BWW Review: THE LION KING Wows at Broadway Across America
The Lion King is one of the epic Broadway shows that everyone should see at least once in their life. It's also one of the few stage productions based on a Disney movie that actually works. They never make the mistake of many movie-to-stage adaptations: sacrificing the heart of the story for the spectacle. It is a huge production. From Pride Rock to an elephant graveyard, the sets are so creative.
I can't think of a single show where the costumes even come close to the grandeur of The Lion King. The animal kingdom comes alive as giraffes, elephants, and birds take to the stage. The costumes are impeccable, and manage to show the movement of cheetahs and antelopes with grace and beauty. Even the jungle plants are brought to life, played by humans in elaborate outfits.
Most kids are already familiar with the story from the movie, making this a very family-friendly show. It has that wow factor, and meshes a captivating plot, incredible sets, and an award-winning score together. There will be a few surprises for those only familiar with the movie. The added scenes don't feel forced, instead they give extra depth to the story. The song "They Live in You" is particularly beautiful. It gives Gerald Ramsey (Mufasa) a chance to shine. The actor brings a warmth and gravitas to the role that's evident and each of his powerful scenes. Nala's song, "Shadowland" is another beautiful surprise. The actor playing Pumba, Ben Lipitz, is celebrating his 5,000 performance in the role. Lovable and humorous, he is perfectly cast.
There are other unique elements that make The Lion King a standout production. There is puppetry, on both the small scale and the large. There are also live drums flanking the stage and providing music throughout the show. The end effect is mesmerizing especially for kids. It's surreal to watch the movie come to life in such a convincing way. If you've never seen it or you've seen it a dozen times, don't miss this production.
Don't Miss the Show
Unlike most Broadway Across America shows, which run for only six days, "The Lion King" will be in town until Saturday, Sept. 29. But tickets are going fast for the popular show, so don't miss your chance to see it. The show is at the Old National Center (Murat Theatre). Tickets can be purchased at Clowes Memorial Hall, the Old National Theatre, by calling (800)-982-2787 or online at www.broadwayacrossamerica.com.
Photos courtesy of Broadway Across America