The show was not short (about 2 hours and 45 minutes which includes the intermission) and may be a little to serious and majestic for very young kids — and there are the topics of death and guilt…But of course, the mood was lightened by the humor of meerkat Timon (Tony Freeman, at our performance) and warthog Pumba (William John Austin at our performance) who were adorable and funny and brought the popular “Hakuna Matata” (no worries) attitude — along with Pumba’s fart jokes and Timon’s sassy remarks.
Zazu the challenged-babysitter toucan (Greg Jackson) also brought the laughs as he tried to keep track of young Simba and Nala. (Unfortunately I forgot to check the sign that probably told which actors were portraying them at this performance. It wasn’t in my program inserts. Joziyah-Jean-Felixx or Salahedin Safi as Young Simba and Danielle W. Jalede or Gloria Manning as Young Nala) They were both charming.
The large cast is universally talented with lots of athletic dancing, aided by the two drum specialists each with a roomful of impressive percussion on each side of the stage. Gerald Ramsey was the strong, kind, doomed father, Mustafa; Mark Campbell was the easy to hate, malevolent Uncle Scar. Adult Simba (Jared Dixon) and Adult Nala (Nina Holloway) were noble and strong and gave us all hope for the future of the pride lands.
Don’t miss this majestic musical, one of the modern “classics” as it continues through July 29. You can see what seats are left at the website: