Mark Richards


Monday, February 10, 2003

The Lion King: The Musical

I had the pleasure of seeing The Lion King (the musical, not the movie) last night at the Atlanta Civic Center with a couple of friends. I was extremely excited to see a show, since I don't get to see as many as I used to when I lived back up in good ol' New Jersey. I was slightly skeptical though. The last travelling show I saw was Rent in Greenville, SC. The lighting and sound systems at the Greenville Arts Center were less than spectacular, thus leaving me to wonder if all or most travelling productions lack the quality of their Broadway relatives. This was not the case though for The Lion King.

I would have to consider myself somewhat of an "unofficial expert" when it comes to Broadway musicals. I have seen over a dozen different musicals, some more than once, in New York, London, Greenville, and now Atlanta and I can honestly say that The Lion King is the most creative, and refreshing show I have ever seen. Ignoring the facts that acting and sets were very good, as was the plot (almost identical to the movie), I would have to say that the headlining themes for this show are the costumes and puppetry. The show did a wonderful job of having the actors and actresses interact with life-size, human manipulated puppets. All the wildlife and creatures from the movie were accurately and vividly portrayed in many different colors, styles, manners. The show had everything from 18-foot giraffes to a mouse only a couple of inches tall. The sheer magnitude of what the show accomplished on stage was awe-inspiring. According to the playbill, "it took 37,000 hours to build the puppets and masks"...not what used you used to do in art class back in grade school, eh?

I would have to recommend The Lion King to anyone who truly enjoyed the characters and music from the movie, and especially anyone with children. It has a little bit of everything for everyone...that is if you enjoy this sort of thing like I do. Overall, I'd give it a B+.


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