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