King of the Concrete Jungle
Ever since its 1997 debut on Broadway, The Lion King has provided a veritable visual feast for theatre goers in its New York home. This year, the production has taken to the road which means that this musical sensation is playing in Boston where you can see it for yourself!
From September 9th through October 12th, Julie Taymor’s smash hit is performing at the Boston Opera House. The musical, an adaptation of the 1994 Disney film, expands the classic Lion King story. If you think you know The Lion King like the back of your hand, think again! The stage adaptation adds musical numbers, scenes, and plot points to the already-rich tapestry of this Disney classic. It’s a must-see for any Disney, Broadway, or general musical enthusiast.
The show’s now-famous aesthetic really needs to be seen to be believed. The Lion King pushes puppetry and sculpture to the limit in order to breathe life into the African Savannah and make the magic of the film come to life onstage. A combination of masks, headpieces, puppets and armatures work side by side with masterful choreography in order to replicate the feel of the film in this live theatre event. Taymor herself designed and sculpted every master cast to create visual consistency amongst the look of the animals, and her vision is one which leads the production even to this day.
When the show first opened on Broadway, it was so spectacular, creative, and different that it swept the Tony awards. The Lion King won six Tonys in 1998, and there’s plenty of good reason. Elton John and Tim Rice’s symphonic soundtrack comes to life via choreography by Garth Fagan. Fagan’s dance moves (ones which have, over the years, been recognized with countless choreography awards including 1998 Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, and the 2000 Laurence Olivier Award) integrate Afro-Caribbean tradition with fresh new puppetry techniques and technology. The show has had consistently spectacular talent working in lead roles; this touring production features Broadway vets Patrick R. Brown and L. Steven Taylor as Scar and Mufasa respectively, Ben Lipitz as Pumbaa, Jelani Remy as Simba, and Nia Holloway as Nala. This constellation of stars brings high octane performances to the Lion King; performances to rival their spectacular mechanical costars. As a full picture experience, this production is an incredible must see.
The Boston Opera House is the perfect place to house this touring theatrical sensation. First opened to the public in 1928, the Opera House underwent an extensive restoration in 2004. This arduous process cost $54 million, but this money was well-spent in lending the theatre a newfound air of regality, as well as restoring its near-perfect acoustics, all making for the perfect complement to this particular production.
So don’t miss the fun, and bring the family! While a spooky elephant graveyard might thrill youngsters, and Mufasa’s death might make them lament, this show is as family friendly as any Disney production. Tickets for The Lion King may be purchased online through ticketmaster.com, via telephone at (800) 982-2787, or in person at the Boston Opera House Box Office open Monday through Friday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM.