The Lion King is the pride of musicals

The Lion King is the pride of musicals

Whether you are a big fan of musicals or not, The Lion King is a must-see production this year!

We are very familiar with The Lion King - the songs, the storyline, the characters.  After all, the kids had only watched the animated feature like several hundred times.  When the international musical made its Southeast Asia debut in Singapore earlier this year (in March), we thought: “yeah, we’ll go see it when we have time.” After all, how different can it be?

When we got our tickets, we had no idea what a treat we were in for. 

Right from the start, the vibrant sounds of the African beat, the elaborate setting and the remarkable costumes pulled us into an electric zone; our senses of sight and sound were fully engaged, and our heartstrings captured and manipulated by the skillful performance of the talented cast.

Our tickets seated us on the ground floor of the Marina Bay Sands Theatre (there are 3 floors) towards the aisle. 

We had never felt so lucky! Julie Taymor, the acclaimed director of this production did not restrict the performance to the front of the theatre.  Our kids, 5 and 7, were delighted by the elephants, monkeys, and other wild animals of the jungle that traipse regally down the aisle throughout the performance.  Not to mention the flock of birds that flew in at the opening segment during the second half of the show!

The Lion King: the story

For those unfamiliar with The Lion King, the storyline echoes that of famous playwright, William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, where a young prince is tricked of his heritage, his journey to learn from his mistakes and finally, his quest to reclaim his kingdom.

Walt Disney released The Lion King as a feature animation in 1994 and it has since been adapted into a musical and magically transformed by Taymor into a spectacular theatrical experience, winning over 70 major international theatre awards and viewed by over 50 million people around the world.

A Jaw Dropping Theatrical Performance!

Apart from the love of the storyline, what impressed us about the musical were the clever usage of puppetry and stilts to depict the mood of a scene (check out the giraffes that strolled across the 'plains' and the jaguar that stalks them below), and the stunning theatrical effects to tell the story (we were so blown away by the use of lights to materialize Mufasa’s spirit (face) in the stars in the scene where he admonishes his son for not remembering his heritage).

One of our favourites - the graceful giraffes and the prowling jaguar

And the beautiful costumes! The animal characters were vividly portrayed by the astounding masks and brought to life through the brilliant performance of the actors clad in intriguing costumes.

The expressive and elaborate masks atop each performer looked like they weigh a ton, but were actually made of carbon fibre so they are actually much lighter.

The performers were decked out in elaborate colourful costumes made of silk and natural fabrics that allow them to move easily. Who could forget the fluid dances of Nala with her tribe or the hilarious tirades between Timon and Pumba?

The hilarious Timon and Pumba

Together with the ingenious set design, the clever dance choreographies and the enchanting musical ensembles to popular medleys like ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight’ and the more upbeat ‘Hakuna Matata’, The Lion King production coalesce to give you an exceptional theatrical experience.

The performance is worth the price!

Catch The Lion King performances on Tuesday to Sunday evenings at 8pm and Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2pm. Ticket prices for the engagement starts from S$65. Platinum packages, which include prime seat locations, a souvenir gift, S$10 merchandise voucher and a drink, are also available.

Due to overwhelming response, The Lion King performances have been extended indefinitely.  And to commemorate their status as the longest-running musical in Singapore, the organizers (Marina Bay Sands) have launched a special promotional family package, “Pride Pack” (four tickets). You save $100 per family. Tickets are available from SISTIC or the Marina Bay Sands Box offices.

The tickets are pricey (but well-worth it, in my opinion). So to ensure that you and your family have an enjoyable experience, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Bring a sweater; kids should wear long pants/tights - it can get a little chilly in the theatre.
  • Get the kids to visit the bathroom before the show starts. The queue gets a little long during the interval (about 20 mins; a bell will cue you when the interval is over)
  • Be punctual – if you are late, you will miss the spectacular start of the performance. Also, you are granted entry or re-admission into the theatre only when there’s an appropriate pause in the show.
  • Pack some snacks and drinks for your child. Unless, you don’t mind splurging at the Theatre Snack counter. Here, you can get a regular packet of chips or chocolate bar start at $3; soft drinks at $5 and alcohol from $10-15.
  • Children under 3 years of age are admitted free of charge, provided they sit on their parents' lap.
  • Get tickets near the aisle if you have a young child. You can get out easily if your child gets restless or frightened by the performance.
  • Go for the matinee show (2pm) if your kids can't stay up past 9pm - the show is 2.5 hours long
  • As tempted as you will be to photograph and record the performance, it is NOT allowed.

Now we understand why people couldn't get enough of it, and go back a second or third time.  We are watching it again. See you there?

Also read:Hilarious Lion King inspired birth announcement video goes viral

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