Selena Moshell has just celebrated six years on the road touring with Disney's The Lion King. "It's special and different to be able to say you have roots in a touring show," she says. "It's oxymoronic."
It is oxymoronic. It's also impressive, considering how many Broadway shows have opened and closed since The Lion King took its already successful show on the road in 2002. The Tony-winning Memphis: The Musical, for example, only lasted three years on Broadway and its American tour only gave the show an additional 24-months. "I'm probably somewhere in middle," Moshell says of her tenure with director Julie Taymor's colorful, puppet-laden musical. "I still consider myself newish, although I'm more experienced than some."
Moshell is a dancer. She plays a gazelle, a wildebeast, a plant, and a hyena. In real life, she also plays a new RV owner. She says she bought the rolling house so she and her boyfriend and their cat and dog could have a home of their own on the never-ending highway.
"We've been out here for so long. I know people who have gotten married on the road. People have had kids on the road. You know people always talk about the casts they are in and say, 'Oh, you know, we're like family.' But in The Lion King, we really have families."
Moshell is also The Lion King's social media captain, empowered to take backstage pictures and blog about the cities she visits and life with Simba and friends. "Backstage life is its own show, and a lot of funny stories happen," she says. "It's the same onstage, every night, everywhere we go. But when you're on tour, the backstage is always different. People get lost going to the dressing room or won't know where a quick change is, because they may have never been to this theater before."
The cast of The Lion King should have plenty of time to get used to the Orpheum. The popular family show opens in Memphis this week and is here through March 1st.