*L. Steven Taylor dons the mask of Mufasa, one of the most iconic and beloved characters loved by children and adults. In the Disney Broadway musical “Lion King,” Taylor does not take his role as Mufasa lightly.
The charismatic actor taught pre-school in his hometown of Indianapolis, Ind. before getting the acting bug. As Mufasa, he hasn’t swerved that much off course. He teaches life lessons every time he takes the stage while mesmerizing crowds with song and dance.
EURweb caught up with Taylor during Black History Month to talk about Disney on Broadway and its Black History Month celebration.
EUR: What does it mean for you to be playing Mufasa, not only during Black History Month, but throughout the year?
L. Steven Taylor: It’s deep. Representation is very important. And it’s not only for little black boys and girls, but little white kids too. When they are watching TV and the news, they see black people represented in a very different way than when they come and see our show. When they come see our show, they see black kings and queens. Strong female leadership.
Also, I feel so blessed and privileged knowing what our ancestors had to go through for me to be performing on that stage. It’s easy to lose sight of whose shoulders we’re standing on. We offer alternative images considering how we’re portrayed in most news stories. I feel so fortunate to be in this show because of the South African influence and all of our South African company members. They bridge a very specific gap for us. We long to know what it’s like to be where they come from.
EUR: You’re an educator. So how do you circumvent the miss education that only a month—and the shortest month of the year—is set aside for black history?
I mean it’s sad to be dedicating just one month. But I would encourage people, just in general, to seek out information because everything is accessible. Ask questions, go to Google. In fact, members of our cast do just that. They encourage the young to just kind of start that process and make it something that sticks. And hopefully, they’ll do it with their friends, and then their friends will do it, start asking questions about our history. It’s a trickle down effect.
There are already more stories being written, for example the story of Gabriel Prosser, who led the first slave rebellion. He was highly educated. And that’s how do you spark that curiosity. When Black Panther came out it caused kids and adults to reflect on their history. Kids wanted to be big cats. You take something that’s relateable, whether it’s on stage, or in a film and use it as a teachable moment.
For another story in this series, go to: https://www.eurweb.com/2019/02/major-attaways-genie-plays-a-part-in-black-history-month-on-broadway/
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