THE ROARING “KING” OF BROADWAY

March 13, 2019 at 5:00 am

After 21 years of standing ovations, “The Lion King” still rules the Great White Way!

For more information on “The Lion King,” click here. 

Aired on March 12, 2019. 

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>>> THOSE WELL-KNOWN OPENING
NOTES OF "THE LION KING" ARE
STILL ROARING ON STAGE AFTER 21
LANDMARK YEARS ON BROADWAY.
SINCE ITS PREMIERE IN NOVEMBER
OF 1997, "THE LION KING"
CONTINUES ITS REIN AS ONE OF THE
MOST POPULAR STAGE MUSICALS IN
THE WORLD, HAVING BEEN SEEN BY
MORE THAN 95 MILLION PEOPLE,
ALSO WINNING AMONG MANY OTHERS
SIX 1998 TONY AWARDS, INCLUDING
BEST MUSICAL.
HERE'S A LOOK --
§
WE'RE DELIGHTED TO HAVE JOINING
US, LINDSEY WHO HAS BEEN WITH
"THE LION KING" FOR THE ENTIRE
RUN, AND L. STEVEN TAYLOR WHO
PLAYS FMUFASA, THE LION KING.
THERE'S SO MUCH TO TALK ABOUT.
LET ME START WITH YOU.
WHEN YOU FIRST BECAME INVOLVED
WITH THIS INTERESTING PROJECT,
"THE LION KING," DID YOU HAVE
ANY INCLINATION AT ALL AT HOW
ENORMOUSLY SUCCESS IT WAS GOING
TO BE?
>> NO.
IN THE BEGINNING, NO.
WHEN YOU START TRYING ON
DIFFERENT COSTUMES, TRYING TO
FIGURE OUT WHAT IS IT GOING TO
BE.
YOU'RE PUTTING ALL THESE HYENA
COSTUMES, LEARNING HOW TO WALK,
YOU KNOW, AND HOW TO MOVE WITH
PUPPETS.
SO IT WAS REALLY LIKE AS SOON A
WE STARTED COMING DOWN THE AISLE
THE AUDIENCE.
IT WAS LIKE AN OUT-OF-BODY
EXPERIENCE.
SOMETIMES THEY WANT TO TOUCH
YOU.
>> SOME PEOPLE ARE CRYING --
>> I REMEMBER SEEING IT WITH MY
CHILDREN.
AT THE TIME I THINK THEY WERE
ABOUT 14 AND 10.
AND SITTING ON THE AISLES.
I WAS FASCINATED BY THE FACT
THAT NOT ONLY WERE THE YOUNG
CHILDREN REACHING FOR YOU, THE
ADULTS --
>> THE ADULTS, YEAH.
>> WERE REACHING OUT.
>> SOMETHING TO SEE.
LIKE PEOPLE IN TEARS, LIKE GROWN
PEOPLE OVERWHELMED AND CRYING
AND LAUGHING AND, YOU KNOW,
EVERYTHING, THE EMOTIONS THAT
ARE, YOU KNOW, WITHIN THEM.
>> STEVEN FOR YOU, WE TALK ABOUT
AN ICONIC PRODUCTION, AND YOU
COME IN AND TAKE OVER AN ICONIC
ROLE.
>> YEAH.
>> THE LION KING.
>> YEAH.
>> AS AN ACTOR, AS A PERFORMER,
I GUESS A BETTER QUESTION IS HOW
DAUNTING WAS THAT FOR YOU?
>> OH, MAN.
IT'S VERY DAUNTING.
WHEN I CAME INTO THE SHOW, I
WAS, YOU KNOW, I WAS PRETTY
YOUNG.
SO I ALWAYS KIND OF FELT LIKE --
I WAS AN UNDERSTUDY IN THE ROLE
AT THE TIME.
I FELT LIKE A KID PLAYING IN
DADDY'S SHOES.
PUTTING ON DADDY'S CLOTHES.
