The Lion King: A Feast for the Eyes

Finally, after seeing all those Instagram posts, I got to see the Lion King last Saturday.

True to feedback from close friends, the visuals are amazing. One will wonder on the extent of imagination put into the stage sets, props, and costumes. There were some moments in the play that caught me by surprise and made me ask, “How the hell did that happen?”. 

We were too excited early for the play. The VIPs are not yet in. LOL!

The actors are mostly strapped in mechanical costumes that look so awesome and cool when they move. Think actors on stilts acting as giraffes; an actress strapped in a full-sized puppet moving about like a cheetah; an actor doing high jumps across the stage holding gazelle figures to imitate their stotting in the prairie; and an actor holding a long stick with attached mechanical birds dancing and twirling to make them come to life.

With JJ who played Young Simba. So adorable!

The main actors have these beautiful headpieces that transform into masks when they tilt their heads down, which made for a very convincing lion on a fight stance.

On top of navigating and acting through intricate stage set-ups, the actors are also dancing. And by dancing, I mean dance in a really technical way. Very impressive especially if you’re also singing and speaking in between.

My only gripe is there’s not one song that made me go “WOW!” during the actual play. Even Circle of Life which is the creme de la creme of the production paled in comparison audiowise to Do You Hear the People Sing from Les Mis or Defying Gravity from Wicked. If it wasn’t for the amazing visuals, it would have been just ordinary. It must be the audio in the theater at that time because even the other songs sounded muffled. After watching the play, I headed over to Spotify and listened in to the songs and they were all really good to me. Some even reminded me of Hans Zimmer with the heavy basses. Granted that they have good quality because they were recordings I’ve still seen plays where the recordings and the live performances are at par. It’s such a shame that this wasn’t the case in our show.

I think there was also one mishap because the platform where Rafiki should have held Simba up in the air during Circle of Life was nowhere; so all three actors – Rafiki, Mufasa, and Sarabi stayed on the same stage level as the other animals which overwhelmed them. I had a hard time looking for Simba, and for a minute there, it looked like Rafiki was just shaking the plushie Simba rigorously. It was hard to ignore.

Despite my gripes, there were still a number of scenes that stood out aside from the Circle of Life opening:

  1. One by One in the beginning of the Act II. The actors just looked so happy, colorful, and energetic! It was contagious!
  2. The lionesses’ amazing dance number in Shadowland. This is another part where you see how much thought was given in the costumes to emphasize the movement and grace of the lady actors. And the choreography is super.
  3. The Stampede. Just. WOW! I was really excited to see this part because it’s hard to translate from animation to stage. The result was flawless!
  4. Simba’s Endless Night to Mufasa. Very emotional and made me tear up a bit especially when he sang “You promised you’d be there.. Whenever I needed you… Whenever I call your name.. You’re not anywhere..”
  5. He Lives In You with the amazing visuals again. It surprised me how that 3D Mufasa head just suddenly appeared in the darkness. The One by One chorus made another appearance here which gave life to the whole performance.
  6. The Madness of King Scar. I loved the actor who played Scar and the hyenas are so amusing. A cackle of hyenas also did a cool dance number during this part.

Overall, The Lion King is still a delight to watch. Again, it would leave you at awe on how someone conceptualized all of these and translated the animated movie into a believable live action play. It’s true when they advertised that there’s simply no like it because there really isn’t. It’s like watching a musical, a puppet show, a circus, and a shadow play all rolled into one amazing show!

I wouldn’t go about and call it as the #1 Musical, though. I’m reserving that one for Hamilton. 😜

The Manila run has been extended until May so grab a ticket and enjoy the show.

U to the ke to the lele

Yesterday, I attended my first ever ukulele night hosted by Ukulele Manila. Not as a player, but a mere spectator. I’ve always had this small fantasy of being this kick-ass musician in an alternate universe, but you and I both know that it’s never gonna happen. Nevertheless, I am very much of a music lover and watching and listening to legit musicians do their thing gives me the fulfillment of my otherwise ‘musical me’ delusions.

Going to a bar where you only know 2 out of almost a hundred people can be intimidating. But one thing I learned about going to these kind of gigs is, IT DOESN’T REALLY MATTER. The musical community is a cool and friendly lot, and Ukulele Manila is no exception. I remember smacking a guy’s arm, a total stranger, because I was laughing so hard at his antics directed to his friend. In another scenario, I would have gotten the stink eye. But in this, I just got a laugh in return.

What made it more awesome is the fact that it’s The Beatles Night. Who doesn’t love The Fab Four, really? Even if you were born yesterday, chances are you will still grow up surrounded by people who listen to and love their music.

The night ended with me and my friend, Val, contemplating on getting our own ukes. Not until last night, my knowledge of ukulele has been limited to that of Zooey Deschanel and her 1950’s singing, blunt bangs, doe-eyed and all, strumming this mini guitar thing. But after last night’s jamming session, I had a better appreciation for the instrument.

What more, my other friend, Ahmad, who also played some tracks last night was very much encouraging us to try it on our own. He said that UM is hosting free ukulele tutorials every Saturday around the BGC area, which is really cool, BTW. It not only give other people a venue to learn more about the instrument, it’s also a fun way of introducing the ukulele community to them.

If you have time to spare and want to learn something new, why not give it a try? Who knows, we might bump elbows there one Saturday. 🙂


I’m supposed to be working on my SoKor journal before it bites the dust and forever be a remnant of my undocumented memories but I can’t bring myself to. I’ve been bitten by the Friday Night Syndrome and all I wanna do is to laze around and wait for precious time to trickle.

On a positive note, I am thinking of going to YIF’s Your Silence is the Villain Single + MV Launching at Autonomy Bar tonight.


It’s been a while since I’ve been to a bar, drinking my way through good music and interesting conversations. In an alternate universe I would have been a musician. A place where my guitar playing skills is not limited to strumming ‘When You Say Nothing At All’ and ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’, my singing does not sound like a wailing cat, my stage presence and charm is not obscenely annoying or bordering on the boring, and my height does not require too much microphone stand adjustment.

Oh, yeah. I would have been a great musician in that alternate universe.

But I’m not. And the least I could do is to surround myself with people who are, indeed, good musicians in their own rights. If you have some free time to kill, drop by the gig. If you happen to spot me in the crowd, come on over and say hi. Maybe we can talk about something interesting other than the weather.