Thursday, June 23, 2011

Endless Night


"Endless Night"
by Tim Rice
from The Lion King (1997)

Where has the starlight gone?
Dark is the day.
How can I find my way home?

Home is an empty dream,
Lost to the night.
Father, I feel so alone ...

You promised you'd be there,
Whenever I needed you,
Whenever I call your name,
You're not anywhere.

I'm trying to hold on ...
Just waiting to hear your voice.
One word, just a word will do
To end this nightmare.

When will the dawning break?
Oh, endless night.
Sleepless, I dream of the day ...

When you were by my side,
Guiding my path.
Father, I can't find the way.

You promised you'd be there,
Whenever I needed you,
Whenever I call your name,
You're not anywhere.

I'm trying to hold on ...
Just waiting to hear your voice.
One word, just a word will do
To end this nightmare.

I know that the night must end,
And that the sun will rise.
I know that the clouds must clear,
And that the sun will shine.

I know that the night must end.
I know that the sun will rise,
And I'll hear your voice deep inside.

I know that the night must end.
And that the clouds must clear ...
The sun,
The sun will rise.

OK ... so I know I'll make some of my fellow Disney fans mad at me (and I may even have to give up my Disney Annual Pass and credit card), but I've never felt that Disney animated features belong on the Broadway stage.  A theme park stage, maybe, but not Broadway.  I am a DEVOTED fan of the Disney animated feature but, as wonderful as they are, these films typically have paper-thin plots and not much more than two-dimensional characters (pun perhaps unintended).  Feel free to call me a theatre snob or elitist ... but they don't, in my humble opinion, translate well as "legitimate" theatre.  Of course, I recognize the tourist trade and big box office sales.  And that's not to say there aren't PLENTY of other non-Disney musicals that don't belong there as well (... can anyone say Mamma Mia! ?).

Disney's 1994 film version of The Lion King was a delight.  Loosely based on Shakespeare's Hamlet (among other sources), the feature also had original songs by Elton John and Tim Rice and a thrilling score by Hans Zimmer (augmented by traditional African music and choral work by South African composer Lebo M.).  It was translated for the stage three years later by director, Julie Taymor, and it has been running ever since (it is currently the seventh longest-running show on Broadway, with Beauty and the Beast right behind and Mary Poppins moving up the list).

I was eager to experience the reported visual feast of puppetry and stage spectacle but I have to admit that, after the first fifteen minutes or so, the novelty wore off and I was a little, well ... bored.  There is one song written especially for the musical, however, that I absolutely love - "Endless Night."  Enjoy ...

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