The Lion King blew me away the first time I saw it (probably around 2005 or so), but after going again recently (fall 2010), I found it slow and tedious in parts. I think this was largely due to seeing it outside of a top tier market the second time. It's a fantastic, must-see for any musical theater fan, but choose your city wisely.
Our first experience was at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles (Hollywood) - and it was breathtaking. The music draws you in and soars, but mainly the combination of the set design, costumes, and dance were what really added up to make for a memorable and totally unique experience. It's sort of like going to a really great art exhibit that happens to have song and dance, in a way. The design of the set and costumes is easily as remarkable as the music itself.
The second time we went was to share the experience with our 3 year old daughter. This was at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, CA. It was a significantly different experience. The sets and staging felt smaller and less impressive somehow. The vocals were noticeably less impressive - clearly the A-list talent goes to the major markets, or that was my impression as to why the singing was not as stellar.
From the point of view of a parent... Being there with my daughter, I picked up on different issues with the theme. I'd totally forgotten that Mufasa, the father character, dies! Pretty disturbing for a young toddler / preschool age child. Luckily we sort of played it off that he "went away" so as not to scar her. Darn Disney and their penchant for killing off characters! She found the hyenas a bit scary, but also intriguing and I didn't feel there was anything overall that was too intense.
My daughter now LOVES the score and we listen to it often (and by often, I mean incessantly ; ) in the car. I think it's fantastic that she's so aware of the various instruments (walking down to see the orchestra pit left quite an impression).
Tip on where to sit For this production, your seating really does matter, as there's some great close-up interaction with the animals as huge animal pieces come swaying from the back of the theater up to the stage just as the music soars - it's very exciting and beautiful... if you're down in front. From any type of balcony location, you miss most of that action and just view from afar.
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, … more
I am a huge Disney fan-obviously- so when I walked into the Minskoff Theater to see The Lion King on broadway on August 19th, I knew I would be enjoying the show. I just didn't know how amazing it would be!!!! The theater itself is fantastic, as is the view of Times Square from the lobby! After looking around a little, Chris and I sat down in our seats, which were really good and settled down to watch the show. Some of my favorite parts would be … more
Lion King blew me away the first time I saw it, but after going again recently (years later), I found it slow and tedious in parts. Costumes are of course stellar, and probably the strongest part of the show.
Though Disney has become a force to be reckoned with in the world of Broadway, it’s scary to think that most of their productions can’t always compete with the more elaborate shows that are playing across the street. “The Lion King,” directed by Julie Taymor, is a rare exception to that rule. Not only is this a show that does the source material justice, it also gives the original movie a run for it’s money. The storyline is pretty much the same as in the movie, except … more
Winner of six 1998 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, The Lion King pulses with an award-winning score and innovative puppetry to bring the classic story of young royal heir Simba and the animals of the African Pride Lands to vivid life.