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A Must See

The Lion King Brings Heart And Soul To CBS’s Code Black

We love when musicals and television mix! Last week The Lion King alumAlton Fitzgerald White, appeared on CBS’s medical drama, “Code Black,” along with cast members from the touring production of  The Lion King.

It’s almost as if his 4,000+ performances as Mufasa led to this moment. The episode entitled, “The Son Rises” features White as an actor playing Mufasa in the touring company of  The Lion King who comes to the hospital with a damaging throat infection. But like all good stories, there’s more. The Lion King plot is intermixed with the gripping story of a son who soon has to say goodbye to his father.

Creator and Writer, Michael Seitzman, came up with the idea to incorporate The Lion King cast after seeing the viral video of the cast singing during their layover at La Guardia airport.  After all, actors are humans. Seitzman became intrigued with exposing the human nature behind a show that on the surface is about animals, and the potential magical experience this company could bring to “Code Black.”

Bring. On. The. Tears.

“They Live in You,” the song sung by The Lion King cast on “Code Black,” is seemingly written from the contents of White’s heart. Much like the father-son plot, White had to say goodbye to his father while he was on tour as Mufasa in his hometown of Cincinnati, OH. He notes, “Death is very much a part of the human experience—the acceptance and how we deal with the transition.” This theme carries throughout the episode, and while heavy, White says this experience has shaped his vision for his future.

I thought “They Live in You” was a tear jerker merely listening to The Lion King cast album. But it gets better! Imagine soulful voices belting in the midst of a crisis. Imagine a cast coming together to console their castmate who fears he may never be able to sing again and a child in the middle of grief. If you aren’t going to take our word for it, take Seitzman’s. On the heartwarming performances, he said: 

It was breathtaking. Their voices were breathtaking. The whole room fell apart. It was amazing.

White originated the role of Mufasa on the first national tour of  The Lion King and in the Las Vegas production. He eventually portrayed Mufasa on Broadway. We hope this episode isn’t the last time we see him on camera!

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