Pride: in the name of Love

Town & Country (Philippines) - - OUT & ABOUT CULTURE TOP TEN -

The Lion King, one of the great decade-defin­ing films of the 1990s, comes to life on­stage as the Michael Cas­sel Group and Con­cer­tus Manila present its mu­si­cal adap­ta­tion for a seven-week run at The The­atre at So­laire. Since its Broad­way pre­miere two decades ago, the Tony Award-win­ning mu­si­cal by Roger Allers and Irene Mec­chi has been seen by more than 90 mil­lion peo­ple in 24 pro­duc­tions around the world. In­deed, El­ton John’s mu­sic and Tim Rice’s lyrics have stood the test of time (and medium, eas­ily mak­ing the jump from film to the­ater).

The on­go­ing in­ter­na­tional tour features artists who have per­formed in pre­vi­ous The Lion King pro­duc­tions, in­clud­ing Nt­sepa Pit­jeng (as Rafiki), Mthokozisi Emkay Khany­ile (as Mu­fasa), Antony Lawrence (as Scar), An­dre Jew­son (as Zazu), and Jamie McGre­gor and Pierre Van Heer­den (as Ti­mon and Pum­baa). Join­ing them are six ac­tors from the Philip­pines: Julien Joshua Dolor, Pablo Palac­pac, and Juan Tiong­son share the role of Young Simba; and Sheena Ben­toy, Uma Martin, and Fe­lic­ity Na­puli al­ter­nate in the role of Young Nala.

Ea­gle-eyed fans of the film may no­tice a few changes in the mu­si­cal. For one, the role of Rafiki gets a gen­der switch and is now fe­male. There are also ad­di­tions to the sto­ry­line, such as Mu­fasa’s par­ent­ing tech­nique and Nala’s ex­ile from the Pride Lands. Th­ese ad­di­tions, thank­fully, leave more room for new songs to be in­cor­po­rated, all done by the orig­i­nal com­posers, John and Rice. Af­ter Manila, the pro­duc­tion goes on tour in Sin­ga­pore, Korea, Tai­wan, and South Africa. On­go­ing un­til May 6, The The­atre at So­laire, So­laire Re­sort and Casino, 1 Aseana Av­enue, Parañaque; tick­ets avail­able through Tick­et­world, 891.999, tick­et­; face­­cer­tusManila. C.D.C.

IN tHE LIoN’S DEN Nala and Simba in the Lion King.

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