I just can’t wait… to see The Lion King!

by Julie Frayn on July 24, 2013 in  Adventures in New York City

Adventures in New York – part six

Since the first time we saw that wonderful Disney movie, The Lion King has been baby girl’s favourite. Which is a relief because before that it was Dumbo, the most cringe-worthy ‘children’s’ movie ever made (therapy? Who needs therapy?). When she turned twenty-one this past February, her birthday present looked a little thin – because it was just a note in a card. In New York City, that card would turn into two tickets to see The Lion King on Broadway!

Basking in the glow of the marquis

Basking in the glow of the marquis

We had heard that you could get good deals the night of a Broadway show by coming early, standing in line, and taking whatever was available. The downside of course, you may get nothing. I wasn’t about to risk that, nor spend our valuable time in NYC standing around. So I booked from home, weeks before our trip. Snagged seats on the first balcony, second row, just to the left of centre stage. I paid dearly for them. But oh, was it worth it.

Granted, there are virtually no bad seats in the Minskoff Theatre, but these seats were perfect. Not so close you miss half the show because you can’t see past the big-headed guy in front of you, not so far that you can’t see the stage and all of the characters look like blurry inkblots (bifocals? Puulease). These were the baby bear of Lion King tickets for my baby girl – they were juuuust right.

The marquis at the Minskoff

The marquis at the Minskoff

I was warned by a friend not to miss the opening curtain. My Canadian side couldn’t help but wonder, what tool misses opening curtain? And don’t you have to wait for a break in the action before being seated if you’re late? Turns out there were a few tools there that night. And on Broadway, they just show you right in, even if it does disrupt the people in front of you.

How rude.

Luckily for us, the tools were off in the distance. And the reason for my friend’s warning soon became clear.

The echoes of African rhythms swirled around us – drums beat, music resounded, the stage lit up. In no time, all the animals of the Serengeti were making their way on stage. Elephants galumphed down the aisles below us, rhinos and giraffes and cheetahs shared the same space, and birds flew overhead, dipping and soaring just out of reach. It was spectacular and beautiful, awe-inspiring and surprising. I cried. Actually cried. Now that’s freaking entertainment.

The curtain, just before the opening scene. Shh, don't tell - we snuck one picture.

The curtain, just before the opening scene. Shh, don't tell - we snuck one picture

Each scene that has been etched in my memory from watching the Disney movie dozens of times came to life right there in front of us. I couldn’t fathom how they could do the canyon scene effectively and at first the stage looked a little blah. Until the stampede began. Words failed me that night. All I could say was wow. Two months later, with a little distance between me and that scene, I am much more in control of my words. But all I spit out is wow. Just wow.

If you’ve never seen The Lion King live and in person, don’t miss it. If for no other reason than to witness the inspired costuming and the joy of hearing a warthog’s farts ring out through the theatre.

Next installment, one special night in New York. Or another special night. They were all special….


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

J Timothy Quirk July 25, 2013 at 6:59 pm

what a fantastic adventure and that’s quite the birthday present! We’ve always loved the Lion King movie but have never seen it live. I’m so glad you were able to experience that!


Julie July 26, 2013 at 12:30 pm

It was fabulous, Joe. And the kids who played young Simba and Nala were wonderful. Really worth it!

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