Ep 15: Becoming King w/Gerald Ramsey
Updated: Apr 18, 2018
Aloha!” is how you’ll be greeting by Gerald Ramsey, as he throws up a shaka. Many of us know that word to have only two meanings, hello and goodbye. But what I’ve learned from knowing Gerald, or Jo, is that the word is more than just a salutation. It is an attitude, a way of being, a spirit. And he definitely carries the Aloha spirit with him.
Gerald is currently playing the iconic role of Mufasa in the North American Tour of Disney’s The Lion King. I had the pleasure of playing Queen Sarabi alongside him and can attest to his natural ability onstage. But as you’ll hear in this episode, he is very far from home and very far from anywhere he ever thought he’d be.
Originally from the island of Aunu’u in American Samoa, Gerald was also raised in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and graduated from the University of Hawai’i, which is where he first encountered and auditioned for the show. He says that he would never have auditioned were it not for a good friend who offered to pay for lunch at his favorite restaurant. Working as a dancer and a little low on funds, that was enough to convince him to take a quick headshot, find a song to sing, and walk into the audition studio with his guitar, very green to the world of musical theatre and expecting nothing to come of the audition. After several callbacks, including one shirtless, in the company van, with tons of show costumes behind him, he landed the role of The actual Lion King, and has been traipsing around North America ever since.
Listen in as we talk about the series of auditions that brought him to Pride Rock, why he was sure he was going to be fired soon after joining the cast, and how he carries the pride of the Polynesian islands with him as he tells this story across North America.