The Lion King (musical)

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The Lion King
The Lion King Musical.svg
Broadway promotional poster
Music Elton John
Lyrics Tim Rice
Book Roger Allers
Irene Mecchi
Basis The Lion King
by Walt Disney Animation Studios
Awards Tony Award for Best Musical

The Lion King is a musical based on the 1994 Walt Disney Animation Studios' animated feature film of the same name with music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice, and book by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi, along with additional music and lyrics by Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymor, and Hans Zimmer. [1] Directed by Taymor, the musical features actors in animal costumes as well as giant, hollow puppets. The show is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions. [2]


Production history

The musical debuted on July 8, 1997 in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the Orpheum Theatre and was successful before premiering on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre on October 15, 1997 in previews, with the official opening on November 13, 1997. On June 13, 2006, the Broadway production moved to the Minskoff Theatre to make way for the musical version of Mary Poppins , where it is still running after more than 9,000 performances. [3] [4] It is Broadway's third longest-running show in history, and has grossed more than $1 billion, making it the highest grossing Broadway production of all time. [5] [6] Over 100 million people worldwide have seen the musical and it has earned numerous awards and honors, including six Tony Awards, one for Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical, making director Julie Taymor the first woman to earn such an honor. [7]

The show opened in the West End's Lyceum Theatre on October 19, 1999, and is still running after more than 7,500 performances. The cast of the West End production were invited to perform at the Royal Variety Performance in 1999 and 2008, in the presence of senior members of the British Royal Family. [8]

In September 2014, The Lion King became the top-earning title in box-office history for both stage productions and films, surpassing the record previously held by The Phantom of the Opera . [9] The Lion King musical has grossed nearly $8.1 billion as of 2017. [10]


Act I

As the sun rises, Rafiki the mandrill calls the animals to Pride Rock. She greets King Mufasa and Queen Sarabi before presenting their cub to the gathered animals ("Circle of Life"). Elsewhere, Mufasa's brother, Scar, laments his lost chance at becoming King. Back at her baobab tree, Rafiki paints an image of the cub and asks the spirits to conjure the new prince's name: Simba.

Time passes and Simba grows into a lively young cub ("Grasslands Chant"). Mufasa shows Simba the Pride Lands from the top of Pride Rock and explains that everything exists in a delicate balance known as the Circle of Life. Mufasa warns Simba not to stray beyond the boundaries of the Pride Lands, pointing out a shadowy area in the distance. Zazu, a hornbill who acts as Mufasa's advisor, arrives and delivers his daily report on the state of affairs in the King's domain ("The Morning Report", now cut from the Broadway production). [11]

Geoff Hoyle as Zazu JCWTBK-Broadway.jpg
Geoff Hoyle as Zazu
Alphonso R. Jones as Young Simba Alphonso R. Jones as Young Simba.jpg
Alphonso R. Jones as Young Simba

Simba goes to see his Uncle Scar. The scheming lion piques the cub's curiosity by mentioning the elephant graveyard, where Simba is forbidden to go. Meanwhile, the lionesses go hunting ("The Lioness Hunt"). Simba arrives and asks his best friend, a female cub named Nala, to come with him to the elephant graveyard. He lies to the lionesses about where they are going, and Sarafina (Nala's mother) and Sarabi allow the cubs to go, escorted by Zazu. Simba and Nala formulate a plan and manage to lose Zazu, while Simba brags about his future position ("I Just Can't Wait to Be King").

The cubs go to the graveyard and begin to explore. Zazu catches up, but they are confronted by three hyenas: Shenzi, Banzai and Ed. The hyenas intend to eat the trespassers and they gloat about their find ("Chow Down"). Mufasa rescues the cubs and frightens off the hyenas.

Mufasa is disappointed and angry at Simba's reckless disobedience, and explains the difference between bravery and bravado. Mufasa tells Simba about the great kings of the past and how they watch over everything from the stars ("They Live in You"). Mufasa says that he will always be there for his son. Later he discusses Simba's behavior with Zazu, who reminds Mufasa that he had the same tendency to get into trouble at Simba's age.

Back at the elephant graveyard, Scar tells the hyenas of his plan to kill Mufasa and Simba so that he can become king. He raises an army of hyenas, promising that they will never go hungry again if they support him ("Be Prepared"). Scar takes Simba to a gorge and tells him to wait there. On Scar's signal, the hyenas start a wildebeest stampede into the gorge ("The Stampede"). Scar tells Mufasa that Simba is trapped in the gorge. Mufasa leaps into the stampede and manages to save his son, but as he tries to escape, Scar throws him off the cliff back into the stampede, killing him. Scar convinces Simba that his father's death was his fault and tells him to run away, but as he leaves, Scar orders the hyenas to kill him. Simba escapes but the hyenas tell Scar that he is dead. Rafiki and the lionesses mourn the deaths ("Rafiki Mourns"). Scar claims the throne and allows the hyenas into the Pride Lands ("Be Prepared (Reprise)"). Rafiki returns to her tree and smears the drawing of Simba, while Sarabi and Nala quietly grieve.

Out in the desert, Simba collapses from heat exhaustion. Vultures begin to circle, but are scared away by Timon the meerkat and Pumbaa the warthog. Simba feels responsible for Mufasa's death, but the duo take the cub to their jungle home and show him their carefree way of life and bug diet ("Hakuna Matata"). Simba grows to adulthood in the jungle.

