The Broadway production of The Lion King has announced that Davis Matthews and Donovan Louis Bazemore will alternate in the role of Young Simba beginning on June 6. They will replace Kenneth E. Johnson, Jr. and Dylin Rodrigo, who will exit the production at the Minskoff Theatre on June 4.
The Lion King will mark Matthews’ Broadway debut; he started performing at the age of six with White Plains Performing Arts Center and has also performed at Sandbox Theater and Random Farms Kids Theater. Bazemore, an alum of the Broadway and touring productions of The Lion Kinghas also been seen onstage in regional mountings of Ragtime, Rachel and The Snow Day.
Matthews and Bazemore will join a current The Lion King cast that includes L. Steven Taylor as Mufasa, Michael Hollick as Scar, Tshidi Manye as Rafiki, Cameron Pow as Zazu, Ben Jeffrey as Pumbaa, Fred Berman as Timon, Brandon A. McCall as Simba, Pearl Khwezi as Nala, James Brown-Orleans as Bonzai, Bonita J. Hamilton as Shenzi and Rob Sapp as Ed, with Ava Hailey Harris and Jillian Paige Platero alternating as Young Nala. Casting is by Mark Brandon of ARC.
Featuring a book by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi, music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice, The Lion King is directed by Julie Taylor, with choreography by Garth Fagan and musical direction by Joseph Church. The production features scenic design by Richard Hudson, costume design by Julie Taymor, lighting design by Donald Holder and sound design by Tony Meola.