Lion King currently playing on tour in Minneapolis, MN (till Apr. 28) and moves to Dayton, OH (from May. 01)

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PostHeaderIcon Lion King Musical Toronto Review

The Lion King music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice, with additional material by Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymor and Hans Zimmer, book by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi, directed by Taymor (Mirvish) is currently running at the Princess of Wales (300 King West, Toronot ON) Runs till June 12, 2011.

Lion King Musical Toronto

Lion King Musical Toronto

A bit of luster has come off the crown of The Lion King, which was one of the boldest, most visually inventive musicals in its day. This is the touring version of the Disney musical and not the resident production that roared at the Princess of Wales for several years in the early 2000s. So a few of director/designer Julie Taymor’s jaw-dropping stage effects have been scaled down.

But the sets and costumes continue to be the show’s chief draw, from the famous opening number onwards, as carefully designed puppet monkeys, birds and even a big ol’ lumbering elephant come down the theatre aisles, all to the rousing strains of Brenda Mhlongo’s baboon Rafiki and the hall-filling chorus.

The original songs themselves and the pacing in the long first act, however, are tougher to sit through. The story – about young cub Simba’s reclaiming of his birth right after the death of his father Mufasa – remains the same. There’s still lots of mythic weight in that journey about letting go of childish things and fulfilling one’s responsibilities.

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