10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Disney’s The Lion King

The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre London. Photo: Catherine Ashmore
The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre London. Photo: Catherine Ashmore

From the film to the musical theatre show, Disney’s The Lion King has delighted audiences all over the world since opening on Broadway on Thursday 13th November 1997.

Loosely based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, this iconic tale opened at the Lyceum Theatre, West End on Tuesday 19th October 1999 but did you know these 10 fascinating facts about the show…

1. Five different languages are used in The Lion King dialogue including Zulu, Xhosa and Swahili.

2. The Lion King was the first Broadway show ever to gross over $1 billion in income! That’s a lot of tickets!

3. Director, Julie Taymor, became the first woman in Broadway history to win the Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical.

4. In 1998 the show won Best Costume Design at the Tony Awards and continues to receive high praise for the wardrobe team’s creativity.

5. When Julie Taymor started working on the project she felt the show didn’t have a strong enough female character so the role of Rafiki was made female and given a much larger role than in the original film.

6. Rafiki is actually a cross between a Mandrill and a Baboon as Mandrills do not have tails!

7. 232 puppets are used in the show, including rod, shadow and full-sized puppets.

8. There are over 24 different species of animals, birds, fish and insects represented in the show.

9. In the Musical Theatre show the phrase “Hakuna Matata” is said 25 times per performance!

10. The Lion King Musical Facebook page has over 1 million fans!


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