For her birthday, I offered Caroline seats for Le Roi Lion, the Lion King musical in Paris.
I got us seats on the very first row of the first balcony. For the very first avant-première.
It was tonight. We're only just back.
Words fail me. It was a wonderful, glorious evening.
The musical means something very special to me -- it's a long story that I shall not recount. I saw it twice before, once in Broadway, once in London. I had never thought, back then, all those years back, that they'd end up setting it up in Paris. I had never thought we'd manage to be there, right there, for the very, very opening, my lover and I.
I have now seen it thrice, and this time, the third time, was possibly the best.
The cast was perfect. I was worried about how they'd find enough talent in the entire damn country to fill all the cast. I shouldn't have. Every last one of them was excellent, credible, intense, full of emotion, full of life.
I was worried about how well the whole play would translate. Well: perfectly. They made the choice of using a very modern and somewhat colloquial kind of French, and it work, it just works, it lives.
The théâtre Mogador has a relatively smaller scene, comparatively to that of the New Amsterdam Theatre where the show began on Broadway, and yet they managed to make it work just plain fine, from beginning to end.
Right from the moment the first elephant appeared on the scene, the audience went wild. This was by far the warmest audience I have seen at the musical; they laughed and they clapped and applauded, and when it was over everybody was up on their feet and clapped even louder and cheered at the top of their lungs, again, and again, and again, and when everybody left the theatre they were still laughing and singing in the streets of Paris.
And no, even the third time seeing it doesn't get old. There's one million little details I had not noticed before. There are small bits of African costumery that I had never paid attention to before, and that, having lived there a small while, I can now name for what they are.
And even without all that, the show is still colorful, intense, lively; they sing, they jump, they dance, they act, everything flows like a bright and vivid dream and my heart is still beating to the rhythm of that music and I want to see it again, damnit.
While they will likely prolong the show as long as it remains popular, for now they're aiming for it to last until early 2008. So get your tickets now, people. You may only have a few months.