I had the pleasure of attending The Lion King stage show last night. I know, I know, it’s been around for 10 years, but it finally reached my little cultural backwater, and it only seemed right that The Beauty and the Beast should pay them a visit. So we did. The production was nothing short of awesome. The costuming… the creative and imaginative ways they brought the animals, and even plants, to life was simply spectacular.

The other amazing thing was that it was very true to the movie. Yes, a few scenes and songs were added. But what surprised me was not that the plot and the music remained, I expected that. It was that the characterizations remained. The actors voiced the characters as if they were imitating the movie. This was unfortunate for the guy playing Mufasa, as you really wanted to hear James Earl Jones’ voice, and no one was going to pull that off. And I did miss Jeremy Irons as scar. The guy tried, but it’s hard to sound quite as premeditatedly evil as Irons. Still Zazu and Rafiki were amazing, as were the young kids who played Simba and Nala.

Of course the night was not without the usual remindings from the fates that I am unworthy. We had just tucked ourselves into our snug little seats when the woman arrives who will be sitting to my left for the next couple of hours. She was overflowing with… well, maybe it’s enough to say that she was overflowing. I’m still listing to the right in my chair as I type this.

And there was some amusement at the intermission which occurred just after Hakuna Matata. The row of seniors behind us was querying each other about what that odd looking creature with the warthog was supposed to be. Was it some sort of weasel? It was amusing to listen for a bit, but finally I turned and offered helpfully that Timon was a meerkat.

“A what?”

“A meerkat.”

“Well that doesn’t help me much,” snorted Grandpa in a self derisive sort of way.

“Think of it as sort of a… well… an African prairie dog.”

“Yeah, that’s what it is,” confirms the woman sitting mostly in the chair next to me.

But Grandpa is still clueless. It would seem that not only is he unacquainted with mammals not found in his backyard, but he doesn’t get cable either. And age has apparently eroded memories of all those Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom episodes. Oh well. I tried. You can shine a light, but sometimes the darkness is overwhelming.

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