Interview With…Kayi Ushe

We chatted to the actor about joining the cast of The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre.

(c)James Everett

Hi Kayi – how does it feel to be getting to play Simba in The Lion King? It feels like a dream come true. I’ve wanted to play this part for the longest time and I’m so grateful that I’m getting to tell this story.

Do you remember the first time that you saw the show and how you felt watching it? The first time I saw The Lion King I felt seen. I’d never seen a show infused with so much cultural authenticity and especially not a show with so much cultural proximity to my own upbringing. It was so beautiful. I remember the “Circle of life” number ending and that iconic drum buttoning the song. I got head to toe goosebumps and realised the show had only just begun.

What do you think the secret to The Lion King’s success is? I would attribute The Lion King’s long term success to the fact that there is something in it for everyone. It’s a visual feast and a story with themes that are universally resonant. Everyone can see themselves represented in some aspect of the show. And on top of all that it’s a thoroughly entertaining and beautiful spectacle. 

How does it feel to simply be able to get back to performing again? To be performing again feels right. It’s a simple summary I know but I don’t know how else to put it. I’ve missed everything about theatre and felt displaced this past 15 months. So to be back, performing, being creative with a sensationally talented cast and company working towards the unified goal of telling this story… it just feels right.

Do you have a particular moment in the show that you love the most? I love so many parts of the show. “Circle of Life” as i mentioned before. “One by One” which opens the second act is also stunning. One song that gets me in my feelings though is “Shadowlands”. Especially after what we’ve been through globally “Shadowland” resonates with me. “Ngizo buyabo, I will return” hits very differently.

For those who haven’t seen The Lion King on stage – why would you say that they should? For those who haven’t seen The Lion King on stage yet I would say I envy you. The first time I watched the show was a revelation and you get to look forward to that sensation! 

By Emma Clarendon

The Lion King is now booking once more at the Lyceum Theatre. To book tickets click here or visit: Love, London Theatre Direct, Theatre Tickets Direct, From the Box Office or Last

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