Report: Whoopi Goldberg Performs One Night Only in The Lion King on Broadway

This past Thursday, actress, comedienne and co-host of ABC’s The View, Whoopi Goldberg took the stage at the Minkskoff Theatre to perform in Disney’s The Liong Kingfor one night only.

The night’s special performance was introduced by Disney Theatrical president and producer Thomas Schumacher who first talked about how there have been over 10,000 shows produced in Broadway’s history and that out of those, only eight have gone on to host more than 5,000 performances and that The Lion King had just become number nine (which it did back in November). After noting that director Julie Taymor was also in the audience for the evening’s performance, Schumacher then went on to explain that the performance was being taped for The View and outlined the three cameos Goldberg would be appearing in throughout the show.

Our first look at Whoopi was as ‘Bird Lady,’ a member of the procession of animals that marches down the aisles to the stage during the opening scene in which all the animals gather for the presentation of Simba.

We next saw her as the curtain pulled back to reveal Scar in the elephant graveyard alongside his three four hyena companions: Banzai, Shenzi, Ed and.. a Shenzi clone. Goldberg, re-creating the role she had originated in the film, took the lead as Shenzi, although she appeared to stumble through some lines (which is completely understandable) and appeared to have difficulty either operating and/or remembering to operate Shenzi’s mouth, although she eventually caught on. When ceremoniously dismissed by Scar (and a bit of humorous back and forth), the Shenzi clone slowly stumbled her way off stage, but not before facing the audience and noting how hard it was.

Whoopi’s final appearance was that as Rafiki (again, being backed up by the regular cast member). This time, as the Rafikis confronted Simba, Goldberg took more of a secondary role amongst the heavily modified ‘we know your father’ dialogue. Whoopi also appeared as Rafiki later on swinging solo on a vine to deliver a few lines.

You can see some photos from the performance’s curtain call featuring Whoopi as Rafiki on The segment will air on The View on Wednesday, January 20.

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