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Still photo from production of Lion King

Music Student Chosen for Role in ‘The Lion King’

By Matt McDonald
July 2014

Last November, SUNY Plattsburgh music major Germaine Wilson was working at home in Trinidad and Tobago when she decided to take a day off to audition for “The Lion King.”

She had low expectations. Really, she just wanted professional feedback from people outside her home country. But in April, her mother told her that Disney called.

Wilson was chosen from 200 other actors and singers to play the hyena Shenzi in an upcoming production of “The Lion King” in Hamburg, Germany. She will begin rehearsals toward the end of May, and she is contracted to perform until fall 2015.

“This is a big leap for me,” she said. “I never expected it to happen, never dreamed it would happen. I just said ‘oh yeah, sure, I guess I’ll go to the audition.’ And now, here I am.”

At Plattsburgh, Wilson sang for the Plattsburgh State Gospel Choir, Cardinal Singers and Choral Union. She said that she had been discovering new aspects of her voice under the direction of Associate Professor of Music Jo Ellen Miano last semester.

“It’s sad because I only got to work with her for one semester,” Wilson said. “She is amazing. She showed me there’s so much more I can still do and learn.”

Before opening night, Wilson will learn to sing the lyrics to “The Lion King” in German — a feat that she said will be a challenge in itself, especially for someone who has never been to “that side of the world.” Then, she will apply what she has learned at home and in school to taking on her new role.

Plattsburgh has been a memorable stop on Wilson’s path. “Plattsburgh has been good to me,” she said. “It’s such a warm place, and the people have been very nice.”

Before she became a Cardinal, she acted as the villainous Red Queen in “Alice in Wonderland” and Mother Superior in “The Sound of Music,” two of several roles she played in a score of musicals back home.

Now, she will chase Simba on another side of the world.

“It’s very exciting.”

About the Author

Newly graduated Matt McDonald '14 was a senior English writing arts major; editor in chief of Do North tourism magazine; a resident assistant; an admissions tour guide; a writing tutor; and a public relations intern for the Office of Marketing and Communications. He also was one of the student speakers at this year's commencement.


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