I was beyond excited when I found out that the Hennepin Theatre Trust had generously extended (free!) tickets to The Lion King for me so I could write-up my experience attending this musical for Artfully Engaging readers. After my recent excellent experience at Chanhassen Dinner Theaters' Beauty in the Beast, I was curious to see if another Disney musical would live up the the hype.
My theater guest and I arrived early at the very grand Orhpeum Theatre and took our seats. We noticed we were surrounded by many young children, parents, and grandparents. One young girl hopped from lap to lap, scoping out the best place to see the action. Exposing young people to theater at an early age has numerous benefits. I was encouraged to be in the midst of such an intergenerational audience.
I was moved to tears when the show started. Actors streamed down the aisles as magnificent savanna animals singing "Circle of Life." An actor stopped right next to us and I was mesmerized with how close to the action I felt. It was immense. There are 200 puppets in The Lion King, including rod puppets, shadow puppets, and full-sized puppets. 25 types of animals, birds, fish and insects represented in the show.
Hyenas. Zebras. Lions. Oh my! Disney's The Lion King North American tour is in full swing and Pride Rock has overtaken the Orhpeum Theatre in Minneapolis. Lovers of the animated film will enjoy their favorite characters and songs ("The Circle of Life", "Can You Feel The Love Tonight", and "Hakuna Matata) with the added bonus of stunning theater magic and award-winning puppetry.
I would highly recommend this musical to those who are looking for a family-friendly theatrical spectacle that will create lasting memories. But, before you go make sure you are armed with a "Hakuna Matata" attitude. The women's bathroom lines were excruciatingly long. The woman across the aisle from me kept checking her cell phone during the show and filled the auditorium with light multiple times. And my friend who saw the show after me said the kids in front of her kept standing because they (also) couldn't see well. No worries.
The Lion King plays in Minneapolis through August 7, 2016.
Kendra Plant is a Minneapolis arts advocate and a technology professional. She especially enjoys yarn, theater, and animals. After working for more than a decade in the arts administration field, Kendra is now working as a freelance technologist and sits on the board of the Minnesota Fringe Festival.
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