Sunday, October 18, 2015

Tonight's Theater: The Lion King

Tonight I enjoyed a lovely evening of theater, seeing the stage production of Disney's THE LION KING for the first time ever.

The occasion was a celebration of our oldest daughter's birthday. She had actually seen the show twice before -- once with friends in high school, and once as part of a free college arts program at USC -- and since it's been several years since she last saw the show, she was more than ready to revisit it.

She's been recommending that I also see it for some time now, and since I finally caught up with the movie four years ago, it was time! The touring production coming to Segerstrom Hall in Costa Mesa during her birthday month was thus serendipitous.

I was surprised to realize it had been almost four years since I last saw a theatrical production! I saw quite a number of shows in the years 2008-2011, but I guess there just hasn't been anything I've wanted to see enough to pay theater ticket prices in the last few years! I'm making up for lost time, though, as I'm also hoping to see 42ND STREET for the first time next month.

I enjoyed THE LION KING tremendously. True, it will never be my favorite show due to the darkness of some aspects of the plot, but the beauty of many other scenes more than makes up for those troubling moments.

THE LION KING is worth seeing for the opening sequence alone, as Rafiki (Mukelisiwe Goba) begins singing "Circle of Life" and animals begin to congregate at Pride Rock to see the newborn Simba. Some of the animals make their way to the stage through the audience, and the impact is overwhelming, as birds fly overhead and the stage gradually fills. It was definitely a misty-eyed moment for me.

The unique designs of the animals are remarkable; the giraffes alone are awe-inspiring. Other aspects, such as the use of black silhouettes in some scenes and the colorful orange and green backgrounds, are equally impressive. The show is a feast for the eyes. The sheer amount of creativity which went into reimaging the well-known animated story for the stage is incredibly impressive.

The visuals and the beautiful John-Rice score are the best, and entirely sufficient, reasons to see the show. Classic songs such as "I Just Can't Wait to Be King," "Hakuna Matata," "Can You Feel the Love Tonight," and the previously mentioned "Circle of Life" take on new emotional resonance when performed live.

I was glad the theater was dark for a few minutes at the end of the show, as the reprise of "Circle of Life" with the presentation of Simba and Nala's cub had me once again a bit teary-eyed. I can sit dry-eyed through sad dramatic moments, but beautiful music gets me every time.

It's been nearly 20 years since THE LION KING debuted on Broadway, where it's still playing over 7450 performances later. For those who don't live near New York, don't wait as long as I did to check out a touring production! It's a wonderful evening of theater.

Related posts: Tonight's Theater: The Phantom of the Opera; Tonight's Theater: My Fair Lady; Tonight's Theater: South Pacific (October 14, 2010); Tonight's Theater: South Pacific (October 22, 2010); Tonight's Theater: Beauty and the Beast; Tonight's Theater: Mary Poppins; Tonight's Theater: West Side Story; Tonight's Theater: A Christmas Carol; Tonight's Theater: White Christmas.


Blogger Irene said...

I was able to see this production on Friday night through our cities travel program. It was wonderful. The last show I saw at Segerstrom was Mary Poppins a couple of years ago. I think I may have enjoyed that show just a tad more than this one, but this was wonderful non the less. I too was teary eyed at the beginning and end but for different reasons because my brother is having health issues and is in the hospital. So the song "Circle of Life" had a different meaning for me this time. The music and scenery and puppetry were top notch.

7:47 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I'm so glad you were able to enjoy it, Irene, especially now. I'm so very sorry your brother is unwell, that's very difficult. Sending you both my good wishes.

Thanks for adding your impressions of the show here!

Best wishes,

11:30 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older