Act II

The chorus, dressed in colorful clothes with ornate bird puppets and kites, begin the Second Act ("One by One"). As the song ends, however, the beautiful birds are replaced by vultures and gazelle skeletons. Under Scar's rule, the Circle of Life is out of balance and a drought has hit the Pride Lands. Zazu, now a prisoner of Scar, listens to the king's woes. The hyenas are complaining about the lack of food, but Scar is only concerned with himself and why he is not loved. He is haunted by visions of Mufasa and rapidly switches between delusional confidence and paranoid despair ("The Madness of King Scar"). Nala arrives to confront Scar about the famine and Scar decides she will be his queen and give him cubs. Nala fiercely rebukes him and resolves to leave the Pride Lands to find help. Rafiki and the lionesses bless her for her journey ("Shadowland").

Back in the jungle, Timon and Pumbaa want to sleep, but the restless Simba is unable to settle. Annoyed, Simba leaves them, but Timon and Pumbaa lose their courage and follow him. Simba leaps across a fast-moving river and challenges Timon to do the same. Timon falls in and is swept downstream. He grabs a branch over a waterfall and calls for Simba's help, but Simba is paralyzed by a flashback of Mufasa's death. Timon falls from the branch and Simba snaps out of the flashback, rescuing his friend. Simba is ashamed that Timon nearly died because of his recklessness.

The three friends settle to sleep and discuss the stars. Simba recalls Mufasa's words, but his friends laugh at the notion of dead kings watching them. Simba leaves, expressing his loneliness and bitterly recalling Mufasa's promise to be there for him ("Endless Night"). Rafiki hears the song on the wind, joyfully realizes that Simba is alive, and draws a mane onto her painting of Simba.

In the jungle, Pumbaa is hunted and chased by a lioness. Simba confronts her and saves his friend, but recognizes the lioness as Nala. She is amazed to find Simba alive, knowing that he is the rightful king. Timon and Pumbaa are confused, but Simba asks them to leave him and Nala alone. Timon realizes what is happening and laments the end of Simba's Hakuna Matata lifestyle ("Can You Feel the Love Tonight"). Nala tells Simba about the devastated Pride Lands, but Simba still feels responsible for Mufasa's death and refuses to return home.

On his own, Simba meets Rafiki, who explains that his father lives on ("He Lives in You"). Mufasa's spirit appears in the sky and tells Simba he is the one true king and must take his place in the Circle of Life. Reawakened, Simba finds his courage and heads for home. Meanwhile, Nala wakes Timon and Pumbaa to ask where Simba is, and Rafiki appears to tell them all the news. The three of them catch up with him in the Pride Lands, where he witnesses the ruin of his home. Timon and Pumbaa distract some hyenas by doing the Charleston, allowing Simba and Nala to reach Pride Rock.

Scar calls for Sarabi and demands to know why the lionesses are not hunting. Sarabi stands up to him about the lack of anything to hunt, angrily comparing him to Mufasa, and Scar strikes his sister-in-law, saying he's ten times the king Mufasa was. Enraged, Simba reveals himself. Scar forces a confession of murder from Simba and corners him. Believing that he has won, Scar taunts Simba by admitting that he killed Mufasa. Furious, Simba recovers and forces Scar to reveal the truth to the lionesses ("Simba Confronts Scar"). Simba's friends fight the hyenas while Simba battles Scar to the top of Pride Rock. Scar begs for his life, blaming the hyenas for everything. Simba lets him leave out of mercy, but Scar attacks again. Simba blocks the attack and Scar falls from the cliff. The hyenas, who heard Scar's betrayal and are still starving, tear him to shreds.

With the battle won, Simba's friends come forward and acknowledge Simba as the rightful king. Simba ascends Pride Rock and roars out across the kingdom ("King of Pride Rock"). The Pride Lands recover and the animals gather in celebration as Rafiki presents Simba and Nala's newborn cub, continuing the Circle of Life ("Circle of Life (Reprise)").


SongWritten byPerformed by
Act I
"Circle of Life" Elton John and Tim Rice Rafiki and Company
"Grasslands Chant" Lebo M Company
"The Morning Report"*Elton John and Tim RiceZazu, Young Simba, and Mufasa
"The Lioness Hunt"Lebo MLionesses
"I Just Can't Wait to Be King"Elton John and Tim RiceYoung Simba, Young Nala, Zazu, and Ensemble
"Chow Down"Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed
"They Live in You" Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, and Lebo MMufasa and Company
"Be Prepared"Elton John and Tim RiceScar, Shenzi, Banzai, Ed, and Company
"The Stampede" Hans Zimmer and Lebo MCompany
"Rafiki Mourns"Rafiki, Sarabi, Young Nala, Ensemble
"Hakuna Matata"Elton John and Tim RiceTimon, Pumbaa, Young Simba, Simba, and Ensemble
Act II
"One by One"Lebo MCompany
"The Madness of King Scar"Elton John and Tim RiceScar, Zazu, Banzai, Shenzi, Ed and Nala
"Shadowland"Hans Zimmer, Lebo M, and Mark MancinaNala and Company
"Endless Night" Julie Taymor, Lebo M, Hans Zimmer, and Jay RifkinSimba and Company
"Can You Feel the Love Tonight"Elton John and Tim RiceTimon, Pumbaa, Simba, Nala, and Company
"He Lives in You (Reprise)"Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, and Lebo MRafiki, Simba and Company
"Simba Confronts Scar"Mark Mancina and Robert ElhaiInstrumental
"King of Pride Rock/Circle of Life (Reprise)"Hans Zimmer and Lebo M/Elton John and Tim RiceThe Company

