Ever since ‘The Lion King’ (1994 film) debuted in movie theaters, the musical’s popularity has conquered more than just that box office. Only third in line to the thrown of Disney’s top-grossing films, it was inevitable that this animated picture would be adapted into a stage production. Satisfying the lingering hunger of audiences, ‘The Lion King’ (1997 musical) is not only Broadway’s third longest-running show, but it surpassed the film’s success as Broadway’s top-grossing musical ever. Combined with phenomenal puppetry, vibrant costumes, a sensational set design and a disreputably epic soundtrack, it’s easy to see why ‘The Lion King’ has been crowned the best. Be prepared for a royal experience—this interactive musical will pounce on your emotions and leave your heart roaring with excitement!
As soon as the opening chords of “Circle of Life” filled the room, there was an immediate hypnosis that swept over the crowd Thursday night at Dallas Music Hall. The orange paper sun began to rise behind two gliding giraffes on stilts, then a wave of awe followed as the rest of the animal kingdom trotted down the aisles towards the stage. Looking around at the diverse audience, seeing all the transfixed smiles on everyone, there’s a reminder of its undeniable power. Kids that weren’t even born when the movie was released sang along – and that, my friends, is a true testament to the legacy and brilliance of this twentieth-century ‘Hamlet.’
But lets not forget about the performers that brought these creatures to life! The most memorable favorite being Rafiki (baboon), played by the lively Mukelisiwe Goba. Noticeably different from the male version in the film, this creative choice felt right due to the general lack of leading female characters. Other favorites included Zazu (dodo), played by the animated Greg Jackson, and Young Simba (lion cub), played by Salahedin Safi – a gifted young actor with a wicked vocal range! Those familiar with the movie will notice additional scenes and songs, including: “Chow Down”, “Shadowland” and “The Madness of King Scar” to name a few. And speaking of scenes – the scenic design of The Gorge (Act I) and The Jungle (Act II), where Mufasa (lion) appears in the sky to advise his son, is jaw-dropping! You’ll find yourself losing your breath, reaching for a tissue and infectiously singing along with the kids. It’s. Simply. Astonishing.
Running through July 7th here in Dallas, ‘The Lion King‘ is already close to selling out. If you’re looking to attend one of the shows, be sure to purchase your tickets in advance! You can still find some standard balcony tickets averaging $40 and $110 for orchestra floor, but most are pricier re-sale tickets through Ticketmaster. Free self-park and valet are offered at the venue. If you want to witness a spectacular safari, whether you’re new to musicals or not, this is one that can’t be missed! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!