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Behind the scenes: 'Lion King' roars to life at State Theatre

6:58 AM, Jul 23, 2013   |    comments
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Photo Gallery: Slideshow | 'Lion King' roars in Cleveland
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The costumes and wardrobe of the "The Lion King" transform the actors into animals, plants and backgrounds. 

There are more than 16 people backstage assisting the actors with their costume changes. 

The average actor has between 11 to 14 changes throughout the entire show.

PHOTOS | Behind-the-scenes images at "The Lion King"

Union rules state that if a costume touches the skin of an actor during a performance --  it must be cleaned every day. That's 8 shows a week. 

Then there's the music.

One of the percussion kits features 30 different instruments gathered from all over the world. There is actually four percussionists that perform in every show of the "Lion King" -- two of them constantly viewable to the audience.

Every piece of music and sound effect is played live.

There are 37 actors on stage every night, 230 different puppets are used during one single performance. Head pieces, moving scenery and shadows are brought to life through puppetry. Even the main characters -- like Zazu the bird -- is operated by an actor on the stage.

The actors are put through four weeks of intense training and it could take up to six months before they are ready to perform it live on stage. 

The lightweight headpieces in the costumes have built in microphones and molded to fit each actor's head. The parts of Mufasa and Scar both have hydraulics built into their head pieces.

"The Lion King" is at The State Theatre in Cleveland until August 4.

Tickets are available at the Playhouse Square Box-office, www.playhousesquare.com or by calling 216-241-6000.

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