The opposite of sardines

by Mike on May 21, 2012 · 4 comments

My dressing room in Miami

When I asked my esteemed colleague Tony Freeman (standby for Timon, Zazu, Pumbaa and Scar) what the title of this post should be, he answered, ”What’s the opposite of sardines?” I guess that about sums it up.

Every city where The Lion King lands, the dressing room situation varies. It all depends, of course, on each theater’s facilities. Some are smaller and more cramped with fewer total dressing rooms, like our dressing room in Orlando. There at the Bob Carr Theater, Tony and I, along with Robbie Swift (Ed the Hyena) and Keith Bennett (Banzai the Hyena) shared our dressing room with the ENTIRE male ensemble! I thought it was great. It was always very lively and social whether you wanted it that way or not. I liked being able to catch up with everyone and stay “in the loop”, because usually I’m the one so far behind on the latest gossip. It was also funny to watch Robbie wrestle with his huge futon-like hyena costume in cramped quarters.

Our situation in Miami is decidedly different. Here at the Ziff Opera House in the Adrienne Arscht Center, I feel like I’m on the set of an absurdist play. We have so much space it’s ridiculous! Tony and I share a dressing room that is meant for easily 25 actors. We have 5 toilets, 4 sinks and 3 showers all to ourselves. Sometimes it can be a little too quiet, almost unsettling. “You could swing a dead cat over your head and not hit anything.” says Tony. I’m not sure what he means by that, but I’m not sure what he means a lot of the time.

We are located right across the hall from the young Nala actresses’ dressing room, where the water cooler lives.  Often, I have to head there to fill up my water bottle — and Sade and Kailah have set up a makeshift “cafe” where they charge me for the water.

Tony has been with The Lion King for 12 years and has seen it all. He has a wicked sense of humor, and keeps me in stitches. We’re both the principle standbys, and so we are often sitting side by side throughout the show unless one of us gets called on to perform. So… we spend a lot of time together in this huge dressing room, Tony and I. That is, except when he goes to play ping pong with the guys in the Puppet Department. Here he is on a team with Michael Reilly (master puppeteer) vs. Nick Cordileone (Timon, if you couldn’t tell) and Rob Parks (ensemble).

Tony originally played Zazu on Broadway and on tour for 11 years, has notched over 3,000 performances and is now the standby for Zazu, Timon, Scar, and Pumbaa. I can’t express how helpful he has been to me, as I make my way here on the road. He is a true gentleman, and a terrific talent. He also is a HUGE fantasy sports fan, maybe even more so than myself. If I had to pick one guy to spend in this enormous dressing room, it would be Mr. Freeman. We are truly a match made in Lion King heaven.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

ANGELIQUE May 21, 2012 at 1:35 pm



kate j May 21, 2012 at 7:40 pm

I have seen some huge dressing rooms but this one takes the cake!


Sonya Jenne May 27, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Funny! Well you could start a band a rehearse in that space!


Beb June 16, 2012 at 3:29 am

The lion king is without doubt the best miucsal show ever just like the movie is the best classic animation. It’s good the 3d did not take anything away from the movie. It only enhanced it. Well done disney!


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