Overall - The Lion King was very well done - combining everything I loved about the animated Disney film with everything I love about theater. Using incredible techniques, this production had a design aesthetic all its own and has earned a position in Broadway history because of it.
Story - Based loosely on Shakespeare's Hamlet, the musical's story is the same as the film's: Scar, in an attempt to claim the crown, kills the current king and attempts to have Pride Rock's heir, Simba, killed. But Simba survives and lives a life of "no worries" with Timon and Pumbaa in the jungle, until his intended, Nala, finds him and persuades him to return to claim his rightful crown from his tyrannical uncle. As a kid, I fell in love with this story and so am happy they keep it the same for the musical; however the stage version, though enjoyable, left me aching for something more.
Score - The show features all of the wonderful music from the animated film, plus a couple additional songs written for the show, including the beautiful "Shadowland," sung by the lionesses. Like all of the other Disney adaptations, I wish they had shortened the production and added songs to the emotionally heightened moments rather than throwing in additional character development pieces. A couple of skunks, like "The Madness of King Scar," feel horribly unpolished.
Actors - I saw the touring production when it came through Minneapolis in 2003, and thought it featured a nearly perfect ensemble. Though no specific performance stood out, the overall cast worked together to great effect.
Summary - Not life changing, but it was a very beautiful way to tell a wonderful story. Worth seeing if for nothing more than the opening "Circle of Life" sequence.
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