By Natali Bianco, Entertainment Editor
Breathtaking. Must-see. Marvelous. Amazing. There are countless words to describe the Broadway musical, “The Lion King.”
The show is an amazing take on the original Disney movie, “The Lion King.” The interpretations of the scenes are perfect, and it leaves you asking, “How did they do that?”
Everything, from the set, costumes, casting, and music was executed perfectly. The performance brings back all of the nostalgic feelings from the classic.
The show begins in the same way as the movie, with many different animals coming together to witness the birth of Simba, Pride Rock’s new prince.
Giraffes, antelope, elephants and countless other creatures come down the aisles, giving audience members a close look at their stunning costumes.
The elephants are gigantic; the giraffes are tall; the antelope are prancing; the birds are flying; every animal is scaled to size and moves exactly the way it would in nature. The exquisite costuming details make you forget that they are actually people.
Another amazing scene is Simba and Nola’s musical performance of “I Just Can’t Wait to be King.” All of the animals are suddenly turned from realistic to fictional. They’re wildly colored and dancing around as Simba and Nola jump across their bodies.
Later, the depiction of the stampede that eventually brings Mufasa’s death causes so much anxiety that you feel as though it’s really happening. A gigantic, moving back-drop with images of stampeding animals falls on the stage. Then, in front of the images are 3-D animals that appear to be running towards you. All the while, Simba is hanging from a branch amidst all of the chaos.
Another breathtaking scene comes near the end when Rafiki encourages adult Simba to look into the water in order to channel Mufasa. As Simba kneels front stage, looking towards the ground, the background is completely black. Slowly, you begin to see some movement and lights begin projecting a water-ripple effect against the black background. As you strain to see what’s happening, gigantic puzzle-piece-like objects held by dancers start fitting together to form Mufasa’s giant head. All the while, the lighting is still projecting the rippling effect, now across the entire stage. Mufasa speaks, and then the lights slowly depart as the dancers break apart the puzzle pieces that comprised his reflection. You watch him scatter away again, and your heart breaks as Simba screams for him to come back.
There are so many marvelous details throughout the play that it would be impossible to go through them all. This rendition is-dare I say it– better than the movie. The play will run at the Orpheum Theatre until April 7. Tickets prices range from $50-$150, and it’s worth every penny. Tickets are available at ticketomaha.com.