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PostHeaderIcon The Lion King is Theatrical Perfection, at its Best

Lion King Musical is constantly surprising in its storytelling methods, based on African traditions of drumming, chants and rituals. The show takes the audience into a mind-expanding world where dancers with swaying straw skirts and headdresses of foliage become grasslands, and cloud shapes manipulated on long sticks suddenly merge into a giant lion mask.

Brenda Mhlongo performs as Rafiki in 'The Circle of Life,' the opening number from 'The Lion King.'

Brenda Mhlongo performs as Rafiki in 'The Circle of Life,' the opening number from 'The Lion King.'

Elton John’s songs, and especially the additional music by Hans Zimmer and Lebo M, enhance the show with haunting choral and percussion work. Garth Fagan’s choreography adds engaging energy, from leaping gazelles to stalking lionesses.

The large cast requires alternates and understudies for most roles. At Thursday night’s official opening, Ntomb’Khona Dlamini made a lovable, irascible shaman, Rafiki, Kolton Stewart a cheeky Young Simba, Madai Monica Williams a sassy Young Nala, and Ta’Rea Campbell a feisty adult Nala.

The second act slows down a bit with several unnecessary songs and plot diversions, but it’s a small price to pay for such a life-affirming, lessons-giving piece, a true family musical.

“The Lion King” is a prime example of what musical theater can and should be.

Lion King is currently playing on tour in Durham Performing Arts Center, Durham-NC. Get $10 OFF on Lion King Durham NC Ticket Orders Over $350! Use Code AFF$10.

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PostHeaderIcon Lion King roars into Durham Performing Arts Center January 04, 2011

Lion King is coming to the Durham Performing Arts Center tonight. The Tony Award-winning Broadway musical The Lion King returns to Durham NC at 7:30 tonight and continues through January 30, 2011.

Lion King roars into Durham Performing Arts Center

Lion King roars into Durham Performing Arts Center

The Lion King is in its 13th year and has toured around the world, including Asia. Its broad appeal and longevity come from its classic story of personal growth and family strife, along with its diverse batch of dance styles, said Garth Fagan, who created the original choreography for the show.

Much of the show’s draw is its unconventional use of puppets and masks. The props are so seamlessly integrated with the actors, it’s easy to forget there are people behind them.

Tony Freeman plays the role of the hornbill Zazu, the lion Mufasa’s snooty aide. Freeman becomes the bird through a puppet extended on his arm, which he controls through three strings and a Slinky in Zazu’s neck. He has been playing the role for more than six years on Broadway and with the touring company.

The Lion King is expected to draw more than 75,000 people, as did “Wicked” and “Billy Elliot,” said Rachel Gragg, director of public relations for Durham Performing Arts Center. The center is counting on more than 40 percent of the audiences to come from Wake County.

Buy Lion King Durham Performing Arts Center Tickets. Get $10 OFF on Lion King Durham NC Ticket Orders Over $350! Use Code AFF$10.

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PostHeaderIcon Lion King Coming to Durham Performing Arts Center in January

Disney Theatrical Productions and DPAC announce that tickets for the long-awaited production of Disney’s “The Lion King” will go on sale to the public at the DPAC Ticket Center Saturday, Oct. 2, at 8 am.

The production will begin performances at Durham Performing Arts Center Tuesday, Jan. 4, for a limited engagement of four weeks through Sunday, Jan. 30. The opening night is Thursday, Jan. 6, at 7:30 p.m.

The North American touring production of “The Lion King” has been seen by more than 12 million theatergoers and grossed over $775 million to date. The tour is one of seven productions running worldwide, along with New York City, London, Hamburg, Paris, Tokyo and Las Vegas.

In Durham, “The Lion King” will play Tuesday through Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. Sunday evenings at 6:30 p.m., Saturday matinees at 2 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 1 p.m. There will be a special 1 p.m. matinee Wednesday, Jan. 26.

Ticket prices start as low as $22. Check the Availabilty of Lion King Durham NC Tickets

Now in its 13th year, “The Lion King” continues to reign as one of the most popular shows on Broadway and around the world. It is the eighth-longest-running musical in Broadway history and, according to figures just released by The Broadway League, placed second on the Top 10 lists for both the highest-grossing and best-attended shows of the 2009-10 season, a remarkable indicator of its unprecedented success.

“The Lion King” is one of only five musical productions in theater history to play for 10 years or more on both Broadway and the West End.

The Broadway score features Elton John and Tim Rice’s music from “The Lion King” animated film along with three new songs by John and Rice; additional musical material by South African Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymor and Hans Zimmer; and music from “Rhythm of the Pride Lands,” an album inspired by the original music in the film, written by Lebo M, Mark Mancina and Hans Zimmer.

Buy Lion King Durham Performing Arts Center Tickets. Save $10 on Lion King Broadway Ticket Orders Over $350! Code AFF$10

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