Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Five Things You Didn't Know About London's the Lion King

Since its debut 10 years ago, The Lion King musical has charmed countless London theatregoers and made an indelible mark on the theatre scene. Whether you've had the pleasure of enjoying it or not, there's no escaping its enduring popularity. Featuring a compelling story, delightful musical numbers, attractive costumes and a sprawling cast, it should be at the top of the list of anyone visiting London. Below, we highlight five little-known -- but fascinating -- facts about the production.

  • Twenty-five different species of animals are represented in The Lion King. In addition to animals, this number includes fish, insects and birds. 232 different puppets are used to fill out this amazing array of creatures; full sized puppets, rod puppets and shadow puppets are all employed to breathe life into these characters, making the set teem with wildlife and lending it an unforgettable aura. You'll feel as if you've been transported to the African wild.

  • The puppets and masks used in the musical are incredibly intricate and represent thousands of hours of hard work. In fact, more than 37,000 hours in total were needed to craft these delightful costumes and creatures. The evidence supporting this detailed work is clear as soon as the curtain rises - there's no mistaking that a lot of work went into those puppets and masks.

  • It's little wonder that Lion King tickets have been such hot sellers since 1999, especially when you consider the intriguing statistics behind many of the animals portrayed in production. Snap up some last minute theatre tickets to take in the impossibly tall -- 20ft! -- giraffes featured during "I Just Can't Wait To Be King." Order your Lion King tickets early to make sure you witness the four-and-a-half metre long elephant; this incredible beast is also three metres wide, but collapses down to just 86 centimeters when it needs to pass down the narrow aisle at the Lyceum Theatre.

  • When booking last minute theatre tickets to enjoy The Lion King, keep a few of these interesting statistics in mind: 340 kilograms of rubber were used to create the many masks used during the show; 27 kilograms of grass were used to craft the Grasslands headdresses; and 106 ants are featured during the number "Ant Hill Lady." Buying Lion King tickets means enjoying all of this -- and much more!

  • Many people contribute to making The Lion King such a success. Over 1,700 people are employed worldwide thanks to the show. When procuring your last minute theatre tickets to the production, remember that 114 people have worked to prepare for the performance you are about to enjoy -- each and every time the show goes on!

Roo Sadegi is a freelance writer based in London's East End and a regular antendee at West End theatres


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