|FRANKIE LEONI (Young Calogero) Frankie is thrilled to make his touring debut in A Bronx Tale and continue in the role that he portrayed in the Broadway production! Thank you to Antonia DeNardo at Millennium Artists, my amazing team at Abrams Artists Agency, Tara Rubin Casting, the cast and crew, and FWCD School. Special thanks to my parents for their love & support, and a shoutout to my best friend and brother Rocco! Follow @leoniboyz|
|SHANE PRY (Young Calogero alt.) Shane is extremely grateful to make his professional debut in this awesome role and production! Other favorite performances include Willy Wonka Jr. (Charlie), “PA Live!” (television show), workshops inspired by Disney’s The Descendants (Ben), Frozen (Hans) and Shawnee Riverfest. Huge thanks to Marc, Anya, Paradigm, Tara Rubin Casting, the creative team, DANJ and all of his dance teachers, Christina, Danny, Midge, mom, dad, Cassidy, family/friends, and God.|
Twin Cities Arts Reader – 02/20/2019
“The real crime in A Bronx Tale is that child actor Frankie Leoni isn’t featured after the first several scenes. Sure, there’s violence, gambling, and outright murder going on – but after seeing Leoni’s effusive energy, charisma, and triple threat of acting, singing, and dancing, you really kind of wish that the whole show was about Young Calogero….The high-energy sequence of ‘Roll ‘Em’ and ‘I Like It’ (both of which heavily feature the excellent Leoni) is about as perfect a one-two combo as ever can be found … You might want to come back again, though, just to see Frankie Leoni rock in it scene after scene. Keep an eye on that kid, he’s going places.”
Twin Cities Pioneer Press – 02/20/2019
“Meanwhile, Frankie Leoni does a fine job with young Calogero as we watch him lose his innocence.”
Broadway World National Tours – 02/13/2019
“…we become invested in the story of young Calogero (played with confident aplomb by Frankie Leoni on open night in Nashville)…”
JHP Entertainment – 02/13/2019
“Opening night in Nashville featured Leoni in the role and I have to say, he absolutely stole the show. The young actor’s stage presence, timing, delivery and his ability to belt a tune and keep up with the rest of the cast as they perform Sergio Trujillo’s blissful choreography was mind-blowingly entertaining….I have to admit, I kept waiting for the full switch and inevitable exit of Leoni as the young Calogero, but was pleasantly surprised the talented young actor remained a central part of the story as long as he did.”
Nashville Parent – 02/13/2019
“…the 9-year-old version played by the enthusiastic Frankie Leoni…”
Carolina Curtain Call – 02/07/2019
“…a confident and spunky Frankie Leoni played an opening night the hearty youth role of Young Calogero…”
Run DMT – 02/01/2019
“Throughout the performance, two cast members truly stood out to me:…and Frankie Leoni (Young Calogero). The talents of these two young performers added a fun spunky softness and balance to the overt machismo. Not to mention the pipes on Bell and Leoni will blow you away.”
BroadwayWorld Tampa/St. Petersburg – 01/30/2019
“In his early years Young Calogero played with the upmost professionalism by Frankie Leoni witnesses a murder and is forced to participate in a line-up. … Commanding the stage and truly being the one to watch Frankie Leoni sang ‘I LIKE IT’ to the point where I was literally breathless, with such tremendous power in someone of his age he danced and sang larger than life on such a big stage and truly deserves mentioning.”
Dallas News – 12/31/2018
“The story begins with a murder witnessed by the 9-year-old Calogero, Palminteri’s given name, played with swagger and style by Burleson’s own Frankie Leoni (who alternates with Shane Pry at some performances.”
Datebook (San Francisco Chronicle) – 11/29/2018
“Leoni, as the younger Calogero…has the snappy zing to his dance moves of a much more mature performer.”
For All Events – 11/29/2018
“Memorable, in addition to a healthy peppering of humor and do-wop songs that instantly zoomed me back to the era, are Frankie Leoni as young Calogero…”
The Mercury News – 11/29/2018
“…spunky Frankie Leoni…”
San Francisco Examiner – 11/29/2018
“Calogero, played as a kid by the full-voiced Frankie Leoni…”
Outword Magazine – 11/22/2018
“Frankie Leoni is also excellent as the young Calogero.”
Culver City News – 11/19/2018
“…with Frankie Leoni stealing the show as Young Calogero in ‘Roll ‘Em’ as Sonny teaches him how to throw the dice with flare…”
Observations Along the Road – 11/16/2018
“Frankie/Shane…gave a remarkable performance: strong singing, strong dancing, strong voice, strong characterization. He was also a lot of fun to watch”
Daily Trojan – 11/15/2018
“…Leoni delights endlessly with his energy and musicality as young Calogero…”
Broadway World Los Angeles – 11/12/2018
“Leoni is a standout as little Calogero. It’s engaging to witness a boy’s unsteady development, and Leoni captures to perfection the difficulty of loving two paternal figures.”
