Disney’s The Lion King at Mandalay Bay Welcomes New Cast Members to Pride Rock This Summer

June 28, 2011 by  

Disney’s THE LION KING at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino welcomes Phindile Mkhize, Dashaun Young and Samantha Ware to the cast of the Las Vegas production this summer. Pride Rock continues its “Circle of Life” with reprised roles from Mkhize as Rafiki and Young as Simba, while debuting Ware as the playful and determined lioness Nala.

South African native Mkhize takes the stage as Rafiki Monday, July 4 after touring with THE LION KING for eight years. Mkhize has traveled to Germany, Australia, Holland and Amsterdam performing and sharing her talents. Past credits include The Lion King: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Sarafina 2, Mama, Maria, Maria and WozaMyFohloza.

A LION KING veteran, Young began his role as Simba in Las Vegas Thursday, June 23 following performances in London, Broadway and the National Tour. As a graduate of California State University, Fullerton, Young is no stranger to the West Coast. Young has performed with Hairspray, Legends, The Scottsboro Boys, Emerald Man, Aida, Hello, Dolly! and Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

Broadway newcomer Ware debuted with THE LION KING Monday, June 13. Ware, 19, hails from Lincoln, Neb. where she was a student at Doane College. Her recent roles include Mimi in Rent and Velma in Chicago, both at City Stage in Union Station in Kansas City, Mo.

Mandalay Bay’s production of THE LION KING is virtually identical to the other companies seen around the globe and is staged with all of the same spectacular music, sets and costumes that have made it a worldwide phenomenon. The Las Vegas production features an international cast of performers who have won acclaim in productions of THE LION KING around the world including Broadway, Taipei, South Africa, London, Los Angeles, Australia, Toronto, Shanghai, Paris and Holland. Within nine weeks of its Las Vegas debut, Disney’s THE LION KING broke the Mandalay Bay box office record and continued to break its own record four more times within two years.

The smash hit has been seen by more than 55 million people in 18 different productions worldwide since its 1997 premiere. THE LION KING productions have grossed more than $4.3 billion to date and have cumulatively run 83 years. Newsweek calls the Tony Award-winning sensation “a landmark event in entertainment” and The New York Times says, “You will gasp again and again at the visual majesty of the show…There is simply nothing else like it.”

More than 55 million people have come to discover the wonder, majesty and truly one-of-a-kind experience of THE LION KING. The critically acclaimed production continues to reign as a landmark musical event, winning audiences over with extraordinary musical score, breathtaking costumes and a heartfelt story, while earning record-breaking numbers at the Mandalay Bay Theatre. The show is performed Monday through Thursday at 7:30 p.m. with Saturday and Sunday shows at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. THE LION KING Las Vegas will perform its final show Dec. 30, 2011. For additional information, visit

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