‘Lion King’ costumes roar with excitement and originality

“The Lion King” costumes wear the actors, and they synchronize to give the audience an awesome and awe-inspiring experience. The costumes have personality, reflect cultures, show traditions and texture. They wrap around the audience’s imagination and provide the animal/human experience in every move they make. The “double event” is what the creator, Tony Award winner Julie Taymor calls the ability to focus on the total experience but still have the option of focusing on the human face or puppet mask while feeling the animalness of the characters. Taymor is the visionary, innovative director that translated the experience from a cartoon to a live, stage play that brings the African savannah to life.
Wardrobe supervisor Gregory Young has the challenging job of keeping the costumes in great condition, and ready for the cast to transform the audience into feeling the plight of the young lion. Being a “big and tall” sized man, Young learned to sew in his youth, and because he did not like his wardrobe choices in stores, began creating and sewing his own clothing. He went on to become a tailor, and graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in San Francisco. He and his assistants make repairs and keep the costumes in shape for the production. His task with the globally favorite play has taken him to new heights in his career.
Design, art, creativity and the ability to sew are all components that make a great wardrobe supervisor. The costumes are made of combinations of natural fabrics, synthetic fabrics and polymers that give the actors as much comfort as possible. Although some of the costumes appear to be quite heavy, the average weight is 4 to 5 pounds. In the opening number, the “Circle Of Life,” the characters pass through the aisles within arm’s reach of the audience and the actors are encased in the costumes as elephants, giraffes, birds, and all manner of jungle beasts.
The costumes are a combination of handmade fabrics, hand- beaded corsets, hand-dyed and printed fabrics, and they blend seamlessly with the puppets to present “The Lion King” wonder. Most costumes are customized to the actors wearing them, with the ability to be adjusted if the understudy has to wear them. Taymor has transformed theatrical costumes into a magical expression of ultimate creativity. Theatrical careers now invite architects, engineers, artists, carpenters, metallurgists, designers, and of course actors, musicians, lighting professionals along with most any creative profession.
“The Lion King” has brought joy to over 75 million guests globally since 1999, and has no intention of taking a final curtain call anytime soon. One experience in the audience of this play will inspire you to dust off your own creativity. The Disney Company has expanded its entertainment endeavors into live theater after the breakout success of “Beauty and the Beast.” With the imagineers at Disney hard at work with the theatrical division, there will never be a dull moment in their productions.