Seventeen years after its Broadway debut, I’m here to report that the Lion King is the greatest musical that’s ever been created.
When the curtain rose and Rafiki let out the first note of Circle of Life, it was all of three seconds before tears were streaming down my face. I fought it for barely another two and then just let them rip under the guise of the dark theater. But then, lights lit up the aisles and the elephant made its way to the stage. I openly wept. And I would maybe blame it on the hormones, until I looked over and my mother was having the exact same reaction. An apple next to her tree.
And the tears didn’t stop there. I of course lost it when Mufasa died. I can vividly remember experiencing that scene as a child and feeling just the most overwhelming heartbreak. I immediately returned to that place. And if you are chuckling behind my back, saying it’s just a movie, I invite you to watch this (worth every bit of its thirteen minutes). Ma di Tau made me cry for a solid week. Ask Kenny. Ask Annie.
Now I think my reaction to the rest boils down to the fact that although I had an idea of what to expect, I really didn’t realize what I would experience. It really is breathtaking. The movement and the fluidity and the colors and the life…just ridiculous. Just ridiculous! All I did was sit there and wipe tears from my eyes and shake my head in disbelief at each and every scene. I actually cannot wrap my head around the fact that someone envisioned this version, created this world from the movie. Someone designed the costumes, the curtains, the grass, the shadows, the light tricks…just ridiculous!
And while you’d be a total weirdo not to be blown away upon simply witnessing this musical, I do feel I have a special kinship to tales of this kind. This is evidenced by the fact that in fourth grade I penned (and illustrated) a book entitled Jamba and the Rainbird, the tale of a young boy named Jamba who with the playing of his flute, brought the rain bird and subsequent rains to his village, ending a year’s drought. It was voted runner up by my peers to be submitted in a young adult author’s competition. I still stand by the fact that I lost out to Jeffery Jordan because he was a way better drawer than I. It’s the only reasonable explanation. Regardless, my affinity to the Serengeti and the Lion King runs deep.
But in the end, I have nothing more to say other that it was just utterly ridiculous. Ridiculous!