Jelani Remy on His Journey in The Lion King, From His Bedroom to Broadway

first_img View Comments from $75.00 Related Shows Age: 27Hometown: Cedar Grove, NJCurrent Role: A Broadway debut as Simba, who, after his father’s death, fights to ascend the throne as King of the Pride Lands in Disney’s The Lion King.Stage Cred: After graduating from Montclair State University, Remy toured the country in High School Musical and High School Musical 2 and played Simba in the Las Vegas and touring productions of The Lion King.“When I was 8, I spent my birthday money on The Lion King [movie soundtrack] cassette tape. In my bedroom, I’d play one character all the way through, then rewind the tape and do another character. First as Simba, then Nala, then Scar, until I’d done the whole cast. So I’ve been off book for a while.”“I grew up 25 minutes from New York City, but my family didn’t go a lot. My exposure to the city was through school field trips to Broadway shows, and that was how I got the itch. We saw The Music Man, Chicago and The Civil War, a wide array of musicals.”“My parents came straight off the boat. My mom’s from Trinidad and my dad’s from Barbados, but they met in a New York subway. My dad was working as a clerk where you get your tickets, and my mom would take the same train every day to go to school. After a while they started talking, and the rest is history.”“Growing up, music was very important. I come from a Caribbean family, and I listened to a lot of Soca music and reggae growing up. At first I thought I would be a music teacher—I sing and play a little piano and drums.”“I have a secret talent—I’m great at imitations. I can listen and get these sounds in my head and just process them, kind of like Christina Bianco. I can give you Celine Dion, Macy Gray, Britney Spears and a bunch more.””Thanks to The Lion King, High School Musical and High School Musical 2, I’ve been on the road for about five years of my life. Now I’m like, wait, I don’t have to move? This is so weird! Now I can have more stuff than just a suitcase and a trunk!” The Lion Kinglast_img read more