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We all have grown to know and love Disney throughout our childhoods, but many forget or don’t know about all of the stage adaptations that Disney has. One of Disney’s classics, The Lion King, brings the entire audience right back to being young and being amazed by everything. The Lion King has a special place in Minnesota’s heart because it originally opened at the Orpheum Theater. It came back just as strong as before and was the king of Hennepin Avenue. The puppetry, movements, and vocal talent make this a show that you don’t want to miss.

From the very first note, the cast, especially Rafiki (Buyi Zama) had the entire audience involved in the animal kingdom. This was also due to the fact that the audience was a part of the animal kingdom because of the use of the aisles. I often feel that actors coming up the aisles to get to the stage is cheesy and over-done, but animals coming up the sides is a completely different story. As Zama sang the infamous words of “Nants’ Ingonyama,” the animals came onto the stage one by one. I was entranced by the giraffes on stilts, played by Gabriel Croom and Derrick Spear. The audience also loved the elephant, which was equally amazing. The voices in the chorus blended together beautifully. There were several parts in which the chorus sang from offstage while the main characters acted on stage. I thought it was beautiful that even without being onstage, they still left a lasting impression. Nala (Nia Holloway) had a very sweet voice that carried the melody of each song wonderfully. Simba (Aaron Nelson) blended with Nala and the two had great stage chemistry. There were several other actors that were noteworthy with their puppetry as well.

When I walked into the theater and noticed that there were drums in the house, my first thought was that it would be hard for the orchestra conductor to conduct the drummers from so far away from the pit. To my delight, they kept in time for the entire show. Conductor Rick Snyder did a wonderful job.

Another noticeable thing was the colors of the lighting and sets working together. The dark colors of Scar’s rule paired with the grey-toned costumes made the mood darker and more ominous. At the high energy parts of the production, such as “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” and the reprise of “He Lives in You” were colorful and lively. It was a part that I both appreciated and enjoyed.

The only technical error I noticed was the microphone balance at the beginning of most of the songs. It was hard to hear soloists over the chorus, but during most of the songs it got to a good balance.

Overall, the production was phenomenal. The entire kingdom of theater elements worked in harmony to produce an enjoyable experience for the entire audience. The Lion King is in its home city until August 7th, so get your tickets today.

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Comment by Patty Danielson Strandquist on July 11, 2016 at 8:22am

Laura, Your choice of photo in your review is a powerful one and is a strong complement to your title, 'Be Prepared', yet your review does not continue to explicitly state what the audience must be prepared for. Is there a surprise awaiting them? Is something different or unique in this production that we may not expect? Work to create the link between title, image and thesis.

Your review contains clear, specific details from the production, especially with examples from the production qualities of vocals and music balance. Keep in mind that a reviewer's voice has a clear thesis-opinion but does not use first person point of view. Craft your statements without the

'I feel/I think' construction and you'll have even more powerful sentences. For example in your paragraph about the mood of Scar's scenes, rather than telling us that you enjoyed these, explore what it is in these scenes that creates their energy and power.

Your review touches upon several important production elements, but you don't write much about the plot, characters or theme of the show. What is it about this story and the way that it is presented that makes it 'an enjoyable experience for the entire audience'?

Thanks for sharing your review of the show; I've enjoyed reading your reviews throughout this season!

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