LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) -- WDRB got a behind the scenes look at Disney's The Lion King, now on stage at the Kentucky Center.
This year's cast features Kentucky native Darian Sanders. He is part of the ensemble and is Simba's understudy. Starting as the front left leg of the elephant, Sanders makes eight costume changes throughout the show.
Sanders is the worship pastor at Southeast Christian Church, and this is his first Broadway show. "It has definitely surpassed them (expectations). Being part of regional theater and being part of theater has been amazing, but also to tag onto a national Broadway tour has been phenomenal," said Sanders. "To get to perform in front of a crowd is always great, but then to be able to perform in front of friends and family, for them to see what you do, they hear about it all the time, but to actually experience what you do is just so amazing."
The national tour of the Lion King travels with 350 costumes. Each night of the show 250 different costumes will appear on stage. Female ensemble members will make the most costume changes during the show with 14 different outfits. Gregory Young is the wardrobe supervisor, and his staff makes sure every actor and actress is on stage with the right costume at the right time. To help with that, the wardrobe department is divided into four sections; male singers, male dancers, female singers, and female dancers. "Each performer is assigned a number because it makes it easier to train locals. In each city we hire 16 locals," said Young. "We're always a scene ahead of the performers. So while they are out on stage in one costume, we're presetting on the bench their next costume."
Jürgen Hooper plays the part of Zazu. It is his first time playing a role with a puppet. "There's kind of a three-step process. The first is learning the mechanicals of how the bird moves. And then, it is trying to act yourself and remember that you and the bird are supposed to be one. Zazu and I are the same character," said Hooper before a recent performance.
As the Assistant Puppet Supervisor, Rachael Dougherty helps keep track of the puppets and masks to make sure they're in good working order. Several of the masks in the Lion King are mounted above the performer's head. "There is a stand in the back that clips into his head piece. This piece will actually go out and go back to show movement of the face towards the other characters," said Dougherty.
The North American touring productions of The Lion King have been seen by more than 20 million theatergoers. Having already played more than 80 cities across North America, The Lion King is on stage at the Kentucky Center for Performing Arts through November 17th. Tickets are available at The Kentucky Center box office (501 W Main Street), online at www.KentuckyCenter.org, and by phone at 502-584-7777. VIP Ticket Packages, which include a prime seat location, a commemorative souvenir program and an exclusive merchandise item, are also available. Groups of 10 or more may reserve seating by calling 502-569-3060.
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