Theater Review: Disney’s The Lion King

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Disney’s The Lion King (May 7 – June 2; Ages 8 and older)
TPAC’s Jackson Hall
505 Deaderick St., Nashville
782-4040 • tpac.org
Show times: Tue – Thu 7:30 p.m. Fri 8 p.m., Sat 2 and 8 p.m., Sun 1 and 6:30 p.m.
Tickets: $27 – $73

TPAC’s Jackson Hall is magnificently roaring for the next few weeks with Disney’s The Lion King gracing its stage. This amazing production starts off like a lion and certainly doesn’t go out like a lamb. It’s spectacular start to finish!

The spine-tingling, soul-rousing first number, “Circle of Life,” sung by Rafiki (Nteliseng Nkhela) sets the stage as a world of African animals in puppet form come to the stage from the wings as well as down the aisles with majesty and grace. From giraffes to elephants, kids will be in jaw-dropping awe. This opening number brings an undeniable WOW factor for everyone in the audience, kids and adults alike.

This show, based on Disney’s much-heralded animated film, is one of the most glorious productions to land on a theatrical stage. The entire cast superbly sends up Elton John and Tim Rice’s music in high fashion. Several cast members have Broadway credentials, which is obvious with this touring production. This experience feels like you’re actually seeing it on Broadway — Yes, it is THAT great!

The powerful storyline in The Lion King is something to take to heart. At the forefront is the reality of what strength and bravery really mean, especially when those lessons are taught to a youngster. Then there’s the lesson of power, and how the abuse of it can be devastating, as in the case of Scar (Timothy Carter).

There are so many amazing performances from the cast in this show, but the favorite one comes from 9-year-old Zavion J. Hill as young Simba. This lad tears up the stage with major energy with his role, singing and dancing with aplomb. This young guy is rife with talent like no other. It’s fun to see a “star” in the making.

The set design and lighting are impeccable, and every musical number is bold and outstanding. Through and through, this is one of the greatest musicals of all time, and one your kids will undoubtedly adore!

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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