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 current cast member Rosie Lani Fiedelman.
I joined The Lion King Company in June of 2014.
I remember seeing posters and sides of buses and taxi cab ads everywhere for a year, and I just kept saying to myself, “I’m going to be in that show.”
When I got the call that they were offering me a job, my grandfather had been in the hospital for a month. We spoke every day and when I told him, he could not have been happier. I wanted to go home when he went into hospice care, but he did not want me to go home at all. When he finally passed, I knew that his spirit would be with me as I continued on my journey through the show. When my father came to see me in the show that October, I could only think of him during “Endless Night,” the song Simba sings when he is missing his father.
It’s exciting right now because we are celebrating the 20th Anniversary on November 5, and there are some changes in two of the numbers choreographically, percussion, staging, lighting and sound. The process has really brought us, the ensemble, closer together. It feels like we are going into an Opening Night. We’ve shared and supported each other in this experience and it has made us stronger.
As a member of the ensemble, we are truly part of the story and the storytelling. As animals and plants we come together as a community. Through movement and voice. But we also thread that continuity because we are human, and we get to feel those emotions of love, for Mother and Son, Father and Son, for each other. We get to feel loss, of a father and a leader. We feel fear of losing everything, going hungry, being ruled by someone who is determined to destroy us and everything we’ve built and hold dear. It’s sort of a parallel to some of the things that are currently going on in our world and country.
There are times when you are tired, sick or injured, but it takes one person in the audience who is moved to tears. One person who stops you on the street and says how much you have changed their life.
I have to say that this ensemble is filled with some of the most beautiful voices, Strong dancers and extremely multitalented human beings. The physicality of the dancers is incredible, and you have all of the puppets on top of that. They are the strongest people I know.