When I was 15 years old The Lion King came out in movie theaters. I was so intrigued with the previews and just knew I was going to fall in love with this movie. My Godson Isaiah was a brand new baby at the time and I insisted that I take him to see the movie. He slept through the whole thing of course but I was wide awake and fell hopelessly in love with The Lion King.
In the years after the movie was released I was affectionately known for my obsession with The Lion King. I worked at a video store where I would play the movie over and over on my shift. I watched it regularly at home and bought a copy of the VHS for just about every child in my life. The script was a permanent fixture in my brain as I knew every single word. I loved the characters, the story, the culture and of course the art.
Years later I had a child of my own and was fascinated by the idea of her being just as in love with the movie as I was. I played it every single day and it took a while but she eventually caught on and the obsession continued. Once I became a mom though, life caught up to me and I eventually stopped watching it everyday and eventually all together. This is not meant to be a sad story it's kind of just what happened.
When Lion King on Broadway came out the same year my daughter was born I made a vow to myself to see it. I love live theater, drama and grew up on musicals so what would be better then putting all of my favorite things together. This seems like an easy feat for so many. Especially because I live right in CT which is a short drive or train ride away. Truthfully Broadway tickets are costly and I wanted my baby girl to see it with me. Not too long after my daughter was born I had a son. They were both very small ad the idea of splurging nearly $800 on Broadway tickets for a show they probably wouldn't remember seemed ridiculous and completely not affordable at the time. Fast forward 19 years later and I still hadn't gone to see it...until now.
Last week I celebrated yet another year on earth. My birthday happened to fall on a Tuesday and what does one do when their birthday falls on a Tuesday? Hop a train to see The Lion King on Broadway of course! It was a selfish act, the kind that is very necessary every once in a while. It's something I've been wanting to do for such a long time and here it was plain as day. I actually purchased my ticket just two days in advance and it was the very last ticket in the orchestra section (If you're going to splurge, do it right).
My sense of direction is awful at times and I know nothing about New York City. It's not the best place to travel to alone especially with little or no sense of direction but I wasn't going to miss this show. As I made my way to the theater on foot from Grand Central station the anticipation was high and the energy was surreal. I was finally there!
The entire lobby was adorned with all kinds of African inspired royal decorations and Lion King paraphernalia. I picked up my ticket, program and tote and headed into the theater. It was pure magic from beginning to end. From the puppet-erring to the makeup and costumes I was so emotional and inspired all at the same time. I actually cried in the opening scene because I couldn't believe I was finally there.I cried when it was over because I didn't want it to end.
Everyone played their parts so well. They were so very beautiful on stage adorned in African fabrics and all shades of melanin. The way the performers brought the animals to life was truly out of this world. My favorite characters of the evening were Rafiki (Female in the live show), Mufasa, Zazu, and Scar. Everyone was really fantastic and I can't wait to return with my kids who are now old enough to experience the show and remember it. I look forward to the day where I am actually behind the scenes of this very show working on costumes and makeup. Until then I am almost certain that The Lion Kind will forever be my favorite Disney story and show.
If you haven't seen it, go see it! It's magic, just plain magic.