ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – For audiences attending Disney’s The Lion King at Popejoy Hall, it’s been a full-scale production of the highly successful musical. Throughout the month of October, crews, dancers, actors and anyone affiliated with the show have been logging long hours to bring the story of Simba to life.
“When you have a show with this many set pieces and this many props and this many puppets and costumes, we have a cast of 48 on stage and they’re mostly on stage all together at the same time,” says Matthew Shiner, Production Stage Manager of The Lion King.
It’s not only the colossal props that make up the show but then there are the costumes which are maintained in dozens of crates and wheeled to the basement of Popejoy Hall. Shiner said that also adds another challenge because actors have to run up and down the stairs to change in to and out of costumes for various dance scenes.
“We have some very clever ways in which we tell the story at a certain point,” said Shiner. “We have our young Simba and our Mufasa represented as puppets running through a field of grass played by our ensemble.”
From start to finish, work for actors, dancers and the crew begins long before the curtain even goes up. There is maintenance on the stage itself which includes a special floor and track for props. Lighting technicians also make sure that the lighting has all the designated colors to complete certain effects. Then, there are the dancers who work at different studios away from Popejoy and polish their steps for each number in the show.
“There’s a reason why we have 10 productions running worldwide,” said Shiner. “The show speaks to such a wide variety of people from kids to adults to grandparents and that’s the great joy of working on this show is coming out, watching the opening number and watching multi-generational families really all being moved by the show.”
The production will be playing at Popejoy Hall through Sunday, October 30.