Magbubukas na sa September 14, 2021 ang Broadway theaters sa New York City na pansamantalang ipinasara noong March 12, 2020 dahil sa coronavirus pandemic.
Ang The Lion King ang isa sa mga popular Broadway show na magbabalik sa Minskoff Theatre.
Kasama sa cast ang bagong miyembro, ang 11-year-old na si Vince Ermita, na gaganap bilang Young Simba.
Isinilang si Vince sa New York City, pero proud Filipino siya dahil parehong Pinoy ang kanyang mga magulang na sina Ulysses at Anne Ermita.
Hindi pa nakatarating si Vince sa Pilipinas, pero nakakaintindi siya ng Tagalog at Bisaya dahil tubong-Cebu ang kanyang ina na nag-migrate sa New York City noong 1999.
Nakausap ng PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) si Anne ngayong Huwebes ng gabi, August 12, tungkol sa Broadway journey ng kanyang talented son.
"He actually auditioned when he was nine years old. Out of 3,000 kids, he made it to Top 7. But at that time, he was too small for the role and only four got picked.
"Unfortunately, those who made it didn’t finish nor performed the play and outgrew the role because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This time that Broadway is reopening, he was actually starring already in a regional musical in Utah when the audition for The Lion King happened," kuwento ni Anne tungkol sa The Lion King audition na pinagdaanan noon ni Vince.
Gumaganap si Vince bilang keyboardist na si Lawrence, isa sa lead cast members sa regional musical sa Utah na School of Rock, The Musical.
Pero muli niyang sinubukang mag-audition sa The Lion King.
"This was his dream role so he asked his manager Leorah Haberfield if he can audition again.
"All submissions this time were virtual because of COVID-19. He did it in his hotel room in St. George, Utah.
"With the help of his voice teachers Amelia Demayo, acting coach Ethan Haberfield, dance coach Janine Molinari, his agent Mallory and Leorah, he made it."
Proud mommy si Anne dahil nagustuhan daw talaga ang audition performance ng anak niyang si Vince.
"His agent Ddo Kids Artist Agency got a call back right away after his audition.
"His audition was 1 p.m. and we got a call at around 5 p.m. that he was going to Broadway.
"They couldn’t reach him at that time because he was doing rehearsals until like 10 p.m. for School of Rock, so his agent and manager waited for five hours to tell him.
"He was screaming and almost couldn’t believe it."
MUSICALLY INCLINED FAMILY
Tatlong taon ang edad ni Vince nang mapansin ng mga magulang nito ang talento niya sa pagkanta, na kanyang minana mula sa tatay ni Anne.
Pati raw ibang anak ni Anne ay musically inclined din.
Kuwento ni Anne, "His grandpa was his babysitter here in the U.S. His lolo would carry him while cooking and sing at the same time.
"He formed a band with his brothers, The Ermita Brothers Band, when he was seven years old. He was the lead vocalist.
"His brothers were 9, 11, and 13 years old. They’re also called 2468 Band because they started when they were 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 8th grade respectively.
"They play multiple instruments including strings like violin, cello, and viola."
LION KING REHEARSALS HAVE STARTED
Nang makapasa sa Lion King, napilitang magpaalam si Vince bilang cast member ng School of Rock The Musical.
Ipinaalam niya ang kanyang desisyon noong Sabado, August 7, dahil nagsimula na ang rehearsals niya para sa The Lion King.
At dahil menor de edad pa si Vince at hindi pa puwedeng turukan ng anti-COVID-19 vaccine, mahigpit na ipinatutupad sa mga artista at production staff ng The Lion King ang health protocols tulad ng dalawang beses sa isang linggong swab tests.
Hindi pinapayagang pumasok sa studio ang mga magulang ng young cast members kaya hanggang hatid at sundo lamang sa kanilang mga anak ang ginagawa nila, pero required din silang sumailalim sa mandatory swab testing.