Arts & Culture

Roaring Success: You Must Catch the Spectacular 'Lion King' in Manila

The musical includes new additions to the storyline and a female Rafiki.
IMAGE JOAN MARCUS, COURTESY MICHAEL CASSEL GROUP
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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.

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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, ticketworld.com.ph; facebook.com/ConcertusManila. 

This story was originally published in the April 2018 issue of Town&Country.

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Christa De La Cruz
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