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The Lion King

Cadillac Palace Theatre
151 W. Randolph Chicago

Experience the phenomenon as it once again leaps onto the Cadillac Palace Theatre stage. Marvel at the breathtaking spectacle of animals brought to life by award-winning director Julie Taymor, whose visual images for this show you’ll remember forever. Thrill to the pulsating rhythms of the African Pridelands and an unforgettable score including Elton John and Tim Rice’s Oscar-winning song “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” and “Circle of Life.” Let your imagination run wild at the Tony Award-winning Broadway sensation Newsweek calls “a landmark event in entertainment.”

Thru - Nov 27, 2010

Price: $25-$166

Show Type: Musical

Running Time: 2hrs 30mins; one intermission

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  The Lion King Reviews

Chicago Tribune - Recommended

"...Tours of this complexity, magnitude and guaranteed appeal are bordering on extinction in this recessionary era. But there has been no drop down the theatrical food chain here. Although the great Tony Freeman must have worn out several birdcages as Zazu by now, Disney has managed to cast new young performers, like Adam Jacobs’ Simba, who avoid cynicism and make the ascension of Pride Rock still look like the realization of some great personal ambition. It was all there in the steeling-himself moment prior to the assumption of rock and throne. Such details, such maintenance of quality, are why “The Lion King” roars on."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...Beyond the incomparable invention of the animal masks and puppets by Taymor and Michael Curry, and the sets by Richard Hudson (so gloriously lit by Donald Holder) -- all drawing on elements of African and Asian stagecraft, with a nod to the Disney movie --there is the pop sweetness and pluck of the Elton John-Tim Rice score, so richly embroidered by the more indigenous, poetic, rhythmically complex African sounds created by composer Hans Zimmer, Lebo M. and others. And there is Garth Fagan's choreography, which feeds on pure animal grace, as well as African and modern dance."
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Hedy Weiss

Daily Herald - Highly Recommended

"...This is the third time in seven years Lion King been staged in Chicago, so it's possible this could be the final run. While expensive ticket prices are often a deterrent to big production musicals, this is one that's worth the price."
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Jamie Sotonoff

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...As you no doubt know, this musical-cum-institution based on a famous Disney cartoon tells the story of Simba, a lion prince who, denied his throne through treachery, has to endure exile before he can take it back. That's fine. But throughout the show it's made clear that Simba's best friend and prospective mate, Nala, is braver, smarter, and more self-aware than he is. And she can beat him up any time she feels like it, too. So why does she have to wait for him to recognize his responsibilities before she can respond to the tyranny that's been imposed on her pride? Why isn't she the lion king?"
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Tony Adler

NewCity Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...But the real star of any production of “The Lion King” is the stunning visual feast that the show supplies at every turn, from the golden sun that appears in the opening “Circle of Life” and the velvet night of stars over the grasslands in “He Lives in You,” and of course, the inspired idea to place actors in animal costumes with African-style masks and also incorporate large, hollow puppets into the mix and have all of these actually interact directly with the audience. “The Lion King” remains one of the few recent Broadway properties that completely transports audiences of all ages to another realm, inspiring all of us at every stage of the journey."
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Dennis Polkow

Copley News Service - Highly Recommended

"...        Audiences who enjoy this kind of “triumph of the human spirit” story will be emotionally entranced. But the big payoff is the unending and glorious flood of pageantry that covers the stage and often extends into the theater, starting with the parade of animals that surge down the aisles in the opening number, led by a puppet elephant 13 feet long and 11 feet high."

Dan Zeff

Talkin Broadway - Highly Recommended

"...The Lion King may be the best meeting ever of art and commerce, and its success is both good for the art and good for the commerce. A return visit to this show is a reminder of the reasons producers have stuck by Ms. Taymor and her vision for the upcoming Spiderman: Turn off the Dark. Regardless of how that new Broadway show turns out, let the world keep coming to The Lion King. It will introduce kids and maybe their parents to the art of theater and reward stage craftsmen and performers for pursuing their crafts at so high a level."
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John Olson

Centerstage - Highly Recommended

"...But this family musical tale can't captivate audiences if it's just technical razzmatazz; it has to have a stellar cast. And it has just that in Dionne Randolph as Mufasa, Adam Jacobs as Simba and Syndee Winters as Nala. Kolton Stewart, opening night's Young Simba, provides enough youthful enthusiasm and dancing skill to hold his own. The "Circle of Life" indeed goes on and on."

Colin Douglas

Chicago Stage Review - Highly Recommended

"...From the breathtaking opening number you are overwhelmed by the incredible imagery and this wonder carries you through the entire production. Puppetry is perhaps the most ancient form of theatrical magic. Taymor and Michael Curry are master conjurers of this alchemy. They design a marvelous jungle playground of colorful and captivating puppet creatures, from a tiny shadow-puppet mouse to massive elephants roaming up the isles to join this fantastically imagined “Circle of Life” on stage. This resembles the kind of unbelievable magic that Redmoon Theater might create, given a limitless budget."
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Venus Zarris

Time Out Chicago - Highly Recommended

"... The plot’s a bit thin to support two and a half hours: Young prince Simba is tricked by his evil uncle Scar into thinking he’s responsible for his father’s death; he goes into self-exile before returning to challenge Scar for the throne. And there’s an unresolved tension between the mostly vocal-and-percussion offerings of Taymor and her collaborators and the synth-laden pop of John and Rice. Still, given the overall elegance of the director’s translation from 2-D animation to stage, I’m willing to reserve judgment on the wall-crawler."
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Kris Vire

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...Tighter, more polished and containing enough heart to please the most cynical audience member, The Lion King is a most dazzling theatre as spectacle musical of our generation.! From the impressive opening “Circle of Life,” audiences cheer and children go “wow” as the parade of  more than 200 puppet animals enter the stage both from the wings and from each main aisle. With the haunting African chants and the roaring drums, we are enticed into the world of the lion complete with a jaw-dropping assortment of puppet animals, living grass and flowers. The Lion King’s opening number is the most impressive one you’ll ever see for a Broadway musical. It sets the tone and it creates the atmosphere of the grassy African plane where the lion is king."
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Tom Williams

Chicago Stage Standard - Somewhat Recommended

"...The cast size is quite large which is needed to allow the puppets to function but at times there is so much clutter and a blurry focus. Unfortunately, even with a good cast, many comedic bits were not timed well which didn’t help the dragging feeling that the script already owns. I read that there were over 700 lighting instruments used in this production. This impresses and perplexes me due to the moments of dark spots and noticeably flawed looks."

Nicholas Ryan Lamb

Around The Town Chicago - Recommended

"...This is the third run of this production at The Cadillac Palace ( probably the best stage for the show) and for the most part this cast is as solid as the ones before. I must say that the villain Scar, although played well by J. Anthony Crane, is not quite as menacing as our own Larry Yando was in his stay, but there is only one Yando and right now he is on to other things. While there are many standout performances, from Brenda Mhlongo, our narrator ( the baboon) , The powerful Dionne Randolph as Mufasa, Tony Freeman as Zazu ( another tricky puppet character), Adam Jacobs as Simba (grown), Kolton Stewart ( young),Syndee Winters as Nala (grown),Monique Lee ( young) and Tryphena Wade as Sarabi, this is truly an ensemble show. These performers play many roles, change costumes and work puppets as they sing and dance their way into our hearts. Not only on the stage, but coming down the aisles to make their initial entrance and get us started in this tale  that tells of love, hate and jealousy, but the true message of the story is not to look back ( or learn from your past) but proceed forward in your life. There has to be a message- this is Disney."
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Alan Bresloff

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