Black Actors I Saw- Principal Characters

Noticing that this month is Black National Month, I decided to bring up some of the black actors I saw. That is specifically referring to the ones I saw in person. Crazily enough, most of them have played the same part.

Nia Hallloway (Nala)

I saw her in in Lion King back in 2018. I loved her as Nala, and her talent really showed during “Shadowland”. I was able to see how strong of a character Nala is. Obviously, a lot of my ensemble was black.

Treston Henderson (Cructie)

He was my Crutchie during my 2nd visit with Newsies, which was Central Piedmont Community College. I loved that he was black. Based on the review, he impressed me during “Letter From the Refuge). It was seen the same year I saw Lion King.

Talia Simone Robinson (Eponine)

When I saw her as Eponine, she was the understudy. Due to that, I was able to appreciate her and enjoy her performance. Based on my review, she was playful and flirty around Marius, and the heartbreak she was feeling. It took a little of time till she embodied the character, and I believe her Eponine got stronger- in some ways it showed how strong of a character Eponine is. I actually remembered that it took effort to move during “A Little Fall of Rain”- so believable. I don’t know how I could have heard this, but at the end of “On My Own”- I could hear a tear. Talia was in my favorite three Eponine actresses for some time until Paige took over.

Paige Smallwood (Eponine)

She was with the US Tour eventually. While I still had five actors playing the same parts, it was interesting having a different Eponine. That was due to both Jillian and Joshua- stayed in the tour as Cosette and Marius since the beginning. So seeing a different actor was interesting- wondering if one actor could change the love triangle by possibly a little or a lot. This time, I wasn’t seeing an understudy, but treated Talia the same.

I was in tears during her “On My Own”. She was even believable during “A Little Fall of Rain”- based on nonverbal and her voice. In my opinion, she was stronger than then Talia, and that wasn’t because Paige was NOT an understudy. If I had done that, it wouldn’t have been fair.

Kayla Ferguson (Eponine)

She was my first stage Eponine. I barely remember her Eponine. She played the part at Central Piedmont Community College. I believe I called her a solid Eponine. I think her strongest moment was at “A Little Fall of Rain”.


Crazy how a lot of these actors played Eponine. Black actors deserve to be on stage. I hadn’t seen many black actor plays any of the lead characters.

Can you Feel the love Tonight

There are three main Disney couples that really stuck with me as a child. You have Aladdin/Jasmine, Belle/Beast, and finally the one that will be talking about in this post- Nala and Simba. Nala and Simba are two cubs who have been best friends and later fall in love. “Can you Feel the Love Tonight” is also one of those songs that has magic and innocent in it- Disney love songs just have that kind of nature in it.

Nala and Simba

Things gets complicated. Nala knows what happened to the Pride Lands since Simba ran away from he “believed” he killed his father when it really was his evil uncle, Scar. He basically was raised by Timon and Pumba until he found Nala.

Lion King (2019) Review

Major Spoilers:

When I found out about the “live action” movie of Lion King, I wanted to see it. Lion King is one of the musicals I love. Lion King would be one of the hardest ones to do- after all, it is a musical where the characters are animals. I already had fallen in love with the live action versions of Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. Would the same happen with Lion King?

The opening scene, “Circle of Life”, did give me a lot of hope into how well done the rest of the film would be. Those animals and the African Savanah looked “real”. You never could have guessed it. That is one of the best openings to a movie musical.

We all know that scene. I was in tears when Mufasa died. I knew when it was coming. I don’t even remember if that scene affected me that way when I was a child. If it didn’t, I do know I began to feel the emotions in that scene when I saw the stage show last year.

One of the biggest disappointments I have with this film is “Be Prepared”. It is Scar’s number. In both the cartoon and the musical, it actually felt like a intense song meant for a villain. In this movie, it didn’t feel like Scar was actually singing- it was like he was talking all the lines. “Be Prepared” is the main disappointment I had with Scar.

As far as the other main songs go, they were spot on meaning they did not disappoint me. I already said my opinion about “Circle of Life”. There is something special about Disney love songs- it doesn’t seem to matter who sings them- but no matter what, the magic and innocence and nostalgia (if it is a childhood musical) is always there- “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” defiantly had that.

In both Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast, I loved their original songs, Evermore and Speechless. Lion King’s original song, that belonged to Nala, did not set the bar for me. However, I still thought it was a well-done movie: just a few disappointments.

My favorite couples and pairings

I have talked a number of times on my blog about romance in musicals. I thought to do something a bit differently. What if I brought up a few couples in musicals and my favorite pairing I have seen? That shall be interesting.

