The Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles, CA is hosting Disney Presents The Lion King from November 20, 2013 to January 12, 2014. The family friendly musical, The Lion King, is not only one of the most popular ones to hail from Broadway, it is also one of the top grossing. The Pantages Theatre offers showings on Tuesday at 7:30 PM; Wednesday at 1:00 PM and 7:30 PM; Thursday at 7:30 PM; Friday at 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM; Saturday at 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM; and Sunday 1:00 PM and 6:30 PM. There will not be performances on Christmas Day or New Year's Day.
The Disney classic animated motion picture, The Lion King, has now been adapted into a musical with music written by, not other than, Sir Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice. What is fascinating about the musical is that Disney's animated characters come to life as the cast in animal costumes that are accompanied by giant hallowed puppets. The first act opens with the "Circle of Life" with King Mufasa and Queen Sarabi introduces the new cub, prince Simba. Audiences quickly learn that Scar, Mufasa's brother is disappointed in losing his opportunity to be King. During the act, Simba grows feeling regret from having convinced himself that he is guilty of killing his father and not his uncle Scar. Without his family, Simba becomes an adult in the company of a meerkat and warthog who teach him the ropes of living in the jungle from there perspective on the food chain. It is in the second act that audiences see how the disruption in succession with Scar as King is affecting the whole of the interconnected jungle. Simba is reconnected with the spirit of his father, Mufasa, who encourages him to demand a confession from Scar, but the battle between Simba and Scar lead to Scar's death. It ends with Simba as King and the balance needed to continue the circle of life.
On July 8, 1997, The Lion King debuted at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, MN. It instantly became a grand success before its Broadway premier at the New Amsterdam Theater. The Broadway production official premiered in October of 1997 and then officially opened that November. The musical continued it success on Broadway, making its move to the Minskoff Theatre. It is now considered the fifth longest running Broadway show of all time, as well as the highest grossing Broadway show. Like other successful Broadway shows, The Lion King debuted in the United Kingdom at the Lyceum Theatre in the West End in October of 1999 and continues to captivate audiences. The West End production cast members were delighted to perform at the Royal Variety Performance in 2008 at the London Palladium for the upper echelon of the British Royal Family. The Royal Variety Performance is an annual gala held in the United Kingdom with the reigning monarch present. It is no doubt that the beloved Sir Elton John was equally excited for the honored cast members. There have been other national and international productions in Canada (Princess of Wales Theatre from 1999-2004), Los Angeles (Pantages Theatre from 2000-2003), Australia (Capitol Theatre in Sydney from 2003-2005 and the Regent Theatre in Melbourne from 2005-2006 and Korea (Charlotte Theater 2006-2007). In 2007, The Lion King debuted for the first time on the African continent in South Africa. The Lion King is currently touring the United States of America with one production, having offered two previously.
The principal touring casts consist of well-known performers with award-winning credentials. Patrick R. Brown, who has played the role on both Broadway and in Singapore before joining the United States National Tour, performs the character, Scar. L. Steven Taylor is the magnificent King Mufasa. He has previously been part of the tour and is credited for both Mufasa and Scar on Broadway. The amazing, Brown Lindiwe Mkhize, performs the role of Rafiki. While a native South African, her credits do not include the Johannesburg tour. Instead, she is credited for London and the original Dutch Company productions of the Lion King. Nick Cordileone is Timon in the current tour and has credits that include both Off-Broadway and Regional productions, as well as roles on film. Andrew Gorell, a graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a Master of Fine Arts, has been in both regional productions, is Zazu. Ben Lipitz plays the role of Pumbaa. He has previously been a part of the Broadway production of The Lion King. Dashaun Young plays the starring role of Simba. Young is credited for The Lion King productions on Broadway, The West End, Vegas and the U.S tour. The remainder of the principal cast includes: Nia Holloway (Nala), Keith Bennett (Banzai) and Rashanda Dawan (Shenzi). Last but not least, a fabulous team of actors and actresses accompanies the principal cast on this U.S. tour.
The brilliant creative team includes the internationally renowned singer/songwriter, Sir Elton John and Lyricist Tim Rice with whom who collaborated to to produce the award-winning soundtrack for The Lion King. The Tony Award-nominated book was co-authored by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi, while Julie Taymore is the Director, Costume Designer, Mask/Puppet Co-Design and provider of additional lyrics. The rest of the creative team includes Garth Fagan (Choreographer), Lebo M. (Additional Music & Lyrics, Vocal Score and Choral Director), Mark Mancina (Additional Music & Lyrics, Music Produced for the stage and additional score), both Hans Zimmer and Ray Rifkin (Additional Music & Lyrics), Richard Hudson (Scenic Design), Donald Holder (Lightening Design), Michael Curry (Mask & Puppet Design), Steve Canyon Kennedy (Sound Design), Michael Ward (Hair & Makeup Design), Binder Casting/Mark Brandson, CSA (Casting), Robert Elhai (Associate Producer and Orchestrator), both David Metger and Bruce Fowler (Orchestrator), Clement Ishmael (Musical Supervisor), John Stefaniuk (Associate Director) and Marey Griffith (Associate Choreographer). Audiences will enjoy the elaborately designed sets, costumes and larger than life puppets in this Disney Theatrical Group production.
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