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The Roar of the Crowd

"It was simply awful!" said one irate patron, who requested not to be named. "There was one woman in front of us who asked a woman to take her crying baby outside and she refused, saying "I paid for her seat!'

Disney officials deny that tearful tykes are disrupting performances of The Lion King and stress they caution parents of infants and very young children to not bring them to the musical's evening performances.

"We strongly recommend that children under 5 don't attend evening performances," said Jackie Green, a press representative for The Lion King.

But Green said for the show's three matinee performances each week - times when some theatergoers say crying children are particularly troublesome - "our only recommendation is that parents use their discretion."

Disney also says that its firm policy that every individual - including babies - must have a seat, helps to discourage parents from bringing infants to The Lion King.

Some parents with crying babies are reluctant to leave their seats when they have not only paid $75 for their first-floor orchestra level seats but for their young offspring as well.

And some parents of small children say they have to consider whether leaving seats in the middle of a row would be more disturbing than the noise their children may be making.

Child-friendly Disney makes bringing young children to the New Amsterdam Theater a very inviting proposition, providing changing tables in theater bathrooms and a whole store full of Disney goodies next door.

"Who would have ever thought that the biggest problem on naughty, bawdy 42nd Street would become crying babies!" joked Broadway producer and director Aaron Frankel.

Like the animated Disney feature film on which it's based, the stage version of The Lion King follows the adventures of Simba, a young lion cub, as he struggles to become an adult and king of the jungle. The show opened to rave reviews in November last year and reportedly has amassed a record $40 million-plus ticket sale "advance."

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