‘Disney’s award-winning musical ‘The Lion King’ explodes with glorious colours, stunning effects and enchanting music. It follows the powerful story of Simba as he journeys from wide-eyed cub to his destined role as King of the Pridelands’.
The Walt Disney Company UK and Ireland has today announced the principal company for the UK and Ireland tour of the landmark musical ‘The Lion King‘ which will open in Bristol in September 2019, before moving on to Edinburgh in December 2019. Further cities will be announced in due course.
‘The Lion King’ will welcome new cast members from Belgium, Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Ireland, France, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Nigeria, Saint Martin, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom and United States of America. The roles of Simba, Nala and Rafiki will be played by Dashaun Young, Josslynn Hlenti and Thandazile Soni respectively. The company will also include Steve Beirnaert, Matthew Forbes, Jean-Luc Guizonne, Richard Hurst, Alan McHale, Rebecca Omogbehin, Carl Sanderson, and Simon Trinder.
Also joining the cast include: Lwandolwethu Dennis Bam, Khanyisani Beato, Nigel Brown, Rushand Chambers, Tau-En Chien, Javier Cid, Jorrell Coiffic-Kamall, Tevin Daniel, Tim Driesen, Matthew Elliot-Campbell, Oraine Frater, Brian Gilligan, Daniel Griffith, Alicia Hayward, Zalika Henry, Caleaf Hensen, Olivia Jones, Melvin La Blanc, Jochebel Ohene MacCarthy, Zanele Mazibuko, Daniel De Jesus Mejia Garcia, Zanele Ndlovu, Buhle Nkomo, Brianna Ogunbawo, Paige Peddie, Tara Price, Charlotte Samaroo, Cristiane Santos De Jesus, Mamido Bomboko Souchu, Sherry Tay, Francesca Thompson, Connor Pele Williams, Maria Yim and Bukiwe Zinganto.
The Broadway score features Elton John and Tim Rice’s music from ‘The Lion King’ animated film, along with three new songs by John and Rice; additional musical material by South African Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymor and Hans Zimmer; and music from ‘Rhythm of the Pride Lands‘, an album inspired by the original music in the film, written by Lebo M, Mark Mancina and Hans Zimmer. The resulting sound of ‘The Lion King’ is a fusion of Western popular music and the distinctive sounds and rhythms of Africa, ranging from the Academy Award-winning song ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’ to the haunting ballad ‘Shadowland’.
The book has been adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed ‘The Lion King’ animated feature, and Irene Mecchi, who co-wrote the film’s screenplay. Other members of the creative team include: Michael Curry, who designed the masks and puppets with Julie Taymor, Steve Canyon Kennedy (sound design), Michael Ward (hair and makeup design), John Stefaniuk (associate director), Marey Griffith (associate choreographer), Clement Ishmael (music supervisor) and Doc Zorthian (production supervisor), with casting Jill Green Casting CDG (UK Tour casting). Anne Quart serves as co-producer.
The tour coincides with ‘The Lion King’ celebrating 20 years at London’s Lyceum Theatre. Since the UK premiere in London on Tuesday 19th October 1999, ‘The Lion King’ has entertained over 15 million theatregoers, and remains the West End’s best-selling stage production and the sixth longest-running West End musical of all time.
The previous tour of ‘The Lion King’ broke attendance records across the nation. With a cast of over 50 actors, singers and dancers, the story is miraculously brought to life using masks, puppets and striking costumes to tell the story of Simba’s epic adventure as he struggles to accept the responsibilities of adulthood and becoming king.
‘The Lion King’ won six 1998 Tony Awards: Best Musical, Best Scenic Design (Richard Hudson), Best Costume Design (Julie Taymor), Best Lighting Design (Donald Holder), Best Choreography (Garth Fagan) and Best Direction of a Musical. ‘The Lion King’ has also earned more than 70 major arts awards, including the 1998 NY Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, the 1999 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album, the 1999 Evening Standard Award for Theatrical Event of the Year and the 1999 Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Choreography and Best Costume Design.
After 21 landmark years on Broadway, and now in 2019 celebrating 20 years in London, ‘The Lion King’ continues ascendant as one of the most popular stage musicals in the world. Since its Broadway premiere on November 13th 1997, 25 global productions have been seen by more than 100 million people. Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, under the direction of Thomas Schumacher, ‘The Lion King’ has made theatrical history with six productions worldwide running 15 or more years.
Performed in nine different languages (English, Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Spanish, Mandarin and Portuguese), productions of ‘The Lion King’ can currently be seen on Broadway; London’s West End; Hamburg; Tokyo and Sapporo; Madrid; Scheveningen, Holland; Daegu, South Korea; and on tour across North America, for a total of nine productions running concurrently across the globe. Having played over 100 cities in 20 countries on every continent except Antarctica, ‘The Lion King’s worldwide gross exceeds that of any film, Broadway show or other entertainment title in box office history.