The Fume of Sighs – 11/12/2018
“Young actors always capture the audience’s heart and Frankie Leoni, playing young Calogero, is no exception. But he has more than his youth going for him. His dancing flows out of him seemingly effortlessly.”
It’s Not About Me – 11/12/2018
“I know that Frankie Leoni, who plays the main character, Calogero, as a nine-year-old, has been playing the part since Broadway, but it still impressed me that he was so comfortable in front of the opening night audience in this very judgmental town.”
On Stage Blog – 11/12/2018
“Leoni is adorable onstage as he sings and dances with pizzazz beyond his age.”
Patch.com – 11/12/2018
“‘I Like It’ by 9-year-old Calogero (Frankie Leoni/Shane Pry, nearly stealing the show)…”
Los Angeles Daily News – 11/09/2018
“His dances look best, though, on tiny Leoni…the level of commitment yet ease with which the lad moves.”
Buffalo Theatre Guide – 10/20/2018
“His juvenile self, played in this production by Frankie Leoni, is a plum role for a young male on Broadway. The actor must be a true triple threat, and Leoni is up to the challenge. His performance benefits from being honed on Broadway.”
BroadwayWorld Central New York – 10/18/2018
“Young Calogero, played by Frankie Leoni, is an absolute thrill to watch on stage. He looks no older than 9 or 10 years old, and yet he had the entire audience in the palm of his hand. His singing and dancing were well beyond his years, but more impressive was the overall ‘greaser’ persona that he developed. There were surely many an audience member dying to pinch his cheeks.”
Democrat & Chronicle – 10/19/2018
“The show begins through the eyes of Young Calogero, superbly played in this performance by the heartwarmingly huggable Frankie Leoni, (also performed by Shane Pry) who, after witnessing the murder, becomes increasingly perplexed by the difference between good and bad and all the areas of gray in between.”
Rochester City Newspaper – 10/19/2018
“…and young Frankie Leoni plays the 9-year-old version of C for almost the entire first act. Both actors are incredibly strong leads, with stylized vocals and stunning focus amid the more than 18 musical numbers of the two-hour production.”
The Lion King
www Bios | Reviews | Schedule
Jamaal "JJ" Batteast
JAMAAL "JJ" BATTEAST (Young Simba alt.) is a talented 11 year old 6th grader from Carol stream IL. He feels bless to live out one his dreams on Broadway as young Simba! This is JJ's first major production. He feels honored and blessed to be apart of this first class experience and is marveled by where this journey goes. Supported by his loving parents, grandparents Moore/McClay/Smith, Mt. Vernon church family, his sisters, family and friends!
Nya Cymone Carter
NYA CYMONE CARTER (Young Nala alt.) is a 10 year old, Fifth Grade dance major from East Orange, NJ. Elated to join The Lion King Tour, she looks forward to this new and exciting experience. Nya is loved and adored by her parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
TRE JONES (Young Simba alt.) is ecstatic to be making his Broadway debut as Young Simba in The Lion King! He is an 11 year old actor from Springfield, VA. He is grateful to God for this blessing and thanks his parents, grandparents, teachers and his many relatives and friends for the love and support in making his dream come true.
MIKARI TARPLEY (Young Nala alt.) Born to entertain, this 10 year old straight A student from Smyrna, GA is thrilled to be on tour with The Lion King. She thanks her parents and teachers for giving her the skills to perform. She gives higher thanks to God for her gifts so that she can shine her light for all of the world to see!
ALEXANDRA UNDERWOOD (Young Nala alt.) Actor’s Fund: Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol; Regional: A Christmas Carol (Ford’s Theater); TV: Person of Interest; Film: Dance Off. Alexandra, 11, is thrilled to join the “Pride” as Young Nala. Grateful to God, Mom, Dad, Nana, Grandparents, Nancy Carson, Binder, and for the love and prayers of family and friends. Lexi’s “ultimate dream” has come true! IG: @ultimatedreamer2803 web: alexandraunderwood.com.
South Florida - 01/12/15
"...Simba (a bouncy Jordan A. Hall alternating with Tre' Jones)..."
Florida Theater On Stage - 01/10/15
"Jordan A. Hall (alternating with Tre Jones) is a bundle of gleaming energy as Young Simba."
Miami Herald - 01/10/15
"As young Simba, Hall has charisma and dancing skills to burn, so that you do miss him when the grown-up Remy (who’s a fine singer-dancer-actor) takes his place."
SFL Insider - 01/09/15
"The role of the Young Simba is played by Jordan A. Hall and a young Nala is Nya Cymone Carter. Both are perfectly cast and charismatic emanating their youthful playfulness in both spoken narrative and song. I Just Can’t Wait To Be King, is a huge colorful number that highlights both performers and brings a sense of wonderment and fun to the audience."
