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The Lion King

The Lion King


Charlie Kahler

CHARLIE KAHLER (Young Simba alt.) Charlie is ten years old and lives in Newark, DE. He is very excited to make his Broadway debut! Charlie has always loved to perform and it is a dream come true to be in The Lion King. Many thanks to his Mama and grandparents for helping him reach for the stars! He would also like to thank Disney, Dominic Santos, Justin Bohon, Broadway Dreams, Delaware Children’s Theatre, Sanford School, and Avon Grove Charter School. Instagram: charliekahler20.


Isabel Medina

ISABEL MEDINA (Young Nala alt.) Isabel is thrilled to be making her Broadway tour debut. Isabel enjoys performing with the Young People’s Chorus of NYC and competing with TKO Dance Academy. She is grateful to God, her parents, family, friends & Peggy at The SquarePeg Group, Inc. Special thanks to The Mannings and Melissa Wigfall for their support! Instagram: @iam_isabelmedina


Kalandra Rhodes

KALANDRA RHODES (Young Nala alt.) Kalandra is delivering her debut performance in The Lion King. Rhodes began studying dance at two years old at the Hubbard Street Dance Theater in her hometown of Chicago and at the Chicago Contemporary School of Dance. Credits include: Debbie Allen’s Hot Chocolate Nutcracker, commercials for United Way and Target and Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. Follow on IG/Facebook: @kalandrarhodes


Chance Smith

CHANCE SMITH (Young Simba alt.) Chance is thrilled to be making his professional debut in The Lion King. He is passionate about the arts and performing on stage is a dream come true. He is thankful to God, his mom, family, Lina Tetriani, Brooklyn Music School and Broadway Workshop for his accomplishments. Much like Simba he can’t wait to be king! Follow him on Instagram @chancesmithofficial.


Review Quotes

Toronto Stage – Date Unknown

“…you’ll be astonished by the genuine warmth carried by…Richard A. Phillips Jr.’s Simba.”

CityBeat – 01/13/20

“The rambunctious lion cub Simba was played by a lively Walter Russell III, who seemed to be having the time of his life.”

The Post and Courier – 12/06/19

“There is the plucky young Simba, who was played by Walter Russell III with outsize presence and polish at this performance…There is his match in Celina Smith’s young Nala…”

BroadwayWorld Detroit – 11/24/19

“Young Simba played by (Richard A. Phillips Jr.), was so good, and I enjoyed his timing and playing to comedy, but he also played sad very well, leaving you want to cry at times, especially after loosing his father in the stampede. But would really like to point out his singing in ‘I Just Can’t Wait to be King’ with Young Nala (Brilyn Johnston) and Zazu, was so good…The kids definitely fit there roles very well.”

Arts Louisville – 11/05/19

“Walter Russell III and Celina Smith are adorable as the young Simba and his friend Nala, respectively, delivering a rousing rendition of the jovial I Just Can’t Wait to be King.”

Louisville Courier Journal – 11/02/19

“Young Simba, played on Friday evening by Walter Russell III, is both reckless and wild, yet sweet in a handful of tender moments with his father, Mufasa.”

The Sleepless Critic – 10/27/19

“…Walter Russell III’s enthusiastic vocals as Young Simba…energetic and adorable…”

The Pitt News – 09/09/19

“Young Simba, played by Richard A. Phillips Jr. and on alternating nights by Walter Russell III, was equally bouncy. The dynamic between Phillips and Ramsey was adorable…”

Pittsburgh Owl Scribe – 09/09/19

“Walter Russell III, who tackled the role [of Simba] on the evening I attended, is a colossal talent. Fearless and self-confident, just like a young lion should be, he stood out in all the scenes he was in and dazzled with his rendition of ‘I Just Can’t Wait to Be King.'”

Talkin’ Broadway Cleveland – 08/25/19

“Richard A. Phillips Jr. as the young Simba and Jared Dixon as the older version both are wondrous in their roles, bringing a feeling of innocence. The same goes for Brilyn Johnston as young Nala…”

Cleve Scene – 08/14/19

“The child performers – Richard A. Phillips Jr. as young Simba and Brilyn Johnston as young Nala – show a lot of heart…Phillips’ bravado…matches his counterpart Jared Dixon (adult Simba). The same goes for his agility and winning smile.”

On Stage Blog – 06/16/19

“As the young Simba and Nala, Walter Russell III and Celina Smith are saucy, bold and brash as the young cubs.”

