Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hakuna Matata

Last week was quite eventful for my family and me.

First, my sister finally started Summer Vacation on Thursday. YAY FOR HER!

Second, we attended a 60th (Diamond, in case you were wondering) Anniversary celebration for my Great Aunt (sister of my Grandma) and Uncle. YAY FOR THEM!

And Third, we got to go see...

The Lion King


Yes, that's it, notice the picture to the right. This wasn't the movie, this was the Live 'Broadway' version.

I'll allow you a moment to go ahead and drool in jealousy.

Okay, that's enough.

If you haven't heard anything about it, then I advise you to go check out it's official site or these videos. The puppeteering is phenomenal, the vocals are amazing, and it was an experience I'll not soon forget.

That being said, I'm sorry to say I don't have any pictures. Photography was strictly prohibited before and during the show, and because I was with family and had other plans that evening, we didn't stick around after the show (as it was, it took 40 minutes to get out of the parking garage!).

We attended a matinee showing on the 2nd day (most inexpensive tickets *wink wink*), so there were still a couple bugs to work out:
The chorus often overpowered the soloist during songs, specifically in Scar's only song, "Be Prepared". Of course, knowing the songs inside and out helped me get through alright, but my grandparents, who have maybe seen the movie once were often lost. This will no doubt be fixed in the following performances as they become more accustomed to the performance space.

I believe Scar missed one of his lines at the end (or it was obscured by music/chorus) when he blames the hyenas for 'forcing him' to take over the pride. After he's thrown off Pride Rock and is talking with the hyenas, one says, "Oh, really? I thought you said we were the enemy." But...I don't think he did. Oops.

There was also a slight curtain mess-up following the "I Can't Wait To Be King" number, but the actor/puppeteer playing Zazu was able to make a joke of it and go right along with the performance.

Frankly, Zazu and Scar stole the show whenever they were on stage. Zazu was very over-the-top comedic—even more-so than Timon and Pumba!—and Scar played the best villain I've ever seen. Granted, he's one of the best Disney Villains of all time, but the actor pulled off the character as well as the animators did the first time around.

I will admit, I was slightly disappointed by the scale of the show, however I think I can attribute this to 3 things.
  1. We were on the 2nd balcony, which is waaaaay high up, so we could see more of the empty stage than, say, those on floor level. 
  2. I don't think our stage is nearly as big as the venues all the 'preview' videos come from, therefore they just couldn't fit as many people/puppets on stage as, say, on Broadway.
  3. The last productions I saw at that theater were the Singing Christmas Tree and Blast!, which both have minimalistic props and huge casts. The Lion King is pretty much the opposite.
My other complaint had to do with the family in front of us. You'd think being in the 2nd row of the balcony would mean our chances of having jerks in front of us were slim...yet we hit the mother load. I had the mom and her little boy (5 or 6) in front of me. I say both because the kid kept wanting to sit in his mom's lap. This made trying to look down over them a bitch. I quickly decided to move seats (we had an extra one in our row).

After intermission, during which they all left, they came back JUST before the show started, and the mom and kid decided to trade seats, sitting her right in front of me again. When he wasn't in her lap, he was standing up by the railing. And, with maybe only 10 minutes left in the show, he finally got bored and wanted to chatter and jump around. Seriously, lady, control your kid.

I heard afterward that her older kids (seated in front of my mom and grandparents) insisted on clapping with their hands raised above their heads. This wouldn't normally be a problem, except that there was a lot of applauding during the show (following musical numbers and/or excellent puppeteering) which made it a pain to see what was happening next. ESPECIALLY if you were trying to use binoculars. I don't know how many times I got a BLACK BLURRY BLOB in my vision instead of seeing the intricate puppetry going on onstage.


Now, I don't want to give away too much, but if you do have a chance to see it sometime, I advise you to GO!!!

It's in Portland until July 11th, then it heads up to Vancouver, British Columbia. More locations are available on their official site.