Show Biz Chicago - 12/01/14
"...and Tre’ Jones, an 11-year-old actor from Virginia, nailing the role of the inquisitive and lively young Simba."
Around the Town Chicago - 11/17/14
"Jordan A. Hall, who plays the young Simba, is excellent both as an actor and singer. Working without a puppet, he gracefully uses choreographed (by Garth Fagan) movements to cultivate meaning and emotion despite his small frame and though he was playing against veteran actors who had the advantage not only of experience, but heightened visibility from their height,costumes, and puppets. He also has a surprisingly powerful voice. "
UWM Post - 11/17/14
"The easiness and chemistry of Mufasa, played by L. Steven Taylor, and Jordan A. Hall as young Simba, is fluid and captivating."
Broadway World - 11/14/14
"By the same token, Jordan A. Hall and Nya Cymone Carter were a pure delight. Young actors provide audiences an innocence that no one but a child could present. Hall and Carter are an immensely talented pair. Being able to keep up with the ensemble of dancers and seasoned actors, gives these two an edge that so few child actors are able to have. And their recreation of the iconic lions was so on point that not even Jonathan Taylor Thomas could naysay. Simply put, they are a joy to behold."
Urban Milwaukee Dial - 11/14/14
"You have to admire this company, many veterans of the Lion King companies. They are following a set series of inflections, staging and timing while hidden largely behind makeup and costumes that work against originality. Yet again and again they deliver energy and personality that stir the whole enterprise. Such skill even travels to the youngest cast members who are following instructions, notably Jordan A. Hall as Young Simba and Nya Cymone Carter as Young Nala"
SuffolkJournal.net - 09/24/14
"The child-actors playing Simba and Nyla are extraordinarily gifted. Jordan A. Hall had such charismatic energy and a surprisingly powerful voice for such a small body. He carried the entire first act fluently and possessed the perfect chemistry for the father and son relationship between Mufasa and the young cub.
Even young Nya Cymone Carter stood out as Nyla, with her irresistible fluidity of movements and cute personality. The dynamic duo was an adorable pair and a force of talent to reckon with."
TheaterMirror.com - 09/24/14
"...talented Jordan A. Hall..."
BWW Boston - 09/20/14
"The roles of Young Simba (Jordan A. Hall, Tre' Jones) and Young Nala (Nya Cymone Carter, Tyrah Skye Odoms) alternate, but are energetically portrayed."
Weymouth - 09/16/14
"Jordan A. Hall, alternating the role with Tre Jones, lends the spunky young Simba a million-dollar smile."
Boston Globe - 09/13/14
"The role of young Simba will alternate at the Opera House; on opening night it was spunkily played by Jordan A. Hall"
Rover Arts - 08/26/14
"Besides the polished performances of the grown-up actors – many of them vets of the New York original - the skills of 10 year-old Jordan A. Hall as young Simba are amazing."
Montreal Gazette - 08/22/14
"The child performers who play the young Simba (Jordan A. Hall) and his playmate/sweetheart Nala (Nya Cymone Carter) are adorable scene stealers."
Freelancer Star - 07/03/14
"Little Simba, played with much glee by the adorable Jordan A. Hall, and Nala throw smiles everywhere with the infectious “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King.”"
Freelancer Star - 06/30/14
"lso impressive were the youngest members of the cast, Jordan A. Hall and Nya Cymone Carter, who on press night played young Simba and young Nala, respectively; they displayed solid song-and-dance skills and acting chops that held up well alongside their adult costars. "
Tagging Magazine - 06/25/14
"Most memorable are Simba, played by the adorable Jordan A. Hall who stalks and pounces his way into your heart."
BroadwayWorld.com Washington DC - 06/23/14
"As Simba, both Hall and Remy have the ability to move about the stage with the ease and energy that's necessary for such a physical role and have that kind of quality that makes you want to root for them to overcome all obstacles."
DC Metro Theater Scene - 06/23/14
"I have to say the darlings of the evening were young Simba (Jordan A. Hall) and young Nala (Nya Cymone Carter). The pair lit up the stage. Their performance of “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” was a ton of fun!"
DC Theater Scene - 06/23/14
"Act I rides a lot on the young actor playing Simba, and Jordan A. Hall is magnificent, bringing all the needed emotion to the part. Whether it’s the playfulness of the song “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” or the fright of being in the Elephant’s Graveyard and watching his father die, Hall captures all that writers Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi ever hoped."
Whisk and Quill - 06/23/14
"Most memorable are Simba, played by the adorable Jordan A. Hall who stalks and pounces his way into your heart. “I hate public pools,” he jokes after a dangerous dunk in the river"
Honolulu Pulse - 1/17/14
"Young Simba and Young Nala, played by Jordon A. Hall and Zyaisa Jadea Page opening night, charmed...there were also lovely moments, such as the dirge trio between Mkhize (Rafiki), Page (Young Nala), and Tryphena Wade (Sarabi)."
