Growing up, I was a happy girl anytime that this image visited. I mean, can you really get any better than classic Disney movies? I was always keen of two movies in particular: 101 Dalmations and The Lion King. To this day, I think it’s possible to say that The Lion King, or as we say in Spain, El Rey León, still is a timeless movie that I watch quite frequently whether it’s on TV or the copy on my laptop – too much? When it was re-released in theaters in 2011, I was sure to drag my roommates along to watch it with me. Then, the new version was released to DVD days before my birthday. What do you think my friend bought me? Oh, and don’t forget about the VHS copy I still watch. I’m a sucker for The Lion King.
When I was eight years old or so, my mom got us tickets to go see the musical version in Chicago. I remember exactly where we were sitting as the room filled with joy and excitement in the first scene. Since that day, I knew I wanted to see the musical again. When I was a senior in high school, my mom was able to take us to see it again in Chicago and this time, my cousins came. They were around the age I was when I first saw it, so it was wonderful! For years now, I have dreamed of going to see the musical in Madrid – Spanish and The Lion King? Yes please! However, each time I visited Madrid, shows were always sold out. It’s a hot thing during the summer.
How could you NOT want to see this? Seriously! It’s amazing. Everything in the musical is so well crafted. The costumes are incredbile, the choreography unlike anything I’ve ever seen, the transitions from scene to scene, the lighting, the music, and every other skill that goes into making this such a unique, award winning show.
One of the things that I have found different in European theaters (I headed to Mamma Mia! in London earlier this year – go, go, go!), is you have the ability to take pictures within the theater. In the US, I always see people being yelled at for sneaking a picture of the incredible ceilings or stage.
I bought some popcorn for dinner – do you know how difficult it is to come by good popcorn in Spain? – and some Fanta just so I could get one of the free cups with it. Yep, worth it.
El Rey León starts off dynamic, just as the other two showings were. It’s full of energy and pure joy. Memories flooded back and I was smiling the entire time. Next to me sat three boys and watching their reactions was almost as wonderful as the show.
In comparison to the movie, there are a few additional scenes presented in this adaptation of the musical. One of my favourites was a scene done by the “female lions.” Their voices harmonizes perfectly and I was left speechless. If you’ve ever seen facts on The Lion King, you may have encountered these:
A few weeks before the film opened, Elton John was given a special screening. Noticing that the film’s love song had been left out, he successfully lobbied to have the song put back in. Later, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” won him an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Originally, Scar was going to send adult Nala away from Pride Rock because she ignored his romantic approaches, after which she finds Simba alive and well with Timon and Pumbaa. This idea was ultimately abandoned, as sexual harassment was considered improper in a family movie. However, the stage musical adaptation includes this plot development as part of director Julie Taymor’s efforts to expand the female characters’ presence in the story.
Thank goodness Elton John fought! That musical was beautiful in the show. Additionally, It was definitely interesting to see a scene where Scar attempts to win Nala over and speaking of Nala, played by Daniela Pobega, she hands down may be the most talented vocalist of my life. I was constantly blown away by her amazing voice. I still cannot get over how unreal her voice is.
During the scene where Timon typically dances the hula to distract the hyenas, the Spain adaptation was changed to dance to the flamenco. The audience, as well as myself, burst into laughter as Timon wore your classic Andalucian dress with a flower on his ear.
Overall, the experience was wonderful. I could talk about the show for hours on end. I loved it. Simple as that! If you have the chance to go, go! I promise it will be worth it no matter where in the world you live.