In the Wings: Cherry Hill’s Ben Lipitz, Star of The Lion King

He's coming home, so to speak, during the national tour's return to Philadelphia.

Hakuna Matata! The triumphant return of Disney’s blockbuster Broadway musical The Lion King hits the Academy of Music stage May 20th through June 14th, and one of the tour’s leading men/warthogs is local. Ben Lipitz is a Cherry Hill native who plays the lovable Pumbaa in the Julie Taymor directed show. We caught up with Mr. Lipitz to grub worms, dirty jokes and his crush on Miss Piggy.

Nick Cordileone and Ben Lipitz in 'The Lion King.'

Nick Cordileone and Ben Lipitz in ‘The Lion King.’

My name is … Ben Lipitz

I am a … right-handed actor who can tell a great dirty joke.

On opening night … after the performance, I raise a glass with friends in the dressing room.

Ben Lipitz

Ben Lipitz

My favorite part of the show is … the overture. Anticipation is always exciting.

To get into character for this show  I eat bugs and grubs and root around in the jungle. Good, solid Method preparation.

My first stage kiss  is probably the whole reason I got into show business.

The first play I was in was … Santa Claus and the Magic Boots. I played Sol, a Jewish reindeer.

My dream role is … to create a performance from scratch in a Broadway show, to be the original.

My surprising celebrity crush is  Miss Piggy. Maybe it’s the Pumbaa in me.

The most famous person I’ve ever met … President Bill Clinton.

The last thing I binge-watched  was House of Cards. No explanation necessary.

The last time I dined out in Philadelphia, I ate  at Wawa.

The best show I saw in Philly recently … was Mary Poppins at The Walnut Street Theatre.

The best thing about Philadelphia’s theater scene is  the sense that I’m coming home. I started my career here in Philadelphia in 1984.

You can follow Ben Lipitz on Twitter @benlipitz.