Lion King currently playing on tour in Columbus, OH (till July 07) and moves to Houston, TX (from July 11)

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Posts Tagged ‘Lion King Queen Elizabeth Theatre Vancouver’

PostHeaderIcon Stars of Disney’s The Lion King at the Arts Club

Some of the stars of the hit show Disney’s The Lion King up close and personal in an old-style, speakeasy-themed benefit cabaret this Monday night (July 26) at the Arts Club’s Revue Stage on Granville Island. Titled Le Jazz Hot, the show will raise money for the YouthCO AIDS Society and the National Congress of Black Women Foundation’s Vancouver chapter.

The musical revue was created by Vancouverite and cast member Ian Yuri Gardner and features Wendy Bollard, Vusi Mhlongo, Kendra Moore, LaShonda Reese, Sophia Stevens, and other members of the Lion King cast. It’s a one-night-only event, but you can see the singers in all their elaborate wildlife finery at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre till August 8.

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PostHeaderIcon “The Lion King”, a Groundbreaking Work of Art

Book by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi. Music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice. Directed by Julie Taymor. Lion King Musical, A Walt Disney Company production, presented by Broadway Across Canada. At the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Thursday, July 15. Continues until August 8.

The design is the star of The Lion King. That’s both a good and a bad thing. Some sequences are heart-stoppingly beautiful. In the opening of this story about a young lion named Simba, the savannah awakes. A tangerine sun rises as South African rhythms reverberate through the theatre, shaking your bones, and animals parade down the aisles. Actors dressed in spectacular costumes—hippos, birds, elephants—ascend the stage, where they meet giraffes (actors on four stilts), cheetahs, and more. It’s enough to make you weep.

Director Julie Taymor designed the costumes and she codesigned the masks and puppets with Michael Curry. Many of these elements are stunners as well. A wheeled, geared machine supports sculptures of antelopes that appear to leap in complicated groupings as it moves along.

Taymor’s emphasis on design sometimes overwhelms the story, however. The 1994 animated film, upon which this 1997 stage musical is based, is full of boisterous, unpretentious action. Here, beautiful fabrics and shapes become the substitutes.

When Simba’s evil uncle Scar manipulates the young cub into running away from home, the outcast Simba picks up a couple of comic sidekicks: the warthog Pumbaa and the meerkat Timon. With the arrival of these two, the musical takes a sharp—and welcome—turn toward the goofy. And all of a sudden, the show is about surprising relationships and personalities. Throughout most of Act 1, the only surprising personality belongs to Scar, who was sinuously played on opening night by standby Nicholas Carriere. Ben Lipitz is in excellent, flatulent form as Pumbaa, and Nick Cordileone delivers one of the funniest performances of the evening as the silly, slightly hysterical Timon.

Most of the music by the central composers, Elton John and Tim Rice, is forgettable pop. But the stage version of The Lion King also borrows songs from the album, The Rhythm of the Pride Lands, which features work by South African songwriter Lebo M, among others. This more authentically African material is thrilling, especially when it’s sung by Brenda Mhlongo, who plays the baboon narrator Rafiki.

In terms of spectacle, Taymor’s Lion King is a groundbreaking work of art, but Taymor is sometimes more of a visual artist than a compelling storyteller.


Lion King is currently performing at Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver, BC Canada. The Lion King continues in Vancouver until Aug. 8. Buy your Lion King Vancouver BC Canada Tickets now!


PostHeaderIcon Vancouver Singer Ian Yuri Gardner returns to Lion King Cast

The Lion King at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre

The Lion King at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre

The local Vancouver singer Ian Yuri Gardner has spent most of the past seven years in various stage productions of The Lion King. Yes, this show has legs, especially when Gardner comes onstage as a giraffe.

Gardner plays a “swing” in the cast, meaning he’ll be onstage in several different roles during any given show.

“We’re in puppets the majority of the time,” Gardner says. “There’s lots of choreography even for the singers. We’re never just standing there.”

Disney’s movie cartoon was adapted for the Broadway stage by director Julie Taymor 13 years ago, with the story’s various animals represented by huge puppets manipulated by the cast. The stage version has since become a durable audience-pleaser as well.

Gardner’s giraffe moment comes during the opening song “Circle of Life,” which recreates the movie’s panorama of wildlife. Gardner plays one of the two giraffes in that sequence, requiring him to walk on all fours with stilts on his hands and feet, while singing.

“It takes a while to get used to it,” Gardner says. “Some people never get used to it — they go out there still nervous, but I actually enjoy it. This is one of the most unique shows that I have ever been a part of.”

Gardner was born in Britain, but grew up in Vancouver, graduating from Gladstone secondary in 1986, the year his school choir sang at Expo.

He went on to a career doing musical theatre in Vancouver, singing on cruise ships, and producing his own shows in Britain and Canada. The travelling continued when he first joined a production of The Lion King in Toronto in 2003.

After that production’s run, he joined a production in Holland (for which the cast had to learn Dutch), and eventually joined the Broadway show in New York, where he stayed for two-and-a-half years.

“I heard the tour was coming back to Canada so I asked to join,” he says over the phone from a U.S. tour stop. “They always called me, every time I thought that was enough of The Lion King.”

He will do as many as 20 costume changes in a show, and the touring schedule involves eight shows a week.

“The fact that it’s coming back to Vancouver makes it full circle for me,” he says. “My goal has always been to open up my own production company doing a variety of events in Vancouver. I’m slowly heading that way more permanently. I’ll still be in The Lion King for a little bit, but I’m definitely on my way back home.”

Lion King is currently performing at Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver, BC Canada through August 08, 2010.
Timings: 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays, 2 p.m. Saturdays, 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sundays. Until Aug. 8

Buy Lion King Vancouver BC Canada Tickets.

{Via Postmedia Network Inc}


PostHeaderIcon Lion King Roars into Vancouver‎ BC

The Vancouver premiere of Disney’s The Lion King opens tonight, Thursday, July 15 at 7:30pm at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre for a limited engagement of four weeks through Sunday, August 8. In Vancouver, The Lion King plays Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 7:30pm, Sunday evening 6:30pm, Saturday matinees at 2pm, Sunday matinees at 1pm with an additional matinee performance on Wednesday, August 4 at 2pm. There will be no 6:30pm performance on Sunday, August 8.

After the Vancouver engagement The Lion King will return to Canada in April 2011 when the record-breaking musical comes back to Toronto where it had its Canadian premiere in April 2000, entertained 2.9 million theater patrons and played 1,560 performances (closing in January 2004). The North American touring company will begin performances on April 19, 2011 for a limited five-week run at the Princess of Wales Theatre, the same venue where the Toronto production was originally housed.

Buy discounted Tickets to Lion King in Vancouver, Canada for all Queen Elizabeth Theatre Vancouver performances. Save $10 on Lion King Broadway Ticket Orders Over $350! Code AFF$10

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