 1992. Her feature films include Titus, starring Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange; Frida, starring Salma Hayek and
Alfred Molina (six 2002 Academy Award® nominations, winning two); Across
the Universe (2008 Golden Globe®- nomination for Best Musical/Comedy); and The Tempest, starring Helen Mirren, Djimon Hounsou, Russell Brand and Ben Whishaw. She recently directed The Glorias, starring Julianne Moore,
Alicia Vikander, Bette Midler and Janelle Monae based on the life of Gloria
Steinem, and completed a cinematic version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer
Night’s Dream, filmed during her stage production that ran at Theatre for a New Audience’s new home in Brooklyn. Taymor has received a MacArthur “genius” Grant, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Obie Awards, the first annual Dorothy B. Chandler Award in Theatre, 2015 Inductee to the Theatre Hall of Fame, among many others. A book spanning her career, Julie Taymor: Playing With Fire, is available from Abrams.
Garth Fagan Choreographer
Garth Fagan is the recipient of the 1998 Tony Award®, the 2000 Laurence Olivier Award (London, UK) and the 2004 Helpmann Award (Australia) for best choreography in a musical as well as the Drama Desk Award, the Astaire Award and the Outer Critics Circle Award for his work in The Lion King. Mr. Fagan was born in Kingston, Jamaica, where he received the Prime Minister’s Award, a Special Gold Musgrave Medal for his “Contribution to the World of Dance and Dance Theater” and in 2001, he received the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander. For more than 47 years he has toured the world with Garth Fagan Dance. On television the company has appeared on “Great Performances,” “The Tonight Show” and the Academy Awards®. Mr. Fagan forged his own dance language and technique from Afro-Caribbean, ballet and post-modern dance, and has choreographed for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Dance Theatre of Harlem, the Jose Limon Company, the New York City Ballet and others. In addition, he choreographed Joseph Papp’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and directed & choreographed the Duke Ellington street opera, Queenie Pie at the Kennedy Center. A Chancellor’s Award-winning Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of the State University of New York, his awards include the 2001 Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award, a Bessie Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Fulbright 50th Anniversary Distinguished Fellow. In 2001 he was the recipient of the Golden Plate Award and inducted into the American Academy of Achievement. He was selected in 2012 as an “Irreplaceable Dance Treasure” by The Dance Heritage Coalition. In 2017, Mr. Fagan received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the
American Dance Guild.
Lebo M. Additional Music & Lyrics, Vocal Score, Choral Director
Lebo M. is known as the “voice and spirit of The Lion King.” Once a teenage singer in Soweto, the GRAMMY® Award winner and Tony® nominee’s music brings audiences to tears with hauntingly inspiring African rhythms and melodies. Lebo’s talents have been hailed by the worldwide press in superlatives that might describe the most delightfully poetic of musical deities. Since his arrival in America, Lebo has attracted music industry giants such as Quincy Jones, Jimmy Cliff and Hans Zimmer as mentors, allies and collaborators. Lebo has performed and produced four albums, Rhythm of the Pride Lands (Disney), Deeper Meaning (Gallo) and The Lion King (Japanese and Hamburg cast recordings). Other credits include The Power of One, Back on the Block and Listen Up with Quincy Jones; the feature films Outbreak (Warner Bros.), Congo (Warner Bros.) and Born to Be Wild (Paramount); he is the composer and co-producer of the Legend of Tarzan theme song, “Opar;” and the Disney television special “People.” He has performed on the Academy Awards® and the Essence Awards Show, with Vanessa Redgrave at Kthimi-The Return in Kosovo, and been honored by Artists for a Free South Africa.
Mark Mancina Additional music & lyrics, Music produced for the stage, Additional Score
A Tony® nominee and multi-platinum, three-time Grammy Award®-winning composer, Mr. Mancina produced songs for Disney’s blockbuster animated feature film, and proved a uniquely qualified choice to produce the music for the stage production of The Lion King. The 1994 film’s critical and box office success spawned the hit album Rhythm of the Pride Lands, for which he co-wrote and produced multiple tracks, including “He Lives in You” and “Shadowland,” songs featured in the stage production. In addition to his songwriting and producing achievements, he is a seasoned film score composer. Mr. Mancina’s credits include mega-hits Moana, Training Day, Speed, Twister, Bad Boys, Tarzan, and August Rush among many others.
Hans Zimmer Additional Music & Lyrics
Hans Zimmer received the Oscar®, Golden Globe® and two Grammy® awards for his original film score for the film version of The Lion King. Zimmer has scored more than 120 films and television shows. Most recently, Zimmer composed the score for Christopher Nolan’s critically acclaimed film Dunkirk. Other notable scores of Zimmer’s include Gladiator, The Thin Red Line, As Good as It Gets, Rain Man, The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, Thelma and Louise, Black Hawk Down and The Last Samurai. This summer, Zimmer completed a highly successful, critically acclaimed tour across Europe and the U.S.
