1515 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
AWE INSPIRING! A gorgeous, gasp-inducing spectacle.
New York TimesBuy Tickets
Hardcore theater folk often resent Disney's The Lion King for depriving of RAGTIME of the 1998 Tony for Best Musical. And though considered one of the finest shows of the late 20th century, RAGTIME fell short of an award placed upon FOSSE (a likable but plotless revue of Mr. Fosse's work) and TITANIC: THE MUSICAL in the years before and after. So despite the vastly different lives of The Lion King and RAGTIME, they will be forever associated. In a strange coincidence, the two shows opened runs in the Phoenix area on the same night. While Julie Taymor's now world-famous LION KING staging visits Gammage Auditorium in Tempe, RAGTIME opens at a semi-professional theater 20 miles northwest. RAGTIME having passed through the circuit of Broadway to Regional to local professional to community theater and even a small scale Broadway revival, The Lion King still thrilling audiences with it's original incarnation.
A decade and a half later, even the hardest grudges have lifted and the artistic success of The Lion King is accepted by all.
Certainly if one can't concede The Lion King's marvelous presentation, it is at least clear that it awes both light theater-goers and complete novices and assures many to most of them attending more theater. Then when The Lion King returns every few seasons. Everyone wants to be the friend that brought someone for the first time. It rules soccer game conversation. It's a semester highlight destination for countless drama clubs and concert choirs. And it couldn't possibly deserve it more.
Ms. Taymor, of course, receives most the praise, but not to be overlooked is Disney Theatrical Productions itself. While Disney theme parks brim with less abstract live versions of their animated hits, the theatrical branch took a chance that must've been thought risky early in the process. The use of live theater's exclusive conventions provides attendees the feeling they've experienced much more than an e-ticket ride, but high art. And because the story and most of the score are familiar, it allows the mind to rest from the bombardment of artistic efforts in all elements of design. Indeed, an identical staging by Ms. Taymor for a completely original show might not hold the attention of some (and surely the younger) audience members. But the true victory of the hybrid commercial/artistic piece is it's ability to allow the discriminating Broadway fan to enjoy the work without losing credibility.
The current LION KING tour lives up to the acclaim. It is performed with an enthusiam perhaps encouraged by the clear freedom to make new choices within the blueprint. Brown Lindiwe Mkhize is the early audience favorite as Rafiki. During the silence immediately after one of her first scenes, an impressed "wow." came from a primary schooler somewhere house left, followed by a full house chuckle at the cuteness of the moment. Patrick R. Brown plays Scar like a baritone Alan Cumming and less aloof then the standard portrayal. Simba and Young Simba (Jordan A. Hall and Dashaun Young) charm and smile with skill. Nick Cordileone and Ben Lipitz as Timon and Pumbaa, and Andrew Gorell as Zazu conquer the underappreciated task of comic success with well familiar jokes and material. The full cast is expertly rehearsed and moves through the aisles during "Circle of Life" slyly aware of the crowd's anticipation of the evening ahead of them, themselves anticipating the thrilled screams announcing the prescence of the next generation of theater-goers.
Disney's THE LION KING plays through November 17th. www.asugammage.com
Article reprinted with permission from www.BroadwayWorld.com
66 reviews, average rating: (4.8 Stars)
Lion King is my favorite Disney movie, and I didn't think it could get any ... more
The Lion King, How should I put this? It's more, understandable than the mo... more
We love this show!it rocks better than the one at Walt Disney World.this ... more
Please note: The term Minskoff Theater as well as all associated graphics, logos, and/or other tradermarks, tradenames or copyrights are the property of the Minskoff Theater and are used herein for factual descriptive purposes only. We are in no way associated with or authorized by the Minskoff Theater and neither that entity nor any of its affiliates have licensed or endorsed us to sell tickets, goods and or services in conjunction with their events.