One of the most iconic Disney films of all-time takes the stage in Pittsburgh for a spectacular performance of music, dance, acting and larger-than-life puppetry.
Opening to a packed house, “The Lion King” is a must see production of wonder for all ages. As the lights dimmed and Brown Lindiwe Mkhize took the stage as Rafiki, it was clear we were in for a treat. The aisle doors opened to a parade of animals down the aisle – include a life-size elephant.
Just like the film, the show opens with the iconic song, “Circle of Life” and shortly after we catch our first glimpse of young Simba. Played by the adorable Nathaniel Logan Mcintyre, young Simba is full of spunk like any child would be. He truly shines during the “Just Can’t Wait to Be King” number riding a giant ostrich puppet.
Following right along with the film, we travel with Simba as he goes through life – from a spunky cub riding atop an ostrich in the song “Just Can’t Wait to be King” to adult Simba who returns after the death of his father to reclaim the throne from Scar (Patrick R. Brown).
Speaking of Scar, Brown is a dead ringer for the original voice of Scar (Jeremy Irons). His devious portrayal of the antagonist is certainly worthy of an award. Of course, probably two of the most iconic characters from the film are Timon (Nick Cordileone) and Pumbaa (Ben Lipitz), who are fantastic performers, but sadly a bit underutilized in the show. What a dynamic duo though – their puppetry was spot on for the entire performance, you simply forgot there were people inside the costumes! I was a bit disappointed some of their fantastic parts (such as their section “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”) were cut from the show.
Don’t miss your chance to see “The Lion King” during their nearly month-long run at the Benedum Center. The show runs through September 29 with performances on Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 1:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. There will also be a special matinee performance on Thursday, September 26. Tickets start at just $30 and are still available for most shows in person at Theater Square Box Office, Online at www.trustarts.org or by calling (412) 456-4800.
In addition to the regular performances, the Benedum Center will also host a special autism-friendly performance on Saturday, September 21. Pittsburgh will be only the third city in the country to present this special performance tailored to meet the needs of adults and children on the autism spectrum. Modeled after performances presented by the Theater Development Fund on Broadway and The Hobby Center for Performing Arts in Houston, TX, this performance will feature a friendly and supportive environment for the audiences. Slight adjustments to the production will include the reduction of jarring sounds and the elimination of strobe lights focused into the audience. The lobby will also offer quite areas and activities for families, as well as specially trained staff and volunteers to provide encouragement and assistance.
For more information on all performances of “The Lion King,” visit www.trustarts.org.