THE LION KING's Chantel Riley and Ben Jeffrey to Appear on WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE, 12/10
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by BWW News Desk
In celebration of the 15th anniversary of "The Lion King" on Broadway, "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire," with Emmy Award-winning host Meredith Vieira, will host two principal actors from the hit musical as contestants on Monday, December 10. Chantel Riley (Nala) and Ben Jeffrey (Pumbaa) will play "Millionaire" as a two-person team and will donate their winnings to The Actors Fund, a national human services organization that helps professionals in performing arts and entertainment in times of need, crisis or transition. The duo is guaranteed to win a minimum of $10,000 for The Actors Fund.
"Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" will honor The Great White Way next week with "Broadway Giveaway Week," airing December 10 – 14, 2012. Check local listings or go to http://www.millionairetv.com for time and channel.
Throughout "Broadway Giveaway Week," "Millionaire" contestants will be asked one Broadway-themed question during gameplay. If they answer correctly, they will win tickets to a Broadway performance of "Mary Poppins," "The Lion King" or "Newsies" for themselves as well as members of the studio audience.
Earlier this fall, Meredith Vieira made a cameo appearance in Broadway's "The Lion King" as a "Bird Woman" in the hit musical's iconic opening number, "Circle of Life." Her 'one-night-only' cameo took place on November 1, 2012, "The Lion King's" first performance after Superstorm Sandy forced the production to shut down for several days. "I was so proud to be part of that particular show that night," Vieira said. Vieira was in the audience for "The Lion King's" opening night performance 15 years ago and said she remembers being "mesmerized by the entire show." "To actually be back and be part of it, is something I'll never forget," she added.
"Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" with host Meredith Vieira currently is in its 11th season. Vieira has hosted the daytime version of "Millionaire" since the show debuted in 2002. She is a multi-Emmy Award-winner and has won two Daytime Emmys for her work on "Millionaire" (2005 and 2009). Throughout her ten seasons on the show, Vieira has hosted over 1,800 episodes and handed out more than $70 million in winnings to "Millionaire" contestants. "Millionaire" is produced by Valleycrest Productions Ltd. and is distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. Rich Sirop is the executive producer. In addition to serving as the host of the show, Meredith Vieira serves as co-executive producer. Visit "Millionaire's" website at http://www.millionairetv.com.
Among the most successful titles in entertainment history, with a cumulative gross in excess of $5 billion, the title has already earned more than the biggest hit films in movie history: more than the Lord of the Rings trilogy combined, more than the six Star Wars films combined, and more than Avatar and Titanic, the #1 and #2 highest-grossing films in movie history, combined.
With eight productions currently playing around the world, it will make its South American and Portuguese language debut when it begins performances in Sao Paolo, Brazil in February 2013. With that production, The Lion King's 21 productions will have played in 98 cities in 16 countries on every continent except Antarctica.
The Broadway production has played through three Presidential administrations, four mayoral elections, eight New York City team championships and the opening and closing of 536 Broadway shows.
The show's director, costume designer and mask co-designer Julie Taymor continues to play an integral part in the show's ongoing success. The first woman to win a Tony® Award for Direction of a Musical, Taymor has in recent years supervised new productions of the show in Las Vegas, Madrid and the UK tour and just completed casting the Brazilian production in Sao Paolo.
As it enters its 16th year, The Lion King remains ascendant, continuing to reign as a cultural phenomenon and one of the most popular stage musicals in the world. Since its Broadway premiere on November 13, 1997, 20 global productions have been seen by more than 66 million people and, cumulatively, run a staggering 96 years. Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher), The Lion King is the fifth longest-running musical in Broadway history and only the second show in history to generate five productions worldwide running 10 or more years. Translated into seven different languages (Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Mandarin, Spanish and Portuguese), The Lion King can currently be seen on Broadway and on tour across North America, in Tokyo and on tour in Japan, in London's West End and on tour throughout the UK, and in Hamburg and Madrid.
The Lion King won six 1998 Tony® Awards: Best Musical, Best Scenic Design (Richard Hudson), Best Costume Design (Julie Taymor), Best Lighting Design (Donald Holder), Best Choreography (Garth Fagan) and Best Direction of a Musical. The Lion King has also earned more than 70 major arts awards including the 1998 NY Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, the 1999 Grammy® for Best Musical Show Album, the 1999 Evening Standard Award for Theatrical Event of the Year and the 1999 Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Choreography and Best Costume Design.
The Broadway score features Elton John and Tim Rice's music from The Lion King animated film along with three new songs by John and Rice; additional musical material by South African Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymor and Hans Zimmer; and music from "Rhythm of the Pride Lands," an album inspired by the original music in the film, written by Lebo M, Mark Mancina and Hans Zimmer. The resulting sound of The Lion King is a fusion of Western popular music and the distinctive sounds and rhythms of Africa, ranging from the Academy Award®-winning song "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" to the haunting ballad "Shadowland."
The book has been adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed The Lion King animated feature, and Irene Mecchi, who co-wrote the film's screenplay. Other members of the creative team include: Michael Curry, who designed the masks and puppets with Taymor, Steve Canyon Kennedy (sound design), Michael Ward (hair and makeup design), John Stefaniuk (associate director), Marey Griffith (associate choreographer), Clement Ishmael (music supervisor) and Doc Zorthian (production supervisor). Anne Quart serves as associate producer.
The Broadway cast of The Lion King features Patrick R. Brown as Scar, Alton Fitzgerald White as Mufasa and Tshidi Manye as Rafiki. Jeff Binder portrays Zazu, Ben Jeffrey is Pumbaa and Fred Berman is Timon. Mufasa's son, Simba, is played by Andile Gumbi and Chantel Riley is Nala.
The hyenas are played by JAmes Brown-Orleans (Banzai), Bonita J. Hamilton (Shenzi) and Enrique Segura (Ed). The role of Young Simba is alternated between Derek Johnson and CALEB McLaughlin and the role of Young Nala is alternated between Bobbi Bordley and Alonie Dowden.
The pre-Broadway engagement of The Lion King had its world premiere on July 13, 1997 in Minneapolis at the historic Orpheum Theatre. The pre-Broadway engagement ran for eight weeks, closing on August 31, 1997. The show officially opened on Broadway on November 13, 1997 and moved to its current home in the Minskoff Theatre on June 13, 2006.
For tickets, show information and performance schedule, call Ticketmaster's Disney on Broadway hotline at 866-870-2717 or visit online, LionKing.com.