The Original Lion King Roars Back to Theaters

The Original Lion King Roars Back to Theaters

The Original Lion King Roars Back to Theaters

The Original Lion King Roars Back to Theaters, bringing with it a wave of nostalgia and excitement. This iconic show, which has captivated audiences for decades, is set to return to the very stage where it all began. The Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis will once again host the epic battle between Simba and Scar, a showdown that has thrilled millions worldwide.

Since its debut in the summer of 1997, “The Lion King” has become a theatrical phenomenon. Directed by the visionary Julie Taymor, the show has grossed an astounding $8.2 billion globally. It has been witnessed by over 112 million people, a number that surpasses the combined populations of several countries. The show’s success is a testament to its unique blend of art and commerce, a combination that has set it apart in the world of theater.

Peter Moore, a Twin Cities director and actor, played a crucial role in the show’s early days. As the stunt coordinator, Moore ensured that the fight scenes were both safe and spectacular. Reflecting on the show’s journey, Moore expressed his amazement at its enduring appeal. “We knew it was something special, but we didn’t know just how special,” he said. “It’s the best combination of art and commerce that I’ve ever seen.”

The return of “The Lion King” to Minneapolis is a momentous occasion for those who were involved in its inception. Retired theater executive Fred Krohn, Tony-winning choreographer Garth Fagan, and Tony-nominated orchestrator Robert Elhai all have fond memories of their work on the show. Each of them played a vital role in bringing Taymor’s vision to life, contributing to the show’s lasting legacy.

Krohn, who was instrumental in bringing the show to Minneapolis, recounted the efforts he made to secure the premiere. He made significant changes to stagehand contracts and offered a free rehearsal period at the Orpheum. Krohn and his team even underwent training at Disney University to ensure they provided the best possible experience for ticket-buyers. Their hard work paid off, and the show premiered to great acclaim.

Moore’s involvement came through his work at the Guthrie Theater, where he had been choreographing fight scenes. When Disney needed someone for “The Lion King,” the Guthrie recommended him. Elhai, on the other hand, had been working on movies with Julie Taymor’s partner, Elliot Goldenthal. When Taymor signed on with Disney, Elhai stepped in to represent Goldenthal’s aesthetic, bringing his unique musical vision to the show.

Fagan’s journey to “The Lion King” began when Taymor saw his work at the Joyce Theater. She was impressed by the isolation and detail of his movements, which she felt would be perfect for the show’s unique costumes and characters. Fagan and Taymor quickly became artistic soulmates, working together to use movement to tell the story of the environment and the spirit of the characters.

The rehearsal process for “The Lion King” was not without its challenges. Both Krohn and Elhai recalled Taymor’s remarkable bravery when she had to undergo emergency medical care during the 10-week rehearsal period. Despite her surgery, Taymor returned to work almost immediately, directing rehearsals from a Lay-Z-Boy recliner set up in the front seats. Her dedication and resilience were a source of inspiration for the entire team.

Fagan also faced challenges with the dancers, some of whom struggled with the unique movements required for the show. However, with perseverance and guidance, they were able to master the choreography, contributing to the show’s stunning visual and emotional impact.

As “The Lion King” returns to the Orpheum Theatre, it brings with it a sense of homecoming. The show has come full circle, returning to the stage where it first roared to life. For those who were there at the beginning, it is a chance to relive the magic and see how far the show has come. For new audiences, it is an opportunity to experience a piece of theatrical history, a show that has touched hearts and minds around the world.

The Original Lion King Roars Back to Theaters, reminding us all of the power of storytelling and the enduring appeal of this beloved tale. As Simba and Scar face off once more, audiences will be transported to the Pride Lands, where the circle of life continues to inspire and enchant.

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