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Janique Charles (Nala) and Nick Afoa (Simba) in Disney’s The Lion King (Photo: Disney)

Janique Charles (Nala) and Nick Afoa (Simba) in Disney's The Lion King (Photo: Disney)

Lion King welcomes new cast members

First Published 9 May 2017, Last Updated 9 May 2017

Today, the London production of The Lion King welcomes 11 new cast members, including Janique Charles, Gary Jordan and Dominique Planter who take over the principal roles of ‘Nala’, ‘Zazu’ and ‘Shenzi’ respectively.

You can see our exclusive interview with Janique about the role above.

Now in its 18th triumphant year, over 14 million people have seen Disney’s award-winning musical at the Lyceum Theatre.

The Lion King marks Janique Charles’ West End debut. Born and raised in Trinidad & Tobago, Janique moved to London to join the UK touring cast of The Lion King in 2013. A rising star, she has travelled extensively and brings her experiences to her role as Nala. She joined the London production of The Lion King in May 2016 as part of the ensemble cast, but she now steps up to play the principal role of Nala.

Janique Charles (Nala) and Nick Afoa (Simba) in Disney's The Lion King (Photo: Disney)

Janique Charles (Nala) and Nick Afoa (Simba) in Disney’s The Lion King (Photo: Disney)

Gary Jordan has performed in London’s West End in Grease (Victoria Palace), Anyone Can Whistle (Savoy) and in the UK tours of High Society and Playdays Live. Gary is also a pianist and musical director.

Dominique Planter has been a swing in the The Lion King since 2016, this marks her West End debut in a principal role.
The Lion King also welcomes new cast members from The Philippines, Malawi, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Brazil and the UK: Lila Anderson, Owen Chaponda, Deborah Dada, Debôrah Godchaser, Brian James Leys, Nathan Louis-Fernand, Nonhlanhla Makthathini, Rutendo Mushonga, Luciano Santos Souza and Karlene Wray.

They join a uniquely international company, which already includes performers from 11 countries around the world. The company is led by George Asprey as Scar, Shaun Escoffery as Mufasa, Brown Lindiwe Mkhize as Rafiki, Richard Frame as Timon, Keith Bookman as Pumbaa, Nick Afoa as Simba, David Blake as Banzai and Mark McGee as Ed.

Disney’s award-winning musical The Lion King is now in its 18th triumphant year at London’s Lyceum Theatre. Since the UK premiere in London on Tuesday 19th October 1999, The Lion King has entertained over 14 million theatregoers and remains the West End’s best-selling stage production. It is currently the sixth longest-running West End musical of all time. Tickets are currently on sale until 25th May 2018 for Groups.

Julie Taymor’s internationally-celebrated stage adaptation of Disney’s beloved animation film premiered on Broadway in 1997 and has now been seen by more than 90 million people across six continents. Ten productions are running concurrently around the globe. In addition to the record-breaking production in London and New York, The Lion King can currently be seen in Hamburg, Madrid, Scheveningen (The Netherlands), Shanghai, Tokyo, Sapporo, Mexico City and across North America.

The Lion King is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions.

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