The highest-grossing (at more than $1.37 billion) and the third-longest running Broadway musical finally arrived at Manila.
The Lion King, as a celebration of its 20th year on stage and its 25th of global production, kicked off its international tour at The Theatre at Solaire Resort & Casino beginning March 18th.
I was fortunate enough to catch the Disney classic on stage on April 22. If you’ve yet to watch it, here are reasons to watch the show before it closes on May 27.
It’s a Visual Treat
What hooks you to the musical is no longer the story as we are already familiar with how young Simba’s impatient haste to the throne threw him into a period of self-imposed exile and self-discovery. It is how the animated movie was translated unto the stage that will get you. The two-and-half hour production was a visual treat in the overall design of the costumes, puppets, and set. The manner in which the suggested animals glide or fly across the stage and the detailed costumes and masks portrayed the African landscape beautifully.
New Scenes and Songs in the Musical
New scenes and songs are featured in the Broadway musical that were not a part of the 1994 animated movie so there’s something new for long-time fans. I’m not gonna spoil you by telling you about the added scenes, but the new songs include, “Morning Report”, “Shadowland”, “The Madness of King Scar”, “Endless Night”, and many more.
Young Simba and Nala Portrayed by Filipino Actors
While the adult Simba and Nala are played by international actors, the young Simba and Nala are played by six Filipino actors on a rotation basis. The Filipino actors that I got to see were Omar Uddin and Sheena Bentoy, respectively. They did an adorably good job of acting and belting out to the tunes of, “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King.”
Modern and Filipino References in the Dialogue
Since the global production of Lion King has reached its 25th anniversary, they have added modern and Filipino references to suit the audience and to keep it up to date. It’s delightful to hear a Filipino word thrown into the mix every now and then much to the audience’s guffaw.
Antony Lawrence’s Scar
One of the best performances of the show was that of Antony Lawrence, who plays Simba’s ambitious and scheming uncle, Scar. In an interview with Theater Fans Manila, the actor said that playing Scar was, “an absolute dream role” for him. As a result, his Scar is one the clear standouts in this international tour.
Eighteen Different Nationalities Represented
While the majority of actors come from South Africa, there is a number of other nationalities present in this international tour, including those from Australia, China, and Great Britain. Watch them invite people in their native tongue here.
7. Relives the 1994 Disney Classic
The animated Disney movie released in 1994 has grown to be a well-loved classic for children and adults alike. With iconic images, phrases, and songs such as, “Hakuna Matata” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?”, the international production relives and gives a modern touch to our favorite lion and his company.
Don’t miss out and get your tickets here.
The Lion King in Manila closes on May 27.
The tour dates for The Lion King International Tour are as follows:
- PHILIPPINES – OPENS MARCH 2018
- SINGAPORE – OPENS JUNE 2018
- SOUTH KOREA – OPENS OCTOBER 2018
- TAIWAN – OPENS 2019
- SOUTH AFRICA