The Lion King Review
Performances run through Sunday, March 29 at The Kentucky Center
My family and I had the opportunity to attend Disney Theatrical Productions and PNC Broadway in Louisville's long-awaited return engagement of Disney’s THE LION
KING. It has been a long time since the show was last here in Louisville and we were so excited to go. We braved the falling snow and the falling temperatures and made the venture downtown on Weds. night!
I recommend taking the whole family to this show! Children will love seeing one of their favorite Disney animated films brought to life as animals leap and pounce onto the stage! One of the most thrilling parts of the night is right as the show opens. During the Circle of Life opening number, animal characters come from the back of the audience and down the specialty made aisles right beside your seat! The Kentucky Center has been transformed for this show in a way most have not seen before. We had a huge elephant puppet come past us!
The stage then explodes into color and life as you see rhinos, giraffes, gazelles, monkeys, birds and so much more. I am amazed at how the actors can use their puppets and their voices to make such an amazing scene come to life! Soon thereafter, the mood changes as we meet Scar (Patrick Brown), Mufasa's (L. Steven Taylor) younger brother who is extremely jealous of young Simba's arrival. When we see Scar in his lair, it is darker and not as vibrant. He sounds exactly like the animated character and it is awesome to see how both and he and Mufasa use their Lion Head puppets to face off, while never losing themselves as actors completely. I was mesmerized by both of their performances.
The audience was then bouncing and humming along as we were introduced to young Simba and young Nala in I Just Can't Wait to be King. Poor Zazu (Drew Hirshfield) tries his best to keep up with the two young ones and to guide them in the right direction, but their spirit outwits him. As the show continues you are introduced to all of the characters from the film, the lions, the hyenas, and more. There are some great scenery effects to portray the Gorge scene and the stampede. Before we know it, Simba is all grown up and in the Jungle with Timon (Nick Cordileone) and Pumbaa (Ben Lipitz). both actors have full body puppets that look exactly like the film and both actors do a phenomenal job of voicing these fun-filled animals while bouncing back and forth across the stage during Hakuna Matata.
In the second act we meet Simba (Jelani Remy) all grown up as he battles with his feelings of what happened to his father and his growing sense that something is missing in his life. Nala (Nia Holloway) seeks him out to try to persuade him to return to Pride Rock. The show has some new songs which really showcase these two actors beautiful voices in Shadowland and Endless Night before they come together to give a soaring rendition of the beloved Can You Feel the Love Tonight.
THINGS TO NOTE
All children regardless of age must have a ticket. Tickets for children remaining in a lap can be purchased at the lowest available price. For lap tickets contact the Kentucky Center box office at 502.584.7777.
LATE SEATING POLICY
Late arriving audience members may be held out until the first appropriate seating opportunity. This applies to the opening act and any ensuing act following an intermission. Late seating holds are in place for the convenience of the performers and audience members who are seated at show time. The lengths of seating holds vary by production and are set in consultation with production artistic staff.
In Louisville THE LION KING will play Tuesday through Thursday evenings at 7:30 pm, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00 pm, Saturday matinees at 2:00 pm, Sunday matinees at 1:00 pm and Sunday evenings at 6:30 pm. Premium Ticket Packages, which include a prime seat location, a commemorative souvenir program and an exclusive merchandise item, are also available. Tickets are available at The Kentucky Center Box Office, by calling 502-584-7777 or online at www.KentuckyCenter.org. Tickets are also available at www.Ticketmaster.com and www.BroadwayinLouisville.com. Orders for groups of twenty (20) or more may be placed by calling 502-569-3060.
Ticket buyers are reminded that The Kentucky Center, Broadway in Louisville and Ticketmaster are the only official retail ticket outlets for all performances at The Kentucky Center. Ticket buyers who purchase tickets from a ticket broker or any third party should be aware that The Kentucky Center is unable to reprint or replace lost or stolen tickets and is unable to contact patrons with information regarding time changes or other pertinent updates regarding the performance.
The North American touring productions of THE LION KING have been seen by more than 15 million theatergoers and grossed over $1 billion to date. Having already played more than 70 cities across North America, THE LION KING now proudly makes its Louisville return at The Kentucky Center.
ABOUT THE LION KING
In its 18th year, THE LION KING remains ascendant as one of the most popular stage musicals in the world. Since its Broadway premiere on November 13, 1997, 22 global productions have been seen by more than 75 million people and, cumulatively, run a staggering 112 years. Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher), THE LION KING is only the second show in history to generate five productions worldwide running 10 or more years. Translated into seven different languages (Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese), productions of THE LION KING can currently be seen on Broadway, London’s West End, Hamburg, Tokyo, Madrid, Sao Paulo, Sydney, Australia and on tour across North America, the U.K., and Japan. The Australian production marks the tenth concurrent worldwide production of THE LION KING, the highest number of productions running at any one time in the show’s history. Having played 19 countries on every continent except Antarctica,THE LION KING’s worldwide gross exceeds that of any film, Broadway show or other entertainment title in box office history.
THE LION KING won six 1998 Tony Awards®: Best Musical, Best Scenic Design (Richard Hudson), Best Costume Design (Julie Taymor), Best Lighting Design (Donald Holder), Best Choreography (Garth Fagan) and Best Direction of a Musical. THE LION KING has also earned more than 70 major arts awards including the 1998 NY Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, the 1999 Grammy® for Best Musical Show Album, the 1999 Evening Standard Award for Theatrical Event of the Year and the 1999 Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Choreography and Best Costume Design.
The show’s director, costume designer and mask co-designer Julie Taymor continues to play an integral part in the show’s ongoing success. The first woman to win a Tony Award for Direction of a Musical, Taymor has in recent years supervised new productions of the show around the world.
The Broadway score features Elton John and Tim Rice’s music from The Lion King animated film along with three new songs by John and Rice; additional musical material by South African Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymor and Hans Zimmer; and music from "Rhythm of the Pride Lands," an album inspired by the original music in the film, written by Lebo M, Mark Mancina and Hans Zimmer. The resulting sound of THE LION KING is a fusion of Western popular music and the distinctive sounds and rhythms of Africa, ranging from the Academy Award®-winning song “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” to the haunting ballad “Shadowland.”
The book has been adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed The Lion King animated feature, and Irene Mecchi, who co-wrote the film’s screenplay. Other members of the creative team include: Michael Curry, who designed the masks and puppets with Taymor, Steve Canyon Kennedy (sound design), Michael Ward (hair and makeup design), John Stefaniuk (associate director), Marey Griffith (associate choreographer), Clement Ishmael (music supervisor) and Doc Zorthian (production supervisor). Anne Quart serves as associate producer.
For more information worldwide, visit LionKing.com.
The Louisville engagement of THE LION KING is presented by arrangement with The Louisville Theatrical Association and is a subscription offering of the PNC Broadway in Louisville Series.