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Simba almost headed to Las Vegas in the Broadway version of THE LION KING.
In a recent interview about the show, Julie Taymor revealed that she originally had no intention of sticking with the Disney ending to the show. In her vision, Simba made a few different choices.
"In my original idea... [Simba] doesn't go back at all. That never happened," the Tony Award-winning THE LION KING director said to a crowd at the Nantucket project. "He goes to the desert. And in the desert, he comes out of the jungle... And he sees Vegas." The audience, not surprisingly, errupted in laughter at that moment, but Taymor was insistant, "No, seriously!"
She elaborated, saying that she had plans to bring in a new villain named Papa Croc who had a bargain with the original THE LION KING villain, Scar, to buy all the water in the Pride Lands. This was to be funneled out to create Las Vegas- a desert oasis staged to play off the real-life Papa Croc's Pussycat Lounge.
But how does Simba handle Papa Croc? He gives in. "And here comes Simba the wild beast from the jungle, and he falls for Papa Croc because he doesn't have a father," Taymor explains. And then she revealed possibly the craziest twist of all: Simba ends up in a Coliseum fighting against other animals gladiator-style.
Perhaps you can imagine how Disney Theatricals might have responded to a pitch for a Disney show that ended in a gladiator pit in Vegas. Needless to say, Taymor reverted back to the film's ending.
"It was the right thing that happened in this collaboration," Taymor says, "Which is he knew we don't need to go that far, but I figured out how to do the animal and the human."
Nevertheless, Taymor still has that idea in her back pocket, "I still think it would be fun to make."
In its 18th year, The Lion King remains ascendant as one of the most popular stage musicals in the world. Since its Broadway premiere on November 13, 1997, 22 global productions have been seen by more than 80 million people and, cumulatively, run a staggering 112 years. Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction ofThomas Schumacher), The Lion King is only the second show in history to generate five productions worldwide running 10 or more years. Translated into seven different languages (Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese), productions of The Lion King can currently be seen on Broadway; London's West End; Hamburg; Tokyo; Madrid; Melbourne, Australia; Basel, Switzerland; Mexico City; and on tour across North America and Japan, for a total of ten productions running concurrently across the globe. Having played 20 countries on every continent except Antarctica, The Lion King's worldwide gross exceeds that of any film, Broadway show or other entertainment title in box office history.
THE LION KING won six 1998 Tony Awards: Best Musical, Best Scenic Design (Richard Hudson), Best Costume Design (Julie Taymor), Best Lighting Design (Donald Holder), Best Choreography (Garth Fagan) and Best Direction of a Musical. The Lion King has also earned more than 70 major arts awards including the 1998 NY Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, the 1999 Grammy for Best Musical Show Album, the 1999 Evening Standard Award for Theatrical Event of the Year and the 1999 Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Choreography and Best Costume Design.
The show's director, costume designer and mask co-designer Julie Taymor continues to play an integral part in the show's ongoing success. The first woman to win a Tony Award for Direction of a Musical, Taymor has in recent years supervised new productions of the show around the world.
The Broadway score features Elton John and Tim Rice's music from The Lion King animated film along with three new songs by John and Rice; additional musical material by South African Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymor and Hans Zimmer; and music from "Rhythm of the Pride Lands," an album inspired by the original music in the film, written by Lebo M, Mark Mancina and Hans Zimmer. The resulting sound of The Lion King is a fusion of Western popular music and the distinctive sounds and rhythms of Africa, ranging from the Academy Award-winning song "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" to the haunting ballad "Shadowland."
The book has been adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed The Lion King animated feature, and Irene Mecchi, who co-wrote the film's screenplay. Other members of the creative team include: Michael Curry, who designed the masks and puppets with Taymor, Steve Canyon Kennedy (sound design), Michael Ward (hair and makeup design), John Stefaniuk (associate director), Marey Griffith (associate choreographer), Clement Ishmael (music supervisor) and Doc Zorthian (production supervisor). Anne Quart serves as associate producer.
Photo Credit: Joan Marcus
Article reprinted with permission from www.BroadwayWorld.com
68 reviews, average rating: (4.8 Stars)
Lion King is my favorite Disney movie, and I didn't think it could get any ... more
The Lion King, How should I put this? It's more, understandable than the mo... more
We love this show!it rocks better than the one at Walt Disney World.this ... more
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