Is Hakuna Matata the Same in the Lion King Musical?

September 27th, 2013
The Lion King Musical

The Lion King Musical

With the Lion King Broadway Musical coming to Pantages Theater from September 28th through October 6th, 2013 many people in the Los Angeles area will be researching information related to the event. Some adults can remember when the Lion King came out as a Disney movie in 1994. They may also remember a few of the more popular songs. Having grown up in the 1990′s I can say that Hakuna Matata was one of the most popular Disney songs on my time. I can remember friends that would sing every word of the song. Now that everyone in my age range is an adult it is likely they are looking for an opportunity to relive this amazing movie through a Broadway Musical. Some will even wonder if Hakuna Matata is the same in the Lion King musical as the Lion King Disney movie..

The Lion King Disney Movie
As I have mentioned in previous posts, the Lion King Disney movie came out well before the musical. This is not always common when it comes to Broadway musicals. In fact, there are quite a few musicals that turn into movies after having toured for several years. The fact that the movie came out first means the audience will likely know some of the more popular acts or scenes. From personal experience, I can say that the Disney Hakuna Matata movie scene is very similar to the musical scene. There are going to be a few little things that are different just because it is a live event but the words of the song are the exact same.

The time in which the Hakuna Matata scene comes up in the movie is also the same as in the musical. Simba is going through a hard time in his life. He has just run away from home and he needs someone or something to help him regain happiness. He happens to stroll into Timon and Pumbaa. These two lovable characters are more than willing to explain a different philosophy on life which is “Hakuna Matata”. Here are the words of the song from the Lion King movie:

Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase
Hakuna Matata, ain’t no passing craze
It means no worries for the rest of your days
It’s our problem free philosophy, Hakuna Matata

Why, when he was a young warthog
When I was a young warthog
Very nice, thanks

He found his aroma lacked a certain appeal
He could clear the Savannah after every meal
I’m a sensitive soul, though I seem thick-skinned
And it hurt that my friends never stood downwind

And oh, the shame, he was ashamed
Thoughta changin’ my name, oh, what’s in a name?
And I got downhearted, how did you feel? Every time that I
Pumbaa, not in front of the kids, oh sorry

Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase
Hakuna Matata, ain’t no passing craze
It means no worries for the rest of your days, yeah, sing it, kid
It’s our problem-free philosophy, Hakuna Matata

Hakuna Matata
Hakuna Matata
Hakuna Matata
Hakuna Matata

It means no worries for the rest of your days
It’s our problem free philosophy, Hakuna Matata

Hakuna Matata
Hakuna Matata
Hakuna Matata

As most people read these lyrics they will immediately remember the beat of the song. In fact, if you are reading this article there is a good chance you will go to YouTube just to listen to the song from the Lion King movie.

The Lion King Musical
Something that always amazes me with Broadway musicals is the talent of the actors and actresses. These individuals can sing, dance and act all at the same time. This is much different from a movie and especially an animated movie. In an animated movie there are voice overs that will perform but it is not a live performance like the Lion King show at Pantages Theater. If you are fortunate enough to enjoy one of the shows this September or October sit back and soak up the talent of the three actors that will sing during the Hakuna Matata scene. Not only are they singing but they are in costume and dancing as well.

What some novice theater goers may not realize is there is an orchestra that is playing the instrumental part of the song. Obviously, in the movies there are songs but they are not performed live. While Timon, Pumbaa and Simba are on stage they have to coordinate it perfectly with the orchestra. I have never understood how they are always spot on and never miss a beat. I have been to a dozen musicals and I have never once noticed the actors or actresses being off from the orchestra. I know they do the show night in and night out but it would be so easy to start singing before the orchestra starts playing. If you happen to be at one of the Lion King shows in Los Angeles listen closely to see if any of the songs are a little bit offbeat.

