The Lion King musical is a well-known musical that has taken the stages of Broadway, West End and the rest of the world by storm (The Lion King, 1997). Regarding the process of the musical, Artistic Director Julie Taymor’s first thoughts for choosing the Lion King as the next big thing on stage, was classed as ‘impossible’ due to the film’s lack of theatrical material (The Lion King, 1997). Therefore, staging this particular work contained a great deal of uncertainty and the need for taking huge risks. Taymor (1997) suggests how ‘the Lion King was the worst idea possible to create a stage show.’ It has become evident that a number of significant barriers had to be overcome to secure the practicality of the production. In view of this controversy, this dissertation will critically analyse the success of the Lion King by exploring two significant aspects that have helped to make the musical a success. Firstly, the essential components that make up this theatrical production will be explored and secondly, the roles of each producer within the Lion King and their combined and individual influences they have had from the production will be evaluated. By analysing these two central themes, this paper will show how and why this musical has developed and achieved its phenomenal success.
The components can be broken down into the following: dance and movement, character portrayal, masks/puppetry, music, costume design and idealistic process. Each component will be analysed in detail in an attempt to portray how this effectiveness has added to the overall musical vision.
Through dance and movement, the storyline were expanded with the assistance of choreographer, Garth Fagan. A well-renowned choreographer for his innovative choreography primarily for Garth Fagan dance, Fagan used his unique style of choreography to the Lion King by combining a variety of Ballet, Jazz, Modern Dance, African Dance, Cultural Dance i.e. Balinese to suggest representations of nature without making a replica itself and use dance to help tell the story (Taymor 2010). Taymor’s idea of expanding the film by adding in choreographic elements not only will set the overall concept, it would additionally guide the visual aesthetic by allowing dance as the main element that balances musical numbers in all categories, adding in music, effects and so on into the choreography (Bluemental et al 210:1999). Both Fagan and Taymor gave major contributions to the different styles of dance and performance techniques from around the world creating the precision and versatility being portrayed in the musical. In order to create the ideal staging of the hunting lionesses, flying dancers in the aerial ballet to the takeover of the hyenas at Pridelands, the collaboration between Fagan and Taymor give suggestions of movements being performed with grace and poise using different kinds of dance styles that are cultural based certainly those to earth and nature (Taymor...