Rafikki appeared on the stage, and she called out to a gazelle in the balcony, who answered her with a call of his own. Silently, two giraffes majestically sauntered across the savannah behind Rafikki, who was calling to another animal in the balcony, who answered.
And the tribal rhythms began.
Elephant, rhino, gazelle, zebra, and birds all regally moved down the aisles of the Minskoff Theatre and onto the stage, where Rafikki silently held up the cub Simba. All heads bowned and knees bent as the Circle of Live began.
And I was moved to tears.
I had waited for 10 very long years to see The Lion King on Broadway. There was never the time, money, or energy to go see it. Something else always needed more attention. Then, an offer I couldn't refuse appeared in my email and I took the opportunity~discounted tickets! How lucky was I!
Truth be told, I would pay DOUBLE what I paid to see this show again. I have never seen anything nearly as beautiful as this mounted on a stage. It was like no play I have ever seen. My seats were in the sixth row orchestra, on the right hand side of the theatre. Right on the aisle. The rhino passed right by me on his way to kneel before the newborn Simba. As close as I was, after a while, it was difficult to see the actors as actors and not as lions, heyenahs and an old baboon.
For two and a half hours, the actors on the stage were not men and women. They were great beasts of the savannah, hunting, fighting and playing. It was an amazing transformation and something that will stay with me, on the path unwiding, in the circle, the circle of life.