IT‘S about this time of year many of us start dreaming of distant shores and summer holidays.
In recent years the ‘staycation’ has become popular with many opting to forgo jetting off abroad in favour of a destination closer to home.
They say travel broadens the mind. True – but you don’t necessarily need to travel thousands of miles to find that special somewhere. All of us have been to a place which has struck a chord for one reason or another, the memory of which stays with us for a variety of reasons – as our reporting team discovered when they pondered on a place which meant something to them.
NANTS ingonyama bagithi Baba, Sithi uhm ingonyama.
Unless you’re fluent in Zulu, the words above might not be instantly recognisable but as soon as you start to sing them, you’ll probably understand.
For those of you still struggling, they are, in fact, the opening lines to the iconic Elton John song, Circle of Life, which features in my favourite stage show of all time, The Lion King.
It’s strange because as my mum never fails to remind me, I didn’t really enjoy the film when it first came out.
But the musical version is a different kettle of fish – and just hearing the first few bars of that song is pretty much guaranteed to make me cry.
Music has played a major role in my life ever since I was young.
And while I know many of my colleagues and friends would probably question my taste, there is one thing I am non-negotiable on – my love for The Lion King.
I’ve seen the musical on numerous occasions in numerous locations – Paris, London and Birmingham to name a few.
But experiencing it on Broadway for the first – and hopefully not last – time, was a whole new ball game.
Since opening in the heart of New York’s theatre district back in November 1997, the show has become the highest grossing, and arguably, most successful musical in history.
It currently plays eight times a week at the Minskoff Theatre. And it is where I was lucky enough to spend the night of my 21st birthday.
New York is known as the city that never sleeps and I can tell you, having seen the show on Broadway, neither could I.
The slack-jawed awe I experienced while witnessing the show’s astonishing opening, which features giant elephants making their way down the aisles as well as creatures propelled by actors, on stilts as giraffes, and astride a bicycle device, is a memory that will remain with me forever.
They say Americans love to do everything bigger and better and this is certainly no exception.
For me, being able to be part of the bright lights of Broadway – albeit for a short time – was a magical experience and one I will treasure forever.
And whenever I’m feeling down, I think back to the show and remember the closing lines of that song, which serve to remind me that nothing is ever really as bad as it seems:
It’s the Circle of Life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the Circle
The Circle of Life