Review by Lauryn Angel
If you are a fan of musical theater or of Disney’s The Lion King and you have not yet seen the musical, you need to get to the Music Hall at Fair Park during its four-week run. It is quite simply the most flawless musical I have ever seen. Everything about this performance felt magical – from the set design to the costumes to the staging.
The Lion King is the story of lion cub Simba (Ramon Reed), who is learning the ways of ruling from his father, Mufasa (Gerald Ramsey) – and to some extent from his father’s advisor Zazu (Tony Freeman). Young Simba just wants to have fun with his friend Nala (Gloria Manning). Unfortunately, Simba’s uncle, Scar (Mark Campbell), has other plans for his brother and nephew.
All of the performances were spectacular, but special mention goes to Mark Campbell as Scar, for hitting just the right note with Scar, making him a delicious villain, but one viewers will be glad to see receive his come-uppance. Both Ramon Reed and Jarod Dixon (as adult Simba) convey a playfulness that is infectious, while Gloria Manning and Nia Holloway bring Nala to life with passion. Nick Cordileon as Timon and Ben Lipitz as Pumbaa bring much comic relief to the show, along with Tony Freeman as Zazu.
What really makes this show magical are Julie Taymore’s costume designs. Some of the costumes employed masks to great effect. For example, Zazu is largely a bird puppet, but the actor portraying him wears a pin-stiriped suit befitting his role as advisor. The lions were indicated via lion-headdresses that Campbell in particular used to great effect to punctuate his performance. Puppets were used to represent other animals throughout the performance, such as when the animals of the jungle came to welcome young Simba to the world in the opening number. There were audible gasps from the audience as the elephant moved through the audience to reach Pride Rock.
I could go on about how great The Lion King is, but take my word for it: you need to experience this show before it closes on July 7! Click here for ticket information.
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