Saturday, July 19, 2014

"The Lion King" performance at the Kennedy Center

I never got to see The Lion King when it was on Broadway in New York City. So when I heard that it was coming to DC, I immediately bought tickets. I've always heard good things about the show, and I wanted to experience it for myself.

The show was AWESOME! I think everyone can agree that the best part of The Lion King is the costumes. They are so creative and beautiful, from the lions to zebras and even a termite hill! The actors also would come into the aisles of seats; you'd turn around and see an elephant walking past you! That was really neat to immerse the audience into the show like that.

Each person playing the antelopes actually has three antelopes: one on the head, and one on each arm! The giraffes are each one person with stilts on both hands and feet, and the cheetah was the most complicated of all, with strings attaching from the human head to the cheetah head to mimic movements. Incredible!
Look at the face paint! So intricate! And the masks of Mufasa and Scar would move; if they crouched down, the masks would come over their heads and cover their faces, and then they looked like real lions fighting!
This is Simba. Looking pretty good, right?
I didn't love the costumes for Timon and Pumbaa, mainly because they looked more like the cartoon characters rather than the real animals. And the costumes for the smaller animals, like Timon or Zazu, were tricky, because the human playing them had to be camouflaged (hence the green guy behind Timon).
The play's script went almost exactly like the cartoon movie, and most of the songs were the same (there were a few new ones added in there). A lot of the actors even sounded like the characters from the cartoon (Timon sounded just like Nathan Lane). And I was especially impressed by the child actors who played baby Simba and Nala; those kids were brave to be on stage in front of all those people! Good for them!

I will say, I was surprised that the Kennedy Center decided to have the play in the opera house rather than the concert hall. It's a smaller venue, and for such a larger than life production, I would think they'd want a bigger space (both for the performance itself and to pack more people into the show and sell more tickets). Don't get me wrong: I like that the opera house in more intimate and there really isn't a bad seat in there. I just thought they'd put a big, popular show like that in the biggest venue!

LOVE this show! I would definitely recommend that everyone see it at least once!

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