The Lion King Tickets
The Lion King is without a doubt, one of the most endearing tales in modern cinema. The 1994 animated film was a critical and commercial success, which gripped the imagination of an entire generation. The film spawned numerous other Lion King related projects including films, video games and television shows, but the standout production has to be its Broadway musical adaptation.
The musical debuted three years after the original film and breathed new life into the franchise. It is now the third longest running musical in Broadway history and the highest grossing production in box-office history. The fact that The Lion King tickets are still among the most sought after, shows how highly it is rated by everyone across the board.
The Lion King: Disney’s Hamlet
The Lion King’s story is inspired by William Shakespeare’s iconic drama, Hamlet.
The story is set in the fictional Pride Lands which are ruled over by King Mufasa. The story begins with the birth of Mufasa’s son, Simba and his presentation before King’s subjects. The tale revolves around Simba and his coming of age.
Just like in Hamlet, the King has an evil brother, Scar, who plots to take over the throne. Scar plans an elaborate plan with his henchmen, the hyenas, to kill the king. He further manipulates the young prince so that Simba believes himself to be responsible for his father’s death. Scar encourages these false notions and Simba goes into exile, abandoning the crown and his pride.
During his exile, the young lion comes across Timon the meerkat and Pumba the warthog. The two become his guardians of sorts and help raise the young lion. Their motto in life is simple, “Hakuna Matata,” which means no worries. Simba becomes an adult in the jungle and his carefree life revolves around the same motto.
One day Pumba is attacked by a lioness and is saved by Simba. The lioness turns out to be Simba’s childhood friend Nala, who herself has run away from the Pride Lands. Nala tells Simba that the Pride Lands, under Scar’s rule, are suffering - animals have moved away and the lions have nothing to eat or drink. She also tells him that Simba is believed to be dead, but since he is alive, he is the rightful king. Romance is in the air, as the two friends become lovers. Nala persuades Simba to return home and take his rightful place as the king. The young lion is further convinced by the wise old mandrill Rafiki and Simba decides to accept his destiny and returns to the Pride Lands.
His father’s kingdom has completely changed as he remembers it – the once blossoming fields have turned barren and cold, with hyenas roaming around freely.
A confrontation between Scar and Simba is inevitable and they face off in a battle of epic proportions. At the same time, the lions and hyenas go to war and the Pride Rock is engulfed in a fierce conflict for supremacy. By the end of the conflict, the one true king eventually emerges victorious and reclaims his father’s throne.
The musical is divided into two acts. Act one ends with the song “Hakuna Matata,” which shows Simba growing into an adult. Act two begins by showing how Scar’s reign has brought devastation to the Pride Lands and ends with Simba’s victory.
The Lion King Franchise:
The success of the animated film and the Broadway musical has led to several spinoffs. These include television shows starring Timon and Pumba (The Lion King’s Timon and Pumba), a sequel to the original film (The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride) and a prequel/parallel film (The Lion King 1 ½). Only recently, a new television series based on the film has been confirmed for Disney Channel (The Lion Guard). Apart from these, the movie has spawned numerous video games and its story and characters have permanently become a part of pop culture.
Apart from these, the film has inspired two rides at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. The Legend of the Lion King showcased a retelling of the story via life sized puppets at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. It ran from 1994 – 2002. The Festival of the Lion King, which is currently active, features a live action thirty minute musical revue of the movie and comprises gymnastic routines in sync with the film’s iconic songs.
A Musical to Remember:
It would not be incorrect to state that the musical is renowned for its wonderful score and beautiful songs. Hits like “Circle of Life” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” have left a lasting impression on all those who have heard them. Fusing western music with traditional African beats and chants, the music from the original film was awarded an Academy Award.
The musical features a score created by the legendary Hans Zimmer, with music by Sir Elton John. The lyrics have been written by Tim Rice and choral arrangements have been done by Lebo M. The musical features songs from the original film along with three new compositions by Tim Rice and Sir Elton John. The musical arrangements and new orchestral tracks were the brainchild of Mark Mancina.
The first act of the musical contains twelve songs, while the second act showcases nine more. It would not be remiss to say that even though some songs are more famous than others, each song holds its own and is a memorable experience for the audience.
The Brains behind the Show:
The creative team behind the show is one of the greatest reasons for its success. Director Julie Taymor not only directed the musical but assisted with the score and costumes as well. Her creative direction earned her a Tony Award for Best Director in 1998. The book for the musical has been written by Roger Allers and Irene Michi while the set for the grand spectacle was designed by Richard Hudson.
