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The Legend of the Lion King

Discussion in 'Archive' started by Dirk, Jun 28, 2004.

  1. Dirk

    Dirk Member

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    Hey there, Hi there, Ho there,

    Friday the new spectacular live show "The Legend of the Lion King" opened at the totally transformed Videopolis at the Disneyland Resort Paris.

    A first batch of 77 high quality photos can be found at http://www.dlp.info/ShowsAndParades/DL/Sho...dOfLionKing.htm and more photos will be added in the next days as well as a complete report.

    The show features a prerecorded score using the songs and instrumental material from the movie, recorded with a huge symphony orchestra. While some chorus parts got recorded new, the african chants have been used that were recorded for the original soundtrack and got just re-edited. The show included a short excerpt of the new song "Welcome to Our World" by Lebo M.

    Combining spectacular special effects with a huge dancing cast, two large and one smaller puppets and four live singers (Nala, Simba, Rafiki, Scar) the show is a blast with guests lining up as early as 2 hours in advance this weekend to get a seat ... but more on this in the promised report at abov? mentioned page in the coming days ... just not tonight as we have a large chat where we talk about the show (9.30 pm CET, so 3.30 pm at the east coast).

    The music is spectacular as the live singing perfectly blends with the prerecorded material and the voices are really outstanding - which can be expected as the casting is a real surprise. There are currently two casts of live singers (performing 5 shows a day, 7 days a week). Both Simbas are rather well known: one is Roger Wright who opened the West End production of the Disney musical as Simba the other one is Gino who opened the German production of the Disney musical. Gino has a lighter voice and is a bit more acrobatic and light feeted, while Roger has a wonderful warm, deep voice which transports the feelings wonderful. Both present a unique performance which seems near perfect ... but again more on this later.

    The new song by Lebo M is fitting in perfect but is hard to judge as it is only rather short. A longer version may be included in the first ever solo album by Lebo M which he has recorded / is recording and will release worldwide this fall (also to include a charity single for the 10th anniversary of the democracy in South Africa featuring an all star cast - he performed it in a short concert for press and VIP in DLRP on the opening night of the show, more on it in another, now also promised report).


    What else to say in the few short minutes I have to write this short head up?

    Well, the show is ONLY performed with english songs but the dialogue is either in French or in English (done live by the four live actors and prerecorded for the puppets and Timon). The language is announced prior to the show, but most guests will be able to follow it even without understanding the dialogue also some finer points and some gags may be lost then.


    What else?? The resort released a soundtrack CD on time for the opening (for a track listing and cover scan see http://www.mousekingdom.com/scripts/dc/dcb...=full&page= )

    It does not include the dialogue but all songs in English - plus some instrumentals used during the preshow and while guests exit the theater.

    Unfortunately the CD was recorded in March when casting had not yet ended so it does feature STUDIO singers and NOT the actual cast. The solo voices are OK but not as outstanding and stellar as the live cast. Still it is up to the quality of other Lion King releases and a great way to relive the show ... more details on it in the promised report.


    That's it so far....


    Yours
    Dirk
     
  2. Jessica L

    Jessica L Member

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    When you say Timon's voice is prerecorded - is that Nathan Lane's voice or another person (like Kevin Schon?).

    It'd be nice to know that Nathan can be heard around the world. :)

    Sounds like a fantastic show!

    ~Jessica
     
  3. SharonKurland

    SharonKurland Active Member

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    Is it essentially the same show as WDW's DAK version?

    -Sharon-
     
  4. Dirk

    Dirk Member

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    Hi Sharon,

    while there are some similarities in the song choice and some of the arrangements are identical, due to the fact that the african chants have not been rerecorded but the original recordings from the soundtrack being used, The Legend of the Lion King is an all new show.

    While DAK's Festival of the Lion King is a theater in the round show with some song and dance heavily concentrating on acrobatics and not really retelling the story but just "celebrating", DLRP's The Legend of the Lion King is a full blown musical comedy running 30 minutes. It tells the full story...

    There is an ancient custom in France from the old courts of the French kings that peasant used to stage shows retelling the life's of their kings right in front of them (when they were still alive) to show how they honored them. On this The Legend of the Lion King is based. Timon is the director, Pumba is the co-director, Zazu is responsible for props and some local villagers (therefore they are all what in the US would politically correct be called afro-americans) are actually performing as all the animals, including Simba - this is also why the adult actor playing Simba gets to sing "I just can't wait to be king", because there is not extra child actor. In addition to the actor playing an African villager playing Simba there is also a puppet of Simba (to the left of the audience) which is supposed to be the real Simba watching the show being staged to honor him.

    The show the villagers stage actually retells the complete story of the movie through, dance, song, acting and some dialogue. The set changes according to the different locations thanks to projects (on the rockwork, a huge screen as the final backdrop of the stage and on a water curtain stretching the whole width of the stage), lighting and special effects like fire effects, smoke etc.

    While DAK's show is a fun celebration the one in DLRP really takes you through the whole journey again ... just like a condensed Broadway musical. In fact with the really stellar cast of singers and dancers right now it is up to that level from a performance point of view as well as from a staging point of view.

    The musical site also is not identical to DAK's show, especially as the songs got rearranged to fit and got except for the african chants all musical elements got recorded especially for the show. The general feel is more "theatrical", more "sincere" and less "funny / celebration-like" - this is especially obvious with "Hakuna Matata". Also the show includes a short excerpt of Lebo M's all new song "Welcome to my world" (sung by the prerecorded chorus and interesected with Rafiki's live performance of "Circle of Life" during the opening of the show the villagers stage for Simba) - the whole track runs about 55 seconds. A complete version of the song was handed out to press on a CD-R during the press event, as performed by Lebo M and is supposed to be included in his first ever solo album scheduled for release worldwide this fall. A single from it, done for a charity, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of democracy in South Africa should be available shortly (performed by Lebo M with an all star cast of South African performers).


    In the end DLRP's and DAK's show are not really comparable. DAK's is more like a happening, DLRP's is more like a Broadway show. The street happening / show on Central Plaza of DLRP earlier this year during the "Lion King Carnival" was more like DAK's show, even so missing all the acrobatic elements. But that one used a lot of the prerecorded material from DAK's show, had four live singers and borrowed quiet a lot e.g. the guest participation as animals, the story about the live singers being princesses and princes from African tribes etc. (see http://www.dlp.info/ShowsAndParades/Archiv...ircleOfLife.htm for more details on that show).



    Yours
    Dirk
     
  5. ispace

    ispace Member

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    Hi Dirk,

    Sorry this is off-topic, but the Lion King photos on your site are great! What camera did you use to take the photos and what settings did you use?

    Thanks,
    Brett.
     
  6. SharonKurland

    SharonKurland Active Member

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    Thanks for the info Dirk! FWIW, your version sounds better than ours .

    -Sharon-
     
  7. Dirk

    Dirk Member

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    OT:The Legend of the Lion King Photos

    First of all THANKS for the compliment. But I'm just a member of the team behind the websites. I'm mostly working on texts even so I do add photos now and then too. Still photos are the number one priority of our "expert" Stefan. None of my The Legend of the Lion King photos has been yet forwarded to him and therefore as he does all the work in this area all photos online right now are his.

    He used a Sony 717, exposure 1/60 to 1/30, no tripod, variable focal length, no flash, 100 ISO - according to what he told me when I asked him yesterday.

    The majority of photos on our website are by him and even those he did not make he is responsible for touching up and preparing for publication.

    If you like his material, maybe take a look at the wallpapers at http://www.dlp.info/Specials/Backgrounds.htm. Also may I forward you to ClickMagique? This website came into being as a result of the DLP.info Photo of the Day project. On Clickmagique, which is operated by Stefan all the photos of the day from DLRP are archived plus some extra material, which is either not published on DLP.info for different reasons (bandwidth, already very similar stuff online, ...) or is not Disney related (e.g. other theme parks in Europe, ...). Clickmagique is part of the DLP.info family. We also publish our newsletter through Clickmagique, which features the Photo of the Day, subscribers can get high resolution versions of the PotD free upon request ... well enough advertisment just take a look at http://www.clickmagique.com


    Yours
    Dirk
     
  8. Dirk

    Dirk Member

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    Hmm ... from a point of view of a fan of the movie and of musical comedies / stage musicals in general as well as a music fan I think the DLRP version really is superior.

    BUT especially younger children may have more fun at the AK's version due to the nature of it with dancers all around, acrobats showcasing several stunts / tricks at once ...

    In general the two shows are hard to compare. DLRP set out to bring an experience from the West End and Broadway to a theme park and set new standards, similar to the plans that DCA had with Aladdin. AK in comparison wanted to combine the hit songs and the brand name of the Lion King with some african elements and some acrobatics to get an entertaining celebration-style show not confined by any story.

    In the end we compare something like a circus show with something like a stage musical. Which is hard to do as they both aim for different targets and use different means.

    The music of DLRP's version though is, I think, truer to the original and more atmospheric. Also the current premiere cast is just stellar.

    Still I do love the AK version and enjoyed it very much. It needs to be seen how often fans will rewatch The Legend of the Lion King but right now guests are crashing the gates up to TWO hours before show time.


    Yours
    Dirk
     
  9. SharonKurland

    SharonKurland Active Member

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    Hi Dirk-

    OK...I'll change my statement. For MY tastes, the DLPR version sounds much nicer . Unfortunately, I don't think Europe is on our "travel" roster again for several years (we're going to Japan for 2.5 weeks next year and then we'd have to start saving money all over again), but maybe it'll still be there by the time we visit.

    -Sharon-
     
  10. Dirk

    Dirk Member

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    Sharon, if Japan is on a Disney Fan's travel itinerary this is always fine ... I hope to go myself later this year and therefore will miss out on the US this year (a shame, not only because of the Disney parks but also because of the general shopping I always do during the trips (Abercrombie, ...).

    Anyway most propably the show will still be running if you return in the not too distant future. It is supposed to run for three years and original plans already called for an extra two years if it is a success (which it seems to be as far as can be said after the first few days). The only thing noone know right now is who will be the cast by then (the live singing leads have 8 months contracts right now but can stay longer if they want to and DLRP thinks their performance is good enough to keep them) and which quality that cast will have.


    Till then you can "shorten" the wait with the CD of the show. You can get it through the mail order department of the resort or just ask a friend to get it for you. Also there are already some videos floating around, which give a rather good impression even so they don't do the show justice. I think the forum at DLP.info included some links to several of the videos floating around (we had some technical changes on the server therefore the Forum has moved around a bit - you can now find it at http://www.dlp.info/Interact/Forum.htm).


    Yours
    Dirk
     

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