The Tony-winning director and costume designer reveals the one-word ideograph that allowed her to translate animated characters into captivating onstage creatures.
In 1998, Julie Taymor won a Tony Award for her direction of The Lion King, making her the first woman to win the award. While The Lion King won six Tony Awards in total that night, Taymor, herself, won a second award for Best Costume Design. Her conceptualization for the Pridelands of Africa is what makes the long-running show a masterpiece, and that includes her work on costume, puppet, and mask design. Each of her designs—on which she collaborated with puppet and mask designer Michael Curry—for the principal characters operates on a single ideograph, the word or phrase from which the whole outfit emanates. In the gallery below, Taymor shares the ideograph behind the visual:
For more exclusive features and interviews celebrating The Lion King’s 20th anniversary, go to Playbill.com/LionKing.
How Did Julie Taymor Come Up With the Mask Designs for Each Lion King Character?