Pick a number from one to 100. Ninety? That’s the number of millions of people who have seen The Lion King worldwide. How about 19? The number of countries that have hosted a production of The Lion King. Or 24, the number of productions of The Lion King mounted around the world to date. Seventy is the number of awards won across the globe, six is the number of indigenous languages featured in the script, and 20 marks the number of years ago The Lion King first played on Broadway—starting it all.
Here, we break down Disney’s The Lion King by the numbers:
The number of hours spent by mask makers, sculptors, puppeteers, and artisans to build the animal characters for the original Broadway production. Director and designer Julie Taymor—who won Tonys for Best Direction of a Musical and Best Costume Design of a Musical for Lion King—along with puppet and mask designer Michael Curry hand sculpted and painted every prototype that appears in the opening number of the show.
The number of stalks of grass needed to maintain the Grasslands headdresses per production per year.
The pounds of silicone rubber used to make the show’s masks. However, each of the masks, individually, weigh very little. Mufasa’s mask weighs 11 ounces, Scar’s weights seven, and Sarabi’s weights four.
The number of Equity actors and stage managers employed by the Broadway company alone.
The total number of puppets used in The Lion King.
The number of people involved with the Broadway company’s daily production, including 51 cast members, 24 musicians, 19 wardrobe staff, 13 carpenters, nine electricians, six creative associates, five stage managers, four props people, three puppet craftspeople, three sound people, three make-up artists, two wig/hairdressers, two company managers, one child guardian, and one physical therapist.
The number of wildebeests in the show. There are also 39 hyenas, 15 gazelles (played by five actors), 14 lionnesses, three zebras, two elephants, two antelope, one rhinoceros, and one cheetah.
The number of pounds Pumbaa’s full costume weighs—making it the heaviest costume in the company. (Also the number of wigs used in the show.)
The height in feet of the “Circle of Life” giraffes. Actors climb 5-foot ladders to get inside the puppet, and mount the stilt legs.
The number of languages The Lion King has been translated into around the world.
The number of 1998 Tony Awards won by the Broadway show: Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical for Julie Taymor, Best Choreography for Garth Fagan, Best Scenic Design of a Musical for Richard Hudson, Best Costume Design of a Musical for Taymor, Best Lighting Design of a Musical for Donald Holder. The show had earned 11 total nominations. (Six is also the number of indigenous languages spoken in the show.)
The number of Broadway theatres The Lion King has played, opening at the New Amsterdam November 13, 1997, and moving to the Minskoff June 13, 2006.
The status of the animated film that inspired it all. In 1994, Disney’s The Lion King was the highest-grossing release of all time.
For more exclusive features and interviews celebrating The Lion King’s 20th anniversary, go to Playbill.com/LionKing.