My family had the opportunity to see the latest incarnation of The Lion King at San Francisco's beautiful Orpheum Theater recently, courtesy of SHN. My son and I had seen the show about 7 or 8 years ago, when he was a very little tyke who was scared to death of the big stampede. He was so scared, in fact, he hid under the seat until the wildebeast stampede was over. As a jaded, world-weary 12 year old, I wasn't sure how he might respond to what had been one of his favorite, yet most traumatic, stories of his childhood. At twelve, he was as enthralled with this production as he was with the one he had seen at age 5, and more impressed than ever with the showmanship, the dazzling costumes, puppetry and sheer magic of the production.
Prior to the show, we had a chance to meet the stars of the show, Syndee Winters and Jelani Remy, who play the adult Nala and Simba, respectively. Both are hugely talented singers and dancers, and are destined for great things on the stage or movies and television, wherever they chose to land. They were wonderful with all the moms and kids, answering questions and posing for pictures with everyone.
The Lion King is not a show that is easy to write about; so much of it is visual and defies words. From the waving grass on the savannah represented by dancers posing and contorting themselves on the ground, to the African-inspired songs sung in Swahili, to the visual schtick of comic relievers Timon and Pumbaa, the show is chock-full of stunning imagery and auditory delights.
This is a show I can recommend for the entire family, although, be forewarned that some scenes may be intense for the youngest children. There were a 3 year old and 5 year old sitting in front of me who took the whole thing in stride, but my son was a little more sensitive to loud noises and the death of Simba's father, Mustafa when he was 5. Know what your child's sensititivies and tolerances are for loud noises, the idea of a parent's death, and a tremendous amount of visual stimulation and plan accordingly. Older kids will definitely love the music, costumes and jokes.
If you are looking for a real holiday treat, or a terrific present for grandparents, go see this staging of The Lion King before it leaves San Francisco on January 13, 2013. Tickets are available on-line at SHNSF or by calling 1-888-746-1799.
Photo Credit: Top photo by Joan Marcus, courtesy of SHN/Disney. Used with Permission. Bottom Photo by Glennia Campbell, The SilentI.com, All Rights Reserved.
Disclosure: We received three complimentary tickets and some Lion King promotional products from SHN Orpheum, but no financial or other compensation for this post. As always, the views expressed herein are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of SHN Orpheum or the Disney Corporation.