Hakuna Matata Makes the Musical Worth It
The Hakuna Matata Disney version is almost identical to the Hakuna Matata musical version. Based on the actors that will play Timon, Pumbaa and Simba you will get to hear a slight variation. The Lion King musicals I have consumed had actors that sounded very much like the movie characters. As the Lion King musical ages it will be interesting to see how they spice things up with this particular scene. The costumes are amazing and the dancing is a little humorous but anyone that has been to the show multiple times might want to see something that is a little bit different. If this is not your first trip to see the Lion King musical you may want to take note of some of the smaller things like the actors looking at the orchestra or how they place themselves before a scene actually gets started.

By Jesse Wojdylo

The Lion King Broadway Musical vs Movie

September 21st, 2013
The Lion King Musical

The Lion King Musical Vs Movie

There are several Disney movies that have been turned into Broadway Musicals. One of the most successful is The Lion King. The Disney movie was released in 1994 and it was one of the more highest grossing Disney movies in history. Most people remember the soundtrack from the Lion King with hits like “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” and “Circle of Life”. In my younger years I can remember jamming out to The Lion King CD. I guess that puts an age on me. As I grew up and Disney movies were no longer part of my life I forgot all about The Lion King and the main theme of the movie. Fortunately, the Broadway Musical started touring a few years ago and I was able to watch it in a wonderful theater.

The Lion King Broadway Musical
One of the great things about The Lion King Broadway Musical is the costumes and crowd involvement. I have been to several Broadway musicals but none of them actually have the cast members walking down the aisles to get on to the stage. In The Lion King you will get to witness some of the animals, in costumes, walking down the aisles before a major scene. This was shocking to me as it was not something I expected. My girlfriend at the time knew it was coming and she pointed it out to me early on. Make sure to do a little bit of research so you will know when the animals will start walking down the aisles of the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles.

The fact that part of the cast walks down the aisle means that you will need to be in your seat before the show gets started. Like most musicals, the staff of the theater will do their best to get you in your seat well before the start time. That said, there are always a few people that are running late. With traffic in Los Angeles this is not out of the ordinary. When making a ticket purchase for this Broadway musical it might be a wise choice to give yourself some extra time. If you are going to a week night showing and you do not get off work until late you might set yourself up for disaster. There are going to be several weekend opportunities to watch The Lion King in Los Angeles so do not feel as if the ticket options are limited.

The Lion King will be playing at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles from November 20th, 2013 until January 12th, 2014. This means there will be plenty of opportunities to watch this show during the Christmas holiday. It is important to note that there will not be a Christmas Day showing of The Lion King. There will be a show on Christmas Eve and a showing the day after Christmas. The fact that the kids will be out of school and many people will have a few days off means that the whole family can go and enjoy this wonderful Broadway musical. It is definitely a show for the entire family as both the children and adults will get something out of the event.

Something else to consider when making The Lion King ticket decisions is the time of day the musical will take place. Around Christmas time the matinee showings at 1:00 or 2:00 pm. If you are an individual that does not like to fight the night crowd this would be a great option. Consider the matinee options if you want to grab a lunch and then enjoy a Broadway musical. I have been to several matinee showings and I can tell you it is much easier to park. Getting in and out is a breeze compared to the night time shows. Check your schedule and see if a daytime show works out best.

The Lion King Movie
Many people that have never been to The Lion King Broadway musical want to know how it compares to the Disney movie that came out in 1994. In all reality, they are very similar. The Broadway musical was written to mimic the movie. While there are quite a few musicals that are written about books or independently, this is not one of them. If you have seen The Lion King movie you will know exactly what is going to happen. Something that is interesting in the musical is to see how they age Simba. At the beginning of the movie and the musical he is a baby lion. As he ages it is easier to depict this in the movie. In the Broadway musical there are actually two different actors for Simba. There is the young actor which is often a teenage boy and there is the adult Simba which is a grown man.

One of the most shocking moments in the Broadway musical is the adult Simba jumps on stage after seeing the teenage boy Simba for the entire first portion of the show. To be honest, I did not even know what was going on. I assumed this was just another character until someone used his name. This might be something you look for if you plan to make it to The Lion King Broadway musical at Pantages Theater in Los Angeles.

