7 years ago when I only had 1 kid, The Lion King came to town and it was one of the biggest shows to arrive at then the newly opened Marina Bay Sands Theatre. Wanting to bring my only child then and also wanting to check out the new theatre, we watched our first every musical – The Lion King.
And yesterday night, I finally managed to catch The Lion King again after 7 long years and now with all my 4 kids in tow. And not only did it not lose its magic, it was even better with more amazing props , that is why The Lion King remained a perennial favourite especially for family. Frankly it is not just for the younger crowd and families , there lots of adult only audiences too but I of course will review this from the eyes and experiences from my precious kids age 3 to 9 years old.
Frankly I don’t think there is any other musical which can cater to such a wide range of ages – ie adults don’t find it too kiddish, kids don’t find it too difficult to understand and enjoy. But The Lion King did just that – entertaining all ages, I would say coming to 3 years old up till 99 years!
5 reasons why you shouldnt wait another 7 years to catch this epic musical!
1.A powerful story line
I am sure many of you would have watched this Disney animation. This is one of the best Disney animations ever with very strong message in its story line. It tells the story of Simba who is to succeed his father Mufasa as the Kind of Pride Rock, but he was manipulated by his evil uncle Scar into believing he was responsible for the death of his father and flees into exile. There he met his two good friends to overcame his sadness and was reunited with his childhood friend Nala and his shaman Rafiki.
There are lessons of humility, forgiveness, empathy, rising from setbacks, trust and it speaks so strongly for the father and son bond. Trust me , the message and story line feels much stronger watching a live production than on TV. The emotions of actors and the sound systems truly made the whole story come alive.
And to lighten the mood, there is always Timon and Pumbaa to rely on, most of the comedy relief came from them.
2. Amazing props and backdrop
Be sure you are early for your show as the best show was in the opening act when they brought in all its animal puppets into the stage – to the tune of the Circle of Life. I don’t think I can describe how magical the experience was, you just want to catch it yourself.
3. The African culture and songs
I may not have the privilege to bring the kids to Africa and enjoy the music, sounds, culture and scene of Africa. This is as close as I come to. It was as if we were brought to the Africa savannah and back in 3 hours. The costume, music, sounds was truly beautiful.
4. The music of The Lion King
The Circle of Life, Can you feel the love tonight, Hakuna Matata, Be Prepared, I Just Can’t Wait to be King with the orchestra , the powerful vocals and peppered with the sounds of African musical instruments , that is why this is a world class musical. I enjoyed this segment the most as I am familiar with tunes and musical segments are the parts were by my younger boys were also entertained (you wouldn’t want too lengthy dialogue scenes for the younger kids, there was a good mix of songs and dialogue scenes)
5. An all-rounder
Some musicals can be strong in props but not vocal, some maybe strong in acting but not in the musical powess. I don’t think there is much to critic for The Lion King. It is a wholesome package – you have the story, you have the props, you have the music and of course the acting even the kids who played the young Nyla and Simba were naturals!
My younger boys were so enthralled with all the animal puppetry especially the very big elephant carried by 4 puppeteers (yes both my 3 and 5 year old sat through the entire musical, of course they didn’t quite take a liking whenever Scar is out and in particular Mufasa’s death) , my older kids loved the powerful story line of good overcoming evil and I particularly enjoyed the music. There is something for everyone and the ability of The Lion King catering to a wide range of ages is indeed something that most musicals are unable to replicate.
When we grow old /the kids grow up and look back at the many musical productions we have the privilege to catch in Singapore, this will remained one that is forever etched in our memories. And I do hope we don’t have to wait for another 7 years for another musical of such calibre to arrive at our sunny shores.
And if you think , I didn’t convince you enough, here are some facts from the production.
- It took three years to develop THE LION KING from screen to stage
- In the animated movie, Rafiki The Baboon was presented as a male character but the musical changed into a strong female character
- The musical debuted in Minneapolis at The Orpheum Theatre in July 1997
- The phrase “Hakuna Matata” (meaning “No worries”) is mentioned 25 times in the show
- Julie Taymor is the first female director in Broadway history to win the Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical (1998) for THE LION KING
- THE LION KING celebrated its 20th anniversary last year and is the third-longest running show on Broadway.
- To date THE LION KING has won more than 70 global theatrical awards
- The show won six Tony® Awards in 1998 for Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Scenic Design, Best Costume Design, Best Lighting Design and Best Choreography
- It took 34,000-man hours to build the masks and puppets for the original Broadway production
- There are more than 200 puppets in the show, including rod, shadow and full-sized puppets
- 5 meters is the height of the tallest animals in the show — the two giraffes in the “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” scene
- The elephant nicknamed Bertha by the backstage crew in 1997 is the largest and longest animal measuring 4 meters long and 3 meters wide
- There are six indigenous African languages spoken in the show: Swahili, Zulu, Xhosa (the click language), Sotho, Tswana, Congolese
- THE LION KING has been translated into eight languages – Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Mandarin, Spanish, Portugese
In 2011, THE LION KING became the longest running musical in Singapore’s theatrical entertainment history, playing to over 300,000 people during its eight-month season at Marina Bays Sands.
Show Date: Wed, 27 June 2018 – Sun, 23 September 2018 (New shows added!)
Tue to Fri: 7.30pm | Sat: 2pm & 7.30pm | Sun: 1pm & 6pm
Venue: Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands
Ticket Pricing (Excludes Booking Fee): from SGD65 onwards
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