EP20: Vincent Jamal Hooper | Making my broadway debut as Simba (full episode)

The High Point podcast - Atelier Crescendo's podcast

04-03-2024 • 1 hr 24 mins

We speak with Vincent Jamal Hooper, star of Broadway’s The Lion King as he shares his journey from a small town in Texas to the Broadway stage.

He recounts his early experiences in regional theatre and the pivotal moment when he declared his Broadway ambitions.

Vincent discusses his background, including his upbringing and his initial involvement in sports before discovering his passion for musical theatre.

He reflects on the discipline and hard work required to pursue his dreams, drawing parallels between his approach to acting and his past experiences in football and basketball. Vincent's determination leads him to audition for.

In the Heights, catching the attention of the Hamilton production team (including show creator Lin-Manuel Miranda), and going on to his current role as Simba in the Broadway production of The Lion King.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Vincent's upbringing in Texas and his early involvement in football and basketball.
  • Discovering a love for theatre in high school and how his athletic background influenced the transition.
  • Navigating the challenges of pursuing a career in the performing arts without formal training.
  • Landing roles in regional theatre productions and honing his craft through dedication and hard work.
  • The pivotal moment when Vincent sets his sights on Broadway, leading him to audition for The Lion King.
  • Overcoming setbacks and rejections in the audition process and ultimately securing the role of Simba.
  • The exhilarating experience of joining the cast of The Lion King and working alongside Broadway professionals.
  • Vincent's reflections on the importance of perseverance, self-belief, and seizing opportunities in the pursuit of his dreams.


00:00:00 - Episode Begins

00:01:27 - How Vincent got into Musical Theatre

00:11:39 - Innate talent and deliberate practice

00:17:41 - Vincent's sporting background

00:26:20 - Auditioning for Hamilton

00:33:10 - Working with Lin-Manuel Miranda

00:37:16 - How COVID affected the industry

00:40:23 - Landing the role of Simba

00:50:23 - Staying grounded

00:57:23 - Different dialects in the show

00:58:05 - Training for the role

00:59:59 - How hard is it to sing in tune under physical exertion?

01:05:21 - Bringing personal expression to the role

01:11:35 - Lessons from The Lion King

01:19:00 - What is it like backstage?


Learn more about The Lion King broadway production and follow Vincent on Instagram.

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