Alton Fitzgerald White on being King Mufasa in The Lion King

Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with Alton Fitzgerald White, Broadway's longest running performer as King Mufasa in "Lion King" and author of "My Pride: Mastering Life's Daily Performance."

6/6/18 #2147






"How awesome is that! [laughter] That was from The Lion King. Alton Fitzgerald White, Broadway's record-breaking The Lion King. You play King Mufasa. 4,308 performances? Yeah. Please. That's... is that right? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yes. And you mind if I plug? Author of My Pride: Mastering Life's Daily Performance. Mm hmm. How you doing? I am fantastic. It's good to see you again man. Yeah. Great to see you. We were in Lincoln Center, our WNET Studio last time? Yeah. A couple years ago. Did you...? We were just talking about this. You grew up in Cincinnati? Mm hmm. Did you ever say, "Hey I'm gonna be in The Lion King, and I'm gonna be King Mufasa for 13 years"? [laughter] First of all, there was no Lion King when I was growing up. Well... or something as amazing as? Yeah. No, I never thought... I never dreamt that I would ever live in New York or move to... being on Broadway, or be a performer. Really I was a very shy kid, and I loved performing by myself. Hmm. I would do these little concerts by myself in my closet, the storage area, in complete silence, because I was so shy and so afraid, I thought, "There's no way that I will ever find the courage to share this with the world." So I'm living a life beyond my wildest dreams. Hmm. In this very moment. This book? Mm hmm. The message is? The message is... the overall message is, it's not only about where you come from, it's about where you want to get to, and that we are our own greatest resource. The original title of my book was going to be My Journey From the Projects. I grew up in public housing to the Pride Lands my sixth... with The Lion King being my sixth Broadway show, and I'm blessed that I had parents who told me to not let myself be defined by my environment, that anything was possible, and I think I'm a living witness to that. You know, everything we... all of our dreams are already inside of us, and the ability to make those dreams come true lives inside of us as well. So as a kid in Cincinnati? Yep. Into the arts? You were into it? No, I was not... No? I was a very academic kid. I was very shy. I was known for I was like the teacher's pet. Were you bullied? I was a very obedient kid. I was bullied. Terribly. Really? Oh absolutely. Yeah. Because? Well because... Of what you just said? That's part of it. I was very sensitive, you know, and I didn't have the words to communicate that I was like a budding artist then..."