Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Lion King Roars!!!!

This is the final week of The Lion King at the Orpheum Theater.
If you haven't seen it yet, bribe someone for a ticket and get there asap! Seats were flying out of the box office from the start of the show's four-week run.
And rightly so.
This is the second time I've seen the show, and it has not lost any of its luster. In fact, it was better than ever!
It's hard to pick a favorite character, but I really, really liked Scar, played by the incredible Timothy Carter. The villain manages to evoke both disgust and sympathy for his complicated character. At the cast party, where I was fortunate enough to meet many of the the wonderful cast and crew members, I spoke to Mr. Carter, leaving me even more impressed! What a bright, insightful actor!
Likewise Simba (grown up), a gorgeous young man with a great voice, and a wonderful personality as well. Jelani Remy reminded me of Shemar Moore in Criminal Minds, and there's nothing bad about that!
The children who played the young Simba (Zavion Hill that night) and Nala were adorable (oh, the boys would kill me for saying that!) and so sweet and talented. Little Kailah McFadden came over to my husband at the cast party and introduced herself and asked if she could sit with him. What a lovely little lady who just turned 12.
I had the pleasure of visiting with the dance captains Jason Lewis and Kendra Moore. They both serve as "swing" performers as well, filling in for just about any part. Smart, friendly, and – there's that word again – talented people! I am so grateful I was able to meet and visit with them.
I'm sure I will be leaving out many wonderful performers, but I certainly need to talk about four in particular: Timon (Nick Cordilleone), Pumbaa (Ben Lipitz), Mark David Kaplan (Zazu), and Rafiki (Nteliseng Mkhela)! The first two are of course the characters known for "Hakuna Matata." They are hilarious. They have to be seen to be believed!! LOL
Zazu, who is Scar's very funny right-hand-bird, injects some really smart humor throughout the show. Ah, and Rafiki is the character (a baboon) who holds the plot together as narrator and more. And she is the most surprising in person. This tiny little young woman wears a large and heavy costume, rendering her unrecognizable in person.
I can't say enough about the music and voices. Simply spectacular.
Then there are the rest of the animals, including my favorites, the giraffes. I got to meet both of them and we had a great time comparing notes about walking (and dancing and prancing) on stilts. Both of them (I'd write their names if I could read their autographs on my poster that they signed!) were funny and very brave. It takes ladders to get them on and off their costumes but they are fantastic to watch.
We all know the story, so I won't even bother (rent the Disney movie!) to recap it. But it is at once funny, moving, inspirational, and most of all, perfect entertainment for the whole family. Everywhere I go, when I talk to people who have seen it and have brought their children, they can't stop raving. Or should I say ROARING?
Go. You'll love it!

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