When DISNEY’S THE LION KING last came to Providence, my boys were obsessed with the animated movie of the same name. As a special gift from the grandparents our whole family was treated to a night out to see the Broadway adaptation of THE LION KING at Providence Performing Arts Center. The show was spectacular. And watching the live performance was the launch pad for my boy’s imaginative world — the jungle came to life in our home, masks and costumes were made, and music queued at appropriate scenes performed in our living room daily. I think one chair is a bit worn from repeated use as Pride Rock.
On stage, Taymor’s creative vision blends elements of African art and Broadway artisanship to depict anthropomorphic animal characters.Â Taymor, along with designer Michael Curry, has created hundreds of masks and puppets for THE LION KING.Â The book has been adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed The Lion King animated feature, and Irene Mecchi, who co-wrote the film’s screenplay.
The Broadway score features Elton John and Tim Rice’s music from The Lion King animated film along with three new songs by John and Rice; additional musical material by South African Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymor and Hans Zimmer; and music from “Rhythm of the Pride Lands,” an album inspired by the original music in the film, written by Lebo M, Mark Mancina, and Hans Zimmer.Â The resulting sound of THE LION KING is a fusion of Western popular music and the distinctive sounds and rhythms of Africa, ranging from the AcademyÂ® Award-winning song “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” to the haunting ballad “Shadowland.”
Not surprising THE LION KING won six 1998 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Scenic Design and Best Costume Design.
This coming of age story set in Africa is about a lion cub tricked by his evil Uncle into thinking he killed his father, the Lion King. Ashamed, the young cub runs away only to return as a young man once he learns the truth and is ready to stand up to his Uncle and take over as the rightful King, completing the circle of life. The story refreshingly void of princesses and full of powerful female characters though may be a bit dark for some young kids.
The performance times for THE LION KING are Tuesdays at 7 PM; Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 PM; Fridays at 8 PM; Saturdays at 2 PM and 8 PM; and Sundays at 1 PM and 6:30 PM.
Ticket prices start at $28; please note that all ticket prices include a $3 per ticket restoration charge and are subject to change without notice.Â Â Premium Ticket Packages, which include prime seat locations, a commemorative souvenir program and an exclusive merchandise item, are also available.Â Tickets are available at the PPAC Box Office, located at 220 Weybosset Street in downtown Providence; online at www.ppacri.org or by calling (401) 421 — ARTS (2787).Â Regular Box Office Hours are Monday through Friday, 10 AM to 5 PM; Saturday, 10 AM to 2 PM; and through curtain time(s) on performance days.
Photo Credit: Adam Jacobs as “Simba” and the ensemble in “He Lives in You” from THE LION KING National Tour.Â Photo Credit:Â Joan Marcus.