When we first told him that Uncle Maddie got him the tickets he was super excited. He was telling everyone that he was going to see the Lion King show, "but it's not like a TV show, it's on a stage!"
When I explained to him that only he and I were going and that Zoe and dad would be staying home, he was sad, but then said, "wait, so it's like a date? I've never been on a date before." And he was a great date. He told me I looked beautiful and asked if I'd like to get coffee before the show. A perfect gentleman.
The theater offered booster seats for smaller audience members so picked one up - but he wasn't quite heavy enough to hold the seat down and it kept folding up with him in it.
We settled in with him on my lap and I could tell he was anxious/excited/nervous for curtain time.
As I mentioned earlier, I anticipated that he might be afraid of the scary scenes - but I was surprised that instead (he weathered the more frightening scenes just fine, even the thunder and lightening battle) he was overcome right after the opening scene.
The opening scene is when all the animals come to meet Simba and the song "Circle Of Life" - which he adores - is sung. It the first glimpse of all these amazing costumes that transform the actors into wild animals and there are animals everywhere - on stage, in the balconies and even coming down the aisles. The song swells and ends with a dramatic "bum, bum!" as Simba is presented to the kingdom. It's a beautiful, uplifting, happy scene. Leo was transfixed throughout the song - but the instant it ended with the "bum, bum!" and the lowering of the lights he buried his face in my chest and cried.
I immediately slipped out of the theater (I had planned to have an easy escape in case this happened so we didn't disrupt those around us, but wasn't anticipating it until much later) and he sobbed and sobbed in my arms for a few minutes. A kind usher showed us where there was a monitor that had a live feed of the stage so we could watch in the downstairs lobby. I bought us a bottle of water and we talked and watched until the emotion waned a bit. He video called jb who gave him a good pep talk and we went back into the theater.
By intermission he was a bit more relaxed. He still wanted to be on my lap - but wasn't clinging to me as tightly as before. He even mouthed the words along with his favorite songs. At the end of the show he was thrilled that he got to be a part of a standing ovation. As we were exiting the theater many theater goers stopped to ask him if he enjoyed the show. He told everyone he loved it and that his favorite part was "Hakuna Matata." By this time it was well past his bedtime. Abi picked us up and he chatted with her about the show on the way home. The next morning he slept until nearly 9 am!
Since the show he has told everyone that he wants to be a real stage actor when he grows up (this has bumped the long preferred career of "digger truck driver"). All in all I think it was a good experience for him and I hope it is the beginning of a long love of theater.