Sarah left this morning for FL. It's weird thinking she will not be in my direct presence for upwards of 4 months. Between her birth, and now, I've not been away from her for that long a period of time. Given the circumstance of her Disney College Program requirements, she will not be able to come back up here for a good-ol' fashioned NJ visit at all. I miss her already.
I find myself listening to "Shadowland" from the Broadway production soundtrack of Disney's 'The Lion King.' The song is a somber choral adaptation from an instrumental melody in the film. The song speaks of departure, and it's kind of funny how I finally stumbled upon it today. Anything that sounds Jungle-y, like Lion King, or Tarzan, makes me think of Florida and the vacations we've taken there. I greatly appreciate the Lion King, as it is probably the only Disney production I've ever felt ensnared by. Everything else by Disney?... meh. What's different about it? Well, to me, it's like trying to compare it to Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, you just can't. Nor can you compare The Magic Kingdom to Animal Kingdom within the Disney parks. Animal Kingdom was at least in part inspired by the success of The Lion King, and the incredible resonance it has had with all ages.
It's a completely unique folk story, non-western, dramatic, very adult in its allegories, and I didn't really feel too strongly about it until it became a musical, and with that transition, I felt, a very unique approach on the part of Disney. Incorporating tribal art influences, the stylized craft and African appreciation of color, the woodcarving with the gnarled but simplified shapes and motifs of that genre, not to mention the intoxicating musical instrumentation to help echo those motifs. Apply that to the already-mature Disney animated production, and it's entirely refreshing and awe inspiring. The Lion King was probably the first Disney film to make me cry... and if there's one thing I love, it's tears of joy. The music alone makes me want to create my own folk art, 3D if I have to. It's incredibly inspiring.
When the fam and I had the magnificent chance opportunity to stay at the new Animal Kingdom Lodge last June, I was actually taken aback that Disney could make such an engaging and completely detailed themed resort. Everything, and I mean everything in the place is an African Safari-themed art piece, right down to the tile patterns lining the shower walls in the bathroom. Add that to walking the hallways, passing captioned pieces of real tribal and contemporary African art, peering out the window, and seeing a giraffe or zebra grazing in a near-by tree. They've really outdone themselves with this experience. But then again, that's Disney!
The Lion King is a western story with non-western influences. The story is a retelling of Hamlet- anything Shakespearean is super Western.
But yeah, Lion King on Broadway was good, and Disney on Broadway usually is not!
how've you been?