'The Lion King Musical' Facts You Should Know

Sridevi Tolety
Feb 24, 2023 By Sridevi Tolety
Originally Published on Feb 02, 2022
Edited by Naomi Carr
Fact-checked by Shruti Thapa
One of the musical facts about 'The Lion King' is that the 'Festival of The Lion King' was arranged by Adventureland at Hong Kong Disneyland and Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

A musical is a theater form of performance that combines acting, dancing, singing, and spoken dialogue.

Showcasing a story as a folk tale has to be simple but powerful. The presentation should be on a level with the degree of imagination of each audience member, who all have varying backgrounds and that requires creativity, expertise, and preparation in abundance.

Surmounting the expectation of such an audience on stage definitely will have been a difficult task for Julie Taymor, the director of 'The Lion King Musical', especially when there is an animated version of the story which already has a place in the minds of most people.

'The Lion King Musical' Overview

Walt Disney Pictures released the American animated musical drama film 'The Lion King', in 1994. 'The Lion King' depicts the story of young Simba, son of the lion king, Mufasa of the Pride Lands. It was conceived in 1988 by Jeffrey Katzenberg, Roy E. Disney, and Peter Schneider.

  • The musical theater form of the animated film 'The Lion King' was first debuted in Orpheum Theatre in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, on July 8, 1997, and was very successful.
  • On October 15, 1997, the premiere of 'The Lion King Musical' started at the New Amsterdam Theater by Broadway for previews and the official opening occurred on November 13, the same year.
  • Broadway Production moved the show from the New Amsterdam Theater to Minskoff Theater in June 2006. This theater still plays eight shows a week in 2022.
  • The show started in the United Kingdom on October 19, 1999, with its opening performance in the Lyceum Theatre of West End Production.
  • 'The Lion King Musical' was directed by Julie Taymor. She designed the costumes and life-sized puppets for the stage production and co-designed the masks, along with Michael Curry.
  • The musical presents the story in two acts. The first act starts with introducing young Simba to the animals of Pride Lands, who are gathered in front of Pride Rock.
  • Act One continues with the plot by way of the dejected uncle of the newborn, Scar, who lost his chance to become the king, when he failed to kill Mufasa, the king, and his successor, Simba.
  • The second act begins with a chorus sung by ornate kites and bird puppets dressed in colorful clothes. The show goes on with the scenes of an unbalanced 'Circle of Life' at Pride Lands under the rule of Scar, the 'Hakuna Matata' lifestyle of Simba, and Simba's return and final victory.
  • One of 'The Lion King Musical' facts that must be specifically mentioned is that in every performance, the phrase 'Hakuna Matata' is repeated 25 times.
  • The hand-beaded costumes used in the musical each took two days to make.
  • Simba's mask is a lightweight but sturdy carbon fiber material, weighing almost the same as a football. It would take around 34 hours to make the hand-painted mask to give a look and feel of natural wood.
  • 18 ft (5.48 m) tall giraffes were the tallest animals in 'The Lion King Musical' show.


'The Lion King Musical' Reviews

The 15 magical years since its debut in 1997 itself is proof of the popularity of 'The Lion King Musical'. Creativity combined with technology makes it a huge success and it shows no signs of stopping.

'The Lion King Musical' became famous by featuring actors in animal costumes and introducing giant, hollow puppets as part of its casting. Starting in the New Amsterdam Theater, Broadway, 'The Lion King Musical' spread its wings to the international arena when it was later performed at the Lyceum Theatre.

