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INTERVIEW: Shaun Escoffery & George Asprey, each celebrating 15 Years within the London manufacturing of The Lion King


Since opening in 1997, 24 international productions of The Lion King had been observed by way of greater than 100 million other folks in over 100 towns in 20 nations, on each continent except for Antarctica, and its international gross exceeds that of any leisure name in field place of business historical past and is the West Finish’s best-selling level manufacturing and the 6th longest-running West Finish musical of all time.

Shaun Escoffery and George Asprey, who play Mufasa and Scar in Disney’s The Lion King within the West Finish, each celebrated their fifteenth anniversary within the landmark manufacturing, making them the longest-serving performers within the roles in any manufacturing of The Lion King respectively.

We had been lucky sufficient to meet up with them concerning the adventure they’ve each been on on this mammoth West Finish display. 

At first, a large congratulations for your fifteenth anniversary in The Lion King. How does it really feel to have reached this large milestone? 

George Asprey: Relatively surreal. It’s no longer a case of celebrating longevity since you simplest ever take one tune at a time. It’s extra like an accumulation since you’re simplest ever as just right as your remaining display however now rapidly we have had fifteen years of the display. 

Shaun Escoffery: It’s a phenomenal honour. I glance again at myself and my spouse in crime George with fondness and gratitude. We by no means dreamed we’d be doing this display for fifteen years. I believe extraordinarily fortunate so that you can do one thing we adore with consistency. We’re each conscious about the massive duty that we have got. 

The Lion King has been operating for some time now, however to your revel in how a lot has modified within the display over time?

George Asprey: The primary adjustments we’ve observed had been the forged as every yr we’ve got new other folks becoming a member of. They all the time herald a distinct power which we take in and it simply brings a contemporary point of view to the display which is superb.

Shaun Escoffrey: I might consider George – when other folks sign up for the corporate they bring about a brand new power and pleasure. We even have the dynamic of operating with kids who’re good and spontaneous. Or even inside of our roles, we’re all the time in quest of to find new issues and to stay exploring and creating our characters.

It is in truth moderately uncommon that an actor within the West Finish remains various years in a display. What made you guys need to keep via for your fifteenth Yr?

George Asprey: I really like the function of Scar. I feel he’s the most effective Disney villain ever created. He’s so suave and witty. And I really like no longer simplest my function however the entire inventive revel in of the level display which continues to wonder me. 

Shaun Escoffery: To start with, I really like the display, love the tune and the nature of Mufassa. I additionally love the forged individuals and the corporate – I’ve made a few of my ideally suited pals right here. I simply love the entirety concerning the display and my center is firmly right here and will probably be for the foreseeable long term…


What used to be your revel in with the display sooner than you began appearing in it?

George Asprey: I cherished the movie and used to be all the time interested in Scar. I cherished the wit of the nature and Jeremy Irons is one in all my favorite actors. When the musical got here out – it used to be so large – I by no means imagined I might be part of it. To then get an audition and be introduced the phase used to be a actually mind-blowing revel in.

Shaun Escoffrey: I bear in mind seeing at the information that The Lion King used to be coming to the West Finish and used to be right away . I auditioned for the function of Simba and were given an element within the ensemble however ended up signing a file deal as an alternative. I by no means in truth were given to look it till I were given the a part of Mufasa years later and it’s been probably the most improbable revel in ever since.

Different Disney motion pictures had been tailored into West Finish displays over time, with various levels of good fortune. What’s it about The Lion King that has stored audiences coming again for nearly 25 years? 

George Asprey: One explanation why for The Lion King’s good fortune has were given to be the tune, it’s the final soul tune. Each and every evening I see that the display appeals to each unmarried age staff on other ranges, from the spectacle that the children are amazed at via to the tale that the adults are totally invested in – it’s Shakespeare in any case the go back of the prodigal son!

Shaun Escoffrey: The place to even get started? It’s undying. There actually is one thing in it that everybody, regardless of the place they’re from, turns out to spot with. The tale turns out to go beyond languages and cultures and age teams. Along that you’ve got the natural spectacle of all of it – the tune and the harmonies and the costumes and the colors – it’s one thing particular. You’ll’t pigeonhole it as anyone factor, it stands by myself. It is a masterpiece.


What are a few of your favorite moments within the display?

George Asprey: My favorite second is when I am in conjunction with the level proper firstly of the display throughout The Circle of Lifestyles. I actually stand looking at this strange match spread sooner than my very eyes and I have were given the most productive seat in the home. Then Shaun comes out of the rock and we take a look at every different and provides every different a nod. We now have finished this each evening for 15 years, it is like, we’ve were given this.

Shaun Escoffrey: My favorite second continuously adjustments. I really like ‘Be Ready’, in particular proper on the finish when everybody within the display is actually giving it their all on the similar time – the hyenas are all scared and Scar’s at his maximum terrifying. It’s the sort of climactic second and I’m facet level about to head on so it units me up for my subsequent scene.

Are you able to see yourselves each doing any other 15 years within the display?

George Asprey: I actually don’t understand how lengthy that is going to head on for however at the present time I’m nonetheless loving each minute. I am enjoying an out of this world function, operating with improbable other folks and get to spend each day with my ideally suited pals. It’s an honour so that you can play this function however clearly someday it’ll come to an finish. We shouldn’t set closing dates and it’s on the subject of taking it one display at a time.

Shaun Escoffrey: It’s the most important honour appearing Mufasa and no longer one thing I take without any consideration. Whilst you’ll be able to by no means plan forward, my center is firmly right here and will probably be for the foreseeable.

Are there another Disney films you assume will have to be made right into a West Finish display?

George Asprey: Discovering Nemo can be a actually just right one. And possibly Freaky Friday as a natural comedy – it could be actually a laugh. 

Shaun Escoffrey: Superb query as a result of there is a couple of, however I feel The Jungle E-book might be one thing actually particular and a laugh if they might pull it off…

You’ll catch each George and Shaun in The Lion King on the Lyceum Theatre in London’s West Finish. 

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