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Disney’s The Lion King Musical visits Fresno

[/media-credit] Martina Sykes, left, who plays Shenzi and Gerald Ramsey, left, who plays Mufasa pose with journalist Annaleise Anderson.

The lights go down as the curtain draws open, lions, zebras and 18 ft. tall giraffes fill the stage! The opening musical number,  Circle of Life, immediately pulls everyone back to their childhood. For many who grew up watching The Lion King, finally seeing it live on stage is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The incredibly-intricate and bright costuming amaze audiences.

After The Lion King won six Tony Awards in 1998, they continued to wow audiences through musical performances worldwide. Requiring a fluctuating, 101 member cast along with a crew of 114, the musical finally came to life after nearly three years of development in 1997. These actors perform up to eight shows a week and portray 25 different species of animals, birds, fish and insects.

The Lion King’s revised production, debuting on Oct. 2017, continued touring through North America making an 11-day stop in Fresno. This bright production follows the life story of a young lion named Simba and his difficult journey into adulthood. The two and a half hour long show contained bright costuming and exciting musical numbers! Even from the cheaper nosebleed seats, you’re still able to achieve the full experience, through their use of intriguingly-beautiful staging and incredible music. 

After Simba’s uncle, Scar, maliciously murders the lion cub’s father he forces Simba to flee his pride. He easily convinces Simba he was the reason for his own father’s death. Scar assumes the throne and lets the wild hyenas loose, causing devastation  all throughout Pride Rock. Meanwhile, Simba spends his young adult life growing up in the wild alongside two other outcast animals, Timon and Pumbaa. Through his time in the jungle, Simba learns responsibility and self-acceptance.

The following tweet features an article containing an interview with a Lion King cast member from Kings River Life magazine.

A quick run in with a crazy monkey, Rafiki, reminds Simba of who he truly is and how much his father believed in him. Simba reunites with his childhood friend, Nala; through her, he gains courage to return and overthrow his evil, throne-stealing uncle. Simba quickly embraces his rightful place as King of the lion pride and returns the local watering hole to its former glory, culitivating a thriving circle of life.  

Actors wear costumes the size of full grown animals as they dance on stage.

With tickets starting at $50 and all the way up into the hundreds, this show was available to a wide range of viewers. The Saroyan Theater was packed full nearly every night it was in town. However, on account of the unique costuming it may take a little while to be sure of who each character is portraying.

Danielle Foster | The Feather Online

The Lion King is the third longest running Broadway show and still tours with an open ended calendar. Some cast members, like Ben Lipitz who plays Pumbaa, have been performing for 15+ years in The Lion King show. For a unique experience when seeing a show at the Saroyan, head to the stage door afterwards to meet cast members!

The Lion King tour continued on to Seattle and will begin performances again on Thursday following multiple press appearances. Appearing next at the Saroyan Theater will be The Nutcracker presented by The Central California Ballet on Dec. 22-23 with tickets on sale starting at $35.

For more articles see Review: Lily Collins opens up in debut memoir and Holiday Magic Studios features innovative, unique Christmas opportunity 

Author Annaleise Anderson can be reached via Twitter and via email.

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