Why We Love The Lion King Broadway Musical

Credit: D23

There is a reason why The Lion King musical, has been collecting Tony Awards with fervor since first gracing the Broadway stage in 1997. Music, costuming, passion of the actors, and an epic storyline merge to create a live-action stage experience that is unmatched. The Lion King musical is currently in residence on Broadway in New York City’s Minskoff Theatre. However, this Broadway show has been amazing Guests in Times Square with stunning visuals and goosebump-inducing music under the direction of show director Julie Taymor, for years.


Credit: Katie Chapman

The Lion King musical is also currently touring North America. This article shares some of the reasons why we love The Lion King Broadway musical. Who knows, perhaps you’ll be inspired to search for show tickets near you, after learning more about this Disney musical experience.


Credit: Disney

Do you remember how incredible the opening scene of The Lion King was the first time you saw it in 1994? Sunrise breaks on the African savanna as stunning animals make their way across the pride land with the rising sun as their backdrop? What a beautiful scene. All the animals in the circle of life on their way to meet the new lion cub. The sunrise Circle of Life scene has always been a powerful Disney movie moment for movie fans and Disney nerds alike.

Now, imagine living in the savanna scene with strong wildebeests, snow-white cranes, elegant giraffes, mighty elephants, and a plethora of other savanna animals walking past you on their way to Pride Rock to honor the future king, all inside the Minskoff Theatre on 45th Street! This up close and personal opening number is solidly situated as an iconic Broadway moment for theatergoers. Be sure to get to your seats early, you do not want to miss the opening number.

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Excellent Casting


Credit: Katie Chapman

One of the most amazing parts of live theater is watching an actor or actress transform seamlessly into their role. To watch performers temporarily transport an entire theater of people away from their lives and into the story on the stage is an incredible experience.

As with all things, Disney does Broadway casting on an expert level. They continually exceed Guest expectations by casting excellent actors that encompass the film likenesses of King Mufasa, Nala, Timon, Pumbaa, Simba, Sarabi, Scar, and other key roles. Not to mention, the vocal talents of The Lion King cast are truly out of this world.

Incredible Costumes


Credit: D23

I would even recommend The Lion King musical to non-Disney theatergoers in New York City, because of the incredible costumes and stunning visuals in the show. When I say that The Lion King was truly the first in a line of Disney Broadway shows that amaze Guests with innovative costumes, I am telling the truth. The way the actors become the animals is jaw-dropping. From the graceful cheetah to the adorable baby elephant to the intensity with which we watch the lionesses of Pride Rock hunt, the costumes really tell the story.

Prior to seeing this show, I would have never understood how costuming merges with a story to bring viewers in and immerse them in the show. However, watching the intense scenes, funny scenes and emotional moments in The Lion King musical drive home just how much top-notch costuming brings viewers into the show. I mean, come on, the crying lionesses around King Mufasa’s dead body after Scar kills him? It does not get much more emotional and real than the tears spilling from the lioness’s eyes. This costuming detail makes a big impact on stage and stands out as a memorable detail to Guests.

Related: John Stamos and son Billy wear matching suits, take in Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ on Broadway

New songs


Credit: Disney

An incredible musical score written by Sir Elton John was a huge part of why The Lion King movie was such a success. From the “Circle of Life”, to “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”, to “Be Prepared”, the music in The Lion King evokes so much emotion that you can’t help but become invested in the storyline and sing along. The Lion King is definitely one of the Disney films where the music is so incredible that it can stand alone. Think about how many people bought the movie soundtrack and are still downloading songs from the 1994 film playlist, today.

So, it comes as no surprise that in this Broadway musical, the music is one of the top reasons we love the show. Disney theatrical productions always boast beautiful songs and awesome actors, but the talent of the performers in The Lion King is beyond words. Seeing our favorite songs in the film unfold live on stage in a new setting is fun, but we are equally amped about the songs that were added to the musical that were not included in the original film.

The Lion King has situated itself as a well-loved Broadway show, collecting six Tony Awards including Best Musical in part thanks to the impactful musical score.

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Girl Power

Can a whole group of characters count as a reason you must see this show? I say, yes! Especially in the case of the ferocious females in The Lion King. The lionesses are stunning and really help bring the show home. From the hunting scene in the pride land at the start of the show, we see the precision, grace, attitude, and intensity with which these big cats move.


Credit: D23

Watching Queen Sarabi, Nala’s mother, Sarafina, and the rest of the group move as one to care for the pride, by hunting, is entrancing. Show choreographer Garth Fagan made real magic on stage when he wrote “The Lioness Hunt”.

Watching lion cub Nala toddle behind the group imitating the grown-ups technique is adorable, but also provides a glimpse of the fierce lioness she will grow into. From the hunting scene at the start of the show to the mourning dance around King Mufasa’s body, the lionesses of Pride Rock kick this Broadway musical up a notch!

Laughs with Timon and Pumbaa

We’d be remiss not to mention the humor of that beloved meerkat and our favorite warthog. That’s right, Timon and Pumbaa keep us in stitches laughing during the Broadway musical The Lion King, just like they do in the movie. The costuming of these two characters is adorable, and we can’t help but love these two jungle animals even more now, than when we first met them onscreen in 1994.

From stargazing with Simba to running shrieking from Nala when she happens upon Simba, Timon and Pumbaa are there supporting their friend Simba at every turn. Even if it means serving as a distraction to a pack of hungry hyenas when the group plots to retake Pride Rock. Oh well, Hakuna Matata!

Related: Timon and Pumbaa’s “Slimy Yet Satisfying” Ice Cream Parfaits

About Katie Chapman

Hey There! I am a Georgia native with a passion for writing, traveling, cooking, decorating, pugs and of course all things Disney. Growing up in South Georgia just a few hours from Walt Disney World made for a magical childhood. Some of my best memories were made on Main Street U.S.A. with my sister watching SpectroMagic nighttime parade or beside my grandparents, parents and extended family at Chef Mickey’s celebrating on a family vacation. Epcot was my favorite park from a young age and I credit it with my interest in and love for international travel. As a kid I loved meeting characters and watching films around World Showcase and could spend hours exploring each of the countries in Epcot. These days, my husband and I get away to explore a new country whenever we can and even incorporate trips to The Disney Store and Disney Parks around the world in our travels. One of our travel goals is to visit every Disney Park in the world. I love writing about Disney restaurants, park tips, Disney outfit inspiration and Disney history. Pocahontas is my favorite Disney Princess (90s kid here!) but Mr. Toad is my spirit animal. When I’m not at Disney I’m reading about park history, watching Disney documentaries and shopping vintage Disney merch for park outfits. I never pass up a reservation to Ohana, an empty seat on Living with the Land or a Violet Sake.