THE PRIDE ON BROADWAY

Disney’s live-action remake of the Lion King broke a number of box office records. Tonight, we meet the pride on Broadway, which has been receiving roaring ovations for over 20 years.

Aired on October 9, 2019. 

TRANSCRIPT

> SINCE ITS PREMIERE IN NOVEMBER OF 1997, 'THE LION KING' CONTINUES ITS REIGN AS ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR STAGE MUSICALS IN THE WORLD HAVING BEEN SIGN BY MORE THAN 95 MILLION PEOPLE, WINNING AMONG MANY OTHERS SIX 1998 TONY AWARDS INCLUDING BEST MUSICAL.

HERE'S A LOOK.

♪ WE'RE DELIGHTED TO HAVE JOINING US NOW LINDSEY WAY WHO HAS BEEN WITH 'THE LION KING' FOR ITS ENTIRE TWO-DECADE RING.

AND L. STEVEN TAILOR WHO PLAYS 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 TO HOW ENORMOUSLY SUCCESSFUL IT WAS GOING TO BE?

NO.

IN THE BEGINNING, NO.

YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU STARTED THE FEST, TRYING ON DIFFERENT COSTUMES, TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT IS IT GOING TO BE, YOU KNOW.

YOU'RE PUTTING ALL THESE HYENA COSTUMES, YOU'RE LEARNING HOW TO WALK, YOU KNOW, HOW TO MOVE WITH PUPPETS.

SO IT WAS REALLY HECTIC IN THE BEGINNING.

SO I DIDN'T KNOW HOW IT WAS GOING TO BE.

AND THEN WE WENT TO MINNEAPOLIS, WHEN WE GOT TO MINNEAPOLIS, THEY WERE DOING ALL THESE THINGS.

AND THEN PREVIEW STARTED.

AND THE FIRST DAY, THE OPENING OF THE PREVIEWS, YOU COULD FEEL IN THE AUDIENCE LIKE AS SOON AS WE STARTED COMING DOWN THE AISLE, THE AUDIENCE -- IT WAS LIKE AN OUT-OF-BODY EXPERIENCE.

SOMETIMES THEY WANT TO TOUCH YOU.

SOMETIMES THEY ARE CRYING.

I REMEMBER SEEING IT WITH MY CHILDREN.

AT THE TIME I THINK THEY WERE ABOUT 14 AND 10.

YEAH.

AND SITTING ON THE AISLE.

AND I WAS FASCINATED BY THE FACT THAT NOT ONLY WERE THE YOUNG CHILDREN REACHING OUT FOR YOU, THE ADULTS --

THE ADULTS, YEAH.

REACHING OUT.

SOMETIMES YOU SEE LIKE PEOPLE IN TEARS.

LIKE GROWN PEOPLE, LIKE OVERWHELMED AND JUST CRYING AND LAUGHING.

YOU KNOW, ALL -- 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, IS THAT -- I GUESS A BETTER QUESTION IS HOW DAUNTING WAS THAT FOR YOU?

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 ROLL TIME.

I ALWAYS FELT LIKE A KID PLAYING IN DADDY'S SHOES, YOU KNOW, 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, YOU KNOW --

MAKE IT STEVEN'S --

YOU KNOW, LIKE WHO IS HE?

HE'S -- AT THE VERY HEART HE'S A FATHER.

AND SO -- SO AM I.

WHEN I MADE THAT KIND OF A CENTRAL FOCUS OF HOW I WAS GOING TO PORTRAY THE CHARACTER, THEN IT BECAME LESS DAUNTING.

BUT I MEAN, STILL, YOU KNOW, LIKE IN THE BACK OF MY MIND, I KNOW THAT PEOPLE ARE COMING WITH A CERTAIN EXPECTATION OF THIS PARTICULAR ROLE.

AND I TRIED TO LIVE UP TO THAT.

IT'S SUCH A MARVELOUSLY PHYSICAL PERFORMANCE.

YOU TALK ABOUT COMING DOWN THE AISLE.

