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    Review: Disney's The Lion King Brings Delightful Spectacle to the Kentucky
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    Disney doesn’t do subtle.

    In order for Disney’s The Lion King to come to the Kentucky Center, the Center had to create two center aisles in the enormous Whitney Hall, which otherwise don’t exist. To do so, four seats were taken out of each row, creating pathways which are used throughout the production, enveloping patrons, and inviting the entire audience to enter into the Pridelands.

    And then, magic.

    Because magic is what Disney does.

    And with The Lion King, Disney does not disappoint.

    From the opening moments, which brought audible gasps and tears to eyes within 30 seconds of the first notes, The Lion King stirs the soul of the spectator. With its grand and regal ceremony, one can’t help but sit a little taller as members of the animal kingdom, represented in stellar glory, band together to celebrate the presentation of their next leader.

    It is regal. And stirring. And majestic.

    From there, the spectacle of The Lion King continues, each successive scene more innovative and creatively staged than the one before; actors in inspired costumes representing the sweeping grasslands, the storming wildebeests, the flora and fauna of the jungle, and every species of the African Savanna.  It is no wonder that costume designer Julie Taymor won the Tony Award for best costume design. Her creativity and innovation are boundless.  

    And then there is the choreography. The fascinating puppetry. The lighting (Donald Holder) which is so spectacular at times, including the technically brilliant “He Lives in You” reprise that it is a production unto itself.

    In fact, one could despise the story of The Lion King itself and still walk away from this production in awe and wonderment, by virtue of the production elements alone.

    But then, that makes sense. Because The Lion King did win six Tony Awards. For Best Costumes. And Best Scenic Design. And Best Lighting Design, Best Direction, Best Choreography, and Best Musical.

    It was the best in 1998 when it won those awards, and it continues to hold that place in many hearts today.

    The story itself is the one you know from the movie. Simba the lion cub gets into some sticky situations in his youth, and his father, King Mufasa, tries to rescue him, with tragic results. Uncle Scar (as menacing as his name) guilts Simba into exiling himself to the jungle where he meets some colorful characters, the absolutely delightful Timon (Nick Cordileone) and Pumbaa (Ben Lipitz), learns some lessons, and comes back to fight Uncle Scar for his rightful place on the throne.  

    The Lion King is part of the PNC Broadway in Louisville series, and continues at The Kentucky Center through March 29. Limited tickets remain and are available online or by calling the Kentucky Center box office at 502.584.7777.

    Image: Courtesy of Broadway In Louisville

     

    Michelle Rynbrandt's picture

    About Michelle Rynbrandt

    Before landing in the Possibility City, Michelle toured the country performing in various regional theatres. Having been there and done that, she can honestly say that Louisville's cultural opportunities are second to none.

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