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

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Posts Tagged ‘Lion King Theater Review’

PostHeaderIcon Lion King Musical Review at the Detroit Opera House – Big Hit

Lion King Musical currently Stops in Detroit MI for almost 4-week run from February 13 to March 10, 2013. Lion King will be performing at Detroit Opera House through March 10, 2013. Lion King musical play at the Detroit Opera House reviewed by Gloria Rzucidlo – Here is the review:

Broadway’s award-winning best musical, The Lion King, is back in the Motor City at the Detroit Opera House. It is one of the most popular touring productions currently on the road. went on Feb.15, 2013 and the place was packed. Not a single seat was empty. Adults and kids alike sat impatiently waiting for the show to start.

The curtain rose and the sun was rising on the savanna. The giraffes, elephants and hyenas came running down the aisles of the theatre to the stage. High atop Pride Rock, Mufasa, the Lion King, (played by Dionne Randolph) and Sarabi, the Queen (played by Tryphena Wade) introduced their newborn son Simba to all the animals. Scar, Mufasa’s resentful brother, (played by Timothy Carter) is jealous that Simba will be the future king. He wants that title for himself.

Time goes on and Simba grows into a cocky young cub, getting into trouble. His father tells him “Everything lives in delicate balance called the Circle of Life, you must respect all creatures.”

Scar plots a plan to kill Simba and Mufasa so that he can rule the kingdom. He creates a stampede, where the wild beasts rush to the stage and Simba grabs onto a tree branch for safety. Simba is convinced he killed his father and he leaves the Pridelands and heads for the jungle and makes new friends. Simba meets Nola and realizes their romantic feelings. The song “Can you feel the love tonight” is sung.

The play/musical portrays a lot of African tradition. The costumes and masks are very unique and creative. Human beings wear animal attire and are puppets which are controlled by themselves. The puppeteers operate the hands with a rod and some are operated by more than one person. One handles the arms, and the other manipulates the legs. They are human animals. There is a human face behind the mask to reveal facial expression so you can clearly see their expression or attitude. The masks are worn over the head instead of over the face.

The sets and lighting are exceptional. Pride Rock creates happiness and full of life and the Elephant graveyard represents death and danger. There were countless set changes which make this musical so interesting.

Read the complete review Via {}

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PostHeaderIcon The Lion King Musical Review – Most Effective Puppet Show Ever

The Lion King Musical which returns this week to the Fabulous Fox Theatre-St. Louis MO, might be the most effective puppet show ever – Reviewed By Judith Newmark Via Based on an animated Disney film, the 1997 stage musical features a score by Elton John and Tim Rice that includes several memorable songs, particularly “Circle of Life” and “Hakuna Matata.” But this is a musical that audiences love above all for its look.

Mark David Kaplan plays Zazu in The Lion King Tour

Mark David Kaplan plays Zazu in The Lion King Tour

Director Julie Taymor — whose work on “The Lion King” swept the design categories for the Tonys and also brought her a Tony for best direction of a musical — incorporated many different styles of puppetry and masks in the show: European, Asian and African. The opening, when animals parade through the theater, is one of the rare moments when modern drama achieves an ancient theatrical goal: Audiences are struck with awe.

Puppets can have that effect, said Dr. Eric Nuetzel. A psychiatrist and psychoanalyst with a longstanding interest in theater, he is director of the Schiele Center, a sliding-scale therapy service of the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute.

“Some say that puppetry has been around longer than theater, and it has similar origins in sacred theater,” he said. “In some cultures, puppeteers are akin to shamans, and a lifeless object that behaves like a human or another animal is a source of awe.

“Puppets appeal to something fundamental. Modern theater strives to imitate life, but when actors wear masks or use puppets it’s closer to magic.”

“Magic” is also Dug Feltch’s word for puppetry. He and Bob Kramer, of Bob Kramer’s Marionnettes, have been entertaining children and adults with their shows for decades. The troupe opens its 49th season in October.

Nuetzel suspects that puppetry appeals to children because it engages the same part of the imagination that they bring to play with dolls, toy soldiers or stuffed animals, and it appeals to adults because that kind of imagination is still part of them, even if they don’t give it a lot of exercise.

Read the complete review {Via}

The Lion King Plays Fabulous Fox Theatre from Wednesday August 15 to Sunday September 02, 2012. Buy Lion King Saint Louis MO Tickets and Save $10 on any orders of $250 or more, by using the code SUMMERFUNTN at checkout.


