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PostHeaderIcon Lion King is spectacular at the Providence Performing Arts Center

Disney’s The Lion King is a spectacular musical now playing in Providence at the Providence Performing Arts Center.

As the play begins with the song “Circle of Life,” the actors parade down the aisles, vibrantly dressed as antelopes, birds, elephants, giraffes, and cheetahs. The story is fairly fast-paced and it’s not long before young Simba and Nala are introduced. The first act focuses on Simba as a cub and features many of the songs from the movie. However, it’s perfectly understandable and enjoyable even if you haven’t seen the movie.

The first act is done before you know it, and the second act begins like the first, with animals walking down the aisles. Now Simba is an adult and must face his evil uncle, Scar. If you’ve seen the movie, you know how it ends, and if not you can probably guess.

Overall, all of the staging and costumes were quite interesting and unique. The actors dressed as lions wear masks on top of their heads so that their faces are visible and you can see their expressions. However, a difference from the movie is that Rafiki is played by a woman instead a man. This was a little weird, but a relatively minor negative.

Be sure to get to the show on time as you will not be admitted until about ten minutes into the play if you’re late.

The Lion King is now playing at PPAC until February 20th, with tickets starting at $28. Everyone in the family will love it, so get your Lion King Providence, RI Tickets Online – Only one week left to see, enjoy Lion King at PPAC.


PostHeaderIcon Lion King Providence Another Review – Lion King at its Best when it Roars to Life

The Lion King is currently touring in Providence, RI and performing at the Providence Performing Arts Center, where the show is scheduled to run through through Feb. 20.

Lion King reviewed by Herald News Staff Reporter and published in

Probably the most important thing this writer can say about Disney’s stage production of “The Lion King” is that my daughter Kathryn, 10, said she “really liked it.” This comes from a young lady who was never a big fan of the original, cartoon version. Kathyn accompanied me to “The Lion King” last week at the Providence Performing Arts Center, where the show is scheduled to run through through Feb. 20.

“The Lion King” is the second Disney stage production to be subjected to this reviewer’s evaluation, approximately one year after “Beauty and the Beast” graced PPAC. I had loved the cartoon movie version of “Beauty and the Beast” and never expected the stage production to match it. But it did, perhaps even suprpassing it.

I came at “The Lion King” from a very different perspective, having never really liked the animated version. It just seemed like a too-long remake of the late 1960s cartoon “Kimba the White Lion.”
But judging by the big crowd at PPAC that night, my view is in the vast minority.

The show features grand entrances — one that will have you trapped in the lobby for for 10 minutes or so if you’re late — at the start of the show and when the show resumes after intermission. The best costume is the giraffe, requiring an actor to operate four stilts while donning a huge giraffe neck and head.

The show keeps a decent pace pre-intermission, but after the break comes the trouble. From the start of Part II until the Simba returns/fight-scene at the end, “The Lion King” behaves like my Camry’s cruise control: very slow to kick into high gear.

While Simba’s guilt trip over the death of his father is important, too much time is devoted to his in-skull struggle and it throws the production into slow-mo. Kathryn’s head settled on my shoulder a couple of times during Simba’s king/Hakuna Matata identity crisis.

On the positive side, the show does stage a rousing conclusion. And several of the main characters turn in excellent performances — among them Scar (Anthony Crane), Pumbaa the warthog (Ben Lipitz) and Timon the meerkat (Nick Cordileone) See if you notice the similarity to a Power Rangers’ pose when the young lions strike their ready-to-fight pose. The cute kid lions are portrayed alternately by Dusan Brown and Jerome Stephens Jr. (Simba) and Monique Lee and Madai Monica Williams (Nala).

The stage production has wisely decided to take the Pumbaa flatulation angle and run with it. The warthog lets fly with gas repeatedly and the crowd eats it up — figuratively, of course. The conspicuous expulsions never failed to get big laughs.

The choreography has received much attention and praise in the national press, so those who appreciate cool dancing numbers should enjoy this.


Buy Discounted Lion King Providence RI Tickets Online. Get $10 OFF on Lion King Providence Performing Arts Center Ticket Orders Over $350! Use Discount Code AFF$10.


