Best Production of a Play Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 2003 - The Lion King
No doubt about it, the hands-down winner this year was the touring production of the long-running, groundbreaking Broadway musical hit, featuring director Julie Taymor's stunning visual imagination. Using a blend of lithe, live actors, huge carnival-like puppets, and an array of exotic theatrical traditions, Taymor took the popular Disney animated movie story and did it one better, reinventing it as spectacular, unforgettable theater. The Lion King blended traditional American musical elements with classic literature (the story of the dispossessed lion cub is a reworking of Hamlet) together with a joyful celebration of African culture. The show was also a happy merger of art and commerce, and the Broward Center was packed to the gills throughout the show's sold-out run.