I am very sorry to say that Shannon Tavarez, the bright young actress who appeared as Nala in the Broadway production of The Lion King lost her battle with leukemia on Monday. The lights at the Minskoff Theatre were dimmed Tuesday night in honor of the young star who was unable to find a suitable bone marrow donor. She was eleven.
I wanted to share a couple of candid videos of Shannon that I found on YouTube and that, I think, perfectly demonstrate what an amazing talent was lost this week.
The first is of Shannon earlier this year performing a choreographed dance routine to "The Pink Panther Theme" for (I think) some of her fellow cast members from The Lion King between shows at the Minskoff. (Shannon had to leave the show in April due to her illness.)
I know less about this second video, but obviously it is Shannon singing "Tomorrow" from Annie for an enthusiastic crowd at the Harlem School of the Arts.
This video I found a little more difficult to watch given Shannon's recent passing. It is a PSA from DKMS, encouraging everyone to "get swabbed" to find out if they might be a suitable bone marrow donor for someone in need.
I will confess that I saw that PSA months ago, and I planned to get swabbed, but I just never got around to it. I won't wait this time.
Goodbye, Shannon. You touched many lives in your short eleven years.