THE LION KING London: 20th anniversary


I’ll never forget that feeling of
seeing that sunrise for the first time The tears just rolled down my face I still feel that way now. It’s like it was yesterday. There was such incredible
heat in London around the show just
having opened in New York. The word of mouth was so amazing
that the hype for London in 1999 was quite incredible. In the initial audition process the excitement
just overtook the whole creative team. It was a fantastic summer. There was music coming from upstairs,
Julie was working with the actors, the puppets were being painted
in the courtyard. I knew of Julie’s magic,
her superb imagination and if we had a problem,
she came up with ten ways to fix it. We thought that we were actually creating
something amazing. Coming into the actual rehearsal
process I thought “this is a machine!” Every detail was pinpoint and precise. Every night I stand at the side
of the stage and I watch ‘Circle of Life’ and I’m just filled with joy. When I was doing the show
my father passed and we literally just opened. And I had this moment in the piece where
I would look to the sky and say “Look to the stars. The Great Kings of the Past
look down on us.” For me it was the reminder,
every night for like two years of my Dad. The Lion King has had an
extraordinary effect on the West End It’s extraordinary that
millions of people in London have experienced Lion King
as their first live theatre experience. The child who sees
The Lion King at nine years old is going to see Lion King
completely different when they come back at twenty. The show grows with you
as you grow with the show. It kind of brings a cultural
richness to the West End. Basically just include
a group of people that weren’t really given a
calibre of roles prior to it. I think it just led the way for all the
other shows that give roles to all our Black, Mixed Race,
Asian perfomers. There’s something about
The Lion King that really moves you, stirs something up inside. It’s a timeless story of redemption, of loss, of love It’s the journey of life It’s revolutionary. It transcends culture. It speaks across
countries, religions, theatricalities. We come across people
who would come and say “It’s like you were talking
to me in that stage” because it is a journey that everyone
they do come across in their lives. The hero is wounded, he’s hurt but what he finds is the strength
to return. It encourages us all
to see the good in people. In times like we live now,
shows like this remind us that there are bigger things than us. Happy 20th birthday The Lion King Happy 20th birthday Happy birthday to The Lion King Long live the King! [in Zulu] Congratulations to The Lion King
for the 20th anniversary!

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