NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— Through the month of November, The Lion King will be live on stage at the Saenger Theatre for several shows. The Disney classic tells a story of a lion cub named Simba who is destined to rule the pride lands by overcoming obstacles including dealing with evil villains.

Many choose to favor the hero in plays and movies, but the villains have their own side of the story. The humans behind the animals tell WGNO-TV what makes the villains Scar and Shenzi.

Peter Hargrave who knows how to do a variety of different accents and impersonations is used to playing the bad guy. He says in order to have a really good hero you need a bad villain to go head-to-head against.

“It is fun to play the villain, what if I did the most destructive thing,”  said Hargrave.

Hargrave has played the villain in “Law & Order, and Dynasty just to name a few, but as the human behind the mask of Scar, he says he looks for an even bigger meaning and why a person would do such bad things. 

“If we can see for 1 second what makes scar, oh that’s the reason he is  behaving or making a bad choice we can find that in our real lives and people we are in conflict with.” 

He says getting into character is a balancing act.  “There’s this constant balance between what is human nature and what is animal nature.” 

He said the puppetry and the people he works with like his hyena sidekick Shenzi make his job a lot easier.

Martina Sykes who grew up singing gospel music in St.Petersburg Florida as a little girl plays beside Scar as Shenzi. She plays the leader of the hyena pack in the broadway show. Sykes says the music makes her feel connected.

“Those songs are very spiritually connected to be there are times where we go into dark times and question our faith.”

That is why she says the hyenas are not as bad as you may think. 

“I think of the hyenas as dark comedic relief, but hyenas in nature are more aggressive I don’t think of them as evil I think of them as hangry.” 

She said even though she is playing a villain she aims to find the humanity in them.  No matter how good, bad, big or small you are, we are all part of the circle of life. 

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased here.

Here is the list of dates you can watch the musical:

  • Thursday, October 27 at 7:30 PM
  • Friday, October 28 at 8 PM
  • Saturday, October 29 at 2 PM and 8 PM
  • Sunday, October 30 at 1 PM (ASL Performance) and 6:30 PM
  • Tuesday, November 1 at 7:30 PM
  • Wednesday, November 2 at 7:30 PM
  • Thursday, November 3 at 7:30 PM
  • Friday, November 4 at 8 PM
  • Saturday, November 5 at 2 PM and 8 PM
  • Sunday, November 6 at 1 PM and 6:30 PM
  • Tuesday, November 8 at 7:30 PM
  • Wednesday, November 9 at 7:30 PM
  • Thursday, November 10 at 7:30 PM
  • Friday, November 11 at 8 PM
  • Saturday, November 12 at 2 PM and 8 PM
  • Sunday, November 13 at 1 PM and 6:30 PM

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