Lion King has a beautiful roar

By by dianna wray/
July 25, 2012 at 2:25 a.m.

Disney's production of "The Lion King" is something that has to be seen to be believed.

Director Julie Taymor is known for thinking outside the box in her various films and theatrical productions, and she used that imaginative mind with consummate skill in this production. The result is a colorful world of warm colors as a backdrop against great music and an epic battle between good and evil. Simba must save his family by battling his evil uncle Scar, and to do that he has to overcome his fear to become who he was meant to be.

When I first heard about a stage musical of the beloved animated film, I remember rolling my eyes. Puppets? Giant animal puppets? It sounded ridiculous to me.

Then I saw the Broadway production, and as I listened to music revitalized by a fresh approach through vocal harmony and African rhythms, I began to think again. Watching the tale of Simba, a lion cub who is tricked into believing he caused his father's death, as he grows from a cub who runs away from his problems to an adult who learns to face them, astounded me with the production's beauty.

It all seemed so real, as giant elephant-sized puppets moved through the audience. The production galloped off the stage and filled the available space so that I believed I was in this world of lions, peering out through their eyes at this strange and beautiful universe inhabited by animals with the faces of people. When the show ended, I clapped so hard my hands hurt, dazzled by the beauty of it. I couldn't get "Circle of Life" out of my head - it's the best part of the movie and it's also the best part of the show.

If you want to see for yourself, the touring production is in Houston through Aug. 12 at the Hobby Center for Performing Arts. Go check it out.



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