I have often wondered what the big to-do was about Lion King. The puppets, everyone says. The music, the dancing -- all amazing, I heard. "Bring kleenex," my friend advised. But I still wondered, Was it really as good as everyone says?
Okay. It's better than everyone says.
Within the first 30 seconds I was enraptured with the show. I sat there enthralled, amazed, shivers down my spine and tears in my eyes. Not very often does music move me to tears, the Hallelujah Chorus notwithstanding. But as the giant elephant tromped down the aisle, and the birds flew over the audience, and the giant Pride Rock revolved around the stage I could hardly keep myself from leaping out of my seat. You could barely hear the last note of "Circle of Life" as the audience roared with applause. It was stunning. The puppets were stunning. The music was stunning. The dancers were stunning.
From a theatrical standpoint, I loved their use of the stage. It gave me great ideas for how to use our new theatre space (which is as inspiring as a barn) for the show I'm directing. I loved that they sent cast members into the audience to fly birds (puppets) over our heads. From our seat we had a bird flying within a few feet of our heads, which thrilled the little girl in front of us to no end (she with her hair pinned up in elaborate curls and wearing her fanciest dress). I loved that the musicians were not only in the pit, but also on the sides. Oh, and I loved LOVED their raked stage with a super duper cool hydraulics system (which is more a tribute to the Keller Auditorium than the show).
In short, if you have an opportunity to go see this show then it is worth every penny. Even the 2nd Balcony seats (where we sat) are still amazing. It's showing in Portland for another week, but I'm sure it's sold out. I'd go see it again in a heartbeat. A huge thanks to Devon's dad for giving us the tickets.
As a p.s.: Devon and I decided to arrive early in Portland and make a day of it. We met my parents at John's Landing and did a little trade off: I gave them Sydney and they gave me the rest of the day off (heh). Naturally Devon and I had to go to Powell's (where incidentally I bought Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Angels & Insects (by Byatt who wrote Possession -- which I must loan to Laura because I won't have time to read it anytime soon), and two books by Roddy Doyle (Irish): The Woman who Walked through Doors and The Snapper). Then after that we headed over to the Portland Art Museum, who is celebrating their new expansion with free admission (their web page says to pick up tickets, but you don't need to. Just walk in -- free through tomorrow). Of course my favorite was the Monet (because I'm an Waterlilies kind of girl).
The bookstore, the museum, and then a Broadway musical. How about that for a pretty amazing day?