February 03, 2004

Sublime Lion King

I went to see the Lion King Musical last night, and I was blown away.

The movie was already one of my all-time favorite musicals, mixing the musical wizardry of Sir Elton John with the powerful eloquence of Tim Rice.  Adapting this masterpiece to a stage certainly seemed impossible, but this would be underestimating the talent of Julie Taymor (costumes, and also author of some of the new songs) and Garth Fagan (choreographer).

It was quite a surprise for me to discover that not only are the new songs blending perfectly with the original score written by John/Rice, but that they are beautiful in their own right and contribute in no small measure to the sense of wonder that you are bound to feel while watching the show unfold.  The mix of African beats and lyrics with the contemporary talent of these musicians put The Lion King at the very top of my top all-time best Broadway musicals, along with Rent.

Even if you are familiar with the movie and the original soundtrack, I strongly recommend that you listen to the new soundtrack before watching the show.  There is so much happening on stage at all time that you will miss out greatly on a lot of background musicals if your ears haven't been trained to the new material.

The musical highlights in my eyes are "They live in you" (both the first time and the magnificent reprise at the end), Stampede, the heart-wrenching "Shadowland", but above all this, the poignant "Circle of Life", which open and close the show and never fails to get my heart thumping.  There is also another extremely emotional and bewildering technical achievement around the end of the show, which I won't disclose because it would lessen its impact.

If you are lucky enough to get a chance to see this slice of heaven, don't miss it.


Posted by cedric at February 3, 2004 02:24 PM

Dammit Ced, now i have to go buy the CD. i will fel guilty if i go unprepared(and i wasn't planning on it :(
thanks for the lovely review though. i am really looking forward to it.
btw, Rent is my favorite

Posted by: Chiara at February 4, 2004 10:34 AM
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