The basic premise of both the movie and the Broadway musical is there is a circle of life and things always work themselves out. There are some great scenes to put a smile on your face. One of the most memorable is the “Hakuna Matata” scene in which Simba learns to stop worrying so much and live his life. As the song goes, “Hakuna Matata means no worries for the rest of your days. It’s a problem free philosophy.” Anyone that has been living a high stressed life can learn something from this scene in The Lion King. Interestingly, everything seems to work out in Simba’s life shortly after realizing that Hakuna Matata is a better way to live.

Life Lessons in The Lion King
Being an adult, the life lessons of The Lion King mean much more to me. I was 12 years old when The Lion King came out in theaters from Disney. Now, watching The Lion King movie or Broadway musical has much more meaning. I realize how a lot of the relationships throughout the movie are very similar to relationships we have with our loved ones. There seems to always be a bad apple in the family which is Simba’s uncle Scar. We all go through a troubling event which can be losing a mother or father. There is that special someone that catches our eye but we don’t know how to tell them or talk to them. These are all life lessons that Simba learned throughout the movie. One of the most important lessons he learned is to be happy in whatever he does.

We live in a society in which many people have jobs and areas of their life that are not enjoyable. This can bring about a large amount of stress and unhappiness. Over the course of the last two years I have learned that it is worth it to take a pay cut to enjoy what I do. If you truly enjoy what you do and you love your life the money will follow. It can be stressful at times but an attractive person, that is happy, is going to find a way to make ends meet with what they love to do. This is one of the underlying themes of The Lion King movie. Simba is torn between doing what others want him to do and what he wants to do. By the end of the movie he comes to the realization that he loves to help others. This is a theme in many Disney movies but especially The Lion King.

If you happen to get tickets to The Lion King at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles you are going to find that you see these themes played out. Most adults will see them quickly but it takes the younger crowd a little bit longer to catch on. As I mentioned earlier, when I was 12 I did not understand what it meant to do what you love. As an adult, I completely get it. It took some ups and downs, good jobs and bad jobs but after several years as a professional it often becomes quite obvious what we should be doing. If someone you know has struggled to figure out true happiness it might be a good idea to grab them a few tickets to see The Lion King over the Christmas holiday. It would be the perfect Christmas present for someone that enjoys dressing up to see a Broadway musical. Some of the tickets are very affordable so you will not have to pay an arm and a leg. Let me know what you think of the show!

By Jesse Wojdylo

The Wizard Of Oz

September 13th, 2013
"Wizard of Oz"

Wizard of Oz

How Will The Wizard of Oz Compare to Wicked?
I was spoiled when it comes to Broadway musicals as my first experience was Wicked. My second experience was Wicked and my third experience was Wicked. After that I enjoyed Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Jersey Boys, Phantom of the Opera and a handful of other musicals and plays. That said, nothing will compare to Wicked. It was my first and it has a special place in my heart. The first time I heard Defying Gravity there were goosebumps all over my body and chills running down my spin. Now that a new aged version of The Wizard of Oz is touring it will be interesting to see how it compares.

Can Anything Compare to Wicked?
For me, the answer is likely no. For anyone else, the answer is yes or maybe. The reason Wicked is so special to me is because of timing in life. I have always been a sports guy. I ran track in college and I consume as much college football and NFL as possible. If you would have asked me ten years ago if I would ever attend a musical or play I would have laughed at you and said that is not “manly”. As I started to grow older, into my late 20s, I realized that just because some people would not consider an activity “manly” it does not mean it is something I would not enjoy. I slowly learned that doing what I wanted to do meant not caring what others thought.

Around 2008 or 2009 I decided that it was time to expand my horizons and start to do a few different things. Remember, former college athlete here. I attempted to learn to play the piano, I purchased tickets to Wicked and I even tried to learn to cook. Well, the piano and cooking didn’t go over so well but the tickets to Wicked were worth every penny. Part of the reason I enjoyed Wicked so much was the atmosphere. I had amazing seats and the audio was crystal clear. During the first few scenes of the musical I was in awe of the talent. I had never been to a live performance of individuals that were so talented.

