So how does The Lion King really roar? And how heavy are those masks? And how do those animals move that way?
New Yorkers are invited to find out when the Drama Desk sponsors a free lunchtime gathering at the show's Broadway home, the New Amsterdam Theatre (Broadway & 42nd St.), Apr. 24, 11 AM-1 PM.
The panel and demonstration will include such participants as Disney execs Peter Schneider and Thomas Schumacher, Lion King director Julie Taymor, choreographer Garth Fagan, actors Tsidii Le Loka, Samuel Wright and Heather Headley, and composer Lebo M.
Reservations are suggested for this free event; call (212) 536-1484 for information.
* In other Drama Desk news, the 1997-98 Drama Desk Awards, honoring achievements both on and Off-Broadway, will be given May 17, 9 PM (EST). The ceremony will be held at the Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse on 68th St. and will be broadcast live in the New York area on cable TV's NY-1. Celebrity interviews and songs from nominated shows will be featured.
As for the nominations, suggestion ballots go out to the general Drama Desk membership in mid-March. Nominations will be announced April 27, 10 AM (EST), also to be broadcast on NY-1. Comedian Freddie Roman will make the introductions, and Lillias White (The Life) and Robert Cuccioli (Jekyll & Hyde will read off the nominees' names.
Founded in 1949, the Drama Desk offers a forum for "theatre reporters, editors and critics to spotlight areas of concern for the theatrical community and act as a catalyst for educating the public."
Says Drama Desk president David Sheward, "Our organization is special because we put Broadway and Off-Broadway on the same footing. So an acclaimed performance such as Cherry Jones' in Pride's Crossing would be eligible along with Broadway performances."
The author of "It's A Hit," about long-running Broadway musicals, Sheward also recently published a book on show business awards. Aside from the Drama Desk, Sheward is a member of the New York Drama Critics Circle, the Outer Critics Circle, and the American Theatre Critics Association.