Disney's Smash Hit Award Winning Musical "The Lion King!"Besides executing excellent food under the tutledge and direction of my mother, and the cadjoling and teasing of his brother, colin managed to secure three not-adjacent last minute tickets to Disney's Smash Hit Award Winning Musical "The Lion King!"
The whole production is staged on a theatre disney owns, the old new Amsterdam Theatre has been supposedly lovingly restored from the massive disrepaired state of the building even 5, 10 years ago. While there were plenty of restoration details abounding, there was no information about the decline of the theatre from it's early 20th century heyday - i was forced to imagine the illrepute that went with the disrepair: crusty old homeless men jerking off in thick coats where now multicultural families stood in line with Lion King! Shopping Bags in hand.
The theatre was a beautiful place to be distracted - the height of the ornamental arts - plaster sculpted into hot chicks, and goats and trees and stuff.
People swing across the stage, scores of animals turn on giant wheels, there's stars, rivers and stampedes simulated onstage - it's rather like a george lucas meets ladysmith black mombazo musical. The special effects garnered the most applause - i had to remember to close my gaping mouth more than once.
Colin mentioned buying the soundtrack, i would say that's a nice idea, but you might actually hear the lyrics. Mostly corny stuff about the lead dude's dead dad, and feeling the spirit of leadership. Of course there's humourous touches abounding, so we aren't forced to feel very deeply either way about anyone, i was stuck thinking back fondly to the days of yore, when i'd been in my high school's "Guys and Dolls" and at least in memory that seemed to be a much better written musical. I guess I always though "Crocodile Rock" was a little too silly for me; Elton John was prominently featured as writing the music for Disney's the Lion King!, except of course, he couldn't have written the african language and rhythm numbers, which were the most interesting, probably because i couldn't understand what they were talking about, only that they were really excited to talk about it.
What this show rests on is stilts. Puppets and masks were mindblowing. It was astonishing the range of well carved and innovatively concocted costumes. People wore little lawns on boards on their heads. People as full sized elephants. People up on four stilts as giraffes. People as voraciously farting wild boars. Julie Taymor, the directorand mask/costume maker is responsible for most of the praise and money this musical has made.
Disney's The Lion King! is an exercise is regular visual overstimulation. You don't just watch a few strong actors sing and dance; you watch a wiggling gyrating orgy of unbelievable puppets. During a love scene, when the coupling of the lead characters is being simulated in dance, they don't just have one couple performing stately balletic movements in the center; they have three couples in psychedlic bikinis strung up on wires from the ceiling provocatively groping each other.
Fortunately, the sponsorship didn't reach the stage, but it was nearly everywhere else. Stuck in the pages of the free program was a colour photocopied updates on the performers: "program insert sponsored by l'oreal kids" and colin was reminded of john borland, the family crank semi-socialist, when taken to the full spectacle of a christmas time chicago bulls game in the michael jordan era, decided that "Doritos trip to the mensroom" summarized the whole evening.
As we left the theatre, I saw perhaps the most impressive plaster sculpture yet - a woman over the out door, seated holding some weeds and a boat in her lap, "PROGRESS" written beneath her legs.