Theatre Criticism – 05/27/2019

“I saw youngster Richard A. Phillips Jr., play him as a curious, fearless, rambunctious and precocious little one…”

NBC 2 – 04/05/2019

“Actor Walter Russell III is one of two boys who alternate as young Simba. Russell turns in a solid performance…”

News-Press – 04/05/2019

“But the rest of the cast does a wonderful job, too, including Walter Russell III…as younger…versions of the playful, energetic Simba…”

Broadway World Sarasota – 03/21/2019

“Richard A. Phillips Jr. as young Simba is a joy to watch. He knows his lines, hits his marks, sings beautifully and has stage presence. Celina Smith as Young Nala is equally impressive in her part. Both of these young actors were very comfortable in their demanding roles. Look out Broadway!”

Your Observer – 03/19/2019

“Phillips Jr. delivers an athletic, energetic performance as the young Simba. He bounces around the stage like Tigger and seems to be having the time of his life.”

Sarasota Magazine – 03/17/2019

“…he’s played by a lively Richard A. Phillips Jr. as a boy…”

Herald Tribune – 03/16/2019

“On Friday, Richard A. Phillips Jr. was cute and rambunctious as Young Simba, a role he shares with Walter Russell III…”

Broadway World National Tours – 02/09/2019

“Brilyn Johnston and Richard A. Phillips Jr. are full of youthful energy as Young Nala and Young Simba. Not only do they have tremendous dance skills and voices, their adorable bravado will undoubtedly appeal to the children in the audience.”

The Spokesman-Review – 01/25/2019

“As young Simba, Richard A. Phillips proved to be a charming performer. His ‘I Can’t Wait to be King’ was well sung. As young Nala, Celina Smith is a pint-size powerhouse in ‘Nao Tsa Tsa,’ sung with Simba and the baboon Rafiki.”

Equality 365 – 12/20/2018

“The young (and enthusiastic) cubs are played by Joziyah Jean-Felix (Simba) and Danielle W. Jalade (Nala). Their energy is contagious and everyone in the audience immediately identifies with their restlessness and frustration at being a child and being responsible. The song ‘I Just Can’t Wait To Be King’ absolutely belongs to these two, and they look like they are having the time of their lives doing it.”

Boise Weekly – 10/19/2018

“When it comes to acting chops, 11-year-old Salahedin Safi stole the show with his energetic performance of young Simba. Not only were his antics a delight to watch, his voice and inflections were nearly identical to those of voice actor Jonathan Taylor Thomas, who played Simba in the 1994 animated film. That attention to detail helped turn The Lion King into a world for all ages to get lost in, even if just for a night.”

Bristol Observer – 08/03/2018

“The young members of the cast, Salahedin Safi as the Young Simba—the lion king referenced in the title—and his lioness betrothed Danielle W. Jalade as the Young Nala, brought a youthful energy to the show. And they were the necessary entry point for the younger members of the audience to relate to the story.”

In The Spotlight – 08/03/2018

“But Salahedin Safi as ‘Young Simba’ and Danielle W. Jalade as ‘Young Nala’ leave the biggest impression, probably because they are the same age and energy level as their contemporaries in the audience.”

Lansing City Pulse – 07/19/2018

“As Mufasa’s young Simba for Friday’s performance, Salahedin Safi imbues the perfect blend of restless curiosity, naivety and humility topped with a great voice to carry the first act to its inevitable end. His young partner Nala played Friday by Danielle W. Jalade matches Safi with strength and wit despite her reduced stage time.”

Encore Michigan – 07/17/2018

“Salahedin Safi, who I saw, has a voice that channels the young Michael Jackson.”

Lansing State Journal – 07/16/2018

“His son Simba (played by a charismatic and talented Salahedin Safi) is heartbroken and runs away.”

RevueWM – 07/15/2018

“Flash forward a few years and Simba (played in last night’s performance by the delightful Salahedin Safi) has grown into a young cub searching for adventure, which he unfortunately finds.”

Mostefinitely – 07/14/2018

“As their junior counterparts, Danielle W. Jalade and Salahedin Safi as Young Nala and Young Simba bring a fun and youthful energy to their roles. They hold their own on a stage filled with large puppets and set pieces.”

Red Carpet Crash – 06/18/2018

“Both Ramon Reed and [adult Simba] convey a playfulness that is infectious, while Gloria Manning and [adult Nala] bring Nala to life with passion.”

KC Applauds – 05/11/2018

“Danielle W. Jalade, Joziyah Jean-Felix, Gloria Manning, and Ramon Reed give good support to the main characters and deserve credit.”

