Going to See the Lion King

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Would you recommend the Lion King for a 4-year-old?

Feb. 2004

Has anyone out there seen the Lion King? Would you recommend it for four-year-olds? Any scary parts? (I apologize if this has been discussed recently.) Thanks! Dana

I was honored to go see Lion King on its opening night. It is THE MOST WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE I've had in a long time. It is just incredible! I do not think that it had particularly scary stuff....the way Mufasa's death is staged is a production marvel and isn't so bad or terrifying. There was a two year old captivated across the aisle from me through the whole 2 and a half hour show.

The actual production, puppets and costumes were just plain fascinating. I would not want my kids to have missed the experience of seeing it...and I'm not a Broadway show girl at all. (I took my thrteen year old twin boys... dragging their feet all the way on BART. At intermission I got the coveted, ''Ok, you told us so!'', without even asking for it.)

One absolute--don't run late and miss the opening scene. It's awe-inspiring. I cried...swear. Go, just go. (And it doesn't cost as much as you think...although its worth whatever it costs.) One more suggestion, first row of the balcony is best, especially with little ones. My (freebie) seat was in the fourth row...I missed a lot at that vantage point. Wanda

My daughter saw Lion King in LA when she was just over four. She did pretty well. Then she saw it again here recently and really loved it (it was a freebie dress rehearsal, so manners weren't key as there was no one else in the audience, and as I wasn't the one who took her, I can't comment on her behavior). The tix are rather expensive, so you should really consider if you think your kid's temperment will allow you to enjoy it! The music and spectacle is generally grand enough to keep thier interest and to keep any talking they do to a minimum (and not as easily heard by a neighbor). For us, it worked well. Hilary
My husband took our 7 year old to see the Lion King 2 weeks ago and she loved it. I asked her and she did not think it was scary, but when I asked if she thought it would be scary for her 4 year old cousin she said yes. Our daughter saw her first musical (Mamma Mia) at 5 years old and now her Dad has taken her every year for her birthday. She was very anxious when she went the first time, and she has never liked the darkness that goes along with being in a theatre. I would say if your child knows the Lion King story/movie VERY well, can sit for long periods of time, has a long attention span and is not afraid of the dark, then you should be ok. Enjoy! ilana
Do you mean the Lion King movie, or the Broadway show? If the movie, The Lion King is scary: There is a scene in a creepy elephant graveyard where the kid-lions are attacked by hyenas, and a stampede scene where the kid-lion is nearly trampled and the beloved father lion is killed trying to save his son. Too scary for a 4-year-old? Depends on your kid. Our first child was very sensitive and found even the music scary; we held off on that movie (and most Disney, which seem all to have scary parts) until he was six or so. Our younger son was harder to shelter, and saw such movies with his big brother when he was younger than four; he would run away and hide during the scary parts. I would definitely recommend watching the movie first to gauge how your child likely will be affected, and watch it again with your child so you can help him or her process the scary scenes.

If the show, it follows the movie very closely, and so has the same scary parts. But because it is more impressionistic, done with puppets and visible actors behind them, it probably would seem less realistic and so less scary. I'd certainly watch the movie with your child first so he or she knows the story, and can follow it in the more abstract incarnation (and will not need to leave in the scary parts). But a word of caution: It may not be a great idea to take your child to the show even if it isn't too scary. Small children do not always have the staying power for live theater that they do for movies. They sometimes squirm and kick seats, and whisper (or talk out loud), which can really annoy other people who have paid $100 to see the show. The Lion King is an extraordinary extravaganza, and a must-see for many. (My 8-year-old, who saw it in NY, is lobbying to go again.) But personally, I'd leave the 4-year-old home. Leslie

I haven't seen it personally, but my sister-in-law saw it on B'way, and was really glad she had NOT brought her two pre- schooler age kids. She said there were plenty of kids (and parents) there who didn't make it through the first act. At the theater in NY, they had a big room set up with a big t.v. to watch the show, just for those families. I guess the kids could play, while the adults watched. I have no idea whether there is anything similar at the S.F. production. R.K.