“Lion King” Still Enchants and Astounds

The Lion King. Photo by Matthew Murphy

The Lion King. Photo by Matthew Murphy

Good news! The national tour of The Lion King still impresses even if you’ve seen it three or four times. And if you’ve never seen it, you are in for a fabulous theatrical experience. The Disney animated epic is manifested as an Elton John musical that ranges from pop to African sounds. It follows the life of Simba, from lion cub who unintentionally brings about the death of his nurturing father and on to his reflective time in the savanna away from his pride.

Visionary director Julie Taymor enchants with wildly imaginative stage effects from a wildebeest stampede to grass panels balanced on the heads of a terrific dance ensemble. That said, The Lion King‘s human touch is very evident. Human actors and dancers play and represent the animal characters meticulously with masterful use of masks and puppets. The big standout is the superb Nia Holloway as Nala, Simba’s childhood sweetheart who gloriously comes into her own.

The Lion King
Through Aug. 7
Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis

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