Any two things can be connected when you think “big picture” enough. Today’s performances of “The Lion King: The Musical” on Clubhouse (a new and quickly growing app in the social media and digital space) prove exactly that… and show the magic that can be created when one is willing to think outside the box and run with a “random” idea.
Expected to break records, Lion King: The Musical on Clubhouse is a free virtual live concert event taking place on December 26, 2020, exclusively on Clubhouse.
For me, The Lion King was the first musical my daughter ever performed. Several years ago, I signed her up for a week-long summer camp. When I arrived to pick her up, she was missing. She had been chosen from the little kids chorus to move into the role of Young Nala and was rehearsing in a different room.
With theaters closed and performances canceled, including my daughter’s role of Ti Moune in “Once on This Island” with a local youth production, my heart is happy seeing yet another brilliant cast create a way to keep the arts alive, even with all the current challenges we face as a community, a country, and a world… unable to create and perform in the ways we always have.
Created by marketing executive and event producer Noelle Chestnut Whitmore, the production was born when Whitmore was in a room with Bomani X and Myles Grier. She recognized the distinct voice of Chris “Boogie” Glover, another user in the room, and thought he would be perfect to play Mufasa. Grier then began performing Simba’s lines and the idea took flight. What began as a fun conversation has scaled to a full cast and crew of over forty actors, narrators, imagery (PTR), musicians, and a choir.
Noelle Chesnut Whitmore is serving as the director and executive producer. Kam Dela and Bomani X, whose picture is the current icon for the Clubhouse app, are serving as the musical directors.
Award-winning actor Myles Grier will voice Simba, and Mir Harris will voice Nala. Other featured entertainers include actress and producer Gina Belafonte, Dr. Victor, Minh Do, Brandon Rainey, Tunde Sho, Dai Thompson, Felicia Brathwaite, Aja Monet, Shannon Yang and many others.
Due to the nature of Clubhouse as an audio-based interface, the cast and crew have challenged themselves to create a full experience, adding live instrumentation and narration; and incorporating imagery and scenes from the original movie by constantly updating profile pictures of the participants while the performance progresses.
Whitmore stated, “What started as a random conversation on Clubhouse has scaled to something much greater. We have so many talented people contributing their time and energy to this performance. Our goal is just to spread some joy to people through these events. I never imagined this would get such a huge response.”
Although this is their first virtual music event as a collective, Noelle Chesnut Whitmore looks forward to expanding their digital footprint on Clubhouse and beyond.
All this… because someone had the vision to see the magic and she took action to make it a reality. Clubhouse has upgraded the “theater” for each show to accommodate 10,000 users. Will you be one of them?
Oh, and note to self… get creative. Because when you do, what magic can you create for the world?