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The Lion a heartwarming 65 minute solo musical @ A.C.T.’s Strand Theater.

Benjamin Scheuer in The Lion at A.C.T.s' Strand Theater

Benjamin Scheuer in The Lion at A.C.T.s’ Strand Theater

THE LION: Musical. Written and performed by Benjamin Scheuer and directed by Sean Daniels. A.C.T.’s Strand Theater, 1127 Market St., San Francisco, CA.   415.749.2228 or online at www.act-sf.org. April 19—May 1, 2016

The Lion a heartwarming 65 minute solo musical @ A.C.T.’s Strand Theater. Rating: ★★★★★

There are moments in the theatre when all the parts fit together and the audience erupts with a standing ovation. That happened last night at A.C.T.’S Strand Theater when guitarist, song writer and actor ended his brilliant 65 minute autobiographical solo performance. It is a story of his journey from childhood to adulthood with trials and tribulations that would overwhelm many of us and is now an inspiring tale that has been an award winning hit on both sides of the Atlantic.

It is somewhat prophetic that April has been named as the Guitar Month since Benjamin Scheuer spins his musical using six guitars. It has been named one of the “Top 10 Best Theatrical Performances of 2015.”

Scheuer is a natural as he tells his story from adulation of his father who instilled in him the love of music in general the guitar in particular. That bond with his rigid mathematician father was broken at age 13 when Ben was chastised for bringing home a bad report card from school. It was further stressed when his father suddenly die from a ruptured brain aneurism while they were still at odds with each other and Ben lost his ‘roar’.

The title is derived from the fact that Ben and his two younger brothers were considered a ‘pride’ by the patriarch and there is a song about ‘how does a lion roar’. Ben truly lost his roar at age 28 when he was diagnosed with stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and underwent devastating chemo/radiation therapy. Along the way he also lost his girlfriend.

Scheuer weaves his story in music and dialog without a hint of self-pity and actually in a matter-of-fact demeanor until he breaks out with a terrific riff on an electric guitar. In an astute directorial device by Sean Daniels whom you may remember for his brilliant direction of Part Two of CalShakes’ production of Nicholas Nickleby, having Scheuer strip parts of his clothing even to removing his shoes and socks signifying laying bare his life.

Scheuer tells his story with eight or more terrific songs bridged with recitative and dialog to buffer his rock ‘n’ roll journey with nary a maudlin moment. The play is bookended with “How Does a Lion Roar” emphasizing that he has weathered the worst of times and truly has regained his ‘roar’ through the redemptive power of music.

This is a must see production but be advised it is a limited performance run and will surely sell out as it has throughout it 2 year run.

Kedar K. Adour, MD

Courtesy of www.theatreworldim2.com.

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