The Lion King: A Broadway Musical

The Lion King: A Broadway Musical

What it's like to watch your childhood come to life.

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One thing that I thought I would never get to cross off of my bucket list was getting the chance to see a Broadway musical. But yesterday, that dream came true. Sometimes things that you never expect to happen, end up happening, and this is one of those experiences that I will forever be grateful for.

Here, on my some-what middle sized college campus in Springfield, Missouri, The Lion King was brought on campus and made the reality of seeing a Broadway musical come to life.

As a child, some of the best movies that I loved to watch as I grew up were Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and The Lion King. So in 2019 and being nearly twenty years old, it's so crazy watching all of these actually come to life.

When I first heard of The Lion King coming to campus, my plan was to do everything in my power to go. And then, a girl on my floor offered me a ticket because she was a season pass holder, and everything seemed to fall into place.

Even though the venue, Juanita K. Hammons Hall, that the musical was being performed at didn't have a dress code, my plan was to go all out as if I was going to a Broadway show in New York City. I had the time of my life with this and felt like a million bucks the whole time. The blisters on my feet and the fifteen-minute walk in the twenty-degree weather back to my dorm was all so worth it.

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The entire time while we waited for the lights to go down and for the curtain to rise, I was absolutely beaming just like a child. It is so crazy how much more incredible something seems to be when it's right there in front of your eyes.

The stage alone had tribal print on it, and it took me until more than halfway through the show that there was a sort of "track" on it to help carry certain props to certain places. The curtain was covered in a bunch of little animals, and had a different appearance to each audience, each night. My view of the stage was absolutely perfect, and each moment we got closer I grew more and more excited.

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Every single second of this musical amazed me, and there wasn't a single second that I grew bored or was ready to leave despite how late it got and all of the responsibilities that I had the next day.

I have always had high respect for theatre and every aspect of it, I had taken a lot of theatre classes in high school and while I was never involved in any of the plays or musicals I was always there to help.

I am also enrolled in an intro to theatre class, although I'm a business major because I have always been so fascinated with this stuff.

I also noticed a lot about the lighting and the mood that it set throughout the play. When it comes to movies that are shown in cinemas, music really has to be the driving factor to the mood that the audience needs to be feeling. And while this is a musical, I seemed to be very focused on the lighting.

I think part of that is to blame on my current theatre professor who is a lighting artist and has worked on many musicals in the past. He loves to talk about it and has given a lot of insight into it, which is what got me so amazed.

One of the parts from the musical that just absolutely blew me away was the 'scene' where Rafiki reminds Simba that his dad is always there, and behind him is this lighting scenery of a moving, talking mask of Mufasa. My mouth fell open. The way the lights were used in the most precious ways absolutely helped move the play just as much as the characters, the scenery, the props, and the costumes did.

Of course at Broadway plays picture taking of any kind is prohibited, and if it wasn't this article would be filled with pictures.

The chemistry that I felt between these actors like they were these actual characters that lived their everyday life like this, was impeccable.

The child actors that played young Simba and Nala no doubt have more talent in one bone in their body then I ever will in my entire body. I was so moved by every scene no matter what was happening at the time. The remainder of "Hakuna Matata" reminded me to sit back and enjoy the scenes of life that pass me every day. I have never left something feeling so inspired and if I could see this musical a thousand times again I would.

No matter what the play or musical is, and no matter where you see it if you get the chance to see Broadway then do it. I feel refreshed and inspired, I feel amazed and grateful, and my respect for the theatre grew even more than I ever knew it could.

Thank you to my friend Deb, thank you to Missouri State, and thank you The Lion King, for a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget.

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The 11 Most Meaningful 'Dear Evan Hansen' Quotes

Eleven of my favorite quotes from the new musical "Dear Evan Hansen" that changed my perspective after seeing the musical live.
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The new musical Dear Evan Hansen, showing on Broadway's Music Box Theater is a suprisingly uplifting story about a boy who kills himself, and the star of the show (Evan Hansen played by Ben Platt) getting caught up in a messy lie, pretending to be best friends with the boy who took his life.

The story, however, is much more than one of sadness or suicide. It is one of love, the unconditional kind and the kind that you find yourself falling into. It is a story of friendship and forgiveness and owning up to your mistakes. But most importantly it is a story of accepting yourself and becoming confident in your own skin.

I was given the opportunity to see Dear Evan Hansen live on Broadway, and after hearing the songs live, the lyrics gave me a whole new meaning than when I would listen to them in my room through my headphones.

1. "I've learned to slam on the break, before I even turn the key."