AND I WANT TO ASK YOU -- THE HEADGEAR THAT YOU'RE WEARING, YOU'VE GOT TO DANCE AND SPRING AND DO ALL THE THINGS THAT YOU DO.

DID THAT TAKE SOME GETTING USED TO?

YEAH.

I MEAN IT DID.

BUT IT'S -- LIKE YOU LEARN TO -- OKAY, NUMBER ONE, IT'S NOT AS HEAVY AS IT LOOKS.

IT'S MADE TO LOOK LIKE A BIG PIECE OF OAK, YOU KNOW.

RIGHT.

LIKE AS MUFASA IS.

HE'S THIS --

THAT'S RIGHT --

YES.

WHAT JULIE TAYMAR 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 STORETELLING ALREADY.

SO SHE WAS ABLE TO TEACH US HOW TO USE THESE PUPPETS AND THESE MASKS TO TELL THE STORY.

AND YOU'RE FROM SOUTH AFRICA.

UH-HUH.

I'VE SEEN WHERE YOU HAD TALKED ABOUT -- YOU KNOW, 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 GREW UP SINGING IN CHURCHES.

WE GREW 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.

OUTSIDE OF -- IT'S KNOWN FOR OUR VOCALS, YOU KNOW.

WHEN YOU LOOK AT SOME OF THE APARTHEID STRUGGLES, YOU SEE THE SINGING --

IT'S ALWAYS SINGING --

SIMILAR TO LOOK AT THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT IN THE UNITED STATES AND HOW MUSIC WAS SUCH A SIGNIFICANT PART --

YES.

SO 'LION KING,' I REMEMBER WHEN THEY FIRST SAID YOU GOT IT, YOU'RE GOING TO PERFORM.

I WAS SO EXCITED BECAUSE I KNOW I'M GOING TO SING SOUTH AFRICAN MUSIC, IT'S PART OF ME.

WHEN YOU SEE 'THE LION KING,' YOU HAVE MAYBE SIX OR EIGHT SOUTH AFRICANS NOW IN THE SHOW.

SO 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 THEY ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT OUR CULTURE AND OUR MUSIC, HOW EVERYTHING SOUNDS, HOW TO PRONOUNCE WORDS SO 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 DEMEANING AT ALL.

BUT THEY LAST FOR A PERIOD AND THEN IT'S LIKE THIS WAS GREAT, LET'S MOVE ON.

THIS DOESN'T SEEM THAT -- 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 THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE.

YOU HAVE, YOU KNOW, DEATH -- 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, YOU KNOW, 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.

BECAUSE AT ANY GIVEN POINT IN YOUR LIFE, LIKE WHEN YOU SEE THE SHOW AS A CHILD, YOU KNOW, AS A 7-YEAR-OLD CHILD, YOU SEE, YOU KNOW, YOU PROBABLY RELATE MORE TO THE CHILDREN IN THE SHOW.

AS YOU'VE HAD MORE EXPERIENCE, THEN MAYBE YOU COME BACK AND YOU SEE YOURSELF IN SIMBA OR NALA.

BUT I THINK THE MAIN THING IS L '' LION KING' HAS NEVER SOSTOPPED GROWING.

NOT JUST FOR AUDIENCE.

FOR US, TOO, IT HELPS US.

MY CHILDREN, 14 AND 10, THEY'RE NOW 36 AND 32.

WHEN I SAID I WAS GOING TO BE TALKING TO YOU, THEY SAID, 'WE'VE GOT TO SEE THAT AGAIN.'

AND THEY'LL HAVE A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE NOW.

I CAN'T SAY.

IT'S BEEN A PLEASURE.

IT'S A DELIGHT TO TALK TO YOU.

LIKEWISE, THANK YOU.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

SUCH A MARVELOUS PRODUCTION.

WE'RE DELIGHTED TO HAVE YOU VISIT WITH US.

GOOD LUCK TO BOTH OF YOU.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING US.

AND 'LION KING' IS PLAYING AT THE MINSCOFF THEATER.

FOR INFORMATION --

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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