A Chat With 'The Lion King' Broadway Director Julie Taymor

“The Lion King” turns 20 on Broadway: here is what director Julie Taymor has to say about it

Julie Taymor’s production of “The Lion King” on Broadway is as fundamental to New York City’s cultural landscape as the Empire State Building is to its skyline.

But when the production first opened in November 1997 at the New Amsterdam Theater, no one anticipated that 20 years later, it would have sparked such a global phenomenon.

“Even now, I don’t think there’s anything quite like ‘The Lion King,’” said Taymor, the Tony Award-winning theater, opera and film director. “It continues to be such an honor to travel around the world to work on its international adaptations.”

With its intricate, elaborate costumes and set design, iconic score by Tim Rice and Elton John—with additional original music by Lebo M—as well as the play’s core, coming-of-age story, “The Lion King” is a transformative experience for audiences of all ages.

“Children like it on one level and adults like it on another,” Taymor said. “Each time you come, you’ll get something else out of it. That’s why it’s not boring for me to direct it for 20 years: I just don’t get tired of it.”

Tamor's Favorite Spots in NYC

Taymor loves the Union Square Greenmarket: “I stop at the market a lot, and I find that seeing what local artisans, bakers and farmers are putting out there are products where you can feel the craft behind it, that just come to life.”

For some great quiet and brainstorming time, it is Madison Square Park: “I think this park is simply a beautiful place to reflect and just be. Having a dog made me look up and really notice the buildings, because you take your time with a dog.”

And when it is time to really relax and take in the New York City skyline, Taymor recommends Classic Harbor Line. “They do a Morimoto sushi and sake thing, where you sail at sunset down the Hudson to the Statue of Liberty and back up again, just sipping sake and taking in how beautiful and quiet it is at that time.”