Coming from the first song that was released off of the soundtrack "Waving Through a Window," this line helps charactarize Evan as anxious and nervous during interactions with others. Hitting the brake while starting a car is not necessary for it to start, but he creates this metaphor by saying he takes extra and unnecessary cautions before entering any seemingly simple and easy situation. As Evan is characterized, the audience or the listeners are able to connect better to him and to the story because more people than we may know must go through anxious thoughts and actions, that can be very difficult to live with.

2. "No one should stick it out or have any doubt that it matters that they are here."

"Dissappear," a song sung by Evan and his two friends as a proposal to Connor's (boy who committed suicide and was presumably best friends with Evan) parents about a project they are beginning to keep Connor's legacy alive, is a straightforward remark that "no one deserves to dissappear." This quote recognizes the struggles that many people face of hiding their struggles and not doing anything to fix them because they think it would be easier to hide it. It recognizes that people should not have to do this, and it is a request for people who are going through the things that Connor did to reach out and tell people that they are struggling, because it really does get better and asking for help is the first step.

3. "It takes a little patience, takes a little time. A little perseverance and a little uphill climb."

I believe this quote can relate to many things. It is a duet sung by Connor's father and Evan, titled "To Break in A Glove." Though it is literally talking about the correct way to break in a baseball glove, it can also be talking about parenting, school, or recovery from depression, anxiety, or any other mental disorders that can be consuming. Connor's dad was not anything of a prime parent to Connor, and this quote can mean that parenting a kid to your full potential takes patience and time. School, another big struggle in Evan's life as well as Connor's, takes patience but as does the most consuming and memorable aspect that the musical is addressing: overcoming depression and anxiety so that it does not consume you and lead to the decision that Connor ended up making. Though it may seem like a neverending cycle of depressing thoughts, to overcome them it takes patience and perseverance, much like any other accomplishment.

4. "Even when the dark comes crashing through, and when you need a friend to carry you, when you're broken on the ground you will be found."

From what is most definitely my favorite song from the soundtrack, "You Will Be Found" addresses the fact that so many people feel alone and feel as though Connor did. This line shows that even though you may feel alone and you may be at your darkest, deepest point, there will always be help and support and someone to care for you. You are not alone.

5. "I'd rather pretend I'm something better than these broken parts, pretend I'm something other than this mess that I am."

The line from "Words Fail" shows Evan at his most vulnerable. It shows the side of him that he wishes no one to witness because it is his worst side. I find this song to be the most emotional, and most importantly because the lyrics can be related to so well. With depression and anxiety, people can act out and do things as they see fit to make themselves feel better, which is partly what Evan did, pretending to be Connor's friend. This quote shows the reasons behind those actions, helping people in the same position feel relieved for the things that they think are going wrong only for them.

6. "When you're falling in a forest and there's nobody around do you evern really crash or even make a sound?"

This line is another from "Waving Through a Window" and ties to Evan's anxiety as well. It shows the slow deterioration of one's mind, and how no one even notices when someone is going through things like that, hence the metaphor to the tree falling in a forest and no one hearing it because no one is there. It is making a notion to the fact, also, that people are so afraid to discuss the issues of suicide and depression and anxiety, and that it is a problem especially among youth.

7. "Why should I play the grieving girl and lie saying that I miss you and that my world has gone dark without your light?"

This line from "Requiem," sung by Connor's sister and parents, is a different perspective of what happened to Connor, a more cynical perspective. While it may seem insensitive, I enjoy that Zoe (Connor's sister) stands her ground with her relationship with her brother and remains indifferent, instead of lying about loving him just because she isn't able to anymore.

8. "If I could tell her how she's everything to me, but we're a million worlds apart and I don't know how I would even start."

Although this is about how Evan feels about Zoe - not Connor - it shows how crippling it can be to wish you could be able to tell someone something, especially about your mental disablities, but you feel like you can't because you aren't close enough or don't know where to begin.

9. "So you got what you always wanted, so you got your dream come true, good for you."

This song is a turning point in the musical where Evan's actions begin to creep back up on him. It shows that even though you get what you wish for, it isni't always perfect all together. This line shows also that what you first think you want isn't always going to lead to the perfect life or the perfect girl or the perfect family, and you must not face your struggles with lies as Evan did.

10. "Your mom isn't going anywhere your mom is staying right here no matter what, I'll be here."

This comes from the song "So Big/So Small," when Evan apoligizes to his mother about abandoning her essentially for Connor's parents and she confesses to the hardships she has faced as a single mother who doesn't make much money. This is one of my favorite quotes, because it displays unconditional love from your family, and shows that no matter what it is you go through and no matter how much loathe you may feel for yourself, your family loves you and supports you.

11. "Dear Evan Hansen, today is going to be a great day and here's why: because today at least you're you and, well, that's enough."

