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Theater Review: “The Lion King”

By Christina Latham

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One of my musical dreams came true on March 13. I finally was able to go see Disney’s “The Lion King” on stage! Taking an organized trip by Whatcom Community College’s Student Life, I was able to have transportation and my ticket for only $25. I knew the seats would be up and in the back at Seattle’s Paramount Theatre, but it didn’t matter to me.

When I was young, my mom took me to musicals in Seattle: Camelot, The Sound of Music, Phantom of The Opera, and Les Miserables. I also have seen many local community productions. After seeing over 50 other stage productions, this was it!

As the lights dimmed, the excitement built and the music started. It was everything I imagined. The opening scene brought me to tears.

The costumes were unbelievable. People were on stilts walking down the aisle and onto the stage as giraffes. Elephants, rhinos, birds and cheetahs graced the stage.

Hearing the live orchestra play the song “Circle of Life” and the halting boom at the end, I had chills.

I knew this would not be the same as the movie. New musical numbers were introduced that kept right in line with the story and many lines from the movie were brought to life on the stage as well. Africa came to life before my eyes.

While I enjoyed the incredible costumes that made people into savannah grass blowing weightlessly in the wind, I found myself disappointed in other parts of the musical.

The artistry of the actors was wonderful, but the singing was not a strong as I expected. Many words could not be understood and the vocals were drowned out at times by the orchestra.

After reading the biographies of the actors and seeing many of them have been touring with the show, it makes me hope that this was an off night for them. Many of them have been with at least one other tour of Disney’s The Lion King and were not strangers to the stage nor this musical.

I also noticed at times some of the choreography was off, slightly, but still enough to notice one person spin or kick before the rest of the other dancers. Also during several scene changes, the movement of sets could be heard and distracted me from the scene that was being acted out on stage. I have seen stronger high school productions.

After I talked with the group of 45 students and faculty from Whatcom that were able to go to the show, everyone thought I was a bit crazy for being disappointed and maybe I am.

If I had the chance, I would go again in a heartbeat. The way the actors moved like animals in the beautifully done costumes, the mastery of the puppetry and the overall music and story is not to be missed.

If you have the chance to go, don’t miss it. Luckily, live theater allows for a different experience every time. The crowd, the venue, the cast, and even where you sit plays a role in the overall experience.


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