Examiner.com - 12/9/13
"Four young actors who “just can’t wait….” -- It’s more than just an “aw” factor. A pair of boys trade off the role of Young Simba with a pair of girls alternating as Young Nala. They are highly cute, rigorously prepared and a vital part of the action. Perched on dayglo giant birds, they lead the frisky “I Just Can’t Wait to be King,” and they likely inspire dreams of kids in the audience to try out this acting thing. Then they grow up to pursue this dream or a different one. Either way, generational continuity is wicked cool. Let’s see where the tour’s Jordan A. Hall, Nya Cymone Carter, Zyasia Jadea Page and Nathaniel Logan McINtyre are 10 years from now."
BroadwayWorld Phoenix - 12/3/13
"Simba and Young Simba (Jordan A. Hall and Dashaun Young) charm and smile with skill"
BroadwayWorld LA - 11/25/13
"Young Simba (alternated by Jordan A. Hall and Nathaniel Logan Mcintyre) is also a strong presence as are Nya Cymone Carter and Zyasia Jadea Page alternating as the young Nala."
MySSNews - 10/12/13
"The play is the story of Simba, the prince of the Prideland. It follows Simba and his friend Nala from being a lion cubs, portrayed by exceptional child actors (Jordan A. Hall or Nathaniel Logan McIntyre as Simba and Nya Cymone Carter or Zyasia Jadea Page as Nala)"
White Rock Lake Weekly - 10/12/13
"Both Zyasia Jadea Page as the young Nala on opening night, and grown Nala, Nia Holloway, are exceptional dancers with lovely voices. Playing Simba as a cub on Friday night, Jordan A. Hall is larger than life, especially for a child. Both his voice and dance abilities offer him a promising future in musical theater. Page’s performance is exceptional, and she is also poised for a long theatrical career."
Coppell Student Media - 10/11/13
"The very talented cast includes...Jordan A. Hall as the young Simba and many other superstar actors and actresses."
TheaterJones.com - 10/8/13
"Hall provides the energy needed for young Simba..."
DFW.com - 10/8/13
"As Young Simba, Jordan A. Hall is adorable (he alternates in the role with Nathaniel Logan McIntyre)."
Pegasus News - 10/7/13
"In the performance reviewed, Jordan A. Hall played Young Simba. Hall’s nervous energy and boyish charm mostly transfers well into the character of young Simba. Watching Hall play onstage with young Nala is like watching two young children play and interact on a playground. In the scenes between Mufasa and him, Hall gives Simba the warm connection of a son wanting the approval of his father...His dancing and movement is skilled for his age and he has moments of fluidity and hesitancy as a young boy or cub would have in those circumstances.
Zyasia Jadea Page plays Young Nala in the performance reviewed. Page is a performer who shows a lot of skill and potential for a child of about 11, playing the young female lioness and companion to Young Simba. In scenes in which she is dancing with the other lionesses, Page shows skills as a dancer, and the demeanor that she gives to the character of a child who wants to appropriately impress her elders is equally as impressive. In her scenes with Young Simba, Page gives Nala that natural childish playfulness, us-against-the-world, we-are-invincible, camaraderie that two young children have as close friends."
EDGE Dallas - 10/7/13
"The performance of the young, unadorned Simba (alternately played by Jordan A. Hall and Nathaniel Logan McIntyre) is a joy to watch. Hall has natural musicality and movement that is rarely seen in child actors."
Bethany Hensel - 09/07/13
"But the show really went to the kids for this one. Nya Cymone Carter as Young Nala was the cutest thing around, with an awesome hairdo and amazing costume and a spunky attitude that had everyone cheering for her. (Literally.) And Nathaniel Logan McIntyre as Young Simba was truly sublime, showcasing a performance to keep in memory for a long time. I had the sense I was watching a star being born on that Benedum stage. He is charismatic, natural, showed a range of emotionand is 9 years old. There was no fear or stage fright from him, nor from Miss Carter, as they performed in front of a packed house."
Creative Lofting Charlotte - 08/16/13
"Yet there is no mistaking the warmth between Jordan A. Hall as Young Simba, the future king (the adorable Hall timeshares the role with Nathaniel Mcintyre), and L. Steven Taylor as his royal father, King Mufasa."
QCityMetro - 08/10/13
"Young Simba, played by Jordan A. Hall, was energetic and fun. Heck, he needed to be to get through his exhausting part. But the Silver Vocal Chord Award for the night goes to young Nala, Nya Carter, who belts out her songs with a force and power far beyond her years."
Cleveland New 102 - 07/12/13
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