Fast forward thirteen years, three children, and a good 15 pounds later, and my attitude couldn’t be more different. I was wrong about so many things during those carefree pre-parenting days. I was certainly wrong about the quality of Disney Theater productions.
It turns out that I am one of those people who pay money to see a Disney Show. I take my children to see Disney musicals, and I go see them alone with my husband. Disney’s presence in the world of theater has provided children with an unprecedented introduction to theater. Shows like Mary Poppins and Beauty and the Beast are magnificent, top of the line children’s entertainment, in a completely different category from the Sesame Street Live or Go Diego Go performances I’ve been tortured to sit through. But not all Disney theater productions are pure children’s fare. The Lion King and Aida are powerful and dazzling productions that rival any other Broadway offering for adult audiences.
I’ve seen the Lion King three times now. Once with the kids and twice with just my husband. (Most recently, my tickets were courtesy of the Broadway in Chicago PR team). I walked out dazzled and exhilarated every time.
Thanks to the familiar tunes and storyline, it is appropriate for elementary school children and older. But they will be exposed to far more than a recreation of a familiar Disney movie. They’ll see exotic dances, beautiful costumes, and stagecraft that will leave them dreaming while the powerful vocals will echo with them for years, possibly inspiring them to sing or dance themselves.
I can’t believe I ever sneered at Disney’s participation in theater. Thanks to their contributions to musicals, I can expose my family to high quality live entertainment, and together we can experience goose-bumps as voices of incredibly talented people fill the theater, just for us.
The Lion King is playing at the Cadillac Palace Theater through Broadway in Chicago through the end of November. Head on over with your kids, but set their expectations above a recreation of the movie. Get them ready for a the theater experience of their lives. Tickets range from $25 to $97.