Hawaii dancer brings together original Broadway cast of the Lion King for virtual performance

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Some of the original cast members of The Lion King on Broadway came together to perform “He Lives In You” from their own homes.

The collaboration video was made to inspire others amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We just wanted to reunite and do something positive, and do something good. It was fun to just reminisce,” said Hawaii dancer Christine Yasunaga.

Yasunaga was one of the original cast members. She said she remembers her time on Broadway like it was yesterday.

“I was fortunate to be one of six female dancers cast in the show, and to be the only Asian was pretty spectacular too,” she said. “Walking into the first day of rehearsal for The Lion King, I just looked around and I thought, ‘Am I supposed to be here? Is this right?'” Yasunaga exclaimed. “I just remember Julie Taymor, the director, telling us, ‘ Plants and animals don’t have colors. You were cast because you can do the work,'” she said.

Yasunaga was in The Lion King for four years. To this day, the choreography is engrained in her memory.

“All the dancers just doing this one-minute dance, we were all in pain, and huffing and puffing and out of breath, and we just couldn’t believe we used to do this eight times a week,” Yasunaga said.

From 1997-2001, Yasunaga performed in The Lion King eight times a week, 50 weeks out of the year.

She said it was more than just a Broadway show, it changed her life.

The original cast members chose to perform “He Lives In You” because of the powerful message during these tough times.

“We thought that the message was really positive as well,” Yasunaga explained. “Just remember that he lives in you, whoever that he may be, just know that there’s that extra special spirit within you that can keep you going.”


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