I received a pair of tickets to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.
The Lion King runs through Sept 4, 2016 at Keller Auditorium, Portland Oregon.
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I am a huge fan of most things Disney and certainly The Lion King is one of my favorites of all time. I jumped at the chance to see the Broadway performance in Portland when I was offered the opportunity to attend! I even brought my husband, so double yay for date night! (He loved it too, BTW. Score!)
I settled down into my seat nuzzled next to my him ready to be amazed. Expectations were high as phenomenal things about this show buzz in the media and among my friends and I can even say I’ve seen some great performances to compare this too as I lived by New York City for a period of my life. But as the show began – boy, I was NOT ready for this.
Immediately, I was in the African savannah; the opening strains of “Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba!” capturing my soul with tall giraffes, large elephants, leaping gazelles and bright birds floating and glimmering through the performance space. The choreography absolutely stunning and immaculately performed. The talent both on and behind the stage expert and flawless. I can see why this show is, well, THIS show. There is something special about a live performance, especially in this digitalized age and The Lion King delivered beyond what heightened expectations I had. The way each and every character was transformed from a cartoon character to a real humanized form was seamless. The costumes and puppetry of the characters certainly as co-stars the show beyond the mere mortals portraying them.
Like so many ladies, I can be be a sucker for a good villain and Scar did not disappoint. I was torn between loving or hating (or loving to hate him?) his actions, but I absolutely loved Scar’s and Mufasa’s costumes and headdresses. The way their masks would come down from above was magical. As a mom to a 6 year old boy/man/warrior, young Simba pulled at my heartstrings a bit more than I would have expected. I could very much relate to Simba’s emotional ups and downs throughout the performance. This was the first time I watched the story unfold through my dual role of as now a ‘mom’ as well as a fan. For me it shined a new, deeper light on the bond shared between Simba and Mufasa.
Many families with young children attended the performance. I enjoyed seeing their kids just as enthralled with the show as I during the handful of moments I could tear my eyes away from the stage to look around. I wasn’t sure if my son would sit through a whole show, but I’m pretty certain that he would stay entranced to the very end of Act 2. In fact, I’m looking at taking him to see it some day soon and planting an amazing memory in for future enjoyment. Great show.