‘The Lion King,’ ‘Aladdin’ are back on Broadway and so is FilAm cast; Vince Ermita debuts as Young Simba

Vince Ermita debuts on Broadway this September.

“The Lion King” and “Aladdin” are returning to Broadway this fall, it was announced by Disney Theatrical Productions.

Both companies will welcome back nearly all of the cast members who were performing when Broadway shut down last March, along with exciting fresh faces. “The Lion King” begins performances on Tuesday, September 14 at the Minskoff Theatre. “Aladdin” resumes performances on Tuesday, September 28 at the New Amsterdam Theatre.

New to the cast of “The Lion King” is an 11-year-old Filipino from New Jersey. Vince Ermita will alternate as Young Simba with another newcomer Corey J. This is his Broadway debut. Vince is a member of The Ermita Brothers, formed in 2017 in the basement of the family home in New Milford. The youngest son is also the vocalist. He is joined by his three musician brothers Junian, Ulysses, and Santino. The band has performed in churches and in Filipino community festivals.

According to its website, The Ermita Brothers “was formed by accident when (Vince) would sing along every time his brothers were doing their music lessons. He already memorized all the lines, so when the music teacher comes, he was also ready even though he was not included in the lessons.”

Vince was in the cast of “School of Rock, The Musical” touring Utah, when he got a call from his agent that he was going to Broadway.

‘Honored and thrilled’

The returning cast of Aladdin features four FilAm company members in important roles, including Don Darryl Rivera as Iago, Mathew deGuzman, Bobby Pestka, and Angelo Soriano.

From left, ‘Aladdin’ actors Jonathan Freeman, Michael Maliakel, Don Darryl Rivera (center), Michael James Scott, and Shoba Narayan. Photo by Rebecca J. Michelson.

Don Darryl Rivera was born and raised in Seattle. His musical training started at age 5 when he took up piano lessons and danced with the Filipino folk dance Kultura. In high school, he decided, according to his website, he wanted to pursue a career as an actor. He attended Cornish College of the Arts where he received his BFA in Theatre.

Mathew deGuzman is a Broadway actor and a teaching artist. He was born in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. He has been a professional actor with Disney since 2017. He was in the ensemble of “Pippin the Musical’s” first National Tour in 2014, and before that he played multiple roles as Swing, Assistance Dance Captain and Fight Captain in “A Christmas Story, The Musical.” He holds a Bachelor of Music, Musical Theatre from Belmont University in Nashville. “I’m honored and thrilled to be returning to Agrabah for the Return of Broadway,” he writes on Facebook.

Bobby Pestka has appeared in Lincoln Center’s “The King and I,” “Bombay Dreams,” and “Flower Drum Song.” His film credits include “The Producers” and “Across the Universe.” He performed in the National Tour of Roundabout’s “Anything Goes” and “The Radio City Christmas Spectacular” in New York City.He is a graduate of Point Park University.  He has a long history with regional theater appearing in major productions, such as “West Side Story” in Pittsburgh, “Guys and Dolls” in Washington D.C., and “Miss Saigon” in Millburn, N.J.’s Paper Mill Playhouse.

Angelo Soriano debuted on Broadway as a Swing in “Aladdin.” He came to Disney with a rich performing arts background that included Disney shows and the National Tour of “Flashdance: The Musical.” As a Swing in the 2016 production, Soriano assumed many different roles (or tracks), including the principals Aladdin and the adorable villain Iago. A highly focused actor, he has the capability to jump in any of the 12 tracks at any given time. He told The FilAm in a 2016 interview that as one of four male swings, he is officially told of his role, say, two weeks in advance. But sometimes, he learns his fate just minutes before – when one of the ensemble players suffers an injury and can’t continue to perform.

He quipped: “It’s live theater. Things happen.”

No remittance fee, fast, free, easy and fun – direct from your mobile phone. Plus a $20 bonus to your recipient on your first send. Just use the prompt code FILIPINO.  Learn more about Sendwave Mobile Remittance App: https://try.sendwave.com/kjap/en

© The FilAm 2021

Leave a Reply