By Michael Kinney
The Broadway production of The Lion King has become an institution on the theater circuit. It has played at venues throughout the Midwest during the past decade.
But theater fans at Oklahoma City’s Civic Center seem to really go all in for the Disney musical whenever it shows up at the Civic Center.
After a small hiatus, it found its way back to Oklahoma City for the 2022 season. It began a two and half week run on May 12 at the Civic Center. It will conclude on May 29.
Opening night saw a packed house on hand, which I was part of. iIt marked the second time I have been able to take in the Broadway version of The Lion King.
While it is the same story that has entertained more than 100 million kids and adults around the globe for the past 25 years, it never fails to draw theatergoers into the drama and forget you know exactly what is going to happen.
Yet, this time I found myself more enthralled with more than just the story and musical numbers. I actually caught myself being amazed by the choreography from Tony Award winner Garth Fagan. Those are aspects I normally don’t focus on, but this go around they stood out.
The cast includes Brandon A. McCall (adult Simba), Gerald Ramsey (Mufasa) and Kayla Cyphersl (adult Nala).
Spencer Plachy (Scar) may have stolen the show as the jealous brother of the king who wanted all the power for himself.
Director Julie Taymor takes the audience into Africa’s Serengeti with a menagerie of animals such as giraffes, hyenas, cheetahs, elephants and of course Lions.
“When I looked at the film… I said to myself, what is working in this film for me? What is the most daunting challenge,” Taymor said. “That’s what I like to do– the sheer fact it’d be very hard to do is a great challenge to me.”
Whether you are who has never experienced The Lion King or have seen it many times, it still brings the same satisfaction and hopefully inspiration when walking out of the theater.
“When the human spirit visibly animates an object, we experience a special, almost life-giving connection,” said Taymor. “We become engaged by both the method of storytelling as well as the story itself.”