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Circle of Life/The Lion King “Circle of Life” The Lion King Music by Book by Elton John Roger Allers Irene Mecchi Lyrics by Tim Rice Produced by Directed by Thomas Schumacher Costumes by Peter Schneider Julie Taymor 1 Circle of Life/The Lion King While it actually opened on November 13, 1997, The Lion King celebrated its 15th anniversary on Broadway on November 18, 2012, with a special performance at the Minskoff Theater in New York City. In the audience were many of the show’s origina cast members and its creative team, who had earned six Tony Awards, including Best Choreography, Best Costume Design, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Lighting Design, Best Scenic Design and Best Musical. The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theater, or Tony Award, is named for Antoinette Perry (1988-1946), an actress and director who was Chairman of the Board and Secretary of the American Theatre Wing throughout World War II. She always insisted on high standards in her work, so beginning in 1947 the award was given in memory of her. Each June the Tonys are given to outstanding achievements in Theater. The actual award medallion was designed and first given in 1949. Made of brass and bronze, the medallion shows comedy and tragedy masks on one side, and the category, date, and winner’s name on the opposite side. The Lion King statistics: (as of Aug. 4, 2013) Number of Performances: 6544 Average Ticket Price: $88.98 Highest Weekly Gross: $2,666,166 Total Current Gross: $980,871, 732 Average Capacity Audience: 97.65 2 Circle of Life/The Lion King Julie Taymor/Director/Costume Designer/Mask and Puppet Co-Designer        Julie Taymor was born December 15, 1952 in Boston, Massachusetts. As a child she liked putting on shows and later joined a theater company. At age fifteen she spent time in India and Sri Lanka as part of an educational program. After high school she went to Paris to study mime with Jacques LeCoq, and there also learned about masks and puppetry. After graduating from Oberlin College in 1974 she traveled to Asia on a fellowship, visiting Japan, Indonesia, Bali and Java. In Bali she established her own theater company, Teatr Loh. She has said, “I was very taken with the fact that the theatre productions there there a part of everyday life…You don’t do it because you’re going to be reviewed in Time magazine, but it’s part of what it is to be a living human being.” After returning to the United States in 1980, she continued her work in theater. She won awards for Scenic, Costume, and Puppet Design for her work on The Haggadah and for Concept Puppetry and Masks on the musical Juan Darien. For Juan Darien she also directed and wrote the book (script). 3       Circle of Life/The Lion King She took on the project of translating the Disney movie The Lion King into a Broadway musical. Her many talents contributed to the musical receiving, in 1997, eleven Tony Award nominations. In 1998 Julie Taymor became the first woman to win the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical for The Lion King, and she also won for Best Costumes. Her productions have included The Green Bird, Titus Andronicus, The Tempest, The Taming of the Shrew, The Transposed Heads, and Liberty’s Taken (theater), Titus, Frida, The Tempest and Across the Universe (movies), Oedipus Rex, Salome, The Flying Dutchman and The Magic Flute (opera). On June 13, 2013 she was presented with the 2013 Sackler Center First Award, which honors women who are ‘first’ in their fields. She is currently working on a production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, to be premiered in Brooklyn, New York November 2, 2013. Julie Taymor has traveled to many countries in the world for her work, but today lives and works in New York City. 4 Circle of Life/The Lion King www Sir Elton John/ Music Sir Tim Rice/ Lyrics 5 Circle of Life/The Lion King Elton John          Tim Rice Sir Elton John was born on March 25, 1947 in Pinner, Middlesex, England. His real name is Reginald Kenneth Dwight. At age 3 he surprised his family by playing The Skater’s Waltz on the piano, and at age 11 he was awarded a scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music. He is pictured above at age 6. He began to perform in public in 1962 with his band, The Corvettes. In 1967 his stage name became his legal name. It came from two of his band mates, whose names included “Elton” and “John”. That same year he answered a ‘Talent Wanted’ ad in a newspaper, placed by a record company. Another writer, Bernie Taupin, also answered the ad, and the record company put them in touch. They wrote many hit songs together, always by corresponding by mail. They never wrote a song together in the same room! Elton wrote the music; Bernie, the lyrics (words). In the 1990’s Elton worked with another collaborator, (writing partner), Tim Rice, on the music for the Disney movie The Lion King. It won Best Male Pop Grammy and also an Academy Award for “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.” Elton John is one of the most successful solo artists of all time. He has achieved 35 gold and 25 platinum albums, sold more than 250 million records, and holds the record for biggest selling single of all time, “Candle in the Wind.” He earned 5 Grammy Awards: 1986, 1991, 1994, 1997, and 2000. He received Knighthood from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1998. (This is why he is called “Sir” Elton John). 