‘The Lion King’ returns to Honolulu

Jan. 12, 2014 | 0 Comments In the Star-Advertiser Friday Print Edition

BY STEFANIE NAKASONE / snakasone@staradvertiser.com

The king … has returned.

Following its wildly successful Hawaii debut in 2007, the Broadway production of Disney’s “The Lion King” is back for an eight-week run at the Blaisdell Concert Hall. Performances start Tuesday, Jan. 14.

Jelani Remy stars as Simba and Nia Holloway as Nala in the touring production of "The Lion King." --Courtesy photo

‘THE LION KING’

» Where: Blaisdell Concert Hall, 777 Ward Ave.
» When: Tuesday, Jan. 14, through March 9
» Cost: $30-$90
» Info: (866) 448-7849, ticketmaster.com

The visually stunning musical, based on the popular 1994 animated Disney film, is the fourth-longest-running show in Broadway history, having celebrated its 16th anniversary last November.

If you missed out on it the first time around, you have two months’ worth of Hawaii shows to choose from. But it’s more likely you’re going for a repeat performance.

During its 13-week run here seven years ago, “The Lion King” broke records, becoming the longest and most successful Broadway production ever to come to Hawaii. More than 180,000 people saw the Honolulu shows, which boasted 94 percent capacity during the run.

The current touring cast features Patrick R. Brown as Scar, L. Steven Taylor as Mufasa, Brown Lindiwe Mkhize as Rafiki and Jelani Remy as Simba.

Brown has starred as Scar on Broadway and in Singapore, and also played Andre on the U.S. national tour of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.” Taylor was also a member of “The Lion King” Broadway cast, while Mkhize worked in the London and original Dutch Company productions.

Remy joined the cast from the Las Vegas production at Mandalay Bay, where he played Simba from 2009 to 2011.

--Courtesy photo

“The Lion King” returns to the Blaisdell Concert Hall this month. (Courtesy photo)

FAST FACTS:

» What it’s About: Simba, a young lion cub, runs away from home after believing that he has killed his father. But later as an adult, he must confront his guilt in order to save his pride from the evil Scar. With music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice.

» Bells and Whistles: 197 seats from the concert hall were removed to create two aisles for the “animals” to make their way to the stage for the show’s famous opening number, “Circle of Life.”

» Getting Good Tickets: Tickets aren’t available for opening night, but you can still get tickets for most remaining shows, especially weeknight performances. While there are two shows a day on Saturdays and Sundays, those seats are going fast. There is also a 10 percent discount for groups of 10 or more (call 593-9468).

» Meet and Greet: Wednesday, Jan. 15, is “Kids Night on Broadway.” The promotion includes half-off admission on select seats when purchasing one adult ticket and one child ticket (available only at Blaisdell box office), and a pre-show event with the Honolulu cast that includes keiki activities and the chance to meet the cast’s young actors (Simba and Nala cubs).

» Interesting Trivia: There are some differences between the “The Lion King” film and musical. For example, in the musical, the mandrill Rafiki is played by a woman. There are also a few added scenes and songs in the musical, including “Shadowland,” which features Nala and Rafiki.

» Awards: “The Lion King” won six Tony Awards in 1998, including Best Musical, as well as awards for best director, choreography, scenic design, costume design and lighting design.

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