Critical Analysis of what makes The Lion King a successful musical

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The Lion King musical is a well-known musical that has taken the stages of Broadway, West End and the rest of the world by storm (The Lion King, 1997). Regarding the process of the musical, Artistic Director Julie Taymor’s first thoughts for choosing the Lion King as the next big thing on stage, was classed as ‘impossible’ due to the film’s lack of theatrical material (The Lion King, 1997). Therefore, staging this particular work contained a great deal of uncertainty and the need for taking huge risks. Taymor (1997) suggests how ‘the Lion King was the worst idea possible to create a stage show.’ It has become evident that a number of significant barriers had to be overcome to secure the practicality of the production. In view of this controversy, this dissertation will critically analyse the success of the Lion King by exploring two significant aspects that have helped to make the musical a success. Firstly, the essential components that make up this theatrical production will be explored and secondly, the roles of each producer within the Lion King and their combined and individual influences they have had from the production will be evaluated. By analysing these two central themes, this paper will show how and why this musical has developed and achieved its phenomenal success.

The components can be broken down into the following: dance and movement, character portrayal, masks/puppetry, music, costume design and idealistic process. Each component will be analysed in detail in an attempt to portray how this effectiveness has added to the overall musical vision.

Chapter 1

Through dance and movement, the storyline were expanded with the assistance of choreographer, Garth Fagan. A well-renowned choreographer...

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...downfalls. Fagan in his own hope want the audience to look at dance without going through boredom or thinking dance as a medicine (Bramley 24:1997). The musical has allowed this particular component to make differences to such challenges from one dance to the next. This was possible due to Fagan’s approach to choreography that are different compared to another choreography that was designed to other Disney films turned musicals i.e. Beauty and the Beast and Little Mermaid. These two notable musicals have taken the stages of Broadway by storm. However, there is an ingredient missing to those shows that Taymor was able to capture from beginning to end with the Lion King. It was a risky challenge that Fagan radically took out of the negative into the positive with the use of vocabulary to approach the use of dance and movement as part of a highly successful musical.

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