* Cut from the show as of June 27, 2010

Differences between the musical and film

The musical incorporates several changes and additions to the storyline as compared to the film. The mandrill Rafiki's gender was changed to a female role because Taymor believed that there was generally no leading female character in the film. [12] Rafiki was portrayed by Tsidii Le Loka in the original Broadway musical, and by Josette Bushell-Mingo in the original London production.

The Lion King on Broadway showing originally at the New Amsterdam Theater (shown); it is now showing at the Minskoff. New York New Amsterdam Theatre 2003.jpg
The Lion King on Broadway showing originally at the New Amsterdam Theater (shown); it is now showing at the Minskoff.

Several new scenes are present, including a conversation between Mufasa and Zazu about Mufasa's parenting and a perilous scene in which Timon finds himself nearly drowning in a waterfall while Simba feels powerless to help him. A major narrative addition is the depiction of Nala's departure in the scene "The Madness of King Scar", where the mentally deteriorating villain tries to make Nala his mate. Nala refuses and later announces her intention to depart the Pride Lands and find help. She receives the blessings of the lionesses and Rafiki during the new song "Shadowland".

The Lion King in the West End Lyceum Theatre 1.jpg
The Lion King in the West End

Like its predecessor, the Beauty and the Beast musical, the show adds more songs to its stage production, including "Morning Report", sung by Zazu the hornbill and later added to the film for the Platinum Edition DVD release. "Shadowland". originally featured on the CD Rhythm of the Pride Lands with Zulu lyrics as "Lea Halelela", was adapted for the musical with new English lyrics. It is sung by Nala, the lionesses, and Rafiki. "Endless Night", also from Rhythm of the Pride Lands with Swahili lyrics as "Lala", is sung by Simba while reflecting on Mufasa's promise to always be there. "One by One", from the Rhythm of the Pride Lands CD, was adapted as the rousing African-styled entre act sung by the chorus at the opening of the second act.

Many of the animals portrayed in the production are actors in costume using extra tools to move their costumes. For example, the giraffes are portrayed by actors walking on stilts. For principal characters such as Mufasa and Scar, the costumes feature mechanical headpieces that can be raised and lowered to foster the illusion of a cat "lunging" at another. Other characters, such as the hyenas, Zazu, Timon, and Pumbaa, are portrayed by actors in life-sized puppets or costumes. The Timon character is described by Taymor as one of the hardest roles to master because the movement of the puppet's head and arms puts a strain on the actor's arms, back, and neck. [13]

Composer Lebo M led the original Broadway chorus. [13] The chorus members are usually visible in the production, rather than being hidden in the shadows as seen in some other musical shows.

A new section of the production, the Lioness Hunt, features a particularly complicated dance sequence for the actresses, and the dance is made even more difficult by the large headpieces worn during the scene.

During the show's run in China, Chinese elements were included in the musical. One of the songs was adapted to a well-known Chinese pop song, "Laoshu ai dami" or "Mice Love Rice". The cast even cracked jokes and attempted conversations with the audience in Chinese. [14]

As of June 27, 2010, nine minutes of the Broadway version were cut, among them the entire "Morning Report" musical number. [11] The song was also removed from subsequent productions and cast recordings, such as the Spanish one.


United States

First Lady Michelle Obama joins the cast of the U.S. touring company onstage after their performance at the Kids' State Dinner in the East Room of the White House Michelle Obama joins the cast of Disney's "The Lion King" onstage (15176076171).jpg
First Lady Michelle Obama joins the cast of the U.S. touring company onstage after their performance at the Kids' State Dinner in the East Room of the White House

The musical is touring North America for the third time. This tour, named the Rafiki Tour, began on October 26, 2017. [15] [16] The tour version is very similar to the original Broadway production; however, certain scenic elements which rise out of the stage floor (such as Pride Rock, the stampede, and the grasslands) were converted to less costly configurations for the touring productions. The sun during the opening is reduced in size for the shorter-lasting tours. Stage sizes are also smaller, and the size of the pit orchestra is decreased.[ citation needed ] The first national tour (Gazelle Tour) launched on April 17, 2002 and closed on July 23, 2017. [17] The second tour (Cheetah Tour) began on April 23, 2003 and ended on March 2, 2008.

A Las Vegas production opened at Mandalay Bay on May 15, 2009, with previews beginning May 5, 2009. [18] The Las Vegas cast performed on the ninth season of the American dance competition Dancing With the Stars on September 23, 2009. Led by Buyi Zama, the cast performed Circle of Life. [19] When this production closed, on December 30, 2011, it turned into the second longest run the show had in a same American city (only coming after Broadway), running longer than the 2000–2003 Los Angeles Production.

A Los Angeles production began performances at the Pantages Theatre on September 29, 2000, with an official opening on October 19, 2000. The show closed on January 12, 2003, after 952 performances. The cast of this production performed a set of the show's songs in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on October 2, 2001. The cast was led by Fuschia Walker.


A Canadian production was staged in Toronto and ran for nearly four years at the Princess of Wales Theatre. The show was directed by the original director Julie Taymor and premiered on April 25, 2000. [20] The Lion King ran until January 2004 when it had its final performance. This first Canadian staging comprised 1,560 performances and was seen by 2.9 million people according to David Mirvish, whose Mirvish Productions theater and management company owns and operates the theater. [21] The Degrassi star Raymond Ablack starred as Young Simba In 2001. [22] The show returned for a five-week engagement that began in April 2011, as part of the North American tour [23]


The musical had a Mexican limited run (in English) between January 3 and January 27, 2008, in Mexico City, as part of the U.S. national tour. [24]

In May 2014, it was confirmed a new production of the musical, this time in Spanish. The production ran from May 7, 2015 to January 14, 2018 at the Teatro Telcel in Mexico City for 930 performances. Carlos Rivera returned to the role of Simba, which he also took in Spain four years earlier. The lyrics of the songs of this production differed from the European Spanish one. South-African actress Shirley Hlahatse was chosen as Rafiki, marking the first time in years a completely new actress was elected for that role. [25]

South America

A Brazilian production was confirmed to debut in São Paulo in March 28, 2013. [26] Auditions took place in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador. The cast contained mainly Brazilian actors and seven South African actors. [27] The Portuguese lyrics were translated by Brazilian singer Gilberto Gil.

Actress Phindile Mkhize, who had previously performed in many of the show's productions, was selected as Rafiki for this production, leaving in October 2013 and being replaced by Ntsepa Pitjeng. The show closed its doors on December 14, 2014. [28]


United Kingdom

After the success of the Broadway show, the show opened in the United Kingdom in on October 19, 1999. The cast included Cornell John as Mufasa, Luke Youngblood as Young Simba, Dominique Moore as Young Nala, Martyn Ellis as Pumbaa, Simon Gregor as Timon, Rob Edwards as Scar, Paul J. Medford as Banzai and Josette Bushell-Mingo as Rafiki. [29] [30] As of October 2019, it has been playing at the Lyceum Theatre in London for 20 years. Taymor directed the British production of the show, with Melissa De Melo as the producer. The show also toured the UK from 2012 until March 2015. [31]

London; Lyceum Theatre Lyceum Theatre - Wellington Street, London - The Lion King (6447076293).jpg
London; Lyceum Theatre

The West End cast of the show performed twice at the traditional Royal Variety Performance: in 1999 (led by Josette Bushell-Mingo) and 2008 (led by Brown Lindiwe Mkhize). In both performances, the song Circle of Life was performed. [32] The company also performed at the show Strictly Come Dancing special Strictly African Dancing, broadcast in 2005, led once again by Mkhize and performed the same song.

Other countries

Hamburg, Germany: Theater im Hafen (since 2001), accessible by boat Hamburg Musicaltheater Der Konig der Lowen 03.jpg
Hamburg, Germany: Theater im Hafen (since 2001), accessible by boat

The German production has been playing in Hamburg at the Theater in Hafen since December 2001 and had its 5000th performance on January 14, 2014. Access to the theater is by ferry, where the boats are decorated in the colors of the musical and are named after characters in the musical (such as Nala and its sister ship Rafiki).[ citation needed ] By September 2014, the Hamburg production had passed the $1 billion in cumulative gross. [2]

A Dutch production of the show was produced by Joop van den Ende Theaterproducties/Stage Entertainment and played at the Circustheater in Scheveningen, The Hague, running from April 4, 2004, until August 27, 2006, when it was replaced by another Disney musical, Tarzan . A revival of the Dutch production ran for 1139 performances at the same Circustheater from October 30, 2016 to July 21, 2019. [33]

The show's French production debuted in Paris on September 22, 2007, in Stage Entertainment's Théâtre Mogador. This production won several Moliére Awards and closed on July 25, 2010, after being watched by over a million people. [34]

On October 20, 2011, the first Spanish production opened at Teatro Lope de Vega in Madrid, where it is still running after more than 3,000 performances. [35] [36]

In Basel, Switzerland, the musical was performed for the first time from March 12, 2015, until October 11, 2015. [37]


Beginning in June 2007, The Lion King debuted its first-ever performance on the African continent in Johannesburg, South Africa at the Teatro at Montecasino. The Lion King was the first production to take place in the new theatre. The cast featured 53 artists, of whom all were South African. [38] The opening night in Johannesburg was celebrated with key persons involving the creation of the musical and American talk show host Oprah Winfrey who had recently opened an educational academy for girls in Johannesburg [39] The show closed on February 17, 2008.



The show was translated into Japanese and staged by the Shiki Theatre Company. The Tokyo production began in 1998 and continues to the present day at the Shiki Theatre HARU. [40] The production achieved its 10,000th performance on July 15, 2015. [41]

It is the second longest-running musical production in Japan, running only behind the musical Cats , selling 10.26 million tickets as of March 2016. [42]

Other countries

The musical had a Korean production from October 28, 2006, to October 28, 2007, at the Charlotte Theater in Seoul, where it ran for 330 performances.

In August 2008, a production opened in Taipei, Taiwan, closing on August 24, 2009.

