This week, Broadway Across Canadaâ€™s production of The Lion King returned to Calgary. This was also the forth time I have seen the show since it started touring all the way back in the late 90s. That, my friends was a long time ago. During the most recent production, I felt like I kept getting hit with mental milestones of things that I happened to me around each time that I had seen the show. The first time was in New York, and it was the first time I had being there as a grown up. The second time was in Toronto during the summer of SARS (tickets were like 80% off), the third time was here in Calgary and I think it was the first big media event I had ever been invited to. And then there was the most recent time, just yesterday. Itâ€™s strange to think that all the growing up I had done and this amazing show was still just chugging along. The mere fact that itâ€™s held up so well is a testament to just how good it is.
This was arguably the first time I had seen it has an adult. I say â€œarguablyâ€ because I did see it five or six years ago, and while I was technically an adult then, trust me when I say I wasnâ€™t very mature.
So seeing the Lion King as an adult is certainly a different experience. This was a show and movie that I knew like the back of my hand when I was a kid, but now that Iâ€™m an adult, I couldnâ€™t help but see it in a completely different light.
â€œScar isnâ€™t that bad.â€
Okay, ignoring the murderous part of Scar, who hasnâ€™t been in his position? As adults, weâ€™ve all no doubt been in line for something, only to be replaced by someone younger and perhaps more eager. Should Scar have killed Mufasa? Definitely not. But that doesnâ€™t mean he has to celebrate the fact that heâ€™ll never get to be king. To me Scar represents the part of life that donâ€™t always go to plan, despite what we think we deserve. Heâ€™s perhaps the most real character in the whole show. Definitely missed that when I was a kid.
â€œJust chill it, Simba.â€
It took me being a grown up to realize that â€œI Just Canâ€™t Wait to Be Kingâ€ isnâ€™t about being king at all, itâ€™s all about wanting to grow up, which any adult would tell you is something that should wait. Of course we all want Simba to be king, but now that Iâ€™m older and likely much more bitter about life than I used to be (taxes, bills, etc.), I just wanted to tell Simba to slow down. Enjoy hanging out with your dad, go for walks with your mom, chase things with Nala. Donâ€™t rush it kid, itâ€™s over before you know it.
â€œTimon and Pumba are all of us.â€
When I was a kid, I think I missed that Timon and Pumba represent societyâ€™s outcasts, which I think we can all relate to at one point or another in our lives. Weâ€™ve all felt like we didnâ€™t fit in, or that weâ€™re just too strange for anyone to understand and when they sing Hakuna Matata, they welcome Simba in, secrets and all. Itâ€™s a good message. We all make mistakes, we all screw up, but learn from those mistakes, surround yourself by good people and youâ€™ll have no worries for the rest of your day. Seems pretty good to me.
The Lion King runs at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditoriaum until September 6th.
Tickets and more info available here.