TimeOut

The Lion King is a Broadway masterpiece (Op-Ed)

Broadway’s stage adaptation of Disney’s The Lion King is one of their longest-running performances, and it’s not difficult to understand why.

The Lion King is one of few musicals to be comprised of only animal characters. With this, comes the requirement that everything on stage resembles the African wilderness as realistically as possible. While doing this without any real animals might sound difficult, Broadway always pulls it off.

With the use of animal prints for the feline characters and brightly colored costumes for the ensemble cast, the effort and thought put into each outfit is clear from the start. The headpieces worn by many of the performers, with intricate details and impressive size, are truly attention-grabbing. Whether the headpiece resembles a lion’s head or the full body of a gazelle, it makes for an incredible visual.

For animals that would be difficult to recreate on two feet, such as a zebra or giraffe, the costume designers went a step further. The zebra costume features a performer in the middle of a long costume, their own feet carefully hidden. Meanwhile, the giraffe costume has a person on four stilts, two stilts are gripped by the hands to resemble the front feet, and one long headpiece.

Of course, the performers are also phenomenal. Again, as they are playing animals, not people like most Broadway shows, it’s a unique situation. Nonetheless, they’re able to pull it off and do so incredibly. Embracing the roles and striking poses resembling those that real-life animals would take, the performers put their hearts into each performance and it’s obvious from the start.

The Lion King, unlike many shows, has to give off the impression that everything is taking place outside. With careful lighting and shadows featuring trees and herds of animals, the set takes a minimalistic approach. The Lion King’s effective use of space helps make the stage look bigger, adding to the belief that everything is taking place somewhere outside, not on a Broadway stage.

The joint work and effort the cast and crew of The Lion King put into each performance to create an amazing memory for Broadway goers is always obvious. If you’re ever fortunate enough to see The Lion King on Broadway, consider yourself truly lucky, you’ll never see anything like it again.

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