Ray Mercer, a native of Omaha, NE, is in his 16th year as a member of the Tony Award-winning cast of Disney’s The Lion King. Throughout his ongoing Broadway run, he has simultaneously emerged as one of New York City’s most prolific choreographers.
Mercer’s dynamic, visually striking and thought-provoking choreography has won the best onstage presentation award seven times at Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ annual Gypsy of the Year competition, more than any other choreographer.
Recipient of Joffrey Ballet's Choreographers of Color Award and a Capezio Ace Awards finalist, Mercer has created work on Ailey II, Giorodono Dance Chicago, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, New Jersey Ballet, the Pensacola Ballet and Philadanco, among others, and for Dancers Responding to AIDS, a program of Broadway Care/Equity Fights AIDS.
Mercer started his dance training at the age of 17 when he studied at the University of New Orleans. He has performed with Chicago’s Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, as a guest artist with the Boston Ballet and on the national tour of The Lion King. He’s worked with performers Garth Fagan, George Faison, Aretha Franklin, Kevin Iega Jeff, Louis Johnson, Rod Stewart and more.
Currently the resident choreographer for the Ailey/Fordham Bachelor of Fine Arts program, Mercer also directed and choreographed for the Smithsonian Oman Project, where his choreographic work is archived in the Smithsonian Museum. Just last year, Mercer choreographed Deep Love: A Ghostly Rock Opera at The New York Musical Theatre Festival.
Mercer and his work as a choreographer have been recognized by The New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times, Dance Magazine and Movmnt Magazine.