When Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ first debuted on Broadway in 1997, it was a bona fide hit right from the beginning, eventually ruling the 1998 Tony Awards with six wins out of a total of 11 nominations. Today, 21 years later, the show currently stands as Broadway’s fourth longest-running show ever. Last year it even surpassed ‘The Phantom Of The Opera’ as the biggest top-earning show in box-office history, grossing $1.4 billion in its 20 years on Broadway and $7 billion world-wide. The Lion King continues to awe, amaze & inspire audiences worldwide, garnering new fans out of the next generation who are fortunate to experience this theatrical phenomenon for the first time.
The Lion King still uses an eclectic combination of jaw-dropping puppetry, authentic African sounds, beautifully crafted masks, make-up, lyrical choreographic movements, splendid costumes. Watching the remarkable opening scene when the herd of African wildlife enter the theater, remains a wonder that never ceases. The stage is adorned with vividly coloured animals that walk through the aisles, giving the audience an up-close look at their fantastically intricate costumes.
This stage imitation of The Lion King musical follows the movie’s plot quite loyally. It follows the maturation of Simba from an adventurous & mischievous young lion cub to an adult grappling with his position within the Circle of Life. Within the kingdom of Pride Rock, Simba is the son of King Mufasa and Queen Sarabi. Under Mufasa’s rule, the Pridelands are a beacon of natural beauty and animal harmony.
Needless to say, the musical still has plenty of hilarious moments! It has managed to retain much of its dark, witty humor, thanks to the antagonist Scar’s devilish one-liners as well as the sassy statements of the Hyena allies. The visuals are still so remarkable! The true excellence of this stage musical is that it does not merely copy the same bright hues of the movie. Rather, it has conceived a wholly fresh visual palette that is a thoughtful combination of the quintessential Disney art direction with the grandeur of the African environment.
You may know the songs and score from the movie by heart, but you haven’t heard their true potential until you hear them in this stage musical, performed and sung live with great gusto and a backing orchestra!
The Lion King is still, almost two decades later, one of the best ways to introduce the wonders of musical theater to young children. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen it or have not experienced it ever, now is a good time to check out this global phenomenon. It’s definitely a musical you’d not want to miss!