All the hype is true: This musical is a must-see.
Within the first 10 minutes, the entire cast puts their all into “Circle of Life,” and one of the most beloved Disney songs of all time resonates in your chest as giraffes and zebras and elephants walk down the aisles singing the unknown but beautiful words on their way to see the baby lion king. When the drums sound to close the number, you feel like you could leave now and it would have been worth it.
But of course that’s not it, and while the musical sticks extremely close to the Disney animated movie — including the hyena, Timon and Pumbaa costumes that mimic the animations exactly — it also showcases new songs by Elton John and Tim Rice that are just as powerful as those in the original soundtrack. “He Lives in You” is especially moving, and I found myself crying through “Shadowland,” a cry of desperation that closes with hope.
The Disney-fication of the musical, including a new song called “Chow Down” sung by the hyenas, was what I liked least about the show, but of course, the kids ate it up. Their laughter was prominent throughout the show, both during over-the-top cheesy moments, and during some of the more sophisticated humor when they laughed along with their parents. “The Lion King” is a universally touching story, but at its heart, it’s a family show, and it was good to see the children having the best time of anyone.
“The Lion King” runs all weekend and continues through next week, wrapping up on Sunday, Oct. 20. Tickets range from $45 to $108, and that includes entrance to the State Fair of Texas on the day of the show.
If you have a hard time finding tickets to this one (it’s really popular and tends to sell out early), get a head start on Dallas Summer Musicals’ 74th season, which includes another Disney classic touring for the first time — “The Little Mermaid.” The season opens Dec. 17 with another family favorite, “White Christmas,” and other touring shows in 2014 include “Ghost: The Musical,” “We Will Rock You,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Evita,” “Mamma Mia” and “Nice Work If You Can Get It.” Season tickets are on sale through tomorrow, Oct. 11, and single tickets will go on sale as each show approaches.
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