Moving like a lion is second nature to Dashaun Young now.
Moving like a lion is second nature to Dashaun Young now.
Photo copyright Disney/Photo by Joan Marcus

The Lion King Roars Back Into Houston at the Hobby Center

For more than five years starting in 2007, Dashaun Young played Simba, the heir to the Pride Rock throne in Disney's The Lion King. He played him on Broadway, in the West End and in Las Vegas before taking a break to do some other shows.

Nine months ago, he returned to the national tour, taking on a schedule of eight shows a week that has him playing the “highest highs, lowest lows and highest highs” that mark the growing pains of the young prince in a tale Shakespearean in scope and the winner of six Tony Awards. “I usually don’t get to jump into characters who go on a complete journey. It’s fun to play on a daily basis.”

Young will be onstage in Houston for a nearly monthlong run complete with the magnificent costumes, classic story of love, betrayal and perseverance, and memorable songs — "The Circle of Life,” “I Just Can’t Wait to be King,” “Hakuna Matata,” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” — that will earwig their way into your life for weeks to come.

And yes, Scar, the scheming uncle who teams up with a pack of no-good hyenas to bring down his brother’s reign as king by killing the monarch and getting rid of his son, will be there in all his evil glory.

If you haven’t seen it before, prepare to be impressed as actors continue to build on the vision of director Julie Taymor, who took a cartoon as a starting point and made the live-action version better and more breathtaking than anyone had previously imagined.

"When I was learning the show, I spent almost a week in front of mirrors learning how to model each type of [a lion's] movement," Young says. "So it becomes more like second nature and you can naturally tap into that movement when you need to."

In fact, the movement is so real as the costumed actors take on the characters in the musical that audience members are transported, he says. "Sometimes you forget you are staring at humans."

Performances are scheduled from June 27 through July 23 at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sundays; and 2 p.m. Saturdays at the Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information, call 713-315-2525 or visit thehobbycenter.org. $54.50-$115.

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