Mornings with Kristen Herrmann

Mornings with Kristen Herrmann

Mornings with Kristen Herrmann

The Lion King is coming to the Academy of Music.

Sing it with me: “Let every creature go for broke and sing. Let’s hear it in the herd and on the wing… ” Oh we just can’t WAIT for Lion King!

This show is sooo good. The movie it’s based on is arguably perfect. So many of us grew up watching it over and over and over. But there’s just something about seeing it come to life on stage, and pretty soon we’ll have the chance to do just that, and right here in Philly.

The Lion King North American tour is coming to The Academy of Music as a part of the Kimmel Cultural Campus’ 2023 Broadway Philadelphia season. See it August 16th-September 10th. Four weeks! I had the opportunity to chat with one of the members of the cast, Eric Bean, Jr about the show, and their many roles in it. Eric isn’t born and raised in Philly, but this is a sort of homecoming. Eric attended the University of the Arts, and also performed with the Eleone Dance Theater and the Koresh Dance Company in Philadelphia. Hear our interview below:

Some interesting facts about the show:

  • There are just over 300 costume changes in the show.
  • Every ensemble member plays a hyena.
  • Yearly upkeep and maintenance of the 20 Grasslands headdresses requires over 3,000
    stalks of grass (roughly 60 pounds).
  • Worn like a back pack, the Pumbaa puppet is the heaviest costume, weighing in at 45
    pounds. Comparatively, the Timon meerkat puppet weighs 15 pounds.
  • The largest and longest animal in the show is the Elephant (nicknamed “Bertha” by the
    back stage crew when the show premiered in 1997). At 13 feet long, 12 feet high and 9
    feet wide, the puppet requires four actors to carefully walk her down the orchestra aisle.
    When not occupied by the actors, the puppet can collapse down flat for convenient
    backstage storage.
  • The North American touring production (launched in April 2002) uses 17 trucks to
    transport puppets, set pieces and other materials from city to city. 16 of the trucks are 53’
    long semi-trailers.

The Lion King musical has won more than 70 global theatrical awards including:

• 1998 Tony® Awards for Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical – Julie Taymor (making Taymor the first woman in theatrical history bestowed with the honor), Best Scenic Design – Richard Hudson, Best Costume Design – Julie Taymor, Best Lighting Design – Donald Holder, Best Choreography – Garth Fagan.
• The 1998 NY Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical.
• A 1999 Grammy® for Best Musical Show Album.
• Also, the 1999 Evening Standard Award for Theatrical Event of the Year
• And the 1999 Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Choreography and Best Costume Design

There are five indigenous African languages spoken in The Lion King:

1. Zulu
2. Xhosa
3. Sesotho
4. Setswana
5. Swahili

The Lion King has been performed in nine languages:

1. English
2. Japanese
3. German
4. Korean
5. French
6. Dutch
7. Spanish
8. Mandarin
9. Portuguese

The Lion King is coming to the Academy of Music for the first time in almost a decade. Don’t miss it! August 16th to September 10th at the Academy of Music. Find tickets HERE.


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