Roaring Good Time

“The Lion King” returns to Playhouse Square
Like lions on the hunt, more than 200 puppets (from shadow puppets to full-sized puppets) race across the stage during the production of Disney’s “The Lion King.”

But to play Mufasa, actor Geno Segers has found that the show doesn’t always go according to plan, and improvisation is key to a smooth-running production.

Segers, who has played Simba’s father since 2005, recalls a moment when he felt his feet begin to slip on a moving prop. (Hey, not even the mighty king of Pride Rock is perfect!) Instead of letting the audience see his flub, he pushed his mask forward to make it seem as if he were crawling.

“The audience thought it was just so cool, because I looked like a real lion,” he says. “But everyone on the side was busting a gut because they knew I was falling — I wasn’t supposed to be on my hands and knees.”

And those people laughing on the side? Count 143 people who are directly involved with the daily production — 53 cast members, 21 musicians, 17 wardrobe people, five hair/makeup artists, three puppet craftsmen, 13 carpenters, 10 electricians, eight administrative people, six creative associates, four props people and three sound people. Now that’s a production.

The beloved musical has been performed all over the globe in such places as Germany, Australia, Japan and South Africa and returns for the second time to Playhouse Square’s State Theatre Aug. 2 through Sept. 9.

Number of hours to build the puppets
and masks

Number of 48-foot semi-trailer trucks used to transport the production’s puppets
from city to city

Tallest animals in the show?
The 18-foot exotic giraffes

What about the smallest?
 The trick mouse at the end of Scar’s cane stands 5 inches tall

15 pounds
Weight of the Timon puppet

Number of wigs in the show

Number of stalks of grass per year used to make the Grasslands headdresses

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