We went to see the SHN production of The Lion King at the Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco. It’s a family friendly production (recommended for six and up) so I was excited for the nine year old to have a Broadway experience. As we got ready to go, I focused on her. Answered her questions about what to expect. Helped her choose an outfit. Made sure she ate well. I barely thought about the fact that I was going to the theatre, something I used to be passionate about. Since becoming a parent, getting out to the theatre is low on the priority list.
I had forgotten about the magic. So when the lights went down and the music started - my spine unexpectedly started to tingle. The opening is so visually stunning, it’s breath taking. I almost forgot to turn and see the wonder on my daughter’s face. Almost.
Rifiki played by Buyi Zama is alone worth the ticket price. Her glorious and genuine African accent took her simply gorgeous singing voice to a different level.
The puppet like animal costumes are so clever and striking you feel sad when they leave the stage. The first five minutes filled up my senses so much it could have ended there and I would have been happy.
Watching my girl spontaneously laugh. Seeing her burst into applause so enthusiastically she almost came out of her seat. Watching her get quiet with the gleam of tears in her eyes as she observed sadness heightened by haunting music was so soul stirring I can’t adequately describe it.
This is a great show to bring your kids to. It has silly humor that will tickle them. It has drama that will thrill. It has rich color that is simple and yet so beautiful. It has the hits you know and rousing African drums. It has gorgeous dance, masterful puppetry and a sound track you will be humming for days.
It is an unusually perfect family experience – when you get as much, if not more, out of the experience as your child. So, if like me you have let theatre slip down your list – move it back up. It’s a short run here in San Francisco (until January 13th) so don’t wait to get your tickets.
My attendance at this performance was sponsored but my enthusiasm is independently genuine.