THE LION KING — stage show

Last night, Wendy & I (along with Ted, Tracy, Ginny, Julie, Carrie, Bob, Sharon, Dave, Mary, and several hundred others) saw THE LION KING, the tour company of the original Broadway show.

The show featured several of the same actors from the Broadway show, and was truly spectacular. That's not to say that the show was EXCELLENT, mind you — just that the SPECTACLE was very, very present. The opening 10 minutes of the show very closely mimics the opening of the movie and is amazing to watch. The show is also a good example of technical theater — loads of light effects, inventive set pieces, novel staging. The rest of the show (about 3 hours, all told) wasn't quite up to the level of the first 10 minutes.

The costumes, puppets, makeup, and overall design of the show was outstanding. The actors, singers, and musicians were very good, but the show itself suffers on at least a couple fronts.

First, the music, aside from the big songs from the movie, is quite forgettable. Next, the three-hour show is overly long for the audience, which was rich with children. Many of the pointless dance segments could have been cut to reduce the length of the performance. Nearly all the kids seated by us were fast asleep by the end of the show, including one young man who was zonked by intermission.

It was a fun evening out, from dinner across the street at the Scottish restaurant to crossing in front of the Cincinnati protesters (who, I swear, have no idea what they're even protesting!), through enjoying the show.

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