BroadwayWorld Birmingham – 03/20/2018

“Young Simba (alternating between Joziyah Jean-Felix and Ramon Reed) and Young Nala (alternating between Danielle W. Jalade and Gloria Manning) are the best of friends. They light up the stage with giving playful energy and heart tugging emotion into the roles.”

BroadwayWorld National Tours – 02/21/2018

“This current tour also boasts a lion’s share of talent (I had to), with Young Simba (alternating between Joziyah Jean-Felix and Ramon Reed) and Young Nala (alternating between Danielle W. Jalade and Gloria Manning) bringing their characters to life on stage with ease and grace well beyond their years. Each channels the playful innocence that lies at the heart of their character and owns the naivete of Nala and Simba in their early years. Reed also provides a powerful performance that evokes great emotion surrounding the death of his father in the wildebeest stampede…”

Orlando Sentinel – 02/18/2018

“The little girl seated next to me squealed her approval of the child performers on Wednesday night, and I agreed (without the squealing). As lion cubs Simba and Nala, Joziyah Jean-Felix and Danielle W. Jalade (who share the roles with other performers) have charisma and stage presence to spare”

Orlando Weekly – 02/16/2018

“Both young Simba (Joziyah Jean-Felix, alternating with Ramon Reed) and his adult counterpart…bring a charming boyish bounce”

Orlando Senteniel – 02/15/2018

“As lion cubs Simba and Nala, Joziyah Jean-Felix and Danielle W. Jalade (who share the roles with other performers) have charisma and stage presence to spare”

Broadway World National Tours – 12/15/2017

“Young Simba was played at this performance by the rambunctious Ramon Reed, who was joyous to watch as he learned to roar.”

Buffalo News – 12/15/2017

“The 11-year-old sitting with me was in awe of the entire production, but she was especially taken with the children appearing as young Simba and Nala. Joziyah Jean-Felix and Ramon Reed alternate as Simba; Danielle W. Jalade and Gloria Manning are Nala.”

DC Metro Theatre Arts – 11/19/2017

“Where on Earth do the producers find these marvelous kid performers? Young Simba (Joziyah Jean-Felix, alternating with Ramon Reed) and Young Nala (Danielle W. Jalade, alternating with Gloria Manning) prove agile, joyous guides who coax us—in ‘I Just Can’t Wait to Be King’—to see the world again through the innocent eyes of childhood.”

UMD The Writer’s Bloc – 11/18/2017

“Young Simba (Joziyah Jean-Felix, Ramon Reed) and Young Nala (Danielle W. Jalade, Gloria Manning) were perfectly charming as they rode around on giant birds and snuck through the elephant graveyard”

Syracuse.com – 10/31/2017

“Young Simba, was played with joyful energy by Ramon Reed for the performance I attended. He shares the role with Joziyah Jean-Felix.”

Visionary Minds – 10/31/2017

“Young Nala and Simba, Danielle Jalade (10) and Joziyah Jean-Felix (12) parents must be so proud of their hardwork and dedication in this show. The ‘I Just Can’t Wait To Be King’ number showed how talented they are and that they can carry a scene with or without adults as if they have performing experience beyond their years.”

Tour Schedule

The Lion King  

Cleveland, OH 10/01/21 - 10/15/21 Playhouse Square BUY TICKETS
San Antonio, TX 10/21/21 - 11/07/21 Majestic Theatre BUY TICKETS
Memphis, TN 11/10/21 - 11/28/21 Orpheum Theatre BUY TICKETS
Denver, CO 12/02/21 - 01/02/22 Buell Theatre BUY TICKETS
Nashville, TN 01/06/22 - 01/23/22 Tennessee Performing Arts Center BUY TICKETS
Detroit, MI 01/27/22 - 02/20/22 Detroit Opera House BUY TICKETS
Greensboro, NC 02/23/22 - 03/06/22 Steven Tanger Center BUY TICKETS
Richmond, VA 03/09/22 - 03/20/22 Altria Theater BUY TICKETS
Columbia, SC 03/23/22 - 04/03/22 Koger Center BUY TICKETS
Austin, TX 04/07/22 - 04/24/22 Bass Concert Hall BUY TICKETS
Wichita, KS 04/27/22 - 05/08/22 Century II Concert Hall BUY TICKETS
Oklahoma City, OK 05/10/22 - 05/29/22 Civic Center Music Hall BUY TICKETS
St. Louis, MO 06/01/22 - 06/18/22 Fabulous Fox Theatre BUY TICKETS
Tempe, AZ 07/07/22 - 07/31/22 ASU Gammage BUY TICKETS

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