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BWW Reviews: THE LION Roars with Irresistible Charm

The irresistible charm of Benjamin Scheuer and his one-man musical, The Lion, tickles you right from the start, as the guitar playing vocalist sings a catchy folk tune about how, when he was a kid, his father instilled in him a life-long love of music by building him a "cookie-tin banjo" with rubber band strings and a strap made from an old necktie.

BWW Reviews: THE LION Roars with Irresistible Charm
Benjamin Scheuer (Photo: Matthew Murphy)

In the next song, he's ten years old and figuring out how he, his dad and his two brothers can be The Beatles (mom is Linda) and have a career where all the reviews are great and all the M&M's are brown.

And even though his 15-song, 70 minute performance never strays far from a child-like sense of optimistic buoyancy, there are some heavy topics to cover, including mental illness, being abandoned by a lover in a time of need and a bout with cancer. But Scheuer clings to music as his defense against sorrow and, as directed by Sean Daniels, presents himself to the audience as an unassuming, self-effacing troubadour.

Connected by short stretches of narration, the casual, conversational lyrics of his folk/rock score have an understated cleverness. Though they all keep the story moving, most of them can (and should) be enjoyed outside of their dramatic contexts.

To say much more would risk giving away some delightful surprises, the biggest of which is that a one-person musical can be this engaging, heartwarming and thoroughly enjoyable.

Click here to follow Michael Dale on Twitter.

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Michael Dale After 20-odd years singing, dancing and acting in dinner theatres, summer stocks and the ever-popular audience participation murder mysteries (try improvising with audiences after they?ve had two hours of open bar), Michael Dale segued his theatrical ambitions into playwriting. The buildings which once housed the 5 Off-Off Broadway plays he penned have all been destroyed or turned into a Starbucks, but his name remains the answer to the trivia question, "Who wrote the official play of Babe Ruth's 100th Birthday?" He served as Artistic Director for The Play's The Thing Theatre Company, helping to bring free live theatre to underserved communities, and dabbled a bit in stage managing and in directing cabaret shows before answering the call (it was an email, actually) to become BroadwayWorld.com's first Chief Theatre Critic. While not attending shows Michael can be seen at Citi Field pleading for the Mets to stop imploding. Likes: Strong book musicals and ambitious new works. Dislikes: Unprepared celebrities making their stage acting debuts by starring on Broadway and weak bullpens.