The Lion King

Rated 5.0

For nearly a year, murmurs were heard throughout Sacramento: “The lion is coming! The lion is coming!” Now, at long last, Disney’s The Lion King has landed in the capital city in all its theatrical splendor. Ticket holders, who’ve virtually sold out the limited six-week run of this ingenious musical, are going to feel mighty lucky they bought ahead.The Lion King is simply spectacular—a perfect blend of entertainment, art and theater. It fills up the Community Center Theater with classy and highly imaginative sets, costumes, masks, dancers, puppeteers and special effects. This production is first-class all the way, right from the opening scene, in which African songs are exchanged from the balconies while a life-sized elephant lumbers down the aisle to the colorful stage, where silhouetted giraffes saunter in front of a setting sun.

The story is taken from Disney’s very successful animated movie in which mischievous lion cub Simba must avenge his father’s death and eventually take back his rightful throne with the help of a cornucopia of colorful characters. However, in an inspired move, instead of using cute Disney mascots, the company hired theatrical magicians to transform the simple story into a truly innovative theater experience.

The movie score by Elton John and Tim Rice is augmented with a few more songs that unfortunately bog the second half down—the only misstep in the show. But the production is filled with so many winning highlights that you can forgive this oh-so-slight lapse.