PostHeaderIcon Lion King Providence, RI Review – The Lion King Still Rules

The nationally touring production that has returned to PPAC and performing through February 20 is just as spectacular. Lion King Providence Performing Arts Center Theater review by Kathie Raleigh and published in

There is not much that can beat the excitement of the opening “Circle of Life” when the “animals” — including gangly giraffes, a life-sized elephant and a flock of white birds — make their entrances on stage and down the aisles of the theater, close to the audience.

While that experience is mostly about costumes and presence, the really good news is that this production keeps up the emotion in the story, from the father-son relationship between the reigning Lion King, Mufasa, and his heir, Simba, to a warmly expressed relationship between the grown-up Simba and his childhood playmate, Nala.

As for the music, the orchestra in the pit is live but recording-perfect. Percussionists set up on either side of the stage, moreover, offer an interesting visual element; so that’s how that jingly, rain-water sound is made. Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice wrote five songs for the show, and Hans Zimmer wrote the score, which most effectively uses traditional African music and choral elements arranged by Lebo M. The result is an appealing contrast between catchy pop hooks and mesmerizing, rhythmic vocals.

All the characters are animals, and the actors have inventive costumes, masks and puppets created by the original director, Julie Taymor, and designer Michael Curry, to portray them.

Amazing costumes don’t negate the need for good acting, and there is plenty in this production. Derrick Davis as Mufasa is regal yet nurturing with the young Simba, a role performed on different nights by two children. Thursday’s performance was by Dusan Brown Jr., who used every fiber of his tiny body to express Simba’s many moods.

The spectacle is the attraction when seeing Disney’s “The Lion King” the first time, and the costumes, music, acting and storytelling are reasons to return for a second time — or more.

Read the complete Review at

Lion King Providence Performing Arts Center Performances continue through February. 20 at PPAC, 220 Weybosset St. Tickets are already on Sale, Buy Lion King Providence RI Tickets. Get $10 OFF on Lion King Ticket Orders Over $350! Use Discount Code AFF$10.


PostHeaderIcon Lion King coming to Providence Performing Arts Center Feb 01

Lion King returns to Providence Performing Arts Center next week. Lion King show will be in town till Sunday, 20 February, 2011.

And if Providence is anything like the rest of the country, the show will do very well. For, almost 14 years after “The Lion King” opened on Broadway, it’s still breaking box office records, said Tom Schumacher, head of Disney Theatrical Productions.

“It’s crazy,” said Schumacher, “but it speaks to the power of the show.”

Actually, Schumacher has been involved with “Lion King” in some capacity for the past 20 years. He got involved with the development of the 1994 film back in 1990, when the project was known as “King of the Beasts.” The animated film was, of course, a huge success, which paved the way for a musical that to its credit did not look like a cartoon brought to the stage. That was largely due to the vision of director Julie Taymor, who felt, as Schumacher said, that the film should “be inherently filmic, and the musical should be inherently theatrical.”

And there is no more exciting 15 minutes in theater than when the “animals” in the show come parading down the aisles of the theater.

“She never hides the actor,” said Schumacher of Taymor. “This is a story about animals, but it’s really about us.”

Those who have seen the show know that the big idea behind it is the notion of the “circle of life.” The musical opens with the birth of Simba, the lion cub who is destined to rule Pride Rock. We watch him develop through tough times, and grow to an adult, when he and Nala have their own son.

“It’s an event,” said Schumacher. “It’s cathartic.”

Another big plus for the show is the catchy score that mixes pop ballads from Elton John with the pulsing choral numbers of South African composer Lebo M.

Even though it is based on a popular kids’ movie, the musical is not for small fry, said Schumacher. The show’s too long, and too sophisticated for a 5-year-old, he said, but 8 or 9 is fine. And for them “Lion King” provides some memories.

“The Lion King” opens Tuesday, February 01 and runs through Sunday, February 20 at the Providence Performing Arts Center, 220 Weybosset St., Providence.

Get $10 OFF on Lion King Providence RI Ticket Orders Over $350! Use Code AFF$10.

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