Fun facts about the ‘Lion King’ stage production
08/31/2012 5:00 AM
09/01/2012 4:24 PM
Puppets• Director and designer Julie Taymor, along with designer Michael Curry, hand-sculpted and painted every prototype mask that now appears in the “Circle of Life” opening of the show.
• Their department of mask-makers, sculptors, puppeteers and artisans spent 17,000 hours to build the anthropomorphic animal characters for the original Broadway production.
• Mufasa’s mask weighs 11 ounces. Scar’s mask weighs 7 ounces, and Sarabi’s mask is 4 ounces.
• The masks, along with many others used in the show, are extremely lightweight (just under 1 pound) and are made of silicone rubber (to form the mask imprint) with carbon fiber overlay, the same durable material used to build airplanes.
• More than 750 pounds of silicone rubber were used to make the masks.
• The tallest animals in the show are the four 18-foot exotic giraffes from “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King.” The two giraffes in “Circle of Life” are 14 feet high. Two actors, trained in stilt-walking, climb 6-foot ladders to fit inside the puppets, mount stilts and enter stage left to cross the stage.
• The elephant is the largest and longest animal in the show. At 13 feet long and 9 feet wide, the puppet requires four actors to carefully walk her down the orchestra aisle. The puppet can collapse for storage.
• The smallest animal is the 5-inch trick mouse at the end of Scar’s cane.
• The Timon meerkat puppet weighs 15 pounds.
Costumes• Pumbaa the Warthog is the heaviest costume at 45 pounds.
• The yearly maintenance of the 20 Grasslands headdresses requires more than 3,000 stalks of grass.
• Each ensemble member plays a hyena and a Grassland head.
By the numbers• Puppets: 200
• Ants on the Ant-Hill Lady costume: 100
• Wigs: 45
• Types of animals, birds, fish and insects represented in the show: 25
• Indigenous African languages spoken in the show: six (Swahili, Zulu, Xhosa, Sotho, Tswana and Congolese)
• On tour, there are 134 people involved with the show’s daily production. Among them:
19 wardrobe staff
Five hair/makeup artists
Four props people
Four stage managers
Three puppet craftspeople
Three sound people
Two creative associates
Two company managers
Two merchandise associates
One child guardian
One physical therapist
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