The colorful costumes, which are one of the standout features of the musical, were developed by Julie Taymor, while the puppets used in the show were designed by Julie Taymor and Michael Curry. The musical’s lighting adds that extra bit of life to the performance and was done by Donald Holder. The choreography for the show was done by the award winning choreographer Garth Fagan.
The Broadway cast features an array of talented stars, who don the iconic costumes of The Lion King characters and bring them to life.
Broadway veteran Gareth Sax portrays the main antagonist of the story, Scar, while the young Jelani Remy portrays the show’s hero, Simba. L. Steven Taylor plays Mufasa and has joined the Broadway show after travelling with the National Tour of the play.
Tshidi Manye reprises the role of Rafiki, having already performed it on Broadway and in Toronto. The versatile Jeffery Kuhn plays the affable Zazu, the King’s chief advisor. Chantel Riley brings Simba’s love interest, Nala to life. This is Chantel’s debut on Broadway, but the talented star has already portrayed Nala in the German version of The Lion King.
Another Broadway debutant is Ben Jeffery, who portrays the loveable warthog, Pumba. Alongside him is Fred Berman as Timon, who is also making his Broadway debut. Berman has already performed Off Broadway in numerous productions prior to this.
The Lion King opened at The Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis on July 8th, 1997. After the initial run, the musical made its debut on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theater in October 1997. After a month of preview shows, the musical officially opened on Broadway on 13th November, 1997. Running continuously for almost a decade, it then shifted to the Minskoff Theatre, which has remained its home since then.
The musical has been showcased more than 6700 times and is currently the third longest running play in Broadway history. It has also surpassed The Phantom of the Opera as the highest grossing box-office hit of all time. The show premiered at London’s West End in October 1999 at the Lyceum Theatre and continues to run to this day.
Awards and Accolades:
During the 1998 award season, The Lion King swept almost all the major award shows. The musical won eight Drama Desk Awards out of twelve nominations and six Tony Awards out of eleven nominations.
The play won the Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Director (Julie Taymor), Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical (Tsidii Le Loka), Outstanding Choreography (Garth Fagan), Outstanding Set Design (Richard Hudson), Outstanding Costume Design (Julie Taymor), Outstanding Lighting Design (Donald Holder), Outstanding Sound Design (Tony Meola) and Outstanding Puppet Design (Julie Taymor and Michael Curry).
The Lion King won Tony Awards for the Best Musical, the Best Direction of a Musical, the Best Choreography, the Best Scenic Design, the Best Sound Design and the Best Lighting Design.
Besides the US, The Lion King has been critically acclaimed worldwide as well. Its various productions have garnered seventy major theater awards internationally, including the prestigious Olivier Award. The show has been seen by more than an incredible eighty million people worldwide and there are twenty seven productions of the show running around the world.
The Lion King in Pop Culture:
Due to the film and musical’s widespread success, The Lion King has become a staple of American pop culture. Even today, people try to re-enact the iconic presentation scene, where Simba is raised to the sky by Rafiki and shown to the rest of the animals. Nowadays babies, kittens and puppies are held in the same pose as a joke.
Timon and Pumba’s motto of life, “Hakuna Matata” has become a popular catch phrase, especially among the youth. The concept of “no worries” obviously appeals to a lot of people and the phrase is usually used in scenarios where someone wants another person to relax. The Pride Rock, with its specific shape, has also inspired numerous kids to build fort like structures and re-enact Simba’s symbolic roar at the end of the film.
However, it is the film’s memorable songs and colorful characters which have solidified its legacy in pop culture. “The Circle of Life,” “Hakuna Matata” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” are huge hits in their own right and along with The Lion King’s other songs, have ensured that the tale of Simba lives on in the audience’s minds long after they have seen it.
The Lion King Tour:
Apart from its permanent home on Broadway, The Lion King is also showcased via a nationwide tour. This is done so that audiences who cannot travel to New York can view the spectacle, live. The tour will stop at most major cities around the country and will bring the “Circle of Life” to your doorstep. The national tour makes sure that fans are treated to the same level of excellence one expects from a Broadway show, so the national tour shows are truly just like watching The Lion King live on Broadway. This can be substantiated by the fact that numerous touring artists have gone on to perform on the Broadway show.
Whether it’s the Broadway version or the national tour, The Lion King is definitely one of the most entertaining shows currently out there. To be a part of this iconic show, get The Lion King tickets and watch one of the most popular musicals in history, live.