PostHeaderIcon Lion King Currently Touring in Houston, TX – Review

The Lion King touring in Houston, is reviewed by Jim J. Tommaney at, Here is the sneak peek of the review:

The Lion King Courtesy of Galexa Energy Broadway, Disney’s The Lion King roars into town with its menagerie of spectacle, stagecraft and human emotions grafted onto a pride of lions, showcasing what inventive minds can accomplish with unlimited funds and unlimited imaginations. Animal puppetry is brought to exciting life by human actors. The giraffes and the elephants are remarkably realistic, while others, such as the prancing oryxes and the menacing and seductive cheetah, convince through movement. There are singers and tom-tom drummers in the loges, birds fluttering in the sky, and the animals parade down the aisle and enter to crowd the stage with delight. The plot is old lion/young lion, but the drama comes from the love between the boy lion Simba and Mufasa, his father and ruler. His uncle, Scar, is crippled with envy, and he has the hyenas on his side, a marvel of fascination — evil, adroit, brilliantly imagined and crafted, and all too human. A young lioness, Nala, is a pal to Simba in the first Act, and becomes more in Act II, when the lions have grown to maturity. An amusing hornbill, Zazu, watches over Simba, and Simba is befriended by a meerkat, Timon, and a warthog, Pumbaa; they are eminently likable and amusing. This musical is also a ballet, and the choreography by Garth Fagan is striking and hugely important. The songs are wonderful, especially the exuberant “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King,” the evil “Chow Down” and the haunting “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” The music and lyrics are by Elton John and Tim Rice, the direction and costume design are by Julie Taymor, and she and Michael Curry designed the entrancing masks and puppets. A brilliant collaboration of theatrical geniuses has created an awesome blockbuster of overwhelming pleasure.

Lion King is currently performing at Sarofim Hall Hobby Center Through August 12, 2012. Get $10 OFF on any Lion King Houston TX Ticket orders of $250 or more, use code SUMMERFUNTN at checkout.


PostHeaderIcon The Lion King Houston TX Review – A Brilliant Collaboration of Theatrical Geniuses

The Lion King is currently playing on tour in Houston, TX beginning Tuesday July 10, 2012 at Hobby Center. Here is the Lion King musical review by Jim J. Tommaney.

Disney’s The Lion King roars into town with its menagerie of spectacle, stagecraft and human emotions grafted onto a pride of lions, showcasing what inventive minds can accomplish with apparently unlimited funds and unlimited imaginations.

After an opening with the mandrill Rifiki, a quasi-shaman, celebrating the birth of a lion cub to the jungle’s ruler, we are treated to a panoply of animal puppetry brought to exciting life by human actors. Some, like the giraffes and even the elephant, are remarkably realistic, and others more deliberately transparent but convincing because of their movements, such as the prancing oryxes and the singularly menacing and seductive cheetah. And there are solitary singers in the higher loges and birds fluttering in the sky and drummers on African tom-toms in the lower loges, and the animals parade down the aisle and enter to crowd the stage with delight. The spectacle grabs the audience by the throat, no, the heart, and almost never lets go.

Read the complete review {Via}

Lion King Tour will play in Houston, Texas through August 12, 2012. Lion King Sarofim Hall Tickets are in full Demand! Avail $15 OFF on Lion King Sarofim Hall Hobby Center Ticket Orders of $350 or more by using code SUMMERTIXTN at Checkout!


PostHeaderIcon The Lion King Review – Musical Continues its Reign

North American tour of Lion King returns for its third visit to Houston, beginning Tuesday July 10, 2012 at Hobby Center. The Broadway musical continue performances at Sarofim Hall – Hobby Center through August 12, 2012. Here is the Lion King musical review by By Everett Evans.

Disney Theatrical’s megahit stage adaptation of the 1994 animated film logged another milestone in April, becoming Broadway’s top-grossing production ever. Its box-office total of $853 million surpassed that of “Phantom of the Opera,” now in its 25th year and still Broadway’s long-run champ.

But the Broadway production and North American tour (which has played to 14 million people and grossed $928 million) are only the beginning of this show’s worldwide success. To date, 19 productions of “The Lion King” have played to 64 million people in 15 countries across five continents, grossing $4.8 billion.

Besides the Broadway run and the tour seen here, there’s a company traveling in Japan, a U.K. tour that starts next month and open-ended runs continuing in London, Madrid, Hamburg and Tokyo.

Additions to the score by South African musician Lebo M and others injected authentic world-music influences alongside the Elton John-Tim Rice songs. Richard Hudson’s bold settings were influenced by African textile design, while Garth Fagan’s choreography mixed African dance moves with ballet and modern.

Yet it was Taymor’s extensive use of puppets and masks from various world-theater traditions that proved most crucial to the stage show’s unique visual profile. The techniques featured include: stylized African masks, most worn above the head rather than over the face; Bunraku puppetry, with large figures manipulated by teams of puppeteers in full view; and Indonesian shadow puppetry, with moving figures of wood and animal hide silhouetted on a muslin screen.

Taymor and Curry devised a different means for depicting each animal – as prominently displayed in the celebrated “Circle of Life” opening sequence.

The giraffes are performers on stilts that extend their arms and legs, with the tall neck and head worn atop the actors’ crown.

The cheetahs are puppets whose hind legs are worn like trousers, while the performer manipulates the puppet torso and front legs with sticks.

The zebras reverse that format. The performer wears the neck and head attached with shoulder straps, pulling the back end behind. The zebra neck and head is attached to each performer with shoulder straps, pulling the back end whose hind legs are manipulated with sticks.

The success of “The Lion King” helped pave the way for other hits showcasing various forms of inventive puppetry, from “Avenue Q” to the current “War Horse.”

As technical director of the Broadway production and this tour, David Benken supervises all technical aspects of the complex production, making sure they mesh.

Even though the actual load-in of the production to each theater takes four days, the tour manages to close one engagement on Sunday and begin the next two days later. Benken explains how.

“We use two complete duplicates of settings and equipment, so we can open in one city just after closing in the previous one. Otherwise, we’d need a week’s break between engagements. The things we do carry from each city to the next, besides the cast, are the wardrobe and puppets.”

‘The Lion King’ by the numbers

* 134 people in this touring company – 49 cast members, 19 wardrobe people, 18 musicians, 11 carpenters, 10 electricians, 5 hair and makeup artists, 4 props people, 4 stage managers, 3 puppet craftsmen, 3 sound people, 2 creative associates, 2 company managers, 2 merchandise associates, 1 child guardian and 1 physical therapist.

* 200 puppets used in the show depicting 25 species of animal

* 18 trucks (14 of them 53-foot semitrailers) to transport sets, puppets and other materials

* 7 days prep required to set up the show at each new venue (3 days of advance prep, 4 days of on-site technical preparation)

* 6 African languages heard in the course of the show: Swahili, Zulu, Xhosa (the click language), Sotho, Tswana, Congolese

* 45 wigs

* 3,000 stalks of grass required for yearly upkeep of the 20 Grasslands headdresses

* 100 Ants on the Ant-Hill Lady costume

* 12 Bird Kites in Act 2 opener, “One By One”

* 13 feet long, 9 feet wide – the elephant, largest animal in the show

* 5 inches long – trick mouse on Scar’s cane, smallest animal in the show

Read the complete review {Via}

Lion King Play at Sarofim Hall – Hobby Center through August 12, 2012. Lion King Musical Houston TX Tickets are in full Demand! Avail $15 OFF on Lion King Sarofim Hall – Hobby Center Ticket Orders of $350 or more by using code SUMMERTIXTN at Checkout!


PostHeaderIcon Lion King Musical at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre – Review

Lion King is currently performing on tour in Orlando FL at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre. The show opens April 19 at 8 p.m. and will run for four weeks through May 13.

Lion King musical plays at The Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre Tuesday through 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 2:00pm matinee performance on Thursday, May 10 and there will not be a 6:30pm performance on Sunday, May 13.

“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to bring The Lion King back to Orlando,” said Ron Legler, President and CEO of Florida Theatrical Association. “Thus far sales have exceeded our expectations, but there are still great seats available.”

Here is the review by Matthew J. Palm, Orlando Sentinel Theater Critic:

The touring version, at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre for nearly a month, certainly delivers all the goods that have made the story of Simba the lion a raging success.

The animated Disney film, on which the musical is based, handled the mix of grownup themes and kiddie fare with aplomb; the stage version isn’t always as successful. It can’t help but be jarring when against a backdrop of exquisitely designed costumes, flowing dance moves and that hypnotic African chanting to suddenly have a squawking bird crack a one-liner. (Though it must be pointed out that Mark David Kaplan, as the bird Zazu, expertly squawks and sputters like a classic Vaudevillian ham.)

The other principal comic players — Nick Cordileone and Adam Kozlowski as Timon and Pumbaa, the trio portraying hyenas — embody the personas of their animated predecessors.

It’s up to the dramatic actors to add some flesh and blood to the cartoon characters, and they succeed admirably.

J. Anthony Crane’s Scar is appropriately melodramatic and imposing, though his growly shouting buries some of Scar’s jokier lines and he talk-sings too much of his signature “Be Prepared,” giving the unsettling melody short shrift.

Dionne Randolph is a less grave, more energetic Mufasa than some — which makes his worries over parenting Simba and untimely death more poignant. Jelani Remi and Syndee Winters as adult Simba and his gal Nala also have youthful singing voices, which enhance their characterizations.

Perhaps the younger sounds help bring a freshness to the show, which avoids feeling mechanical even after all these years. Certainly adding to the exuberance factor: Adante Power, whose Young Simba is a whirlwind of personality with a dynamite grin.

And irrepressible Buyi Zama manages the tricky feat of being both grave and hysterical simultaneously as wise old Rafiki.

Read the complere review {Via}

Lion King Musical will be at Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre through May 13, 2012. Get $10 OFF on Lion King Orlando FL Tickets Orders of $350 or more by using code #SpringSavings at Checkout.


PostHeaderIcon The Lion King Landmark Theater VA Review

Lion King is currently performing on tour at Landmark Theatre VA in Richmond, VA.

The Lion King is one of the most profitable, longest running Broadway musicals around. But if you want an experience that is its own theater entity, that takes inspiration from the movie and then runs with it to wild, unexpected places, you’re not going to consistently find it here. The first 10 minutes of Disney’s Broadway musical, “The Lion King,” are the stuff of theater transcendence.

A perfectly formed giraffe crosses the stage of the Landmark Theater, and you have to work backwards to realize it’s actually a human in costume. An elephant ambles down the aisle, and it is somehow rooted in the earth and simultaneously the stuff of pure, weird imagination.

But every time one of these moments happens and you feel like you’re watching the story of “The Lion King” in a completely new way, the next moment the musical grows timid and hurries back to an exact replica of the source material.

The musical, like the film, follows the arc of the young lion, Simba, whose wise, ruling father, Mufasa is killed by the nefarious Uncle Scar. Scar and his band of hyena followers take over the lands of Pride Rock. Simba is exiled to the jungle where he finds zany friends, Timon and Pumba, and ultimately the courage to return and fight. The rest is Disney history.

The biggest challenge of transitioning this story to stage is the fact that all of the characters are African animals. It could so easily be laughable. But this is where “The Lion King” musical is at its most inspired. Costume designer, Julie Taymor, along with her mask and puppet design partner, Michael Curry, will go down in Broadway legend for what they’ve done.

I’ve never seen a faster standing ovation than I did at the Landmark at the end of “The Lion King.” And it’s well deserved, because this musical is unlike anything you’ve probably ever seen. Its story is solid, because the film’s story is such a classic, well-constructed arc. Elton John and Tim Rice’s music and lyrics, including all of the film’s songs, are also solid and familiar. All of that makes for a very good musical.

Read the complete review {Via}

The Lion King runs through March 11 at the Landmark Theater. Buy Lion King Richmond VA Tickets Online, Use Code AFF$10 to Get $10 OFF on Orders over $350!


PostHeaderIcon Lion King Musical at Hippodrome Performing Arts Center – Review

The Baltimore return of Disney’s The Lion King opens Friday, December 9 at 7:30 pm at the Hippodrome Theatre for a limited engagement of five weeks through Sunday, January 8, 2012. The show’s 14-week premiere engagement in 2005 played a sold-out run and box office smash at the Hippodrome Theatre.

Judging from all of the smiling children at a recent performance, this show is a wonderful family activity for the holiday season. The kids weren’t the only ones smiling, laughing and pointing, because “The Lion King” knows how to please a crowd.

This theatrical fact is loudly announced in the opening number, “Circle of Life,” in which the performers parade down the aisles and then claim the stage as their own. You plainly see the actors supporting the schematically constructed elephants that majestically march down the aisles.

The birds flying overhead are set in motion by people holding lofty poles; indeed, when one of the birds accidentally got snagged by the overhead balcony, the guy holding that pole earned a round of applause for finding a way to free it without injury to the puppet. And there are performers on stilts that facilitate their angular, forward motion as long-limbed giraffes.

One of the most ingenious design decisions was to create animal masks that do not cover the performers’ faces, but instead hover just above their heads. This presents us with both the animals’ fixed expressions and the more mobile human faces emulating those expressions.

The distinctive look of “The Lion King” is further enhanced by Donald Holder’s lighting design, which bathes Richard Hudson’s spare scenic designs in environmentally evocative splashes of pure color. You don’t doubt that the sun is shining when yellow light suffuses everything in sight.

As for the story, adult viewers will note that it’s a thematically blunt tale about a young male lion, Simba (Niles Fitch, alternating with Zavion J. Hill), that mourns the death of his lion king father, Mufasa (Dionne Randolph), and also contends with Mufasa’s villainous brother, Scar (J. Anthony Crane). Young Simba also takes a friendly interest in a young female lion, Nala (Kailah McFadden, alternating with Sade Phillip-Demorcy).

After spending years growing up on his own, the now-adult Simba (Jelani Remy) returns home to claim his throne. This means jousting with his nasty Uncle Scar, and also taking some time out for a courtship with the now-adult Nala (Syndee Winters).

Although only J. Anthony Crane’s hilariously mean performance as Scar qualifies as a standout performance among the principal roles, this is a vocally capable cast.

Read the complete review {Via}

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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.


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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.

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