On Saturday, August 5th, the iconic Greek Theatre in Los Angeles hosted a special screening of The Lion King Sing-Along. Fans of the award winning film 'flocked' to Griffith Park to experience the 1994 film as it has never before been seen.
Upon entry, Disney and Fandango invited kids and kids-at-heart to participate in a number of memorable activities before finding their seats. Guests could decorate Pride Land themed bracelets, color the inside of their themed paper crowns, and get their faces painted. The most popular pre-show activity was the character meet and greet with the eccentric and wise ol' Rafiki. Guests in the Fandango VIP Lounge also met the grub-loving Timon. Pre-show snacks and drinks were also available in the Cubs Corner and other areas of the courtyard.
Around 8 p.m, like the animals journeying to Pride Rock in the film's opening scene, excited fans made their pilgrimage to their place in the 5,900 seat theater. Without a cloud in the sky, the weather was warm and perfect for an evening under the stars.
After a short welcome to the historic venue, attendees were introduced to Tshidi Mayne, the current star of Rafiki in the Broadway musical production of The Lion King. Mayne masterfully performed "Circle of Life" to fan approval, applause, and standing ovation.
Next to the stage was Don Hahn, celebrated producer of films such as Beauty and the Beast, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Emperor's New Groove, and of course The Lion King. Hahn called the audience beautiful and said he loved seeing all the face paint and crowns. He shared that 25 years ago there was trouble getting the film off the ground, and he thanked "the many talented artists working in this great art form of animation, [and the] many talented song writers and musicians that lead their talents to this movie." He expressed his excitement to share the "beautiful, pristine, digital version of the movie that has not been seen before." Lastly, Hahn explained "the key to a good sing-along is really hitting that first note strong," and rehearsed the crowd for a few lines before starting the film.
Voices filled the theater with the chanting and singing of "Circle of Life." As Rafiki raises cub Simba into the sky above Pride Rock, hundreds of hands went up to mimic the scene.
Children sat on their knees bouncing and young adults swayed their arms as they sang along with young Simba's "I Just Can't Wait to be King."
The audience seemed to mostly know the hyenas' parts in Scar's scheming song "Be Prepared."
No worries, only laughter and applause joined the friendly trio singing "Hakuna Matata."
In addition to 'oohs and ahhs', the fifth and final song of the movie, "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" was harmonically bellowed through the theater.
Although not a song, the crowd erupted when Rafiki announced: "The King has Returned!"
The one hour 29-minute film featured on-screen lyrics for the five main sing-along songs. The audience also enjoyed singing along to Zazu's jailbird lyrics from "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen," "it's a small world" and "Lovely Bunch of Coconuts", and other mini-songs in the film such as Timon and Pumbaa's rendition of "In the Jungle" and everyone was aching for bacon in "The Hula Song."
The Lion King Sing-Along experience comes 23 years after the film's theatrical debut, yet it continues to capture the hearts and voices of new generations. The Greek Theater was filled with guests of all ages raising their claw hands to Scar and laughing at the hysterical hyena Ed, they were smiling, cringing, clapping and finger-snapping along with the rest of the classic Pride Land family.
You can sing-along too - The Lion King Sing-Along is now playing at the El Capitan in Hollywood, CA.
The Lion King is the fifth Blu-ray film to be inducted into the Walt Disney Company Signature Collection series and will arrive on Digital HD on August 15 and Blu-ray/DVD on August 29.