On 19 October, Disney’s THE LION KING celebrates 20 years in the West End, cementing its place in theatrical history as one of the most successful and beloved stage musicals of all time.
To celebrate this landmark achievement, THE LION KING will hold a gala performance on Saturday 19 October 2019 at the Lyceum Theatre, in support of the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the Royal Academy of Music. Tickets go on sale at 10am today and can be purchased from www.thelionking.co.uk/gala
Disney Theatrical Productions over the last two years provided scholarships to seven students from diverse backgrounds to study on the Academy’s Musical Theatre MA course, offering them the opportunity to nurture their talent and hone their performance skills. The scholarships illustrate both organisations’ ongoing efforts to redress the underrepresentation of BAME performers in musical theatre.
With an iconic score by original creative team member Sir Elton John, Disney Theatrical Productions is proud to support Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) which aims to combat stigma, prevent infections, provide treatment and services, and motivate governments to end AIDS.
Since the UK premiere in London on Tuesday 19 October 1999, THE LION KING has entertained over 16 million theatregoers and remains the West End’s best-selling stage production and sixth longest-running West End musical of all time. An extraordinary team of more than 50 performers on stage and 100 crew off-stage present this global phenomenon every night to 2,200 people at the Lyceum Theatre, London.
To coincide with the 20th anniversary, the multi award-winning musical is also embarking on a second UK and Ireland tour. THE LION KING opens at The Bristol Hippodrome on 7 September 2019 and will move on to the Edinburgh Playhouse from 5 December 2019. The production will also tour to Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff from 9 July 2020 and further dates will be announced in due course.
Set against the majesty of the Serengeti Plains and to the evocative rhythms of Africa, Disney’s multi award-winning musical, brilliantly reimagined by acclaimed director Julie Taymor was transformed into a spectacular theatrical experience which tells the powerful and moving story of Simba – the epic adventure of his journey from wide-eyed cub to his destined role as King of the Pridelands.
A brand-new trailer, launched earlier this year, showcases the enormity, vibrancy and beauty of Julie Taymor’s outstanding design and direction. The video can be accessed here.
After 21 landmark years on Broadway, THE LION KING continues ascendant as one of the most popular stage musicals in the world. Since its premiere on November 13, 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 three productions worldwide running 15 or more years and another three productions running 20 or more years. The show has been performed in nine different languages (Dutch, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese and Spanish). Productions of THE LION KING can be seen on Broadway; London’s West End; Hamburg; Tokyo; Madrid; on tour across Japan and North America, with a separate production touring internationally, for a total of eight 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.
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 Choreographer (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® 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. The show’s director, costume designer and mask co-designer, Julie Taymor continues to play an integral part in the show’s ongoing success. The first woman to win a Tony Award® for Direction of a Musical, Taymor has in recent years supervised new productions of the show around the world.
The score features Sir Elton John and Sir 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.”
Sir Elton John, Lebo M, and Hans Zimmer all collaborated on the 2019 version of the film, executive produced by Julie Taymor and Thomas Schumacher, which has gone onto extraordinary worldwide success.
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 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). Anne Quart serves as co-producer.