Disney's The Lion King reigns supreme!
Disney’s The Lion King has roared into Calgary in spectacular fashion! Presented by Broadway Across Canada, this touring production brings the heart and artistry of the Tony Award winning show to the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium. Starting with its magnificent opening number, Circle of Life, this production will sweep you off your feet and place you right in the heart of the jungle, complete with lions, hyenas, heroes, villains and an unforgettable story. This is one epic adventure!
The show’s musical score, written by Elton John and Tim Rice, includes all the songs audiences are familiar with from the original Disney animated film, as well as new material written for the stage production. The show's book, created by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi, also stays true to the film. However, it is Julie Taymor’s exceptional direction of the show that makes the stage production such an exquisite piece of artistry.
Instead of trying to literally replicate the film version, Taymor has used puppetry and folkloric storytelling to creatively bring the story of The Lion King to life on stage. Using shadows, African masks and costumes, and theatrical illusions, Taymor has ingeniuously created a theatrical version of The Lion King that is imaginative and thrilling.
Taymor’s direction of the show works in tandem with her costume design, as well as with Richard Hudson’s scenic design and Donald Holder’s lighting design, all of which were honoured with Tony Awards. Another Tony Award winning aspect of the show is Garth Fagan’s brilliant choreography. Encompassing ballet, contemporary and African dance, the choreography beautifully supports Taymor’s staging. Danced by accomplished dancers with credits from some of the top ballet and modern companies in U.S., the dancing and choreography is a wonderful highlight of the production.
Aaron Nelson’s performance as Simba is a treat to watch. He’s able to skillfully perform Simba’s challenging vocals while also bringing likeable charm to his role. Speaking of charm, Tshidi Mayne’s Rafiki is splendid. Mayne’s excellent comic timing paired with her impressive vocal delivery is delightful and extremely entertaining. Also entertaining are the pair of Nick Cordileone and Michael Hollick as Timon and Pumbaa. The dynamic duo are cute and hilarious together and their rendition of Hakuna Matata will not disappoint fans of the classic song.
As the infamous villain, Patrick R. Brown’s delivers a sinister performance in his role of Scar that oozes with evilness. Brown, accompanied by his scary hyenas bring a layer of bone-chilling wickedness to the show. However, the production’s stand-out performer is Nia Holloway in the role of Nala. Her vocals are stunning and her portrayal of Nala paints a picture of a wise and courageous young lioness with beautiful sensitivity.
Broadway Across Canada’s production of The Lion King is evidence of the magic that world-class musical theatre can create. The show is a breathtaking triumph of stage artistry and will continue to leave audiences enthralled and inspired for years to come. Long live the king!