The show had a limited run at Shanghai's Grand Theatre from July to September 2006. This production was led by Buyi Zama and was performed in English, though a couple of Chinese elements were added to the story. [43] From June 14, 2016, until October 8, 2017, The Lion King returned to China, in a new production that was staged at the 1,200 capacity Walt Disney Grand Theatre, in the Shanghai Disney Resort, where it ran for 500 performances. This production was performed in Mandarin and led by Ntsepa Pitjeng. [44]


The show played at the Capitol Theatre in Sydney, Australia, from October 16, 2003, until June 26, 2005. The production then ran at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne from July 28, 2005, until June 4, 2006. The Lion King returned to Sydney's Capitol Theatre on December 12, 2013. [45]

International tour

On March 28, 2018, the first international tour officially opened at the Solaire Resort & Casino in Manila, with confirmed stops in Singapore, South Korea (Daegu, Seoul, and Busan), Taipei, Bangkok, Hong Kong, China (Wuhan, and Beijing), and South Africa. All these countries have had productions so far, except the Philippines and Thailand. The tour is performed in English, with subtitles in each country's official language projected in the screen, and led by Ntsepa Pitjeng. [46] [47]

As a result of the 2019-20 coronavirus outbreak and subsequent evacuation of the city, the show's Wuhan season was ultimately cancelled, with performances to be rescheduled. [48]


Original casts

The original principal casts of all major productions.

CharacterBroadwayWest EndJohannesburgHamburgThe HagueParisLas VegasGazelle Tour
(1st U.S. Tour)
Cheetah Tour
(2nd U.S. Tour)
Rafiki Tour
(3rd U.S. Tour)
Simba Jason Raize Roger WrightAndile GumbiGino EmnesEtiënne PoederJérémy FontanetClifton OliverJosh Tower Brandon Victor Dixon Gerald Caesar
Scar John Vickery Rob Edwards Mark RaymentMarc HetterleHein van der HeijdenOlivier BreitmanThom SesmaPatrick PageLarry YandoMark Campbell
Mufasa Samuel E. Wright Cornell John Sello Maake-KancubeMichael Edward-StevensEdwin JonkerJean-Luc GuizonneAlton Fitzgerald WhiteRufus Bonds, Jr.Gerald Ramsey
Nala Heather Headley Paulette IvoryTsholo Monedi Senit Carolina DijkhuizenLéah Vincent Kissy Simmons Kissy SimmonsAdia GinnehNia Holloway
Rafiki Tsidii Le Loka Josette Bushell-Mingo Buyisile ZamaVelephi Patricia MnisiNomvula DlaminiZama MagudulelaBuyi ZamaFredi Walker-BrowneThandazile A. SoniBuyi Zama
Timon Max Casella Simon GregorPeter MashigoOliver GriceMark LauwrysChristian AbartDamian BaldetJohn PlumpisBenjamin ClostNick Cordileone
Pumbaa Tom Alan Robbins Martyn EllisPierre van HeerdenLakke MagnussonMarcel JonkerFabrice de La VillehervéAdam KozlowskiBlake HammondBob AmaralBen Lipitz
Zazu Geoff Hoyle Gregory GudgeonLyall RamsdenJoachim BenoitLaus SteenbeekeDavid Eguren Patrick Kerr Jeffrey BinderDerek HasenstabGreg Jackson
Shenzi Tracy Nicole Chapman Stephanie CharlesCandida MosomaAnastasia BainPeggy SandaalCéline LanguedocJacquie HodgesJacquelyn HodgesShaullanda LaCombeMartina Sykes
Banzai Stanley Wayne Mathis Paul J. Medford Simon GwalaJerrel HoutsneeJerrel HoutsneeValery RodriguezKeith BennettJames Brown-OrleansMelvin AbstonKeith Bennett
Ed Kevin Cahoon Christopher HoltMichael BaggEnrique SeguraMark FleischmannMickaël ViguierRobbie SwiftWayne PileBrian SillsRobbie Swift
Sarabi Gina Breedlove Dawn MichaelZoe MthiyaneAraba WaltonJoanne TelesfordMelina M'PoyJean Michelle GrierKimber Sprawl
Young Simba Scott Irby-Ranniar Luke Youngblood Tshepiso MorakeOtis JacintoRevano MartodikromoSofiane LedhemDuane Ervin

Elijah Johnson

Akil I. Lugman

Christopher Warren, Jr.

Khaleel Mandel CarterJoziyah Jean-Felix

Ramon Reed

Young NalaKajuana Shuford Dominique Moore Hlengiwe MasekoMalia ZoungranaShanice NarainKetsia TotoRuby Crawford

Jade Nelson

Paula Collins

Cajai Fellows Johnson

Gloria Manning

Danielle W. Jalade

The original production crew for the Broadway production. [49]

TitleOriginal Broadway

Production Crew

DirectedJulie Taymor
ChoreographerGarth Fagan
Musical DirectorJoseph Church
Scenic DesignRichard Hudson
Costume DesignJulie Taymor
Lighting DesignDonald Holder
Mask DesignJulie Taymor & Michael Curry
Puppet DesignJulie Taymor & Michael Curry
Sound DesignTony Meola
Hair DesignMichael Ward
Make-up DesignMichael Ward
Projection DesignGeoff Puckett
Associate Scenic DesignPeter Eastman & Jonathan Fensom
Associate Costume DesignMary Nemecek Peterson
Associate Lighting DesignJeanne Koenig

Cast distinctions


Most of the show's international productions had cast recordings which are available on CD, including: [55]

Of all the show's productions (counting the English ones), only the Brazilian and the Korean ones didn't have cast recordings released.

The Lion King: Original Broadway Cast Recording

The Lion King: Original Broadway Cast Recording is a cast recording released on 1997 by The Walt Disney Company, a recording of the songs as heard in the stage musical. Most of the tracks were composed by African composer Lebo M. and focused primarily on the African influences of the film's original music, with most songs being sung either partially or entirely in various African languages.

Rafiki's chants in "Rafiki Mourns" were written by Tsidii Le Loka, who originated the role on Broadway.

  1. "Circle of Life" – Faca Kulu, Lebo M, The Lion King Ensemble and Tsidii Le Loka
  2. "Grasslands Chant" – The Lion King Ensemble
  3. "The Morning Report" – Geoff Hoyle, Samuel E. Wright and Scott Irby-Ranniar
  4. "The Lioness Hunt" – Lebo M and The Lion King Ensemble
  5. "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" – Geoff Hoyle, Kajuana Shuford, Scott Irby-Ranniar and The Lion King Ensemble
  6. "Chow Down" – Kevin Cahoon, Stanley Wayne Mathis and Tracy Nicole Chapman
  7. "They Live in You" – Samuel E. Wright and The Lion King Ensemble
  8. "Be Prepared" – John Vickery, Kevin Cahoon, Stanley Wayne Mathis, The Lion King Ensemble and Tracy Nicole Chapman
  9. "The Stampede" – The Lion King Ensemble
  10. "Rafiki Mourns" – The Lion King Ensemble and Tsidii Le Loka
  11. "Hakuna Matata" – Jason Raize, Max Casella, Scott Irby-Ranniar, The Lion King Ensemble and Tom Alan Robbins
  12. "One by One" – Lebo M and The Lion King Ensemble
  13. "The Madness of King Scar" – Geoff Hoyle, Heather Headley, John Vickery, Kevin Cahoon, Stanley Wayne Mathis and Tracy Nicole Chapman
  14. "Shadowland" – Heather Headley, The Lion King Ensemble and Tsidii Le Loka
  15. "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" – Lebo M
  16. "Endless Night" – Jason Raize and The Lion King Ensemble
  17. "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" – Heather Headley, Jason Raize, Max Casella, The Lion King Ensemble and Tom Alan Robbins
  18. "He Lives in You (Reprise)" – Jason Raize, The Lion King Ensemble and Tsidii Le Loka
  19. "Simba Confronts Scar" – Mark Mancina and Robert Elhai
  20. "King of Pride Rock/Circle of Life (Reprise)" – Geoff Hoyle, Heather Headley, Jason Raize, Lebo M, Max Casella, The Lion King Ensemble, Tom Alan Robbins and Tsidii Le Loka


The original Broadway show included: [61]

  • 1 wood flute soloist/flute/piccolo
  • 1 concertmistress
  • 2 violins
  • 1 violin/viola
  • 2 cellos
  • 1 flute/clarinet/bass clarinet
  • 3 French horns
  • 1 trombone
  • 1 bass trombone/tuba
  • 1 upright & electric basses
  • 1 drums
  • 1 guitar
  • 2 mallets/percussion
  • 2 percussion
  • 3 keyboard synthesizers

Awards and nominations

Original Broadway production

YearAward CeremonyCategoryNomineeResult
1998 Drama Desk Awards Outstanding Musical Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical Max Casella Nominated
Geoff Hoyle Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Tsidii Le Loka Won
Outstanding Director Julie Taymor Won
Outstanding Choreography Garth Fagan Won
Outstanding Orchestrations Robert Elhai, David Metzger, and Bruce Fowler Nominated
Outstanding Set Design Richard Hudson Won
Outstanding Costume Design Julie Taymor Won
Outstanding Lighting Design Donald Holder Won
Outstanding Sound Design Tony Meola Won
Outstanding Puppet Design Julie Taymor and Michael Curry Won
Theatre World Awards Max Casella Won
Tony Awards Best Musical Won
Best Book of a Musical Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi Nominated
Best Original Score Elton John, Tim Rice, Hans Zimmer, Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin and Julie Taymor Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Samuel E. Wright Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical Tsidii Le Loka Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical Julie Taymor Won
Best Choreography Garth Fagan Won
Best Orchestrations Robert Elhai, David Metzger and Bruce Fowler Nominated
Best Scenic Design Richard Hudson Won
Best Costume Design Julie Taymor Won
Best Lighting Design Donald Holder Won

Original London production

YearAward CeremonyCategoryNomineeResult
1999 Laurence Olivier Awards Best New Musical Nominated
Best Actor in a Musical Rob Edwards Nominated
Best Actress in a Musical Josette Bushell-Mingo Nominated
Best Director Julie Taymor Nominated
Best Theatre Choreographer Garth Fagan Won
Best Set Design Richard Hudson Nominated
Best Costume Design Julie Taymor Won
Best Lighting Design Donald Holder Nominated

