Go See The National Tour of The Lion King at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia!

There is a deep love that new and repeat audience members have for The Lion King, and this affection is certainly not lost on a couple who fell in love with one another while performing in the show.

In fact, Nhlanhla Ndlovu proposed to Daniela Cobb several years ago onstage during the curtain call and they are looking forward to their upcoming wedding in Alabama later this month. They will have a second

wedding next year in his hometown in South Africa surrounded by family and friends.

The current Lion King Tour began in October 2017, and this devoted couple joined in Hartford, Connecticut in 2018.

There is so much about this show to love from the puppetry and poetry of movement to the time-honored songs that adults and children instantly recognize.

The Lion King is currently running through Sunday, Sept. 10 at the Academy of Music on the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus. 

To show the versatility of the show, Ndlovu explains that there are nine different touring companies, including those done in Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. In fact, he started in Madrid and was in a production in Europe.

Daniela Cobb

Cobb (SwingUnderstudy Sarabi & Shenzi) is a graduate of Alabama State University. Theatre: The Odyssey; Disney’s Beauty and the BeastThe WizThe Winter’s TaleRoe (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); The First Noel  (Kenny Leon’s True Colors)Freak Friday (Horizon Theatre Co.); Black NativityFor Colored Girls…; Dreamgirls; (Cloverdale Playhouse) and The Color Purple.

Ndlovu (Ensemble) has been singing since before he could talk and loves live music and performances. He is grateful to be back onstage and is excited to be traveling across the country with this show.

He’s been with The Lion King for over half a decade now and has worked with the Broadway cast, North American tour, and the Madrid cast in Spain. 

Nhlanhla Ndlovu fell in love with The Lion King and his wife on the stage

More than 100 million people around the world have experienced the phenomenon of Disney’s The Lion King, and now you can, too, when this best-loved musical returns to Philadelphia.  The winner of six Tony Awards®, including Best Musical, this landmark musical event brings together one of the most imaginative creative teams on Broadway.  Tony Award®-winning director Julie Taymor brings to life a story filled with hope and adventure set against an amazing backdrop of stunning visuals.  THE LION KING also features some of Broadway’s most recognizable music, crafted by Tony Award®-winning artists Elton John and Tim Rice.  There is simply nothing else like The Lion King.

The following is a recent interview with Nhlanhla Ndlovu and Daniela Cobb about his marriage proposal, their life together on the road, and why they fiercely love The Lion King and encourage everyone to see it again and again!

So, what are your favorite moments and favorite musical numbers?

Daniela Cobb: In Washington, D.C. we had a 16-pierce symphony for accompaniment and the He Lives in You Reprise; that instrumentation and hearing the strings while Nahla is talking to Simba, along with the masks, is so extraordinary.

What do you love about The Lion King?

Nhlanhla Ndlovu: I find it fascinating that this is the only show that incorporates African languages, including my mother tongue. It feels like I am doing exactly what I am supposed to do, I get to do it in my language and get to travel with the woman I love.

Families enjoy bringing their loved ones whether it is in Philadelphia, Little Rock, Arkansas, Spain or Australia. To see music and theater move the way it does you see it has the ability to truly transcend culture

Daniela Cobb: The cast and crew feel like a family. We all have such great chemistry. It never feels like I am clocking in and out. I love spending time with friends and make people happy for a few years. As a person of color, I feel part of a rich and culturally diverse movement at a time in our history when we truly need it.

Disney’s The Lion King US North American Tour.

What do you love about coming to Philadelphia?

Daniela Cobb: We did a lot of sightseeing near the LOVE sign, and enjoyed playing ping pong.

Nhlanhla Ndlovu: We had a Salsa night and headed to a Jamaican spot that I know how to get to by car. And they have really good oxtails.

Tell me about your love story and the proposal.

Nhlanhla Ndlovu: Dani joined the show while I was in South Africa. I immediately asked, ‘Who is that?’ and I was trying to talk to her on her birthday and I definitely pursued her. We started talking and dating.

Daniela Cobb: I joined the tour in August 2018 during rehearsal and was learning all of the music. He was dressed as a plant the first time we met while trying to be suave and smooth. He started sending me food to the dressing room. Went out on a first date in Idaho, and spent the time talking and just having a great time.

Nhlanhla Ndlovu: We dated for a little more than a year. Before I knew it, I had a feeling and spiritual connection. I got the ring in Baltimore and snuck out to get it sized right. I called my mom and uncle. I told the company management that I wanted to do this onstage open curtain, and they agreed

Daniela Cobb: In the middle of the curtain call he calls me to come forward. The proposal was happening,! I was in my lioness and he was wearing his diaper it was something I will never forget!

Darian Sanders as Simba in the the North American tour of The Lion King

Why go to see this show if you have seen it a few times or if you have never seen it?

Nhlanhla Ndlovu: If you have never seen it you will quickly understand that there is nothing like it. We’ve never seen humans depict animals with the help of music, movement, puppetry, and wig artistry. How it stayed true to the mechanics and technology with no LED screens and no AI is something amazing. It is the journey of how powerful art can be if allowed to express itself in any authentic. If you have seen it bring someone with you who hasn’t seen it. There is always something to find in it whether it’s the first time or the 17th time.

Daniela Cobb: My mom comes to visit and has seen the show many times. It is a global show and in the midst of all the craziness that we are going through it brings puppetry, music, and costumes together in a way that has never been done before. If you saw The Lion King 10 years ago, there is different puppetry, different voices, and a different way the lines are read. It is a timeless piece. I cannot get enough of the “He Lives in You” scene. After all these times I still find myself crying. When my father passed away that scene melted by center. It was my first time being part and I was on the stage praying and thanking God for that connection. I have such an infinity for The Circle of Life, and the fact that everyone who came before you and everyone who comes later will be connected to you. I believe that you will end up right where you are supposed to be.

Nhlanhla Ndlovu: I love that I can truly be myself to the world and the world will appreciate and marvel at that. I am able to stand up on my two feet at the Kennedy Center and the Academy of Music and in my language. I could literally stand there and be myself. That is what is the most powerful for me!

The Lion King is currently running through Sunday, Sept. 10 at the Academy of Music on the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus. 

For tickets and information please go to:  https://www.kimmelculturalcampus.org/events-and-tickets/202223/broadway/the-lion-king/

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