Remembering the characters of Lion King through the musical
The Lion King is one of Disney’s most celebrated works. It hit the Broadway stage in 1997, three years after the movie’s debut. Among Broadway shows, Lion King is currently the third longest-running show of all time, ranking behind The Phantom of the Opera and Chicago.
As the production turns twenty this year, get to know some of the characters of Lion King that bring the musical to life:
Mufasa. Starting off this nostalgic list is the wise King of the Pride Lands himself. He is one of the first characters shown in the musical. Despite not getting a happy ending, his spirit still lives on through his son, Simba.
Simba. As a cub, the ever-curious Lion King protagonist “just couldn’t wait to be king.” However, his father’s untimely and tragic death changed him. With a little help from a few friends, Mufasa’s heir grows up from being a cub “with no worries” to a mature lion, ready to embrace his birthright.
Scar. Mufasa’s evil sibling sets his sights on becoming the king of Pride Lands. With Simba seemingly out of the picture after Mufasa’s death, he turns the Pride Lands from a paradise to a nightmare. Little does he know that Simba will be the problem he has to face in his reign as ruler of the Pride Lands.
Timon. The meerkat, whom Simba befriends, is one-half of the duo instilling the “Hakuna Matata” mind-set onto the then-young cub’s mind. His jealousy shows when Simba and Nala. Simba’s childhood friend and sweetheart, reunite. However, he sets his feelings aside when he helps Simba take the Pride Lands back from Scar.
Pumbaa. The other half of the “Hakuna Matata” duo who helps Simba adjust into their lifestyle. Don’t be fooled by his easy-going nature, for the warthog is always ready to charge into battle if necessary. Along with Timon and Nala, he participates in the liberation of the Pride Lands from Scar’s regime.
Nala. The no-nonsense lioness is Simba’s childhood friend and eventual wife. She tries to persuade him to go back home to the Pride Lands and end Scar’s rule once and for all.
Rafiki. The baboon and one of Mufasa’s closest confidants is first seen holding the young Simba on Pride Rock as he was presented to the people of the Pride Lands. Rafiki helps Simba remember his birthright, convincing him to face Scar and take back his home. Fun fact: Although the movie presents the baboon as a male, the musical changed the character into a strong female figure.
Disney’s Lion King musical is lauded by both fans and critics alike. As a New York Times review puts it, “There is simply nothing else like it.” Go see it now while it’s still running!
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Dowing, Margaret. 2012. “Buyi Zama Plays Rafiki, a Wise, Female Baboon in The Lion King.” Houston Press, June 18. Accessed August 11, 2017. http://www.houstonpress.com/arts/buyi-zama-plays-rafiki-a-wise-female-baboon-in-the-lion-king-6394805.
The Lion King. n.d. “About.” Accessed August 11, 2017. http://www.lionking.com/about.
Playbill. n.d. “Longest Running Shows on Broadway.” Accessed August 11, 2017. http://www.playbill.com/celebritybuzz/article/75222-long-runs-on-broadway.
StageAgent. n.d. “The Lion King.” Accessed August 11, 2017. http://stageagent.com/shows/musical/1581/the-lion-king.