Sunday, September 18, 2022

Broadway in Tucson Review: "The Lion King"

Roaring with a majesty worthy of a jungle cat's roar, "The Lion King" is a dazzling experience that touches hearts and ignites imaginations.

Bursting at the scenes with remarkable stagecraft, puppetry and costumes, the show is a mesmerizing display.

To watch "The Lion King" is to be whisked away into the timeless Tanzanian junglescape, with antelopes prancing, giraffes and elephants looming large, birds soaring above and hyenas scurrying about. The stage production ignites the mind's eye in a way the animated and live-action movies can't come close to approaching.

Massive stage set pieces, such as Pride Rock and the Elephant graveyard are used with aplomb, and rhythmic, functional choreography captures the ebb and flow of nature. The classic tunes by Elton John and Tim Rice serves as the unceasing soundtrack, paced with bongo drums and lush orchestrations.

No matter how stunning the visuals may be, the show would falter if it weren't bolstered by astoundingly energetic and empathetic performances. The immensely talented touring production cast breathes vivid life into the impressive shell.

Spencer Plachy and Jordan Pendleton turn in remarkable star-making turns as Young Simba and Young Nala, with Aaron Nelson and Kayla Cyphers ably taking the batons in act two as their grown counterparts.

Standouts include Spencer Plachy chews up scenery as the conniving Scar, Gugwana Diamini cast a spell as the majestic Rafiki and Gerlad Ramsey looms large as Mufasa.

Whisking by at a breakneck pace, "The Lion King" weaves its timeless tale to behold. It's an honor to kneel at its throne.

"The Lion King" plays at Centennial Hall through Sept. 25. Buy tickets here.

No comments: