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There are plenty of reasons to catch The Lion King U.S. Tour!

Disney's The Lion King U.S. Tour Review

Here are just 5 of reasons to see The Lion King U.S. Tour while it is in Costa Mesa, CA at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts (now through February 25, 2024).

The Lion King U.S. Tour – Spectacular Visuals

The Lion King U.S. Tour is renowned for its breathtaking visuals. The innovative puppetry and creative set design transport you to the majestic landscapes of the Pride Lands, creating a truly immersive experience for young and old.

One of the visual standouts is the use of innovative puppetry, particularly the life-sized animal puppets. Actors manipulate these puppets to portray characters like Simba, Nala, Scar, and other members of the animal kingdom. The puppetry adds a unique and dynamic dimension to the storytelling, captivating the audience with its artistry.

Visually Disney’s The Lion King U.S. Tour still continues to awe and amaze their audience since the first U.S. Tour opened on April 17, 2002.  Richard Hudson‘s award winning set design for the hyenas’ lair is a perfect example. Hudson’s gritty atmospheric set piece coupled with Donald Holder‘s use of shadows and eerie lighting delivers and enhances the ominous atmosphere, creating a stark contrast to the more vibrant and open spaces of the Pride Lands.

Disney's The Lion King U.S. Tour Review by The Joyous Living
Photo by Matthew Murphy (c) Disney, 2023

The most iconic set piece however is that of Pride Rock. The Pride Lands are brought to life with vibrant colors and sweeping landscapes. Hudson’s set design incorporates African-inspired elements, from the sweeping savannah to the iconic Pride Rock. The use of intricate backdrops and set pieces creates a visually stunning representation of the animal kingdom.

If you visit the Disney Parks you might think you’ve seen the best Disney can do with Festival of The Lion King and the recently shuttered Tale of The Lion King at The Disneyland Resort. Trust me, you haven’t seen anything yet until you have seen Disney’s The Lion King stage musical. There is a reason that The Lion King rightfully won Best Musical, Best Choreography, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting Design, and Best Costume Design at the 1998 Tony Awards and why it continues to wow audiences worldwide.

The Lion King U.S. Tour – Iconic Music

Elton John and Tim Rice‘s timeless music takes on a new life on stage. From the powerful “Circle of Life” to the emotional “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” the live orchestra and talented cast bring these iconic songs to a whole new level.

Twelve additional songs were written for the original Broadway production of Disney’s The Lion King including Endless Night, Shadowlands, The Madness of King Scar, and He Lives in You. (“The Morning Report” was cut from the show in 2010). You can find the Original Broadway Cast Recording on Amazon.

Standouts from opening night at The Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California, were Peter Hargrave‘s powerful Be Prepared, Khalifa White‘s haunting Shadowlands, Darian Sanders‘ yearning Endless Night, Mukelisiwe Goba‘s moving He Lives in You, and of course the electrifying opening number Circle of Life.

The Lion King U.S. Tour – Incredible Performances

The 2024 cast of Disney’s The Lion King U.S. Tour delivers stellar performances, capturing the essence of beloved characters like Simba, Nala, Scar, and more. The company’s combined energy, passion, and talent on stage creates a truly memorable and enchanting theatrical experience.

On February 1, 2024, the show’s leading cast all gave standout performances – well deserving of the standing ovations they received – but the most memorable had to be the dynamic comedic duo of Nick Cordileone (Timon) and John E. Brady (Pumbaa). Together Cordileone and Brady are comedic gold and stole any scene they were in. Peter Hargrave (Scar) and his merry band of hyenas (Forest VanDyke, Martina Sykes, and Robbie Swift) also had great chemistry with each other and made “The Madness of King Scar” one of the night’s most memorable and entertaining numbers that new fans of Disney’s The Lion King The Musical will not have heard before.

Review of The Lion King U.S. Tour by The Joyous Living
Peter Hargrave as Scar. Photo by Matthew Murphy (c) Disney, 2023

As the young lovers Darian Sanders and Khalifa White are great actors who do an excellent job personifying their characters’ hunger to discover and live out their destiny. Sanders especially captures the fear and confusion that Simba feels as a young lion in his self imposed exile.

Rounding out the leading cast are Mukelisiwe Goba who gives a solid and quirky performance as Rafiki, Nick LaMedica (Zazu) who nailed each of the feathered bird’s jokes, and Gerald Ramsey who surprised with a kingly regard for the importance of his role in raising up young Simba.

The Lion King U.S. Tour – Emotional Storytelling

The Lion King is not just a tale for kids; it’s a powerful and emotionally resonant story for audiences of all ages. The journey of Simba, filled with love, loss, and self-discovery, tugs at the heartstrings and leaves a lasting impact.

The Lion King U.S. Tour – Family-Friendly Entertainment

Whether you’re a family with kids or a group of friends, The Lion King U.S. Tour offers a captivating and family-friendly night out. It’s a shared experience that sparks joy and wonder, creating lasting memories for everyone in the audience.

The Lion King U.S. Tour in Costa Mesa

When: Through Feb. 25; 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa

Tickets: $39-$179

Information: 949-556-2787; scfta.org

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5 Reasons to Catch Disney's The Lion King U.S. Tour.