The Ensemblist is celebrating the 20th Anniversary of The Lion King on Broadway by asking some of our favorite ensemblists to share their stories of performing in the iconic Broadway musical. Today, we hear from Blake Hammond, who is currently playing Nostradamus on the national tour of Something Rotten!
I'm back in Denver right now where my journey with The Lion King all started. I was the first Pumbaa on the Gazelle Company of The Lion King. Crazy!
I can remember sneaking out front every night with Josh Tower (my adult Simba) to watch the opening. It never failed to give me the chills. Still, to this day, one of the most stunning opening numbers of any musical! Then Josh and John Plumpis (my Timon) and myself would head to makeup for what we called "Family Time". It was some of the best times of my career hanging out with those men. We would spend 20 minutes laughing, being painted and preparing to go tell our part of the magical story. Getting to bring that beautiful show to those cities for the very first time was a joyful experience. Can't believe I got that chance. Hakuna Matata!
A few years later, I got to revisit the Prideland on Broadway as the 10th Anniversary Pumbaa along side Danny Rutigliano as my Timon. And now it's ten years later.
So HAPPY 20TH to The Lion King! It's the circle, the circle of LIFE!