IT WASN'T UNTIL I STOPPED TRYING
TO EMULATE WHAT JAMES EARL JONES
DID AND WHAT SAM WRIGHT DID WITH
THE PART AND KIND OF RELATE THE
ROLE BACK TO MY OWN LIFE --
>> LET'S MAKE IT STEVEN TYLER'S
--
>> LIKE WHO IS HE?
YOU KNOW, HE'S AT THE VERY HEART
HE'S A FATHER.
SO AM I.
WHEN I MADE THAT KIND OF THE
CENTRAL FOCUS OF HOW TIS W-- OF
HOW I WAS GOING TO PORTRAY IT
BECAME LESS DAUNTING.
I KNOW PEOPLE ARE COMING WITH
THE EXPECTATION OF THE ROLE, AND
I TRIED TO LIVE UP TO THAT.
>> IT'S A MARVELOUSLY PHYSICAL
PERFORMANCE.
YOU TALK ABOUT COMING DOWN THE
AISLE.
THE HEADGEAR THAT YOU'RE WEARING
-- YOU'VE GOT TO DANCE AND
SPRING AND DO ALL THE THINGS
THAT YOU DO.
DID THAT TAKE GETTING USED TO?
>> YEAH, IT DID.
YOU LEARN, ONE, IT'S NOT AS
HEAVY AS IT LOOKS.
IT'S MADE TO LOOK LIKE A BIG
PIECE OF OAK.
>> RIGHT.
>> LIKE AS MUFASA IS.
HE'S THIS -- WHAT JULIE TAYMORE
DID WITH THE PUPPETS AND MASK,
SHE WAS ABLE TO BRING TO WESTERN
CULTURE WHAT MOST COUNTRIES AND
MOST OTHER CULTURES ALREADY DO.
THEY USE MASKS AND PUPPETS IN
THEIR STORYTELLING ALREADY.
AND SO SHE WAS ABLE TO TEACH US
HOW TO USE THESE PUPPETS AND
THESE MASKS TO TELL THE STORY.
>> YOU'RE FROM SOUTH AFRICA.
>> UH-HUH.
>> AND I'VE SEEN WHERE YOU HAD
TALKED ABOUT -- SOME OF THE
STYLING, THE MUSICAL STYLING.
IT'S SOMETHING THAT YOU WERE
FAMILIAR WITH.
JUST AS A CHILD.
>> YES.
YEAH.
>> IN WHAT WAY?
>> WE GROW UP SINGING IN
CHURCHES.
WE GROW UP SINGING IN SCHOOLS.
BUT WE DIDN'T GROW UP SINGING IN
THEATERS, YOU KNOW.
SO ALREADY EVEN WHEN -- DURING
THE STRUGGLE WE USED TO JUST
SING, YOU KNOW.
IT'S -- SOUTH AFRICA IS KNOWN
FOR OUR VOCALS.
>> WHEN YOU LOOK AT SOME OF THE
APARTHEID STRUGGLES, YOU SEE THE
SINGING --
>> IT'S SINGING --
>> SIMILAR TO THE CIVIL RIGHTS
MOVEMENT IN THE UNITED STATES.
>> YES.
>> AND HOW MUSIC WAS SUCH A
SIGNIFICANT PART --
>> VERY, YES.
SO "LION KING," I REMEMBER WHEN
THEY FIRST SAID, OH, YOU GOT IT,
YOU'RE GOING TO PERFORM.
I WAS SO EXCITED BECAUSE I'M NOW
GOING TO SING SOUTH AFRICAN
MUSIC.
IT'S PART OF ME.
WHEN YOU SEE "THE LION KING,"
YOU HAVE SIX OR EIGHT SOUTH
AFRICANS IN THE SHOW.
I HAD THAT -- I HAVE THESE
PEOPLE I CAN SHARE WITH THEY ARE
FROM SOUTH AFRICA.
AND THEN WE'RE SINGING THE SAME
STYLE OF MUSIC WHICH IS
EXCITING, YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU
START INCLUDING PEOPLE FROM
HERE, AMERICANS.
WHEN THEY START LEARNING AND ASK
