The Lion King: About the Creators
On June 15, 1994, Walt Disney pictures released its 32nd animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series: The Lion King. Inspired by Shakespeare’s Hamlet and influenced by the biblical tales of Joseph and Moses, the story centers around a young lion cub named Simba and was produced during what has come to be known as the Disney Renaissance. It is the third-highest grossing film of all time, behind Frozen and Toy Story 3, and has been a long-standing favorite of children and adults alike.
The musical shares a number of creators with the original animated film, including music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice, along with a musical score created by Hans Zimmer. The choral arrangements for the production are by Lebo M., and the show was directed by Julie Taymor. Produced by Disney Theatrical, the musical debuted on July 8, 1997 in Minneapolis, MN, and was an instant success, thanks to its top-notch creative team.
Director Julie Taymor was also a costume designer and a co-designer on the elaborate puppetry for which the production is known. She won the 1998 Tony Award for her work as both a director and a designer, as well as several Moliere Awards for best musical and best costumes.
World-renowned singer/songwriter Elton John’s career has spanned more than three decades. He’s one of the top selling artists of all time, and the winner of multiple Grammy and Tony Awards. Rumor has it that his beloved song “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” was originally conceived to be a humorous number for Timon and Pumbaa, but Elton John immediately shot that idea down.
Lyricist Tim Rice has worked in the performing arts since the sixties, teaming up with such remarkable names as Andrew Lloyd Webber, Alan Menken and, of course, Elton John. Outside of his musical passions, award-winning Tim Rice also formed his own Cricket team in 1973.
Countless artists and administrators have brought this beloved musical to life, both in the United States and abroad. It takes a truly remarkable team to pull off something so extraordinary.