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The Lion King - History
When Julie Taymor was contracted to direct the stage version of the tremendously successful Disney animated film the Lion King it was going to be a an extravaganza of animal magic on an unprecedented scale. As soon as The Lion King opened it was clear to see that the show was going to be a stage success.
The People Behind the Lion King
Julie Taymour is one of Americas most experienced and innovative directors and has extensive experience staging operas, theatre productions on Broadway before. The Lion King was Taymour's first attempt of adapting and directing a musical and became Broadways first ever woman to win the Tony Award for best director of a musical The Lion King.
Julie was complemented in her creative team by giants of the musical and theatrical business with Tim Rice who created the Lyrics and Sir Elton John who composed the music for the Lion King with additional songs by Hans Zimmer, Jay Rifkin and Mark Mancina.
The London production of the Lion King saw the recreation of the same team with the additional help from Michael Curry who has helped to create hundreds of masks and puppets and the scenery was designed by the leading British designer Richard Hudson. Costume design was the responsibility of Julie Taymour herself and the choreography by Garth Fagan.
The London production of the Lion King was funded by the Disney Corporation who owned the rights to the story and no expense was spared on the stage adaptation with a whopping budget of around £6.5 million. The responsibility upon Julie Taymour to bring this wonderful story to life of the Lion King with all of Disney's backing and expectations at her disposal is a heavy responsibility indeed, but one which she achieved by cleverly taking the story back to its African roots to revitalise the simple story around the life of a small lion.
This musical the Lion King is theatrical magic at its best. The Lion King has the wonderful musical score by Elton John to support it which provides melodic tunes which are both witty and memorable with African chants and vocal arrangements combined with ethnic Zulu traditions with modern black township symbolism. This provides the unique blend of ethnic African culture and it is obvious to see the connection to the struggles of modern day Africa and the tumultuous release and return to power of one of South Africa's leaders Nelson Mandela.
Disney wanted to make this musical the Lion King to be a celebration of good over evil and in some ways the Lion King can appear to be overly politically correct and a bit soft but then that's Disney philosophy - to make entertaining productions for the young and old and not to make depressing or upsetting statements. This is after all entertainment for the masses.
The ultimate return to power of Simba to reclaim his pride, his lands and his throne, is a touching reminder of that moment when Nelson Mandela who suffered the indignity of imprisonment and enforced exile is finally released and returns to freedom and unexpected premiership of his country to become a wise and powerful leader with humanity at his finger tips.
The Lion King has restored the magic of the musical to the stage as it encompasses a wide range of songs with a primitive yet powerful simple story line which embraces a spirit of survival in the jungle as in life. The Lion King is truly a family entertainment musical and suitable for all ages from 8 to 80.
This is truly a dazzling musical with heart moving music, colourful scenery and props and all based around the story of a little lion with a heart of a king. The Lion King is a musical theatrical splendour of sight and sound and story and a must see Musical for the family.
The Lion King
The Lion King - Information
The Lion King - Background & History
The Lion King - Story
The Lion King - Reviews
Showing @ Lyceum Theatre