QUESTIONS ABOUT OUR CULTURE AND
OUR MUSIC, HOW EVERYTHING
SOUNDS, HOW TO PRONOUNCE WORDS.
SO THAT IT MAKES IT EXCITING.
>> IT CREATES AN AWARENESS OF
OTHERS.
>> OF OTHERS, YES.
>> LAST QUESTION FOR BOTH OF YOU
-- YOU KNOW, EVEN THE MOST
SUCCESSFUL BROADWAY SHOWS
USUALLY HAVE A SHELF LIFE, IF
YOU WILL.
I DON'T MEAN THAT TO BE -- TO
DEMEAN YOU.
THEY LAST FOR A PERIOD, AND THEN
IT'S LIKE THIS IS GREAT, LET'S
MOVE ON.
THIS DOESN'T SEEM AS IF
ANYBODY'S READY FOR IT TO MOVE
ON.
IT SEEMS --
>> NO.
>> -- TRULY TIMELESS IN AN AGE
WHERE WE HAVE SUCH A SHORT
ATTENTION SPAN FOR ANYTHING.
>> YEAH.
>> LET ME ASK YOU EACH -- WHY DO
YOU THINK, WHAT IS IT ABOUT IT
THAT ALLOWS IT TO BE SO
TIMELESS?
>> I THINK BECAUSE THE STORY OF
"THE LION KING," THE SHOW, IT
RELATES TO EVERYBODY, YOU KNOW.
YOU HAVE CELEBRATION OF LIFE.
YOU HAVE, YOU KNOW, DEATH, YOU
KNOW, PEOPLE WHEN THEY'RE GOING
THROUGH SOMETHING, WHEN THEY
COME TO THE SHOW.
SOMETIMES EVEN WHEN YOU LEAVE,
THE AUDIENCE, YOU HEAR THEM TALK
ABOUT HOW IT HAS HELPED THEM.
>> YEAH.
TO ADD ON TO THAT, I WOULD SAY,
I MEAN, THE COOL THING IS THAT
WE HAVE PEOPLE COME BACK AND SEE
THE SHOW MULTIPLE TIMES.
IT'S BECAUSE AT ANY GIVEN POINT
IN YOUR LIFE, LIKE WHEN YOU SEE
THE SHOW AS A CHILD, YOU
PROBABLY RELATE MORE TO THE
CHILDREN WHO ARE IN THE SHOW.
BUT THEN AS YOU'VE HAD SOME MORE
EXPERIENCE, MAYBE YOU COME BACK
AND YOU DO SEE YOURSELF IN SIMBA
OR IN SIMBA OR NALA.
I THINK THE MAIN THING IS "LION
KING" HAS NEVER STOPPED GROWING.
>> YES.
>> AND SO IT --
>> EVEN FOR US, YOU KNOW.
NOT JUST THE AUDIENCE.
IT TOUCHES US, TOO.
IT'S FOR US, TOO.
IT HELPS US.
>> IT'S -- AS I MENTIONED, MY
CHILDREN, 14 AND 10, THEY'RE NOW
36 AND 32.
I TOLD THEM I WAS GOING TO BE
TALKING TO YOU.
THEY SAID, "WE'VE GOT TO SEE
THAT AGAIN."
>> AND NOW HAVE A COMPLETELY
DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE AS ADULTS.
YEAH.
>> YEAH.
>> IT'S BEEN A PLEASURE.
IT'S SUCH A DELIGHT TO TALK TO
YOU.
>> LIKEWISE, THANK YOU.
>> THANK YOU SO MUCH.
>> SUCH A MARVELOUS PRODUCTION.
AND WE'RE DELIGHTED TO HAVE YOU
VISIT WITH US.
GOOD LUCK TO BOTH OF YOU.
>> THANK YOU.
>> THANK YOU FOR HAVING US.
>>> A REMINDER OUT THERE, "LION
KING" IS PLAYING, AND YOU CAN
GET INFORMATION AT
METROFOCUS.ORG.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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