“The Lion King” roars at Segerstrom

Broadway vibrantly brings the beloved classic to the OC.


Elise Kelly/THE CHIMES

Elise Kelly, Writer

Okay I will admit it, I was one of those Disney kids that watched Walt’s classics on repeat. Not because I wanted to be a Disney princess, but because I loved the songs in the movies. Even though my all-time favorite was “101 Dalmatians,” “The Lion King” always held a special place in my heart — mostly because I watched it every day for two weeks straight. Given this information, I think it is safe for you to assume that seeing “The Lion King” musical was a dream come true for me. Especially because my ticket was only 15 dollars through Biola’s Student Programming and Activities.

Enthralling Show

Voted the world’s number one musical, this show did not disappoint. The performance was put on at The Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, Calif. from Oct. 6 through Nov. 1. The beginning scene started just like the movie with “Circle of Life” and an array of African animal costumes. The animals paraded down the aisles in the audience and costumes included antelope, cheetahs, zebras, giraffes and elephants. With an entrance like that, it was hard not to be immediately enthralled with the show.

As the first half of the show continued, it followed the movie’s storyline and included songs like “I Just Can’t Wait to be King,” “Be Prepared” and “Hakuna Matata.” I appreciated the modern references to movies like Frozen, as well as the comedic role of Rafiki the monkey throughout the play. After intermission, more familiar songs like “He Lives in You” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” were performed.

Favorite Scene

Call me a hopeless romantic, but my favorite scene in “The Lion King” is when Nala and Simba are reunited. This scene in the performance was executed well but it was laid out differently than in the movie. In the movie, Nala leaves her pride in search of better hunting, but in the play, Nala leaves because Scar wants to make her his queen — in both situations, she promises to return. Meanwhile, Simba is portrayed as a restless wanderer in the jungle and when the two meet again, he is forced to sort through his emotional baggage and makes the choice to return to pride rock as king.

Bringing the Magic to Life

Do not get me wrong — the music was incredible and the songs encapsulated the magic that is Disney. The performers’ voices were definitely broadway worthy and the orchestra exceeded all my expectations. However, each one of the costumes was a work of art. The actors and their costumes were paired so well it did not seem like actors wearing animal costumes anymore, instead the costumes were brought to life. Each of the lions wore face paint, intricate clothing and a lion’s face headpiece. The actors who played the roles of Timon and Pumbaa impressively worked their costumes like a puppet as they acted. As far as the costumes went, my personal favorites were the hyenas that looked like they were straight out of the movie.

Not only was “The Lion King” musical everything I had hoped for and more, it was an inspiring story of love, family and the circle of life.

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