Major Spoilers:

Nala and Simba: Nia Holloway and Jared Dixon

  • Love her Nala and his Simba. Wonderful pairing.

Katherine and Jack Kelly: Kaitlyn Frank and Joey Barreiro

  • While I only remember Joey Barreiro’s portrayal, I said they are my favorite pairing. I just can’t help but think about Joey. That is why I said these two are my favorite pairing- all because of Joey.
Joey Barreiro as Jack Kelly in the stage show of Newsies

Jasmine and Aladdin: Naomi Scott and Mena Massoud

  • Yes, my favorite pairing is from the live action Aladdin movie. That could soon change: if I see Aladdin in person in September.

Belle and Beast: Emma Watson and Dan Stevens

  • So, I have two favorite Disney pairings from live action Disney movies.
Dan Stevens as Beast and Emma Watson as Belle in Beauty and the Beast live action

Kim and Chris: Emily Bautista and Anthony Festa

  • Well, they are the only Kim and Chris I saw.
Anthony Festa as Chris and Emily Bautista as Kim in The Last Night of the World

Christine and Raoul: Grace Morgan and Ben Jacoby

  • I may not remember anything about their Christine and Raoul. However, they currently are my favorite Christine and Raoul. I still remember my reaction during Phantom of the Opera: spellbound and choked up. That does say something. I remember getting attached to Christine in May of 2014.

Cosette and Marius: Jillian Butler and Joshua Grosso

  • I don’t really need to explain the two of them (I have said I believe, a lot about Joshua’s Marius). The reason why I remember Jillian’s Cosette so well is because of Joshua’s Marius. They are such an adorable couple- which I can’t explain.

Elphaba and Fiyero: Mary Kate Morrissey and Ashley Parker Angel

  • Of four casts, they are the only Elphaba and Fiyero I remember. It is crazy how just saying that Elphaba and Fiyero are a couple is a spoiler in itself.
Ashley Parker Angel as Fiyero leading up to "As Long as Your'e Mine"

Animals of the Musical Theatre World

I don’t think I touched on this. When you think of musical theatre, you think of “humans”. There are characters in the musicals theatre world who are not “human”. They are animals themselves or are humans disguised as an animal. I decided to touch on those animals today.


  • He is the main character of The Lion King. After Mufasa, he is meant to be King, but this makes his Uncle Scar jealous. The story kicks off when Scar murders Mufasa. Simba was led to believe that he killed his father by Scar. After all, Simba was only a cub. Another thing to say about Simba is that his best friend is Nala. Before this tragic event happened, Simba was excited to be king. However the death of Mufasa and being led to be believe that he killed his dad is traumatizing. He had to run away and does not want to return. He ends up living with Timon and Pumba. He did feel like his dad wasn’t watching over him, and did forget who he was. He did fall in love with Nala. Simba did eventually return to the Pride Lands to fight Scar to be King, and learned who really killed Mufasa.
Simba during the stage show when he becomes King


  • Like I just said, Nala and Simba are best friends. She has this incredible strength. When Scar asks her to be his Queen, she flees the Pride Lands to get help. This is when she encounters Simba, and that was when the two of them fall in love.
Simba and Nala during Can You Feel the Love Tonight during the stage show of Lion King
Nala and Simba


  • Mufasa is an excellent King and father. While the time was short-lived, he taught Simba incredible life lessons. Even in death, Mufasa still looked over Simba- in one scene- he told Simba- “Remember”. So, Mufasa never forget about his son.


  • Beast is one of those animals who is a human who was turned into an animal. That is because of a selfish mistake he made. At the time, he didn’t have love in his heart. He didn’t let an old woman into his castle- but he was warned not be deceived by appearances because beauty comes from within. He didn’t realize that the old woman was really an enchantress- she ended up turning the prince into a beast. It was a strong curse- as other humans in the castle were turned into enchanted objects. He had to fall in love with someone else and had to be love in return for the spell to be broken- or else he would stay a beast forever. Years passed, and there was no sign of the spell breaking. Then Belle came, and became a prisoner in his castle, and taught him love- she was the one to break the curse. Those two fell in love.
Beast and Belle during the song, Beauty and the Beast, in the live action movie, Beauty and the Beast


  • This time, the character is played by an actual dog. It is Annie’s dog. She found him as a stray on the streets. She decided to own the dog. That is one of the things I love about the character of Annie- that she would own the dog- she has compassion for Sandy. It in so ways impresses me much more to see an actual animal acting in a musical than an actor/actress.

What are other animal characters you love in musicals?