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American Samoan is the Lion King in U.S. tour of Disney musical

Gerald Ramsey, originally from the island of Aunu’u in American Samoa, with his Lion King mask

PEORIA — Gerald Ramsey, originally from the island of Aunu’u in American Samoa, says that he channels his own life experiences connecting with his grandfather as he portrays the paternal figure Mufasa.  Ramsey said, “I leave all the glitz up to the beautiful costumes, the makeup, lighting and the set, you know.  I try to bring the humanity to the character.”

However, he admits he has been in the doghouse with the repair team, saying that when he puts on he mask, which is suspended over his own head, he is over eight feet tall,  With a laugh, he admits, “the most challenging thing with this beautiful mask is not brteaking it” as I go through doorways,

Behind the visual artistry, choreography and costume design of the Disney’s Lion King musical, currently showing at the Peoria Civic Center, there is a crew of creative professionals that keep the show running day in and out.

Puppet masters repair and rebuild the multitude of animal characters in the show. Wardrobe supervisors make sure their crews wash, repair and then, later, help performers in and out of the many costume changes throughout a performance.

Cast members make sure they sustain their bodies and voices during an aggressive touring schedule across North America by working out in gyms, doing yoga, and maintaining their vocal chords.Swing performers study and master multiple roles so that they can switch in with almost no notice.

The sum is a traveling company for a production that has been seen by more than 95 million people and the winner of six Tony Awards during the Broadway run of the show.

Read more at Chillicothe Times Bulletin