Brian McKay

Brian McKay

Brian McKay

Hakuna Matata! The National Tour of Disney’s The Lion King is coming. Here are some things we learned about Lion King actor Eric Bean Jr.

The National Tour of The Lion King is coming to the Kimmel Center Campus at the Academy Of Music from August 16th through September 10th. Brian McKay got a chance to talk to one of the members of the cast, Eric Bean Jr.

It’s been more than 20 years of touring productions for The Lion King, and over 21 million theatergoers flocked to see the epic show. The Lion King now proudly returns to Philadelphia.

Philadelphians can look forward to seeing two LOCAL cast members appearing on Pride Rock. Nick LaMedica, who plays the role of ‘Zazu,’ is a native of Newark, Delaware. In addition, ensemble member Eric Bean, Jr. is a graduate of Philadelphia’s University of the Arts.

We interviewed Eric to learn more about him and his experience with the tour. We found out how many roles he plays in the musical, and what the toughest role to play on stage is. Above all, it’s awesome to see local representation on a stage as big as this.

Here are some things we learned about Lion King actor Eric Bean Jr.

  • He Is Not Originally From Philly

    “I’m actually originally from the island of Bermuda. I just happened to end up in Philadelphia because my mentor…went to University of the Arts. She’s an alumni. So when she saw me, and she saw that I had a passion for dance and, you know, I really have a joy for movement, she kind of took me under her wing. And eventually that led to an opportunity for me to audition for the university.”

  • One Of His First Jobs Was On A Cruise Ship

    I actually had an opportunity to work on Viking three, which is part of the Viking Ocean fleet. And I was their singer-dancer. So I actually was the very first singer-dancer that they had on that ship. It was a brand new ship. I got to fly to Italy and get on the boat while it was still in dry dock and getting prepped and ready. And then I was on that ship for about eight months and we traveled all throughout Europe.”

  • He Also Performed In Las Vegas

    I, you know, decided to move to Las Vegas because I wanted to, you know, expand my artistry and try some different areas of dance…I got into a show called Jubilee, which is a Vegas showgirl spectacular, and I did that for about a year and a half.”

  • He Got His 'Lion King' Role At A Pivotal Time

    I actually got a job offer to do another ship, and happenstance would have it that Lion King was having auditions for their new tour, literally like two weeks after I had agreed to do the cruise ship…I was like, ‘Fine, I’ll just go do this audition. We’ll see what happens.’ And I ended up making it all the way through to the end…I signed my contract for the cruise ship, and the very next day I got a call from Disney saying they wanted to offer me a job in The Lion King.”

  • He Plays Multiple Characters

    So I’m what we call a swing in our show, which basically, you know, for the layman’s terms, you want to think about it like an understudy. My job is to understudy everybody in the ensemble.”

  • He Walks On Stilts In The Show

    “…it’s not that bad…It’s a little scary when you first start because you are really high up. I think the back legs are three, three and a half feet and the front legs are six and a half feet. So you’re pretty high up there. But it’s not too bad. It’s really not. Once you get used to it, it feels just like walking.”

  • Listen To The Full Interview Here

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