6  Circle of Life/The Lion King He was awarded the Kennedy Center Honor in 2004. Every year since 1959 the Grammy has been given to recognize outstanding achievement in the music industry by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States. There are over 80 categories in which to win. The gold-plated grammy is in the shape of a gramophone, the first phonograph. Picture: The Academy Award, or Oscar, is given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences each year for achievements in film. The tradition began in 1929. The official name for the award is the Academy Award of Merit. While there are many stories about how the award became known as the “Oscar” the true origin is not known. The design is a knight holding a crusader’s sword, standing on a reel of film. The film reel features 5 spokes for the 5 original branches of the Academy; actors, directors, producers, technicians and writers. The statue is made in Chicago and is 13 ½ inches tall and 8 ½ lbs. Picture: 7 Circle of Life/The Lion King Synopsis of Story The story takes place in Africa. 1. Simba, a lion prince, is born and the animals of the Pride Lands pay tribute. As Simba grows up he learns that he will become King someday when his father, King Mufasa, dies. 2. If Mufasa had not had a son Mufasa’s brother Scar (Simba’s uncle) would have become king. 3. The jealous Scar angrily plots to kill Mufasa and Simba so that he can become the king of the Pride Lands. 4. Scar plans for the hyenas to cause a stampede in the canyon where Mufasa and Simba are, and he causes Mufasa to fall to his death. 5. Simba is alive, but his uncle convinces him that he is to blame for the tragedy. Simba leaves the Pride Lands, thinking he can never return home because of what he has done. 6. Timon the meerkat and Pumbaa the warthog find Simba alone and worn out. They help him and become his friends. They remain together. 7. Nala, Simba’s friend from childhood, when hunting to find food past the lands that Scar has ruined, instead finds Simba. She is surprised and overjoyed to see him and she pleads with him to return home. Under Scar’s management the Pride Lands are suffering and all of the animals will starve unless Simba returns to fight for his kingdom. 8. Simba makes the decision to return to the Pride Lands. 9. He battles Scar and he finds out that Scar was responsible for his father’s death. 10. Simba wins this battle and at last assumes his rightful place as king. The circle is complete. 8 Circle of Life/The Lion King “Circle of Life” lyrics Nants ingonyama bakithi baba (Here comes a lion, father) Sithi uhm ingonyama (Oh, yes, it’s a lion) (Zulu) Nants ingonyama bakithi baba Sithi uhhmm ingonyama Ingonyama Siyo Nqoba (We’re going to conquer) Ingonyama Ingonyama nengw’ enamabala (A lion and a leopard come to this open place) From the day we arrive on the planet And blinking, step into the sun There’s more to see than can ever be seen More to do than can ever be done There’s far too much to take in here More to find than can ever be found But the sun rolling high Through the sapphire sky Keeps great and small on the endless round It’s the circle of life And it moves us all Through despair and hope Through faith and love Till we find our place On the path unwinding In the circle The circle of life 9 Circle of Life/The Lion King It’s the circle of life And it moves us all Through despair and hope Through faith and love Till we find our place On the path unwinding In the circle The circle of life Using the Elements of Music Many students will be familiar with this song, and will be able to approach it from different perspectives. It is accessible for all ages – early elementary to infinity! Consider this year’s theme: From Fanfare to Finale. This piece begins with a vocal fanfare! Rafiki shatters the silence of the sun rise to call out animals far and near to present the newborn lion cub, Simba. Compare to other fanfares. What makes it so special? Perhaps some children will have experienced the show, with animals coming down the aisles and making their way to the stage. Young students can use scarves or stuffed animals to “describe” the piece. It’s beautiful music that can just be enjoyed on a purely emotional level, just for the sake of listening and being enveloped by the timbres and rhythms. Students could create movements for the different characters, considering how each would move. Older students can consider it by using every element: MELODY – students can follow the melody and determine the numbers or solfege. It begins in a very low range. What happens when the first melody repeats? (It is an octave higher.) What is a musical tie? How many can students find in the verse? How is a slur different? What is the melodic contour of the piece? How could it be described with movement? RHYTHM – Younger students can tap a steady beat when the verse begins and throughout; switching to drum beats that are quiet enough to hear the singers. Older students could learn the 2 rhythm patterns shown later in this document and continue them as ostinati throughout, using one for the verse and one for the refrain. A great time to