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‘The Lion King’ returns for roaring good times

Disney bestseller bursts onto Detroit stage with music-movie favorites, plus play originals

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Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 12:13 pm, Fri Apr 5, 2013.

“The Lion King” on Broadway invites the child in us all to explore our imagination.

The Broadway adaptation of the 1994 Disney classic remains true to the original storyline. All of the original music from composers Elton John and Tim Rice are featured. From “The Circle of Life” to “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” the music was beautifully arranged.

Along with the regular stage orchestra, the music featured African drums and other traditional African instruments. Also featured in the play are songs not originally in the movie like “Chow Down,” performed by the hyenas.

The production included a cast with strong voices and strong acting skills. The roles of Young Simba and Young Nala were both double-cast. Each of the actors embodied the roles they set out to play. Scar, played by Timothy Carter, was devilishly evil. His acting made you hate Scar more than ever, but drew you in with each line he delivered. The comic relief of Zazu, Timon, and Pumbaa was successfully carried out.

The actors went above and beyond to keep the audience filled with

laughter. Wayne State graduate and Tony Award recipient Garth Fagan meshed the African and contemporary dance styles in the most seamless of ways.

The choreography was full of energy and technique. The dancers could easily execute triple pirouettes as well as polyrhythmic movements. Fagan not only choreographed the dance numbers well, he also choreographed the fight scene in the most amazing manner. The lines and angles created such intense emotion that it almost felt as if the cast were actually fighting.

Probably the best part of the whole production may have been the puppeteering and the stage designing. The use of human actors for animal life and set design was brilliant. The true animalistic nature of the actors really helped bring the puppets to life, especially the cheetah. The ensemble also used actors for props, with members acting as grass and plants.

All in all, “The Lion King” on Broadway brings back the childlike sense of imagination in everyone. It still projects the message of responsibility, family and learning from your mistakes and is great for all ages.

“The Lion King” will be playing at The Detroit Opera House now through March 10.

Tickets are available at the Opera House box office and online at TicketMaster.com

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