Original France production

YearAward CeremonyCategoryNomineeResult
2008 Molière Awards Best MusicalWon
Best Costume Design Julie Taymor Won
Best Lighting Design Donald Holder Won

Original Australian Production

YearAward CeremonyCategoryNomineeResult
2004 Helpmann Awards Best Musical Won
Best Direction of a Musical Julie Taymor Won
Best Choreography in a Musical Garth Fagan Won
Best Female Actor in a Musical Buyisile ZamaNominated
Best Male Actor in a Musical Tony HarveyNominated
Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical Cherine PeckNominated
Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical Terry BaderNominated
Best Original Score Tim Rice, Elton John, Lebo M, Hans Zimmer, Julie Taymor, Mark Mancina & Jay Rifkin Nominated
Best Costume Design Julie Taymor Won
Best Lighting Design Donald Holder Nominated
Best Sound DesignSteve KennedyNominated

Related Research Articles

<i>The Lion King</i> 1994 American animated musical film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation

The Lion King is a 1994 American animated musical film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 32nd Disney animated feature film, and the fifth animated film produced during a period known as the Disney Renaissance. The Lion King was directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, produced by Don Hahn, and has a screenplay credited to Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts, and Linda Woolverton. Its original songs were written by composer Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice, with a score by Hans Zimmer. The film features an ensemble voice cast that includes Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Moira Kelly, Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Rowan Atkinson, Robert Guillaume, Madge Sinclair, Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, and Jim Cummings. The story takes place in a kingdom of lions in Africa and was influenced by the Biblical stories of Joseph and Moses, and William Shakespeare's Hamlet.

<i>The Lion King II: Simbas Pride</i> 1998 American animated musical romantic comedy-drama film directed by Darrell Rooney

The Lion King II: Simba's Pride is a 1998 American animated direct-to-video romantic musical film and a sequel to Disney's 1994 animated feature film, The Lion King. The story takes place in a kingdom of lions in Africa and was influenced by William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. According to co-director Darrell Rooney, the final draft gradually became a variation of Romeo and Juliet.

<i>Timon & Pumbaa</i> (TV series) 1995 television serial

The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa, often simply referred to as Timon & Pumbaa, is a 1995-1999 American animated television series created by Walt Disney Television Animation. Based on the 1994 Disney animated film The Lion King, it centers on Timon the meerkat and Pumbaa the warthog, as they live their problem-free philosophy "Hakuna matata". Voice actors Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella reprised their film roles as the title characters.

<i>The Lion King 1½</i> 2004 animated comedy adventure film directed by Bradley Raymond, third and final installment in the Lion King trilogy

The Lion King ​1 12 is a 2004 American animated comedy adventure film produced by the Australian branch of Disneytoon Studios and released direct to video on February 10, 2004. As the third installment released in the Lion King media franchise, it is the final installment in trilogy, and focuses on the escapades of the meerkat/warthog duo Timon and Pumbaa before and during the events of The Lion King. Much of the original voice cast from the first film returns to reprise their roles, including Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella as the voices of Timon and Pumbaa, respectively.

Simba Character from The Lion King franchise

Simba is the main character of Disney's The Lion King franchise. Introduced in the 1994 film The Lion King, Walt Disney Animation's 32nd animated feature, the character subsequently appears in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (1998) and The Lion King 1½ (2004) as well as the 2019 remake of the original film. Simba was created by screenwriters Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts and Linda Woolverton. While Mark Henn served as Simba's supervising animator as a cub, Ruben A. Aquino animated the character as he appears as an adult.

Nala (<i>The Lion King</i>) Character from The Lion King franchise

Nala is a fictional lioness who appears in Disney's TheLion King franchise. Introduced in the animated film The Lion King in 1994, Nala subsequently appears as a less prominent character in the film's sequels The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (1998) and The Lion King 1½ (2004), and serves as a recurring character in The Lion Guard (2015–2019). In the original film, the adult Nala is voiced by American actress Moira Kelly. Young Nala's speaking voice is provided by actress Niketa Calame, while singers Laura Williams and Sally Dworsky provide the singing voices of young and adult Nala respectively.

Timon and Pumbaa are an animated meerkat and warthog duo introduced in Disney's 1994 animated film The Lion King and its franchise. Timon was portrayed through his many appearances by Nathan Lane, Max Casella, Kevin Schon, Quinton Flynn, Bruce Lanoil in the Wild About Safety shorts and Kingdom Hearts II, and while Pumbaa is voiced by Ernie Sabella, and was portrayed by Tom Alan Robbins in the original cast of the Broadway musical. In the CGI remake, the characters are portrayed by Billy Eichner and Seth Rogen, respectively. Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella first came to audition for the roles of the hyenas, but when the producers saw how well they worked together, they decided to cast them as Timon and Pumbaa. Lyricist Tim Rice however was pulling for Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson to play the roles, as he got the idea for the lyrics to "Hakuna Matata" by watching their show Bottom.

Be Prepared (song) song from Disneys Lion King

"Be Prepared" is a song written by Elton John and Tim Rice for the Disney animated feature film The Lion King (1994). The song was originally performed in the film by Jeremy Irons, with Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, and Jim Cummings providing supporting vocals; Cummings performed partial material for Scar after Irons' voice gave out.

He Lives in You song performed by Lebo M.

