“Lion King” delights audiences of all ages

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Since August 15, audiences have been flocking to the Fox Theater to view a live adaptation of the movie “The Lion King.” With talented performers, breathtaking costuming and great special effects, this family favorite production continues to capture audiences.

The story follows the lion king of the Pride Lands, Mufasa, as he prepares his son,Simba to one day take over the kingdom. However, before Simba is fully trained, Mufasa’s brother Scar kills Mufasa and convinces Simba that it is Simba’s fault. Ridden with guilt, Simba flees and Scar is left to take control of the land. Simba is eventually forced to come face to face with his past and his father’s murderer in order to restore order to the kingdom.

Dionne Randolph (Mufasa), Jelani Remy (Simba), Sophia N. Stephens (Nala) and Brent Harris (Scar) made up the talented cast of lions, leading the show with powerful voices and charming wit. Buyi Zama played an enchanting Rafiki. Her humor and charisma resulted in resounding laughs throughout the audience. Altogether, the cast’s performances left the audience dancing in their seats and singing along.

This adaptation includes songs and interpretations of different components of the story that vary from the film. Dancers bring everything to life from patches of grass to a rotating staircase. This style lends itself well to the live performance. At times, the dancing ensemble can be even more compelling than the main characters.

Though minimal, the setting and background work well with the intricate costumes and makeup of the cast. The details were striking even from the balcony.  The performance exhibits cultural dress and dance. These components of African tradition are displayed in a whirlwind of colors and patterns.

In the moment when Mufasa’s spirit speaks to Simba from the stars, audience members watch constellations rearrange to form the deceased king’s facial features then turn seamlessly into a “floating” wooden puzzle. Gasps from the audience were heard from the top of the theatre.

The distinctive special effects continued as a manipulation of shadows, fabric and lighting enabled the audience to see everything from flowing rivers to Mufasa lost in a stampede of wild boars. The costume construction of the animals, though manipulated by humans, allowed for the convincing performance of animal-like mannerisms and posture.

Throughout the show, the actors kept up an amusing and engaging interaction with the audience with little quips of humor. Laughter resounded throughout the entire theater during the 2 ½ hour performance, even in darker moments. Audiences both young and young at heart continue to get lost in the Serengeti for a few hours of production.

“The Lion King” is showing until September 2. Tickets can be purchased at the Fox Theater Box Office or by inquiring online.