Jay Rifkin Additional Music & Lyrics
The Grammy Award®-winning producer, together with producing and composing partner Hans Zimmer, created Media Ventures, a multifaceted entertainment group that includes music, new media, film and television. Their partnership has earned them numerous awards and nominations, including Academy Award® nominations, for the film scores of Driving Miss Daisy, Rain Man and The Lion King. Following the success of The Lion King, Jay conceived and produced the gold-selling follow-up album Rhythm of the Pride Lands. He is also chairman of Media Revolution and a founder of the film production company Media Ventures Pictures.
Richard Hudson Scenic Design
Richard Hudson was born in Zimbabwe and educated in Zimbabwe and England. In 1988 he won a Laurence Olivier Award for designing a season of seven plays at the Old Vic Theatre, London. His set designs for The Lion King have won numerous awards, including a Tony® in 1998. He is a Royal Designer for Industry (RDI). In 2003 he won the Gold Medal for Set Design at the Prague Quadriennale, and in 2005 he was given an honorary doctorate by the University of Surrey. He has designed sets and costumes for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, the Young Vic and the Gate, London. In opera he has worked at the Royal Opera, English National Opera, La Scala Milan, Metropolitan Opera New York, Opera National de Paris, Lyric Opera Chicago, Staatsoper Vienna, Glyndebourne Festival Opera and in Zurich, Munich, Amsterdam, Venice, Florence, Turin, Bregenz, Houston and Washington. He designed American Ballet Theatre’s current productions of The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet for National Ballet of Canada, and La Bayadère and Le Coq D’or for Royal Danish Ballet.
Donald Holder Lighting Design
Donald Holder received the 1998 Tony®, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for the Lion King (Broadway) and the Moliere Award for The Lion King (Paris). Broadway: Over fifty productions, including: Anastasia; She Loves Me (2016 Revival); The King and I (2015 Revival); The Bridges of Madison County; Golden Boy; South Pacific (2008 Tony Award); Oslo, Ragtime, Les Liasons Dangereuses; A Streetcar Named Desire; Gem of the Ocean; Movin’ Out; Juan Darien (all Tony nominated); On The Twentieth Century; You Can’t Take It With You; Spiderman-Turn Off the Dark; Promises, Promises; Annie (2012 revival); Arcadia; Come Fly Away; Cyrano de Bergerac; The Little Dog Laughed; Thoroughly Modern Millie; The Boy from Oz; and many others. Television: “Smash” seasons one and two, NBC/DreamWorks. Education: Yale School Of Drama, Head of Lighting Design, Rutgers University.
Michael Curry Mask & Puppet Design
Over 25 years Michael has worked widely as a visual and concept designer for numerous companies, such as Disney Theme Parks and Theatrical Productions, Cirque du Soleil, The Metropolitan Opera, seven Olympics Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Universal Studios Theme Parks, and many others. He collaborates regularly with visionary directors and producers. Mr. Curry has received many prestigious awards, including several for his work on Broadway, Olympic ceremonies, and his continued innovations in the fields of scenic visual effects, and puppetry design. In the music industry Michael is known for his innovative designs for Michael Jackson, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and countless others. Michael Curry Design, Inc. is comprised of 50 innovative designers and fabricators who conceive and produce state of the art creations for live entertainment. His studio is located in Portland, Oregon.
Michael Ward Hair & Makeup Design
Michael Ward designs for opera and theatre. For Disney: the Lion King (Broadway and others) and Der Glöckner von Notre Dame (Berlin). Other work has been seen in Britain, the United States, Holland, France, Japan, Israel and Portugal. Along with his design work in theatre, he works as a garden and landscape designer.
Binder Casting/Mark Brandon, CSA Casting
Binder Casting, now part of RWS Entertainment Group, was founded by Jay Binder, CSA in 1984. Binder Casting has cast over 80 Broadway productions, dozens of National Tours, off-Broadway shows, full seasons for over 25 regional theatres, as well as feature films, episodic television and commercials. Binder has cast for Encores! at New York City Center since its inception in 1994. The office was also featured in the documentary, Every Little Step. Binder Casting is a twelve–time recipient of the Artios Award. www.bindercasting.com
Robert Elhai Associate Producer, Orchestrator
This Tony® and Drama Desk nominee has arranged and orchestrated Oscar, Grammy, and Emmy-winning music for composers Elliot Goldenthal (Juan Darien, Frida), Alan Menken (Galavant), Brian Tyler (Iron Man 3, Fast and Furious series) and many others. His compositions have graced theater and concert stages around the world. www.robertelhai.com
David Metzger Orchestrator
Along with his work on The Lion King, for which he was nominated for Tony and Drama Desk awards, Dave is orchestrating the upcoming Broadway production of Frozen. Perhaps best known for his work in film, he has arranged and orchestrated over 60 movies, including Frozen, Moana, Tarzan®, The Avengers, How to Train Your Dragon (1 and 2), August Rush, and Planes (1 and 2). davemetzgermusic.com.
