From Edmonton and Calgary to New York City; from Las Vegas and San Jose to Melbourne, tickets to the Tony Award-winning musical, ‘The Lion King,’ have been selling out in just the last few days, thanks to the killing by an American dentist of Cecil, the beloved lion of Zimbabwe.
The outrage and outpouring of emotion over Cecil’s death have quickly spread worldwide. The incident has gained much more attention than the killing of unarmed black men by police in America, or the extrajudicial killings happening in many countries with repressive regimes. The incident has produced a new meme and hashtag, ‘LionLivesMatter,’ a take-off from ‘BlackLivesMatter.’
‘The Lion King ‘ is a musical based on the 1994 Disney animated film of the same name with music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice along with the musical score created by Hans Zimmer with choral arrangements by Lebo M. Directed by Julie Taymor, the musical features actors in animal costumes as well as giant, hollow puppets.
The musical debuted July 8, 1997, at the Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the same state in which the killer dentist, Walter Palmer, holds his practice.
Today, the show’s producers announced that they are changing the title of the musical from “The Lion King” to “Cecil The King” in honor of the slain lion.
It wasn’t clear whether the title change was a humanitarian/animal activist decision or a financial decision. Ticket prices have reportedly doubled this past week.
Meanwhile, Palmer, whose whereabouts is currently unknown, has sent out feelers to the producers that he would like to sponsor a return engagement of the musical to Minnesota.