Disney’s The Lion King is an iconic tale that many of today’s young adults will say has impacted their lives. I grew up with Nala, cried along side Simba when his dad died, danced with Timon and Pumbaa, sung along to the circle of life, and experienced the glory of The Lion King from a young age. This isn’t just another show, it’s emotional, it’s funny, it’s beautiful, and it’s right here, in Minneapolis, for another three weeks.
Several aspects of show business appeal to people, and The Lion King as all of them. It has spectacular singing, dancing and acting from every single cast member; a family friendly, engaging story; a lesson; beautiful sets; fantastic costumes; lighting; score; and an inviting environment. Several actors displayed extreme talent in singing, dancing, and acting, a feat commonly referred to as being a “triple threat.” Sydnee Winters, the actress playing Nala, was definitely one of the triple threats in the show.
The Lion King also exhibits talented children. It’s hard for kids to succeed in such a professional atmosphere, but the two young people who rotate for young Nala and young Simba rise to the challenge and perform superbly. In the performance I saw, the role of young Simba was played by Niles Fitch, and young Nala was played by Sade Philip-Demorcy. Both of them were pleasures to see perform.
All of the puppets in The Lion King really help make the show the best it can be. You see prime examples straight from the start, when gazelles, birds, elephants and other animals rush down the aisles of the theater and parade onstage together. The puppetry in the show makes it possible to believe that all of the actors are animals. When actors come to the show, they learn how to use the puppets as they are learning how the show works. They bond with the puppetry as they bond with the cast, learn music, dance, and lines. You would never guess that before Lion King they hadn’t done puppetry before.
The sets, lighting, and costumes also all work together to make the show believable. The unlit set is almost completely white, and most of it is done through lighting, flies, and movable set pieces. Vines, trees, and other plants move on and off stage, interchanging with actors in costumes that make them look like grass or flowers. It creates a visual effect that encapsulates the audience.
Watch as Simba and Nala fall in love, discover themselves and win back pride rock. Tickets are available online at hennepintheatertrust.org, in person at the State Theater box office or by calling 1.800.982.2787.