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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Disney's The Lion King Comes to Philadelphia

A Review by Sojourner Ahebee and Cindy Phuong

On Thursday, March 25th, 2010 we attended Disney’s The Lion King at The Academy of Music as a part of the Kimmel Center’s Broadway series. The performance the actors and singers gave was spectacular! It started off with the birth of Simba or The Circle of Life dance number. We cannot put into words how magnificent the costumes and visual effects were. The whole animal kingdom came singing down the aisles of the Academy of Music creating a rush of excitement throughout the audience. The interaction between the performers and the audience really kept everyone focused during the performance and made us all hungry for more. The costumes combined with the choreography and singing just made it so difficult to leave at the end of the show.

But, can you just put the visual effects on the side for a sec? The actors/actresses were amazing and at some points when they were speaking Zulu, they portrayed the message clearly and with enthusiasm! The character young Nala, played by Jamariana Tribble had a voice so majestic, we almost forgot she was no older than 8 or 9. I love the song she sung, I Just Can’t Wait to Be King accompanied by Zazu (Tony Freeman), Young Simba (Elijah Johnson) and the ensemble. This song talked about Simba’s wanting to become king of the Pride Lands. This had such a catchy tune that we couldn’t stop our heads from bopping from side to side. Also, we could never forget our favorite character Rafiki, played by Ntomb’ Khona Dlamini. At first we were quite confused in the beginning, because we remembered Rafiki being a male character in the movie but, this became the least of our concerns because the actress did such an awesome job!

Our favorite song she sung accompanied by Simba (Jerome Stephen Jr.) was He Lives in You. This dealt with the death of Simba’s father Mufasa (Dionne Randolph). Rafiki portrayed an uplifting message the let Simba know his father would always be with him. This song dealt with a lot of my ( Sojourner’s)own hardships since I too have lost my father. I really appreciated the message in this song. Last but not least, our favorite goof -off characters were Pumbaa and Timon. They created much of the humor that the audience digested and enjoyed. Our favorite scene is when Timon asks Pumbaa if he knew what stars were. Timon told him they were fireflies stuck in the sky and Pumbaa answered by saying “Oh I always thought they were giant balls of gas traveling thousands of miles away”. This was so hysterical and created such a positive reaction from the audience. Pumbaa and Timon also sang “Hakuna Matata” which means no worries.

All in all this was a sensational performance full of surprises at every turn! This is definitely a must see production. Disney’s The Lion King will be at The Academy of music until April 24, 2010. Here is a link to the Kimmel Center website to learn more about this production.

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