"He Lives in You" is a song written and performed by Lebo M. and his South African Choir for Rhythm of the Pride Lands, an album inspired by the film The Lion King. It is performed twice in the musical adaptation of the film, and a shorter version of the song was used for the opening of The Lion King II: Simba's Pride. The song was co-written by Mark Mancina and Jay Rifkin.

There have been seven theme park live adaptations of The Lion King at Disney parks since the animated film The Lion King was released by Walt Disney Animation Studios in 1994. These have included a parade, two theater-in-the-round shows, and four stage shows.

"I Just Can't Wait to Be King" is a song written by Elton John (music) and Tim Rice (lyrics) for the Disney animated feature film The Lion King (1994). The song is performed by American actor and singer Jason Weaver as Simba, with English actor Rowan Atkinson and American actress Laura Williams providing supporting vocals in their roles as Zazu and Nala.

Hakuna Matata (song) song from Disneys The Lion King

"Hakuna Matata" is a song from Disney's 32nd animated feature The Lion King. The music was written by Elton John with lyrics by Tim Rice. The song is based on Timon and Pumbaa's catchphrase in the movie, Hakuna matata, a Swahili phrase meaning "No problem(s)". It is characterized by its simple 4/4 time, upbeat message and catchy lyrics.

Circle of Life Song from Disneys 1994 animated film The Lion King

"Circle of Life" is a song from Disney's 1994 animated film The Lion King. Composed by Elton John, with lyrics by Tim Rice, the song was performed by Carmen Twillie and Lebo M. as the film's opening song. In an interview, Rice said he was amazed at the speed with which John composed: "I gave him the lyrics at the beginning of the session at about two in the afternoon. By half-past three, he'd finished writing and recording a stunning demo." Elton John sang a pop version of the song with the London Community Gospel Choir, which was included in the film's soundtrack and made into a music video.

The Lion King is a Disney media franchise comprising a film series and additional media. The success of the original 1994 American animated feature, The Lion King, directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, led to a direct-to-video sequel, a spin-off movie, a 2019 film remake, a television film sequel, two spin-off television series, three educational shorts, several video games, merchandise, and the third-longest-running musical in Broadway history, which garnered six Tony Awards including Best Musical. The franchise, led by the musical's box office at $8.1 billion, is the highest-grossing entertainment property. The franchise as a whole has EGOT-ed, meaning it has won the four biggest awards of American show business.

Scar (<i>The Lion King</i>) primary antagonist and fictional character from The Lion King

Scar is an animated character who appears in Disney's The Lion King franchise. He was created in 1989 by screenwriters Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts, and Linda Woolverton, and animated by Andreas Deja. The Pride Lands' reclusive heir presumptive, Scar is introduced in the first film as Simba's uncle and Mufasa's younger brother. Originally first-in-line to Mufasa's throne until he is suddenly replaced by Simba, Scar decides to lead an army of hyenas in his plot to take the throne by killing Mufasa and exiling Simba, ultimately blaming his brother's death on his nephew. Loosely based on King Claudius, the main antagonist of William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, Scar's villainy was additionally inspired by Adolf Hitler. As the character's supervising animator, Deja based Scar's appearance on that of original voice actor Jeremy Irons himself, as well as the actor's Academy Award-winning performance as Claus von Bülow in Reversal of Fortune (1990). Before Irons was cast, the directors had considered offering the role to actors Tim Curry and Malcolm McDowell. Chiwetel Ejiofor voices the photorealistic version of the character in the CGI remake of the 1994 film.

"The Madness of King Scar" is a song written by composer Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice, which premiered in the musical The Lion King, a stage adaptation of Disney's 1994 animated film of the same name. Originally recorded and storyboarded for the movie, it was removed from the final version. Media outlets believed the decision to exclude the song was based on its explicit references to sexuality. "The Madness of King Scar" had been added to the musical along with two other songs. It is one of two tracks that more prominently features vocals from the character Nala. The title is a reference to the 1994 film The Madness of King George.

<i>The Lion Guard</i> 2015 US-South Korean TV series

The Lion Guard is an American animated television series developed by Ford Riley and based on Disney's 1994 film The Lion King. The series was first broadcast with a television film titled The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar on Disney Channel on November 22, 2015, and began airing as a TV series on January 15, 2016, on Disney Junior. It is the second television series to be based on The Lion King, the first being Timon & Pumbaa.The Lion Guard is a sequel to The Lion King and takes place during the time-gap within the 1998 film The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, with the third and final season taking place in parallel with the film's second act, followed by the final two episodes of the series serving as a continuation to the film.

<i>The Lion King</i> (2019 film) 2019 animated film directed by Jon Favreau

The Lion King is a 2019 American musical film directed and produced by Jon Favreau, written by Jeff Nathanson, and produced by Walt Disney Pictures. It is a photorealistic computer-animated remake of Disney's traditionally animated 1994 film of the same name. The film stars the voices of Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Billy Eichner, John Kani, John Oliver, Florence Kasumba, Eric Andre, Keegan-Michael Key, JD McCrary, Shahadi Wright Joseph, and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, as well as James Earl Jones reprising his role from the original film. The plot follows Simba, a young lion who must embrace his role as the rightful king of his native land following the murder of his father, Mufasa, at the hands of his uncle, Scar.


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