Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mamela

via http://www.alcapones.com/wordpress/?p=4400
{ The Lion King Musical  |  via  }
One Easter some 20-odd years ago, I planned an elaborate Easter Egg Hunt for my family in our backyard and woods (benefit of growing up in Virginia: you can live at the end of a cul-de-sac on an acre of land). Before we headed outside to follow my Harriet-the-Spy-type-clues, I remember sitting at the kitchen table with a red top on and my hair half tied up with a white ribbon pulling goodies out of my Easter basket until I got to the VHS tape of The Lion King. Do you remember those thick, white-edged plastic cases from Disney? They always reminded me of baby chew toys.

+ + +

I watched The Lion King regularly, faithfully, taking photographs while the movie was paused so I could develop them and carry them around. I had all the lyrics and words memorized, the gestures, the glances, the dance moves. It was all stored in my mind, ready to reproduce, like a party trick. There was something mesmerizing to me about the heart of the story, the rhythms of the African-influenced songs, and of course, the animals.

+ + +

But, this two-decade cherishing of a movie about a lion cub's life in no way prepared me for the onslaught of emotions I felt when I finally (finally!) sat down at the Minskoff Theater in Times Square to see the Broadway Musical this past weekend. I kid you not, when the show began and these gorgeous dancers / actors recast as exotic and elegant savannah animals began prancing down the aisles with their puppet machinations, I lost it. Positively lost it. I began crying and could not stop (well, until I started laughing, because there are some very funny scenes).

The pageantry of colors, amazing staging (seriously: the stampede scene was ingenious!), Zulu chants and an almost Gospel-like chorus was just so breathtakingly beautiful. It made me feel like a child again—in the best possible way. Can you remember what it felt like the first time you beheld something we take for granted now (like, ice cream or a parrot or a skyscraper)? That's what I felt like the whole time.

I still have chills thinking about it.

New York—you were good to me this weekend. Seeing The Lion King was no doubt, one of the best, most wonderful experiences I've had in this perversely beautiful city (right up there with picnics under the Brooklyn bridge, cocktails on a rooftop with an expansive view of the city at sunset, sailboat trips around the NY Harbor, etc.). Let's do it again some time, okay?

PS. Mamela means "listen" in Zulu and is featured in one of my favorite numbers. Here's a clip:

3 comments :

  1. I've just seen the Lion King in London and was blown away by it. My 8 year old, too --- he sat on the edge of his seat for the entire show! Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  2. this totally makes me want to see it now!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a note!

XOXO,
J.