‘Lion King’ cast member balances fatherhood and life on the road

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Nick Cordileone as “Timon” and Ben Lipitz as “Pumbaa” in THE LION KING North American Tour. ©Disney. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Nick Cordileone has spent nearly six years on the road playing Timon in the national tour of Disney’s “The Lion King.”

But Father’s Day isn’t acknowledged by a just a phone call or through a mailed gift because his 15-year-old daughter, Hero, has spent the last five years traveling with him full-time.

“All the challenges are outweighed by the benefits,” said Cordileone, who, along with the rest of “The Lion King” cast and crew, will be at the Peace Center in Greenville through June 25. “It’s been great.” Amy Cordileone, Nick’s wife and Hero’s mother, joins them during the summer after classes wind down at NYU, where she is a professor. Cordileone home-schools his daughter using on online curriculum.

“We’ve got a dry erase board with rehearsals, press, and shows on it and we fill in the rest of the time,” he said. “It’s a lot of plate-spinning.” Load-in and load-off weeks can be more difficult than other weeks. But because the show spends multiple weeks in a city, it can be easier to manage than shows that pack up every week.

“We travel the country learning and feeling almost like a local,” said Cordileone, who is literally on the road when traveling from stop to stop. “A place starts to feel familiar and we get to see the country. It’s old-fashioned in a fun way.”

This year, the family spent Father’s Day in Greenville. The last time “The Lion King” was in Greenville in 2012, it was close to Amy’s birthday.

The last time the Cordileones were in Greenville, stops included the Greenville Zoo and the Biltmore House in Asheville. They did a Mice on Main scavenger hunt. This year, they’ll attend a Greenville Drive game.

He said he’s contracted for “The Lion King” one year at a time. “Every year, there’s a re-evaluation to see if everything’s working and everyone is creatively fed.”

 

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