Mirvish Presents The Lion King in Toronto

A must-see for fans (both young and old) of the classic film.

Published: April 24th 2011
in Culture » Stage

Brenda Mhlongo as Rafiki.

Simply put, The Lion King is a marvel. Period. It was a marvel when it first graced the “Great White Way” in 1997, and again, when it rolled into Toronto in 2000. Often, one forgets that this is a theatrical production based upon a 1994 animated film, which itself, was tremendously enjoyable. However, conventional logic would aver that cartoons and musical theatre don’t necessarily make good bedfellows, note Tarzan or perhaps, The Little Mermaid. Yet, The Lion King surpasses its cinematic inspiration in nearly every way. Undoubtedly, this is due in part to the conflation of Elton John and Time Rice’s sensational score and Julie Taymor’s genius for visual artistry, costume design, and ingenuity.


The mythic tale of good versus evil remains the same: noble Mufasa played perfectly by Dionne Randolph, the stellar J. Anthony Crane as a thoroughly evil and conniving Scar and mature Simba played by the dynamical Adam Jacobs. Truthfully, as a whole, casting was impeccable for this production. The brilliant Brenda Mhlongo as Rafiki, Syndee Winters as Nala displayed both her acting and vocal prowess; Nick Cordileone as Timon, Ben Lipitz as Pumbaa and Tony Freeman as Zazu all provide a splendid comedic component.


From the opening scene of “Circle of Life,” as an eye-popping menagerie of wild creatures make their way down the aisles to the stage, to the final scene, one realizes that The Lion King is not mere spectacle, but rather an unrivalled theatrical achievement.


Book by Roger Allers and Irene Mechi; music by Elton John; lyrics by Tim Rice; directed by Julie Taymor. Until June 12 at the Princess of Wales Theatre, 300 King St. W. 416-872-1212 or visit www.mirvish.com/shows/thelionking.

Related articles: (Mirvish Productions, Mirvish, The Lion King, Toronto theatre, Toronto entertainment)

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