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Don't Miss THE LION KING The Musical this summer!
Written by Karen Logan   

The brilliant sun advances upon Pride Rock, and for the next two hours, you literally feel the earth move under your feet. From Rafiki’s striking, melodic lead-in to the final curtain call, everything about THE LION KING the musical is pure enchantment. Lucky Houston; THE LION KING has returned this summer for a month-long run at The Hobby Center (June 27 through July 23, 2017), and the magical, landmark event is nothing short of spectacular. Tickets begin at $54.50 (plus applicable fees) and can be found by visiting thehobbycenter.org

Fine art connoisseurs, prepare to be amazed; THE LION KING is a Serengeti arts extravaganza with elegantly crafted zebra, elephant, giraffe, bird, and lion puppets gracing the stage. A handful of these same creatures surprisingly make their way through the audience once during the march to Simba’s anointing ceremony and again during the hyena’ renaissance. Agile stilt walkers, stunning masks, and vibrant costumes are put to use throughout both acts of the musical, and the picturesque, layered backdrops and scenery – lush savannahs, fish-filled rivers, elephant graveyards, beautiful holograms, sophisticated lighting patterns – is reminiscent of a holiday buffet table, with countless indulgences to savor at once. When the lionesses mourn the loss of their king, long strips of crepe paper form the giant tears they shed, making for one of the most poignant scenes of the night. It’s genius at work!



The current production conveys more masculinity than in year’s past, with male dancers dominating the stage in most songs (what a treat for the ladies)!  A favorite scene (and a change from recent years) was the “Be Prepared” song with Scar and the hyenas. A troupe of male actors perform a modern, semi-macho, mesmerizing, routine that brings a special energy to the entire musical. Another song sure to be a favorite amongst even the youngest audience members is Simba & Nala’s performance of “I Just Can’t Wait to be King,” a colorful carnival-like rendition full of energy, sass, and pizzazz.

After enjoying 3 previous productions of THE LION KING, I was sure there would be nothing new at which to marvel, but I’ve never been more delighted to be incorrect. This year’s show is the BEST ever, hands down! The production team has upped the ante on the acting, the singing (oh, the glorious singing!) and the choreography, all of which have been polished and taken up many notches. The adapted storyline is the intense tale we’ve come to know and love from the screenplay by Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts, and Linda Woolverton, and coupled with the high-level acting, many scenes – such as when Mufasa tells Simba how scared he is at the thought of losing him – tug heavily at the heart strings. The show’s director, Julie Taymor, was considerate enough to include plenty of impeccably-timed comic relief.  The musical boasts over a dozen hilariously sarcastic comments and clever come-backs that simply command laughter.

Adding to its grandeur, THE LION KING features some of Broadway’s most recognizable music, crafted by Tony Award®-winning artists Elton John and Tim Rice. The distinct sounds of the drums and the flute (or perhaps a piccolo?) are compelling. The singing – chorales, solos, and duos - are rich, soulful, and exciting. I can easily listen to Rafiki’s African chants and melodic singing for hours at once (if only!).  On the other hand, the actor who played young Simba falls flat with his not-so-strong singing voice, but this detail steals little away from the production as a whole.

THE LION KING is an all-ages-will-fall-in-love performance, attracting preschoolers to senior citizens and everyone in between. Winner of six Tony Awards®, including Best Musical, the show is one to see over and over (and over again). There is simply nothing else like THE LION KING.

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