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The Lion King Review- Audiences Roar!

By Ellen Hager

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Nothing can quite compare to an experience like that of The Lion King! Growing up in the 90’s at the height of animated Disney classics, The Lion King has been part of my earliest childhood memories. With the phenomenal soundtrack forever embedded in my mind, I could not wait to hear all of my favorite songs live and see the phenomenal performance I had heard about for years. Little did I know, it was going to be an experience beyond my wildest dreams!

Rafiki (Brenda Mhlongo) in The Circle of Life


“The Lion King has won more than 70 major awards worldwide, including the 1998 Tony Award and NY Drama Critics Award for Best Musical, The 1999 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album, and the 1999 Lawerence Oliver Awards for Best Choreography and Best Costume Design. Julie Taymor (Director) was the first woman in theatrical history to win the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical…”

Rafiki and The Tree of Life


Music and Lyrics for The Lion King are by world-renowned recording artist, Grammy Winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Elton John and sensational lyricist Tim Rice. Additional music and lyrics are by Grammy Winner Hans Zimmer. Zimmer has also composed for numerous Oscar nominated movies including Gladiator, Driving Miss Daisy, Thin Red Line and Black Hawk Down. The three wrote the score for the feature film Disney’s The Lion King, released in 1994. The movie won an Academy Award for Best Original Score.

Mufassa (Dionne Randolph) Strives to Protect The Pride Lands


The Tony Nominated Book was written by Roger Allers. Allers has worked with Disney since 1988 and has been involved in the structure of dozens of popular Disney movies including Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid. Working in association with Allers is Irene Mecchi. Mecchi has also been instrumental in the world of Disney animated features having co-wrote Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Hercules.

A Determined Scar (Anthony Crane) Hopes to Rule The Pride Lands


Before entering the theatre, it was  my good fortune to get to meet newcomer actress Monique Lee's (Young Nala) family. They could not have been more thrilled to see their daughter and sister in the production for the first time. This really set the tone for the whole evening! Everyone, whether their first time seeing The Lion King, or if seasoned veterans, was ecstatic about seeing this newChicago cast.

Scar (Anthony Crane) and Mufassa (Dionne Randolph) Face Off


The cast features performances by Anthony Crane as Scar (Ugly Betty, CSI, Frasier), Dionne Randolph as Mufassa, Brenda Mhlongo as Rafiki, Nick Cordileone as Timon (Step Up 2), Tony Freeman as Zazu (Law and Order, Law and Order SVU), Ben Lipitz as Pumba (The Sopranos, Law and Order), NYU Graduate Adam Jacobs as Simba, Syndee Winters (former NY Knicks dancer, performances with Jordin Sparks and Rhianna) as Nala, Omari Tau as Banzai, Monica L. Patton as Shenzi, Monique Lee as Young Nala and Kolton Stewart as Young Simba.

Nala (Syndee Winters) and Her Pride of Lionesses


Each and every aspect of this performance was astounding and amazing! The costumes and puppets alone are simply mind blowing! At The Lion King, there is an  elephant that is 11 feet tall (he walks through the audience at the start of the show!), and over 200 puppets featuring 25 different kinds of animals and birds. Responsible for these creations are Costumer Designer J ulie Taymor and Mask and Puppet Co-Designer Michael Curry.

Anthony Crane as Scar


Favorite song and dance numbers (choreographed by Tony Award Winner Garth Fagan) included Circle of Life, I Just Can’t Wait to Be King and Hakuna Matata.

The power of The Lion King cannot be matched and it’s certain to be the most fun you have this year! In Chicago for a limited 13 week engagement, hurry to pick up your tickets today! You won’t want to miss any of the magic!

Individual tickets to The Lion King start at $25 and are on sale now.
Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W.
Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St. and 18 W. Monroe St.); the Broadway In
Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000; all Ticketmaster retail
locations (including Hot Tix and select Carson Pirie Scott, Coconuts and
fye stores); and online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com

Published on Oct 06, 2010

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