It was announced on Friday that Disney’s The Lion King on Broadway has been extended through November 2013. Was there ever any doubt?
The production isn’t the fifth longest-running Broadway show ever for nothing.
Here are a few reasons why The Lion King is so awesome.
It’s based on a fantastic movie. It’s a rule of Disney films that they are supposed to make you cry. But "The Lion King" is kind of the ultimate movie to ugly-cry at. That moment when Simba is pawing at Mufasa to wake up? Oh, God, I can’t deal. Go into The Lion King knowing you will at least be getting the sniffles because it is sad, okay?
The costumes. It’s one thing to watch the film about talking cartoon lions. It’s another to see that transformed on the stage. The Lion King has a unique take on its costumes and scenery, in that it pays homage but takes creative liberties. It really is art come to life on stage.
The music. Elton John played a big role in creating the soundtrack for the Disney film, and rightfully so, considering Elton John is incredible. While he doesn’t sing in the theater show (obviously), the actors are so incredibly talented that the theater shows’ music may possible blow the movie’s soundtrack out of the water. I’m slightly biased because I own the soundtrack and I listen to it from time to time. (Read: all the time.)
The little kids. I’m sorry, but the kids who play young Simba and Nala are pretty much the cutest kids, ever. Right now, there are eight young, incredibly talented, actors and actresses who play those roles. On Broadway, the role of young Nala is played by Bobbi Bordley and Alonie Dowden, while young Simba is played by Derek Johnson and Caleb McLaughlin (depending on the performance). For the touring production, Kailah McFadden and Sade Phillip-Demorcy play young Nala; Zavion J. Hill and Adante Power play young Simba. Google them. They will probably be crazy famous one day.
Rafiki. Rafiki is a bit of a scene-stealer in the movie, but the theater show features a woman as Rafiki. The role is played by Tshidi Manye on Broadway, Buyi Zama on the touring show, which I think is pretty wonderful. Both actresses breathe new life into the opening number, "Circle of Life."
It has won a bunch of awards. I don't typically think awards mean much of anything, but a production doesn't just win six Tony Awards for nothing. That's how many The Lion King has under its belt. No big deal.
The show is celebrating its sweet sixteen. That’s right — the show, which opened in November 1997, is now in its 16th year, and still going strong. Thankfully, that means there's still plenty of time to see it on stage.
What do you think of the decision to extend The Lion King?