June 15, 2003 For Virgin Islanders who have felt a pounding in their heart at the thought of seeking fame and glory on the Broadway stage, but haven't hazarded the trip north to the Great White Way just yet, there is a new reason to dream: for the first time in Reichhold Center Director David Edgecombe's memory, and probably for the first time in history, Broadway is coming to the Virgin Islands.
From June 30 to July 2, Disney Theatrical productions will be holding open auditions at St. Thomas' Reichhold Center for the Arts to cast parts in the Broadway and National Touring Companies of the smash hit, Tony Award-winning musical, "The Lion King."
"The Lion King" — with music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice and book by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi — is based on the famous 1994 animated feature of the same title. It tells the story of Simba, a lion cub who is tricked by his evil Uncle Scar into thinking he killed is father, Mufasa, the ruler of the pride. Guilt-ridden and heart-broken, Simba flees into exile and abandons his identity as the future king, only to win his way back to the crown with the help of his friends Pumbaa, Timon and Nala.
So if you think you have the stuff to sing Simba, the muscles for Mufasa, or the temerity to tackle Timon, warm up your vocal chords, strap on your dancing shoes and head to Brewer's Bay, because Broadway, it seems, is willing to meet you more than half way.
"We've been trying to get the word out about these auditions to as many people as possible," Edgecombe said. "We would like to provide Disney with enough talented people so that they stay interested in the Virgin Islands not only for 'The Lion King' casting, but for all of their productions."
And if the recent StarFest9 production is any indication, the possibility for a lasting relationship with Disney is definitely there.
The idea to do the casting here in the V.I. was first presented to Tourism Commissioner Pamela Richards through the territory's offices in New York. Richards thought the idea was interesting and passed it along to Edgecombe, who made the arrangements with Disney.
According to Reichhold Center Marketing Director Rick Le Burkein, the territory is a natural place for a production like "The Lion King" to go looking for fresh faces. "We have an extraordinary amount of talent in the region, and a rich cultural history of dance and song," he said.
Disney is looking for actors, singers and dancers ages 18 to 35 from all cultural backgrounds to fill principal and ensemble roles that will require performers who have strong rock/pop voices, sex appeal and charm, according to a release.
Auditions are being conducted by Binder Casting at the Reichhold Center located at No. 2 Brewer's Bay. All auditioners are asked to bring a recent headshot and resume stapled back to back.
Sign-in for singers will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, June 30, with auditions set to begin at 10 a.m. Singers should prepare 16 bars of a song that shows off their voice and range, and must bring their own sheet music. A pianist will be provided at the audition.
Female dancers will audition on Tuesday, July 1. Sign-in begins at 9 a.m. and dancers should be warmed up and ready to dance by 10.
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