The Lion King has wowed audiences around the world, but just as important as the costumes and actors are the sounds of the animals.
Musician Kay Ragsdale took WOWT on a behind-the-scenes tour of the award-winning production. She is responsible for bringing the music to life.
Ragsdale said, “The characters that we see in the show for instance, this little tiny flute which is from China is called a dietza. This is Nala and you hear this when she is a cub in Act One.”
Ragsdale doesn’t just play Nala, she is also Mufasa, Scar, and Simba. Altogether, she uses 15 different flutes to create the sound of each character. She and ten other traveling musicians perform their parts in the orchestra pit, along with six others from Omaha.
"And in every city they have one rehearsal to practice with the orchestra and you know those people are the best in town," said Ragsdale. She adds that their part may not be visible on stage, but the audience would definitely miss them if they weren’t there.
"It is so much, (laughing), so much fun,” said Ragsdale. “What I really like is every night coming to the show and hearing the audience. I think the audience is the best character because they change every night, but the laughter. I mean, it's thrilling."
Ragsdale told Channel 6 News each performance is exciting, even after being a part of The Lion King for 11 years and seeing it about a dozen times. She adds, "This is better than I could have ever expected to get to do and it is a thrill to do every single night."
The Lion King is at the Orpheum Theater through April 7th.