The success of Disney's The Lion King on the big screen resulted in a Screen-to-Stage Adaptation in 1997. Directed by Julie Taymor, the Broadway production is still running, having won the 1998 Best Musical Tony Award, and was the first such show to gross over $1 billion as of 2013. Touring and sit-down productions have been mounted in dozens of countries.The show is famous for its Spectacle: Eschewing the relatively literal, film-based costumes and sets of Disney's previous Broadway adaptation Beauty and the Beast, the staging here uses a variety of creative methods to "animate" its characters and setting, with costumes that often cross over with puppetry.
Artistic License - Biology: While the film itself is rather good about it, the theater adaptation seems to make Shenzi more of a moll to Banzai, despite the fact that hyena packs are well-known matriarchies.
Book Ends: The giraffes, zebras, gazelles, birds, cheetah, rhinoceros and elephant calf from the beginning of the show reappear at the end.
Call Back: The scene where Simba has to rescue Timon from the waterfall has him hanging from a tree branch, just as had happened to Simba in the gorge; in fact the multi-tiered set used for the gorge is reused as the waterfall set. This is of course deliberate so as to induce a Heroic BSOD for Simba, since the lighting and music switch to recall the stampede as well.
The Long List: In "The Madness of King Scar", Scar asks Zazu what Mufasa had what he doesn't have. Zazu responds with "Do you want the short list or the long?"
Lovable Coward: During the final battle sequence, we can see Zazu (having escaped his cage offscreen) fleeing in terror from a hyena.
Match Cut: During the mourning for Mufasa, the curtain lowers to show Rafiki's tree for her moment of wiping away Simba's portrait. After the heartbreaking trio of her, Sarabi, and Nala ends, the curtain rises again—and Simba, collapsed in the desert, has replaced Mufasa's body.
Mood Whiplash: The entr'acte before Act II opens with the chorus singing a light-hearted song called "One by One" with bird puppets and kites. However, once the song is over, the birds are replaced by vultures and gazelle skeletons, which reveals just how worse things have gotten since Scar took over.
Mythology Gag: During the new scene where Simba, when trying to rescue Timon, has a flashback to the wildebeest stampede, a river and waterfall figure prominently. This is a reference to the original appearance of such scenery during the Cut Song "Warthog Rhapsody" from the film. It may also act as a Continuity Nod (and Call Forward) to Simba's Pride, where Simba is still haunted by the day at the gorge, this time in his nightmares (which in turn carry through from his Bad Dreams in 1 ½).
Nude-Colored Clothing: Some of the plant costumes are examples of this. Also downplayed; for many characters, the shoes are flesh colored.
Old Retainer: Zazu, even more so than in the original animation. At one point he consoled Mufasa regarding Simba's rebellious streak; "I seem to recall a young lion cub, more willful than wise. And he achieved some prominence."
Split Screen: In a variation, Simba's final heartfelt chorus of "Endless Night" is overlapped with Rafiki listening in with an ear horn, so that he's still onstage at the same time she realizes he's alive.
Villain Song: Aside from "Be Prepared", the hyenas get "Chow Down".
Visible Invisibility: The puppet operators are always visible — most notably, Timon's actor is bright green, and Zazu is a small puppet riding on the actor's head — and yet you can easily focus on the puppets rather than the actors.
This also applies to many stage mechanics and devices that, in most musicals, are kept hidden; this was highly intentional, to produce an effect where imagination filled the scene in.