utilize gourd shakers and all manner of African percussion. HARMONY – Where are the places during which you can hear more than one melody being played or sung at the same time? Does the harmony of the piece mirror the harmony of the animals in the Pride Lands? Listen for the underlying 10 Circle of Life/The Lion King chant by the chorus while Rafiki sings the melody. FORM – students can find repeated parts by listening, analyzing the sections and determining how the piece is arranged. It employs verse and refrain. TIMBRE – students listen for instruments and write what is heard in each of the sections. Post instrument pictures for them to consider as they listen (ask them to name those instruments prior to listening, so that names can be posted next to pictures). Are there any sounds that are not familiar to them? What are the differences between the singer’s voices and…a popular singer you might hear on the radio? How do the voices sound different from our own? Why? EXPRESSION – What is the overall mood of this music? How do the composer and lyricist create this mood? What is the tempo? The dynamics? What kinds of choices will you have to make when you sing it in order to convey the mood or idea that the composer wants? OR Choose 6 animal pictures to copy and laminate. Ask students to listen to the piece. Have them pull an animal ‘out of a safari hat’. Each animal stands for one of the elements listed. All ‘elephants’, for example, will listen to the piece again and answer the EXPRESSION questions, deciding how to answer as a group. Answers can be listed on the board and on a subsequent hearing a different group could consider those answers to see if they feel differently than the original group did. Students could also show their element with movement, scarves, or other materials. OR Produce a short version of The Lion King with shadow puppetry: Shadow puppets are the oldest form of Puppet Theater, and they are used in The Lion King. Traditional shadow puppets in Asia were cut from goat, buffalo, or donkey hide. The puppet silhouettes were painted on with vegetable dye. Flickering oil lamps provided the light behind an outdoor screen. Characters could be manipulated with sticks attached to both hands, feet, or to the head. Below is a picture of an Indonesian shadow puppet. Its neck is also able to move up and down or to turn. 11 Circle of Life/The Lion King Make your own African animal shadow puppets! Enlarge the animals so that each is about ½ page size and/or Create and draw other animal characters from the story of your own choosing, such as Rafiki, Pumbaa, Sarabi, Nala, Timon, or the grasslands. Mount on tag board, color darkly and laminate. Attach sticks, chopsticks, or straws to the laminated animal pictures. Hang a white sheet from the ceiling if possible, or from something else in order to place a lamp behind the sheet. Have students kneel or crouch on the ‘lamp light’ side of the sheet to create shadow puppets that ‘tell’ the story or show the form of the music while it is being played. Hold the puppets close to the sheet. 12 Circle of Life/The Lion King 13 Circle of Life/The Lion King 14 Circle of Life/The Lion King shadow puppet fish behind a piece of silk Additional animal pictures are available by typing “safari animal Pictures” into Google or Bing online. Integration Reading/Literacy: book tie-ins with topics ranging from animals to people who have overcome obstacles or have made a difference despite struggles along the way, such as I Can Make A Difference: A Treasury To Inspire Our Children, by Marian Wright Edelman (2005: Harper Collins Publishing). Social Studies/Geography: discussion/further study of the African continent. Science: study of animals, especially pertaining to the life cycle. Art: mask-making, scenic design, make-up design, costuming, incorporating technology. Music: discussion of careers in music/theater; composer, lyricist, director, actor, producer, technician, choreographer, dancer, singer, costumer to name only a few. 15 Circle of Life/The Lion King 16 Circle of Life/The Lion King 17 Circle of Life/The Lion King National Standards addressed: Singing A.4.1, A.4.2, A.4.5 Performing B.4.1, B.4.2, B.4.3, B.4.5, B.4.6 Improvising C.4.2 Reading E.4.1, E.4.2 Listening F.4.1, F.4.2, F.4.5, F.4.6 Understanding H.4.2, I.4.3 Resources: Books: The definitive book filled with information and pictures on The Lion King by Julie Taymor How Does the Show Go On an introduction to the theater by Thomas Schumacher (Producer of The Lion King) An excellent resource filled with information and artifacts about all things theater, 18 Circle of Life/The Lion King written for kids. The World of Theater from Scholastic Books a spiral bound book spanning the ages, with fold-out pages, puppetry, stickers and more, for children. All books available from Internet Elton John. (2013). Retrieved Aug 12, 2013, from The Official Elton John Website, Julie Taymor. (2013). The Biography Channel website. Retrieved 11:42, Aug 12, 2013, from julie-taymor-320722. Sir Elton John. (2013). The Biography Channel website. Retrieved 11:48, Aug 12, 2013, from elton-john-9355335 Video Here are some excellent clips for classroom use: 19 Circle of Life/The Lion King and, please see the TedTalks video with Julie Taymor at the WMEA Listening Project Facebook page! 20