The wait is finally over.
The world’s number #1 musical, The Lion King, has finally landed on our shores for the second time to celebrate their 20th anniversary in an international tour which began in Manila.
The theatrical experience first premiered in Singapore in 2011 and played to over 300,000 people in what was Singapore’s longest-running musical in our theatrical entertainment history.
Now, the show returns to thrill audiences from 27 June to 23 September at the Sands Theatre, Marina Bay Sands.
Ardent fans would be pleased to note that the musical closely follows the classic Disney film and tells the story of a pride of lions as they fight for the throne while retaining the familiar songs that we have grown up singing and loving.
Mike Schaperclaus, the show’s resident music director, said with a smile: “The changes to the songs are so small. We took out a few bars here and there and put the bars back in other songs to keep it modern but otherwise, people want to hear the familiar songs.”
The show opens with a rendition of the iconic ‘Circle of Life’ which is a familiar scene to many as baby Simba is held up for all of Pride Rock to marvel at and it is one of the most energetic, hair-raising moments of the entire experience.
Andre Jewson, who plays the role of Zazu the bird said: “I used to play the role of the elephant in Circle of Life and walking down the aisle was always incredible because you could see the wonder and amazement on the faces of the kids. You’ll see a wife excitedly tapping her husband, you’ll just see people light up when that song comes on and it gives me goosebumps.”
One of the things that make Lion King truly spectacular is their use of the entire theatre instead of just the stage. The actors and puppets spring from all corners of the cinema and constantly surprise and amaze their audiences.
The show itself makes use of elaborate puppets and masks that were designed specifically to ensure that the actors and the animals they were portraying were melded together and that both could be seen by the audience.
“The mask is so complex that it becomes an extension of who you are on stage and you can use it to portray a whole host of emotions. We actually spend a lot of time in rehearsals in front of mirrors just learning about how our masks work because sometimes you turn just a bit and the mask moves a whole lot,” said Anthony Lawrence who plays the role of Scar.
The show will also see some familiar faces such as Jonathan Andrew Hume who will be playing adult Simba again. The British actor played this exact role when the show came to Singapore in 2011.
“I’ve seriously missed Singapore so much. When I saw that the show was coming back here, I immediately signed up and I was just praying to get it and I did.”
The actor, who was recently at Lao Pau Sat for satay with his coworkers, also gushed about how much he loved Singaporean food.
No matter if you’ve seen it ten times before or if you’re a newbie wondering what all the hype is about for a Disney production, I say, spend that money and experience this spectacular display again or for the first time because you will certainly not regret it. The colours and the energy will just blow you away completely even if you've experienced it before.
When asked why people should come to see the show again even if they have seen it before, Lebo M, who provided additional music, lyrics, vocal scores and is the choral director for the show, said:
“You know, I’ve seen this show over and over again for 22 years and I still get goosebumps when the opening number comes on. It’s just timeless. When people ask me why they should see the show again, I ask them why they keep going back to church or the club every week. You go because of this spiritual and emotional connection and the fact that you will always find something new there. That’s the same way it is with Lion King. You’ll always find something new and you’ll get that connection and impact every time.”
All Photo Credits: Joan Marcus © Disney