I couldn't even tell, at first glance, where the performers ended and where the costumes began. That's how stunning the costuming and puppetry and performance of The Lion King were when it was at ASU Gammage this month. The musical isn't new, of course. I knew that it was rated highly, which is why I wanted to make sure and see it when it was in town. This is one case where the show did live up to the hype.
Just the opening number is beautiful. The costumes, the set design, the choreography, and the performances in both movement and music elevate this show. If the story showcases the circle of life, so, too, does the musical exhibit harmony in visuals, sound, and movement. We appreciate the beauty of the land, its flora and fauna, that the performers bring to life. These visual concepts work in tandem with the music. Quite beautiful vocals, in particular from Gerald Ramsey as Mufasa and Gugwana Dlaminni as Rafiki. Jaylen Hunter as Young Simba also had wonderful charisma. And I particularly enjoyed the lioness ensemble.
This is the joy of art. We have a chance to view and encourage creativity and talent. And in so doing, to also reflect on our own lives and bring into our interpretations wherever it is that we are currently at in life. If The Lion King is about the intersection between the past and the present, then it gives us a chance to consider where we are, shall we say, in harmony with our past and where we are not. Or where we are in harmony with our current decisions and life choices and where we are not. We can't move backwards and we shouldn't live in the past--but we should be aware of how our past affects our present. And we should be aware of the repercussions of our current choices.
This is a beautiful musical visually, but it also has that depth of theme. It may be a familiar story to most of us--but, after all, it grew to such popularity because of that very depth.