One-on-one with the stars of ‘The Lion King’ musical

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Disney’s hit musical “The Lion King” has captured the hearts of people all over the world and now it’s captivating audiences right here in the Upstate.

Straight off of Broadway and onto the stage at the Peace Center, the Tony Award-winning musical is a larger than life production that brings a beloved movie to life right before your eyes.

7News caught up with the stars of the show in their natural environment at the Greenville Zoo.

“Sometimes I get to go out into the house and watch “The Circle of Life,” the opening number, and the reactions from the kids and from the audience that don’t typically go to much musical theater, their reaction to what they’re seeing is pretty amazing,” said DaShaun Young, who plays Simba.

Choreographers used the natural movements of animals to teach the actors how to embody their characters.

“We go through about a week learning the movement of the character with mirrors and people teaching you that movement, practiciting it so it becomes second nature,” Young said.

Along with that choreography, actors transform with the help of intricate costumes, puppets and masks.

“It’s hard for me to jump in and perform the show without the mask on. When I put on the mask, it feels natural and normal. I feel like I’m a lion,” Young told 7News.

The show takes the familiar story we all know and brings it back to its roots in Africa.

“We use all 5 South African languages. The fact that there’s 7 South Africans traveling with the show just to keep the authenticity of the language, it’s spectacular. It’s awesome,” said Buyi Zama who plays Rafiki.

With stunning visuals, lovable characters and songs you can’t help but sing along to, it’s no wonder why this show has become the most successful musical in history.

“You’re gonna laugh. You’re gonna cry. It gets to that emotional center and especially because it has lots of different languages, you stop trying to understand and you start to feel,” Zama said.

“The Lion King” is on stage at the Peace Center now through June 25. For tickets and showtimes, click here.

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