  • 'The Lion King Musical' has seen an increase of 125,000 tickets sold than the previous year, totaling more than 50 million tickets for more than 28,000 performances so far.
  • 'The Lion King Musical' facts show that it had two more productions within the United States, one in Las Vegas and another in Los Angeles.
  • The American Dance Competition's ninth season in 2009 saw a performance by the Las Vegas cast.
  • Julie Taymor got the title of the first woman to win a Tony Award for directing a musical. She also received another Tony Award for costume design. Both of these awards were for her work on 'The Lion King Musical'.
  • Winning more than 70 major awards internationally, 'The Lion King Musical' is the third longest-running Broadway show. Six Tony Awards, including for Best Musical, Drama Desk Awards, Theatre World Award, Lawrence Oliver Awards for Best Costume Design, Molière Awards, Grammy for Best Musical Show Album, and the Laurence Olivier Award are a few of its many awards won.


Difference Between 'The Lion King' Movie and 'The Lion King Musical'

The medium of communication in an animation film and a musical theater are distinctly different from one another. Hence there were inevitable changes in this musical remake to adapt the style.

  • The character of Rafiki in the movie was an old man, which was changed to a woman in the musical as there was no leading female role. Tsilivi Le Loka got a Tony nomination for her role as Rafiki in the musical.
  • Conversation between Zazu and Mufasa about the parenting of the latter was added in the musical. Another scene that got added was one of Timon drowning in a waterfall.
  • The musical found some narrative additions. But from 2010 onwards, it removed nine minutes of performance from the Broadway version, including the 'Morning Report' musical number in full.
  • Some complicated dance sequences were added during the Lioness Hunt.

Songs in 'The Lion King Musical'

Songs are the life of every musical. 'The Lion King Musical' version was fortunate enough to have composers such as Elton John and Hans Zimmers to create its songs and musical effects. The choral arrangement by Lebo M also added to its charm.

  • 'The Lion King Musical' Act One has 11 songs and Act Two has eight songs, namely:
  • 'Circle of Life', 'The Morning Report', 'I Just Can't Wait to Be King', 'Chow Down', 'Be Prepared', 'Hakuna Matata', 'The Madness of King Scar', and 'Can You Feel the Love Tonight' which was written by Elton John and Tim Rice and won the Oscar for Best Song in 1995.
  • Lyrics of 'Grasslands Chant' and 'The Lioness Hunt' and 'One by One' were written by Lebo M.
  • 'He Lives in You' and 'They Live in You' were both written by Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, and Lebo M.
  • The song, 'The Stampede', was written and composed by Hans Zimmer and Lebo M.
  • 'Rafiki Mourns' was written by Tsidii Le Loka.
  • 'Shadowland' was co-composed by Hans Zimmer, Lebo M, and Mark Mancina.
  • Julie Taymor, Lebo M, Hans Zimmer, and Jay Rifkin jointly penned 'Endless Night'.
  • Mark Mancina and Robert Elhai wrote 'Simba Confronts Scar'
  • 'King of Pride Rock' was written by Hans Zimmer and Lebo M.

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Written by Sridevi Tolety

Bachelor of Science specializing in Botany, Master of Science specializing in Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs

Sridevi Tolety picture

Sridevi ToletyBachelor of Science specializing in Botany, Master of Science specializing in Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs

With a Master's degree in clinical research from Manipal University and a PG Diploma in journalism from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Sridevi has cultivated her passion for writing across various domains. She has authored a wide range of articles, blogs, travelogues, creative content, and short stories that have been published in leading magazines, newspapers, and websites. Sridevi is fluent in four languages and enjoys spending her spare time with loved ones. Her hobbies include reading, traveling, cooking, painting, and listening to music.

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Fact-checked by Shruti Thapa

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English

Shruti Thapa picture

Shruti ThapaBachelor of Arts specializing in English

With a passion for American, British, and children's literature, Shruti is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree at Garden City University, Bengaluru. Her fluency in Nepali, Hindi, and Mandarin demonstrates her linguistic abilities and global perspective. In addition to her literary pursuits, she has a keen interest in non-fiction literature, aesthetics, early childhood education, and Egyptian history. Shruti's research paper 'Bringing Art Illustrations In Education And Pop Culture' showcases her proficiency in these areas and her dedication to academic excellence.

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