‘The Lion King’ is a must-see

Tshidi Manye stars as Rafiki in Disney's "The Lion King," which is being performed now through March 20, 2016, at DPAC in Durham. / Joan Marcus

Reviewed by Logan A. White
Times-News correspondent

   The classic coming-of-age story set in the Serengeti blossoms into life on the stage — Disney’s “The Lion King” is now performing at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), 123 Vivian Street. Based on the acclaimed animated film, “Lion King” is a treat for every member of the family. Travel to the grasslands of Africa and follow the journey of a young lion prince, Simba, as he struggles to find his place in the “circle of life.”
A rambunctious youngster, Young Simba (Tré Jones) dreams of the day when he will be crowned king of the Pride Land. But the jealous plotting of his brooding uncle, Scar (Patrick R. Brown) quickly puts an end to Simba’s carefree childhood. Tragedy strikes, leaving the lion prince disillusioned, alone, and afraid. The unlikely friendship he forms with a warthog and meerkat lifts his spirits, but it takes a face from the past to help Simba face his own rocky past with confidence.
“Lion King” definitely opens with a bang. The show-stopping “Circle of Life” begins the show with a delectable medley of colors, sounds and emotions. Gerald Ramsey portrays a strong, yet loving Mufasa, Simba’s father and king of the land. The friendly dynamic between Young Simba (Tré Jones) and Young Nala (Mikari Tarpley) is fantastic, while the bond between their older counterparts (Aaron Nelson and Nia Holloway, respectively) shows hints of a deeper relationship.
Patrick R. Brown is perfect as Scar— his performance shows the lion’s dangerous yet slightly off-kilter disposition. Both Timon (Nick Cordileone) and Pumbaa (Ben Lipitz) are comical, but the true comedian of the show is Zazu (Drew Hirshfield). Portraying the king’s prim-and-proper aviary adviser, he manages to keep the audience both engaged and laughing throughout the show.
However, the ensemble really completes the “Lion King” experience. From creating the rhythmic chants of the Serengeti to effortlessly bringing each creature to life, the ensemble brings the spectacular musical full-circle. The flowing movements of each dancer and actor mimic the natural grace of the animals perfectly, and each costume and puppet adds another layer of wonder to a story that will last for a lifetime.
“The Lion King” is a must-see; don’t miss out on this thrilling experience.

 Disney’s “The Lion King” is being performed now through March 20 at DPAC, 123 Vivian St., Durham. Tickets range from $33 to $83 and can be purchased at www.ticketmas ter.com.

 Logan A. White is a home-schooled sophomore and a Teens & Twenties writer.


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