Disney’s The Lion King Orpheum Theatre Review: Imagine only seeing in black and white your entire life, and then suddenly you can see in color for the first time. This was that first time! The Orpheum Theater has brought the pride land of Africa to the city of Minneapolis with Disney’s The Lion King, along with its vibrant living art and beautiful music on stage. There is no argument that this is indeed the World’s best musical. I admit however, I did at first have my doubts with the actors not being in full costumes playing the roles of animals of the wild. It was the costume designs that brought this master of puppetries to life on stage, and it worked marvelously. It is to no surprise that Julie Taymor (director, costumer designer and mask co-designer) won a Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical.
The entire show lasted a little over 2 hours with a 15-minute intermission between acts, the first act being longer than the two. There was a musician on each side of the stage beating on drums, congas, chimes and other various instruments bringing the soundtrack to life. There were a few South African inspired songs added that were not taken from the movie to help during the growth of Simba. The cast took to the isles and balcony more than once throughout the performance adding a wow factor to the element of surprise. Humorous dialogs were also added to the stage that played off of some of the other Disney favorites that will give way to laughter. The on stage set is just simply captivating, there is no other way to describe it; just something you have to witness for yourself. It is pure seamless magic happening right before your eyes.
If I were to pick out a single character or actor that mesmerized me throughout the performance, I cannot. The entire cast and crew brought this to life, as a whole, they all deserve as much credit as anyone involved on or off the stage. Truly a unified team that works unparallel together.
The only disappoint is within myself, for waiting so long to see and hear this beautiful magic take place right in front of me on stage. This is the fifth time this touring show has been to Minneapolis now in its 19 years of existence. Hopefully you haven’t passed up as many opportunities as myself, but if you have, do yourself a favor and go see this show while it is in your city…you still have time!
The Lion King is now playing through August 7 at the Orpheum Theatre. Get your tickets here.
Photo by Matthew Murphy