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Broadway musical ‘The Lion King’ to be staged in Korea

Broadway musical ‘The Lion King’ to be staged in Korea

Posted June. 05, 2018 07:50,   

Updated June. 05, 2018 07:50


Broadway musical “The Lion King” will be staged in Korea starting this November. The licensed version of the musical was put on the stage in Korea back in 2006 by Shiki Musical Company of Japan. This is the first time the original performance of “The Lion King” is to be played in Korea. There is a saying, “You can only see what you know.” The following are what to look for when you watch the musical.

○ The magnificent opening scene that depicts the wild

One of the highlights of “The Lion King” is the opening scene of the Act 1, in which animals in the wilderness celebrate the birth of a baby, Simba, the next in line to rule the animal kingdom. The musical is intense from the opening. Once the curtain is up and the red sun rises over the Pride Lands, the stage immediately turns into a mysterious Savannah in Africa. Actors wearing animal masks of all sorts, including elephants, colorful birds, deer and rhinoceroses make their way to the stage from the back of the theater. And the unique African a cappella sound of the number “Circle of Life” is played on the background. The chorus of the music makes the audience feel like they are in the wilderness of Africa. Watching the animal masks on actors is also interesting.

○ African language

Also eye-catching is exotic African culture seen in the musical. The case in point is the “language” used in the musical. “Simba” means lion and the monkey “Rafiki” means friend in African. Famous number “Hakuna Matata” sung by Timon and Pumbaa means “Everything will be fine” in Swahili used widely in the Southeast Africa.

○ Lion King crew are the ‘Avengers’ of the Broadway

Julie Taymor, the first female winner of the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical, will be in charge of directing and stage design. Pop legend Elton John, legendary lyricist Tim Rice and film score composer Hans Zimmer will be responsible for original score for the musical.

The Lion King album, which mostly consists of numbers that used African traditional instruments, won the Best Musical Theater Album at the 1999 Grammy Awards. New numbers including “Chow Down” and “The Madness of the King Scar” by Elton John and Tim Rice will be added to this performance. The Lion King will be staged in Daegu in November at Keimyung Art Center, followed by Seoul in January 2019 at Seoul Arts Center and Busan in April 2019 at Dream Theater.

Jeong-Eun Kim kimje@donga.com