KWC Attends The Lion King the Musical

Andy Santana, Staff Writer

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The Lion King has always been one of my favorite stories since I was a child. I have always hoped for the chance to get to see it in action on Broadway. This fall semester, Kentucky Wesleyan’s Student Activities Programming Board funded a group of students to see Disney’s The Lion King during the show’s Broadway tour in Louisville. I was one of the students who had the opportunity to go, and I can say it was an experience I will never forget. I am familiar with a lot of famous Broadway shows – Les Miserable, Hamilton, Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, Chicago, and more. I can easily say that The Lion King blew all of these away. This show has it all – intricate and unique costumes, powerful music, creative and innovative set design and, above all, an amazing plotline that can relate to all audiences.

The Lion King is about a young lion cub, Simba, that starts out as an energetic and childish little cub. He does not know the harsh realities of the world yet – until his father, King Mufasa, dies in a tragic “accident”. Simba is encouraged to run away by his uncle Scar, a trusted yet sinister influencer, because he is manipulated into thinking his father’s death was his own causing. This is an extremely difficult life change for young Simba, and as result of this he grows into a young man forgetting his true responsibilities and the real meaning of his life. Eventually, duty calls when he is brought to the attention by an old friend who finds him in his new habitat that the kingdom is in trouble without him. Simba is then forced to look inside himself to remember who he is to come to terms with the reality that he must return and save the kingdom and claim his rightful place to the throne.

One of the reasons why I enjoy the story of The Lion King so much is that – unlike many plays – it can relate to everyone. Most people will face a time in their lives where they must do what is right, regardless of if it is difficult, and remember what they must do for the greater good. This is what Simba had to do to save the kingdom; he had to look inside himself to find the inner strength and act. The Lion King did an amazing job of not only pulling the plot of the story together in a meaningful way, but also was very effective in making it similar to the 1994 animated Disney film without making it too similar. There was not a second that the show did not have my full attention – it was a high action sequence but not without its intense and building moments.

After I saw The Lion King, I realized I had never thought about how much actually goes into musical theater. Many small things play a part in the bigger picture – casting the right people, the lighting, the costume design, the musical numbers, the plot, and so much more. When the play started, the biggest thing that stood out to me was how unique and imaginative the costume design was. You could tell there were elements of African culture, but at the same time, a modern twist on the essence of the animal the actor was portraying. Yet, the most meaningful things to me was the music – the live ensemble was an unforgettable experience that you can only experience once or twice in your lifetime. Many other things were crafted to perfection in the play as well, such as the choreography and the set design along with the lighting to make things look so surreal.

In all honesty, I would recommend The Lion King on Broadway to anyone who may be given the chance to experience it. You will not leave the theater disappointed; Rather, you will
make a memory that will never be forgotten. The Lion King is a story that inspires, opens your eyes and entertains, and is truly an unforgettable experience.