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Life / Entertainment / Theatre / Lion King
Guide to the musical "The Lion King"
  Main characters
  Story outline
  Tim Rice
  Further information


This page is a brief guide to the musical "The Lion King".

The Lion King was originally a Disney cartoon film, released in 1994, then made into this musical. The music is by Elton John, with words by Tim Rice (both are British). The musical opened on Broadway in November 1997 and in London in October 1999. Highlights of the show include:
* the way that animals and plants are brought to life using puppets and lighting.
* the songs, which include more African influences than in the film.
* a simple but enjoyable story, which will appeal to people of all ages

Photography by Catherine Ashmore. Original London cast. (c) Disney
Human puppets cleverly represent the African wildlife
(c) Disney
Lion King poster

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The Lion King is being staged at the Lyceum Theatre, Wellington Street, London WC2E 7RQ (Tube: Covent Garden/Temple).

View Lyceum Theatre in a larger map

Performances start times are as follows (the theatre opens 45 minutes earlier):


The performance lasts about 2 hours 45 minutes (including a 20 minute interval).

To book a ticket to see The Lion King click on one of these links:
Encore Tickets

Click here to see the seating plan for this theatre.

A limited number of seats and cheap standing room places are released each day at noon for that day's performance (a maximum of two tickets may be purchased in person only, at the theatre's box office).

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Mufasa: the leader (king) of a pride (group) of lions
Sarabi: a lioness, Mufasa's partner
Simba: the male cub (baby lion) of Mufasa and Sarabi
Scar: a lion, Mufasa's brother
Nala: a female cub, Simba's friend
Rafiki: a mandrill (a type of baboon/monkey) who is a wise and has mystical powers
Zazu: a hornbill (colourful type of bird) who provides advice to Mufasa
Hyenas: spotted hyenas (dog-like mammals) who often eat the remains of animals killed by lions
Timon: a meerkat (a small cat-like mammal) who is very lively and talks a lot
Pumbaa: a warthog (wild African pig) who smells bad and isn't very bright

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Photography by Catherine Ashmore. Original London cast. (c) Disney
Simba and Nala
Photography by Catherine Ashmore. Original London cast. (c) Disney
A herd of gazelles and Rafiki

Mufasa is the king of a pride of lions in a savanna (flat land covered in grass) somewhere in Africa. He gives birth to a cub called Simba, who has to learn how to act like a future king of the pride.

Scar (Mufasa's brother) wants to kill Mufasa and Simba so he can become king instead. He leads Simba to a place called the Elephants' Graveyard, hoping he will be eaten by the hyenas there. He then leads Simba into the path of stampeding wildebeest (large African antelopes). Simba feels responsible for his father's death and leaves Pride Rock. He makes friends with Timon and Pumbaa, who teach him how to survive.

Scar and the hyenas rule Pride Rock, but they overhunt and cause a food shortage. Scar tries to force Nala (Simba's friend) to become his mate, causing her to run away. Nala meets Simba by accident and they fall in love. Simba returns to Pride Rock to take his place as the Lion King.

The Lion King Special Edition [1994] (DVD)
(the animated film)
Composer: Andrew Lloyd-Webber
Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Date: October 2003

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The songs during the musical are as follows:
1. Circle of Life ; 2. Grasslands Chant ; 3. The Morning Report ; 4. The Lioness Hunt ; 5. I Just Can't Wait to be King ; 6. Chow Down ; 7. They Live in You ;
8. Be Prepared ; 9. The Stampede ; 10. Rafiki Mourns ; 11. Hakuna Matata ; 12. One by One ; 13. The Madness of King Scar ; 14. Shadowland ; 15. The Lion Sleeps Tonight ; 16. Endless Night ; 17. Can You Feel the Love Tonight ; 18. He Lives in You (reprise) ; 19. Simba Confronts Scar ; 20. King of Pride Rock/Circle of Live (reprise)

The film version of the song "Can you feel the love tonight" was a hit single for Elton John.

The Lion King [Soundtrack] (CD)
(the music from the musical version)
Artists: Original Broadway Cast Recording
Label: Warner
Date: January 2002
The Lion King [Special Edition] [Soundtrack] (CD)
(the music from the film version)
Artists: Elton John & others
Label: Disney
Date: February 2006

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Sir Tim Rice is a British writer of song lyrics. He wrote words to Andrew Lloyd-Webber's music for the musicals Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita. He collaborated with Abba's Benny and Bjorn to create the musical Chess. He worked for Disney to write lyrics for the films Aladdin and Aida.

Tim Rice Collection (CD)
Artists: Various
Label: Imports
Jesus Christ Superstar [Soundtrack] (CD)
Artists: 1996 London Cast Recording
Label: Really Useful
Date: March 2000
Aladdin [Soundtrack] (CD)
Artists: Original Soundtrack
Label: Disney
Date: February 2006
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat [Soundtrack] (CD)
Artists: Original Cast Recording (Jason Donovan)
Label: Polydor
Date: October 1991

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Several of the names are Swahili words (the most common language in Africa). Simba means "lion", Nala is "gift", Pumbaa means "foolish/careless/slow-witted". The song title "Hakuna matata" means "no worries".

If English is not your first language you may want to read the lyrics of the songs before you see the show. These can be found at this website address:

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If you are not a native English speaker you may not understand all of the jokes and the words of the songs, but you should be able to follow the story and enjoy the music, dancing and costumes/puppets.
Age: Suitable for people of all ages, including children (children should be over 4 years old and be able to sit quietly; the matinee performances may be more suitable for young children, as the evening performances last until after 10pm). This production is just as enjoyable for adults, so don't make the mistake of thinking that you are too old to see it.
Warnings: A few scenes might frighten some young children. Strobe lighting is used.
Music: There are songs throughout most of the performance: a mixture of light pop melodies and African-influenced rhythms and chants.

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Official website for the musical:
Tim Rice's website:

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British theatre: Life/Entertainment/Theatre
West End Live: Ideas/Album/West-End-Live

If you like Lion King you may also be interested in these UK musicals:
Wicked: Life/Entertainment/Theatre/Wicked
Phantom of the Opera: Life/Entertainment/Theatre/Phantom-Of-The-Opera

British music: Britain/Music
Events in the UK: Ideas/Events

Home page: Home

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