These opening words to the finale close up the message of the show: that you are enough, no matter what anyone tells you and no matter what you begin to tell yourself. Making mistakes is human, as is having depression or anxiety, and just because you make mistakes or you have depressed thoughts does not mean that you are any less of a person than someone who doesn't feel the same as you. This musical and this line taught me that no matter what, you are wanted, you are needed, and you are worth it no matter what you do or what you go through.

Cover Image Credit: Dear Evan Hansen Official Website

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My Top 10 Musical Songs For Boosting Any Mood

Break a leg!

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I was exposed to the world of theater early in life as one of my older cousins was very active in the musical theater community. I grew up watching her perform in a multitude of different roles such as Annie in "Annie," Elle Woods in "Legally Blonde," and the kangaroo in "Seussical the Musical." This exposure to show tunes at such a young age sparked my love of the genre. Now, when I'm studying or working, I like to put on the soundtrack of one of the musicals I've watched a million times (such as "Les Mis" or "Mamma Mia") so I can focus on my work while still listening to music.

My years of obsessing over musicals have to lead me to find some pretty awesome songs, these are some of my favorites.

"Take A Chance On Me" from Mamma Mia.

"Mamma Mia" is one of my all-time favorite musicals and this song is one of the reasons why. The song is sung by my favorite character, Rosie, while she tries to seduce one of Sophie's potential fathers, Bill after Donna and Sam get married. It is a fun loving song which leaves the audience in tears from laughing so hard.

"Dead Girl Walking (Reprise)" from Heathers.

This song is one of the final songs in "Heathers the Musical." The premise of the song is a bit more hard-hitting than "Take a Chance On Me." In this song, the main character, Veronica, has faked her own suicide and has come back to school to confront her psychotic ex-boyfriend, J.D. to stop him from blowing up the entire school. It's a pretty intense song but has amazing lyrics and rhythm.

"Ireland" from Legally Blonde The Musical.

This song confronts the subject of broken dreams. It is sung by my favorite character, Paulette, as she recounts her dreams of finding someone to love. She is trying to comfort the main character, Elle after she tries to dye her hair brown to impress her ex-boyfriend. I think the song is super important because it establishes the relationship between Paulette and Elle. It also shows the caring nature of Paulette.

"Everything I Know" from In The Heights.

"In The Heights" is a super cool musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda about a group of Hispanic-Americans living in Washington Heights in NYC. "Everything I Know" is sung by the character, Nina, after her Abuela dies. It's a very emotional song that made me cry the first time I listened to it, but it's beautifully written.

"Empty Chairs At Empty Tables" from Les Misérables.

Speaking of emotional, "Empty Chairs At Empty Tables" is another song that made me cry the first time I listened to it. The song is sung by Marius a few days after the battle where he's the only one of his friends to survive. He goes back to the cafe where they would meet before to grieve and reminisce the loss of his friends. The song is a haunting reminder of the real-life cost of war.

"It Takes Two" from Hairspray.

"It Takes Two" is a song from the musical, "Hairspray." Link is the character who sings it and it's just a fun song about how a man needs a woman to complete him. While the premise is a little sexist, it's a fun song that is super catchy and fun to sing along to.

"There! Right! There!" from Legally Blonde The Musical.

This song is another fun one to sing along to. It takes place in the courtroom while the group of lawyers and law students examine a witness who they aren't sure is straight or gay. The lyrics of the song are hilarious and it's fun to sing a long to with a couple of friends as different parts. If you're looking for a fun chorus song to sing with a couple of friends, this is the song for you.

"When He Sees Me" from Waitress.

"When He Sees Me" is a song from the musical "Waitress." It's sung by the character, Dawn, while she expresses her insecurity with regards to going on a blind date. The way the character sings the song is super fun, however, there are serious tones of insecurity in the chorus when she sings, "Is what if when he sees me, what if he doesn't like it? What if he runs the other way and I can't hide from it? What happens then? If when he knows me, he's only disappointed? What if I give myself away, to only get it given back? I couldn't live with that."

"One Day More" from Les Misérables.

"One Day More" may well be my favorite song out of this list. It's sung by the entire cast of Les Mis at the end of the first act and foreshadows the tragedy of the second act. Each of the members of the main cast has some type of solo where they express their hopes for the next day. However, it's clear that not all characters will get their happy ending which adds to the intensity of this astonishing song.

"She Used To Be Mine" from Waitress.

This is another emotional song for my list. This is a song is sung by Jenna, a young waitress, as she looks back at her life before she was in an abusive relationship with her husband and before she found out she was pregnant. She feels as though she has lost all hope in life and how she thought her life would turn out so much different than how it did.

These are just ten of my favorite songs from musicals. To be honest, I usually have two to three songs from each musical that I'll listen to on repeat, so it was difficult to narrow down my list. Whether you enjoy show tunes or you hate them, I'm sure they'll be one song from this list you'll enjoy!

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