Bruce Fowler Orchestrator
Bruce Fowler is an accomplished trombonist who has played with such notables as Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Frank Zappa, Toshiko Akiyoshi and Don Van Vliet. He performs with his family’s band, The Fowler Brothers (there are five Fowlers); his own band, The Enormous Bones; and Banned from Utopia. Bruce was the supervising orchestrator for Pearl Harbor (he also composed the big band numbers), Shrek, As Good as It Gets, Black Hawk Down and Hans Zimmer’s Academy Award®-winning The Lion King movie score.
Clement Ishmael Musical Supervisor
Clement is a conductor, composer and arranger. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto and Royal Conservatory of Music, where he specialised in composition and conducting as well as singing with Joyce Britten. Conducting credits include Abbey Players Opera Company, Ad Astra Chorus, Addison Jazz Ensemble and West London Gospel Choir. He also conducted the new ballet Awakening at Sadlers Wells. West End credits include: Five Guys Named Moe, Ain’t Misbehavin’ Smokey Joe’s Café, and Soul Train. He has also directed and arranged the music for numerous shows which include: Sweet Lorraine, Up Against the Wall, The Amen Corner, The Grape Vine, The Cavalcaders and most recently Gem of the Ocean at the Tricycle Theatre. His classical compositions and arrangements have been performed worldwide as well as being broadcast by BBC Television and Radio. His opera Grazyna was performed at the Royal Opera House’s Lindbury Studio and his most recent commission, for the London Piano Trio was performed at Cardogan Hall in 2008.
John Stefaniuk Associate Director
A native of Toronto, Canada, John studied theatre at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Upon leaving school, John worked as an actor and voice over artist in both Canada and the U.K. He can be heard in many cartoons and commercials as well as being heard as the voice of the Cartoon Network. He has taught, directed and guest lectured for many theatre schools and colleges in Toronto, New York, and London including the Royal Academy of Music, Sylvia Young Theatre School, and Duke University. For three years John was the Artistic Director for Stagedoor Manor in New York directing many productions including Side Show, Sweeney Todd, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream starring Natalie Portman and Bryce Howard. John has worked as Resident Director for Cameron Macintosh and JAR Productions on Hey Mr. Producer!, and for Disney’s The Lion King at London’s Lyceum Theatre as well as the American National Tour. John is thrilled to be continuing his work with this incredible company.
Marey Griffith Associate Choreographer
A native New Yorker, Miss Griffith toured worldwide with the acclaimed Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater as a featured dancer/soloist for 8 years. She is most known for her performances in the works of the late, world renowned choreographer Ulysses Dove. Other guest appearances include Déjà vu Dance Theatre, and the Spoleto festival in Italy. She worked as co-choreographer on the star studded production of The Wizard of Oz in concert at Avery Fisher Hall with Nathan Lane, Joel Grey, Jewel and Natalie Cole. Miss Griffith has appeared in numerous commercials and voice-overs. Her soap opera credits include As the World Turns and Another World. She has also performed with Sight and Sound Theatre in Lancaster, PA. Miss Griffith joined the creative team of THE LION KING in August of 2000. She feels privileged to work with choreographer Garth Fagan.
THE LION KING Orchestra
THE LION KING orchestra is one of the three largest orchestras currently on Broadway. Its 23 members play 132 different instruments, 87 of which are played by the four percussionists. For more information on Broadway orchestras and the members of THE LION KING orchestra, visit www.broadwaymusicians.com.
Steve Canyon Kennedy Sound Design
Steve Canyon Kennedy was the production engineer on such Broadway shows as Cats, Starlight Express, Song & Dance, The Phantom of the Opera, Carrie, and Aspects of Love. Broadway sound design credits include On Your Feet, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill (Tony Award®), Hands On A Hardbody (Drama Desk Award), Jesus Christ Superstar, Catch Me If You Can, Guys and Dolls, Mary Poppins, The Lion King, Jersey Boys (Drama Desk Award), Billy Crystal’s 700 Sundays, Hairspray, The Producers, Aida, Titanic, Big, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Carousel, and The Who’s Tommy (Drama Desk Award).