Jason Raize Resource

"Three significant new ballads [serve] as potent vocal showcases [including] 'Endless Night,' with Jason Raize as the grown-up Simba."
--The New York Times review of The Lion King Original Cast Recording

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The New York Times (New York, NY)

Cast Album Sampler:
Broadway Changes its Tunes

by Stephen Holden
February 27, 1998

Click here to read the story live on The New York Times website


'The Lion King'

It isn't just Julie Taymor's astounding puppet designs, costumes and masks that have transformed "The Lion King" from a likable animated movie with a cheery inspirational message into a breathtaking music-theater ritual. The film's original songs by Elton John and Tim Rice have been enriched, augmented and ultimately superseded by new African-flavored pop songs and chants in Zulu and other African dialects, composed by Lebo M and Mark Mancina and spaciously arranged by Hans Zimmer.

The added material gives the fable a genuine emotional depth, with three significant new ballads serving as potent vocal showcases: "They Live in You," magnificently sung by Samuel E. Wright as Mustafa; "Shadowland," sung achingly by Heather Headley as Nada, and "Endless Night," with Jason Raize as the grown-up Simba. With the exception of "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" most of the John-Rice numbers are comic relief.

If the disparity between the African-inflected material and the duo's watered-down Gilbert and Sullivan (Mr. John and Mr. Rice have each done far stronger work with other collaborators) robs "The Lion King" of stylistic consistency, the juxtaposition represents corporate pop calculation at its shrewdest. (Walt Disney Records.)

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