My first Broadway musical was Mary Poppins and out of all the shows I’ve attended, it has always been my favorite. Until last night. Lion King is now in the number one spot, followed by Mary Poppins. Credit goes to Disney for creating their signature magic in both of these amazing stage productions.
Obviously, the music is a big part of any Broadway musical, hence the name. But, we all know that Disney hit it out of the ballpark when they enlisted Elton John and Tim Rice to write the songs. I’ve been an Elton John fan since the first time I heard him sing Your Song, but to hear the emotions of songs like Circle of Life and Can you feel the love tonight, live and surround you in that old, beautiful theatre, was a memory that will never be forgotten. I know I’ve talked about magical nights before, but Lion King was the epitome of all magical nights.
This production of the Lion King brought cheers and shouts from the audience and a standing ovation at the end. I think it’s partly because we all know and love the characters and know the story-line so well. But, what really sets this show apart from others is the costuming, the colors and the artistry. That’s how I viewed the giraffes and birds and even Scar’s hyenas…as art. The puppetry is different from anything I’ve ever seen with live actors portraying wilderbeasts, zebra and even the African savannah grasslands. At one point, a procession of these animals make their way up both aisles of the theatre and take the stage while the drums beat strongly and the harmonies fill your heart. I can’t tell you how many times during the night I had goose bumps and you know I cried buckets of emotional tears.
Rafiki was one of my favorite characters and in this perfomance, Rafiki is portrayed as female, and the actress, who plays the wise baboon did an absolutely brilliant job including an engaging tirade that including the famous clicks of some African languages. No one understood a single word she uttered and yet, we all knew exactly what she was saying. Amazing performance. I was also very impressed with the young actors that portrayed Simba and Nala. When I see young people already living their lives in such an artistic and meaningful way, it gives me great hope for the human race.
One thing occurred to me last night as I sat mesmerized and enchanted and felt my heart expand and my capacity for love for my fellow earthlings increase ten fold. We should expose the people in this world that perpetrate hate and violence to shows like this. I can’t imagine anyone, no matter how evil, watching this show and not feeling changed for the better. The story line for the Lion King is one of my favorite with the underlying theme being courage, bravery and love.
The best ones are always all about love.
Thank you to Disney and the marvelous cast of this show for showcasing it so well.
This was my last show at The Orpheum Theatre in Memphis. I had moments last night that I wanted to feel a bit sad, knowing how much I will miss this old place. But, how can I feel anything but grateful? I’m so grateful that my bestie introduced me to Broadway musicals and that I got to feel the energy and excitement for more than two years. I’m thankful that for a city the size of Memphis, that there are enough people that care about the arts and stage to continue to bring these caliber of shows to The Orpheum. I’m also forever grateful for all the magical memories I’ve got stored away for the less than sunshiney days.
What a way to end a run…….