The Lion

What makes a lion? That’s what Benjamin Scheuer endeavors to discover in his personal coming of age tale. He begins and ends by telling of the cookie-tin banjo his father made for him, his father giving his boy the gift of music. In between, Scheuer struggles with loss, love and sickness, all of which help him uncover the strength and people needed to be a lion. 

The accomplished musician (he records with his band, Escapist Papers) brings his story home to New York in a beautifully staged performance, using multiple acoustic guitars (and one electric), which make the most glorious sounds. Delicate and effective direction by Sean Daniels and a warm and intimate set by Neil Patel and lighting design by Ben Stanton bring us close to Scheuer (like Sawyer but with a “sh” sound to start), who is raw, charming and brave. 

He also is doing something so simple yet so important in sharing his journey. The Lion is storytelling + family + love, which is what our past, present and future are all about. The whole of humanity—peoplehood—is wrapped up in those three things, and The Lion, both its story and its telling, is a testament to our enduring strength. 

The Lion continues at Manhattan Theatre Club’s Studio at Stage II through July 10. All tickets are only $30. Visit MTC's site to  purchase tickets.

Extras: Check out this interview with Scheuer, Daniels and MTC Artistic Director Mandy Greenfield, and, below, the music video for the title song. And head to for production stills.