To be able to sing, dance and act all at the same time was unheard of to me. I had been to alternative music concerts over the course of my college and young adult career but most of these singers didn’t necessarily hit it out of the park with their performances. It was more of the atmosphere than the singing and dancing ability of these alternative singers. In fact, I would be willing to say that very few musical talents that go on tour have the ability to sing in a Broadway musical. The singing part is just the beginning as they have to dance and act as well. I think we can all agree that most rock, alternative and country singers do not have the ability to dance; especially when compared to those that participate in Wicked or The Wizard of Oz.

The newest version of The Wizard of Oz by Andrew Lloyd Weber will illustrate the story of Dorothy and the Wicked Witch of the West. If you have seen Wicked you will absolutely love The Wizard of Oz. One of the most enjoyable experiences in theatre or entertainment is to see each side of the story. In Wicked, we learned that the Wicked Witch of the West wasn’t all that bad. She had a few daddy issues and family issues but to the core she really wasn’t as bad as she is made out to be in The Wizard of Oz.

When The Wizard of Oz movie was released 1939 the Broadway musical Wicked was not considered as part of the plot. In fact, it took several decades for us to finally hear the other side of the story. Classic songs like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “We’re Off to See the Wizard” will be part of the newest Wizard musical but look for some other tidbits that have been added to modernize this musical. If there is an opportunity to consume Wicked and The Wizard of Oz during the same week or same month that might be the pinnacle of a theater watching career.

The Best Seats at a Broadway Musical
Most of my musical consumption has come on the east coast in the Durham Performing Arts Center and the Landmark Theater in Richmond, Virginia. These two theaters are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to technology. The Durham Performing Arts Center is one of the most innovative theaters in the United States. In fact, over the last few years the DPAC has had one of the highest capacity rates in the United States. In 2008, the DPAC opened and it has continued to renovate to stay on the cutting edge of technology. It cost $48 million to build this beautiful structure.

On the flip side of that, the Landmark Theater in Richmond, Virginia was completed in 1926 and it is a true, old fashioned theater. Just looking at images of the Landmark Theater will help to illustrate the traditional style of the structure. The seats are very close together. Fortunately, I am a small to medium sized adult. I would imagine anyone over the size of 220 pounds would struggle to fit in these seats. The restrooms have not been renovated so during the intermission it can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes to relieve oneself. These are issues that must be considered when going to watch any Broadway musical.

When you decide on where you want to sit for a Broadway Musical it is important to determine what you want to get out of the performance. If you just want to hear the music and the visuals are not that important there is no reason to pay $500 for floor seats. If you enjoy getting to see the actors and actresses close up that $500 investment might be a consideration. Looking at the floor plans and seating chart of a theater is imperative. Almost all theaters have seats that are semi blocked. Ticket holders will be able to see the majority of the stage but they cannot see the whole panoramic view. Take the time to research what views are blocked and what seats are best for the money.

Just because tickets are expensive it does not mean they are the best. Also, check out the fees before making a final decision. Most people that have attended a sports or entertainment event have had to pay lofty fees. Fortunately, there are a few websites and companies that offer no fees when making a ticket purchase. Look for these no fee websites. Even though a no fee ticket may be $100 it will be cheaper than a ticket that is $90 with fees. Before giving away that credit card number or paying with a debit card analyze the fee structure to determine what is truly the best deal.

Will The Wizard of Oz Sell Out?
The Wizard of Oz is a newer broadway musical by Andrew Lloyd Weber so diehard fans cannot expect tickets to last all the way until the date of the performance. Grab some tickets ahead of time rather than paying top dollar during the day of the event. Planning ahead is a smart decision when it comes to the newer Broadway Musicals. From personal experience, I know that the first few times a musical comes to town it will sell out quickly. After this particular musical visits a town or city for four or five years tickets are easier to come by. The Wizard of Oz started in 2011 so it is still new to a large audience. This means tickets are going to remain hot.

There are a number of upcoming events at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles. If Wizard of Oz is not an option during September and October consider War Horse, the Lion King, the Book or Mormon or Evita. All of these options will be available for fans of the Pantages Theater. When looking for ticket, parking or general information about the Pantages Theater make sure to check out There are plenty of upcoming events available but think ahead to avoid the high costs that come with a day of event purchase.

By Jesse Wojdylo