When Rafiki (Phindile Mkhize) hoists the lion cub puppet of future king Simba at the end of "Circle of Life,” it’s virtually impossible not to clap and cheer.
Performers even play grass and plants in the numbers "Grasslands Chant” and the Oscar-winning "Can You Feel the Love Tonight.”
Seeing the actors through the costumes doesn’t diminish the enjoyment; rather, it sparks admiration for Taymor’s brave vision.
The musical includes several additional songs and gives more of an African sound and look to the story, lending an authentic sense of place.
As for the story, "The Lion King” centers on young lion prince Simba, who is caught up in a plot by his wicked uncle, Scar, to wrest the throne from Simba’s father, Mufasa.
The story takes definite cues from "Hamlet,” and it remains one of Disney’s best animated films, especially of the pre-Pixar era.
Even if you’ve already seen it, it’s worth taking another trip around the "Circle of Life” with "The Lion King.”