Ep. 47: Candid Conversation with Broadway’s Record-Breaking Lion King Alton Fitzgerald White

Alton Fitzgerald White is the only black actor who has played in a lead role in five hit shows on Broadway; John in MISS SAIGON; Ken in SMOKEY JOE’S CAFE (he originated the role in London’s West End); Coalhouse Walker Jr. in RAGTIME: THE MUSICAL; Mister in THE COLOR PURPLE; and King Mufasa in THE LION KINGHear what he has to say about his humble beginnings watching variety shows on television, the incident during RAGTIME that changed his life, and the lessons he learned from playing Mufasa onstage over 4,000 times.

About the Guest

Alton Fitzgerald White made his Broadway starring debut as John in MISS SAIGON. Demonstrating his vocal versatility Alton then moved on to the more aggressive role of The Hawker in THE WHO’S TOMMY. Next was the popular Broadway show SMOKEY JOE’S CAFE where White dazzled theatergoers with dynamic renditions of Leiber and Stoller classics. His commanding performance reached new heights as he sang and danced the romantic pas de deux “Spanish Harlem,” to stunning applause. This performance lead to his West End debut in the original London company of the smash hit. White then landed the coveted starring role of Coalhouse Walker Jr. in RAGTIME: THE MUSICAL. The journey began with the pre-Broadway original company in Toronto opposite six-time Tony Award-winner Audra McDonald, the critically acclaimed national tour and ultimately Broadway, opposite Tony Award-winner LaChanze. After an exceptionally blessed 5 1/2 years of continuous 8 shows a week on Broadway, White took a year off for TV (episodes of “Law and Order”), Film (The Invention of Lying, directed by and starring the brilliant multi-award winning comedian, Ricky Gervais), concerts around the world, voice-overs and commercial work. Very soon after, Disney invited Alton to re-create the role of Mufasa for a record-breaking, sit-down company at The Mandalay Bay in Viva Las Vegas. After a phenomenal year in Vegas, he was again invited back into the Broadway company. October 2012 marked the release of his critically acclaimed, smash-hit CD, “Disney My Way.” After a record-breaking 4,308 performances as King Mufasa in The Lion King, White added author to his growing list of titles with his recent book release titled MY PRIDE: MASTERING LIFE’S DAILY PERFORMANCE, a best selling inspirational biography filled with secrets to fulfillment and joy in work and life, published by Disney Editions. He has also become an in-demand motivational speaker at BrightSight Group and has been a Keynote Speaker for clients like Seasons Healthcare Management, Americans For The Arts, The Wisconsin Association of School Boards and Youth First Partnership to name a few. His popular TEDx Talk can be found on YouTube. White has made guest star appearances on the hit series MINDHUNTER (NETFLIX), MADAM SECRETARY (CBS), BULL (CBS), THE BLACKLIST (NBC), THE GOOD FIGHT (CBS.com) and CODE BLACK(CBS) and THE GOLDFINCH playing opposite Nicole Kidman. He was also featured in RENT LIVE for The FOX Network. Visit https://altonfitzgeraldwhite.com/ for more information.

Links

The Nation, “Ragtime, My Time,” September 23, 1999

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