As this beloved Disney Classic celebrates its 18th year on the West End, we decided to list 17 reasons (for each previous year) to see it. In order to show you why we love it and hopefully inform you of some things that you may not have known about the musical until now. So, without further ado, let’s get stuck into the mane reasons why everyone loves this roar-some mega musical that is, The Lion King.
The first 9 reasons form their own timeline, and it goes something like this:
1) It all began with a film; a wonderful, magical, Disney film of the same name back in 1994.
2) The film was the 32nd Disney film to be made, and was influenced by Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet (Maybe its theatrical roots should have been an early indicator of the show’s major success on stage).
3) The film had an all-star cast and included voice work from Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Jeremy Irons to name a few. It would go on to win the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy later that year.
4) With music from the song-writing dream team of Elton John and Tim Rice and a score by Hans Zimmer, The Lion King would also win the Golden Globe for Best Original Score. Which led to the subsequent Oscar wins for the Best Original Score and Best Original Song for “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” (After “Circle of Life” and “Hakuna Matata” were both also nominated in the category).
5) The epic response from critics and audiences alike led to talks of the stage adaptation of The Lion King that we know and love today. Julie Taymor took on the project as director and designer, and it debuted in Minneapolis in July, 1997 at the Orpheum Theatre.
6) Following it’s incredible reception in Minneapolis, this stunning new show transferred to the New Amsterdam Theatre on Broadway in October, later that year. It would stay there until 2006, when it moved home to the Minskoff Theatre where it still resides today, making it Broadway’s third longest running show.
7) So of course, we had to get in on the action… and in October, 1999 it made a glorious leap across the pond and onto our wonderful West End. It has stayed at the Lyceum for nearly 17 years now and is still adored by audiences to this day.
8) Over the years, The Lion King‘s run on Broadway, has claimed many prestigious awards, including 6 Tony Awards.
9) Our British West End counterpart also had a rather extensive haul of awards, including 2 Laurence Olivier Awards.
Here’s where the reasons lose all order, just because if you can’t see how good it is yet, these will spell it out:
10) The set. It is b-e-a-utiful. Thank you so much Julie.
11) And those animals? Well, that’s all part of the stunning costume design. Just wow…
12) The award winning music from the films feature in the musical with some new additions, meaning you still get to hear absolute bangers like this one:
13) It’s a heartwarming tale that anyone could enjoy, whatever age or walk of life.
14) There are 232 breath-taking puppets used to populate Pride Rock in each epic show.
15) The tallest of which are the 18 foot giraffes in “I Just Can’t Wait to be King”… (unfortunately we don’t have a photo of this, so please enjoy this gif instead)
16) Nicholas Afoa plays Simba… Just yes…
17) Most importantly, Simba and family approve this message.
Book tickets to see The Lion King from £47.40
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