Song:Circle Of Life
Album:The Lion King: Original Broadway Cast
After the success of The Little Mermaid on Broadway, Disney went whole hog turning animated classics into Broadway musicals including The Lion King in 1997. Many of the songs from the film including Circle Of Life made it to the musical. South African composer Leko M. was hired to add African elements to Hans Zimmer's original music from the film. Elton John and Tim Rice were hired to write additional songs. But the thing that made The Lion King a hit was the whole spectacle of the show. Famed stage director Julie Taymor was the key figure despite the sellout accusations. She won a Tony for her direction and for her costume design with Michael Curry. Other Tonys went to Garth Fagan for choreography, Richard Hudson for scenic design and Donald Holder for lighting design. What about the actors? They are unrecognizable in costume. But Tsidii Le Loka was nominated for a Tony. Taymor changed the Rafiki character from male to female because she thought the show needed a female hero. Tsidii is from South Africa and came up with many of the chants herself. Apparently she is a descendant of an African king. Circle Of Life kicks off the show. The cast album is available on CD with a bonus CD of behind the scenes footage. One would think that a starring role in a big musical would launch Tsidii to stardom. She appeared in the 2000 show Riverdance On Broadway and the PBS special Tsidii Le Loka In Concert. She's done some TV and recorded an album in 2005. She currently plays the New York City club circuit. She certainly added a lot to The Lion King on Broadway. Here's Tsidii Le Loka performing Circle Of Life on the 1997 Tony Awards broadcast.