NEWS: The Lion King Returns to Edinburgh
The Walt Disney Company UK and Ireland has today announced that the award-winning musical THE LION KING will return to the Edinburgh Playhouse in December 2019, the only Scottish dates on the second UK and Ireland tour.
Tickets will go on sale in March 2019. Fans can sign up for priority access to tickets at http://www.thelionking.co.uk
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.
Colin Marr, Theatre Director, the Edinburgh Playhouse said: “We are incredibly excited to have Disney’s THE LION KING return to the Playhouse. I saw it for the first time in London recently and was blown away by the size and scale of the production. It’s an incredibly exciting show – a great spectacle but with brilliant humour too. I can’t wait to see it on our stage. The previous visit had a huge impact on the city attracting hundreds and thousands of visitors and generating millions of pounds for the local economy. As the only Scottish venue, we are looking forward to welcoming audiences of all ages from Edinburgh, the rest of Scotland and internationally.”
The first tour of THE LION KING broke box office records at the Edinburgh Playhouse with a 15 week sell-out season playing to more than 325,000 people, 60% first time visitors to the venue with 29% from Edinburgh postcodes.
The hit production generated £17.2 million for the local economy with advertising in the city in 9 different languages including Gaelic, Dutch and Chinese attracting visitors from as far afield as Argentina, Malaysia and Canada.
With a cast of over 50 actors, singers and dancers, the story of THE LION KING is miraculously brought to life using masks, puppets and striking costumes to tell the story of young Simba’s epic adventures as he struggles to accept the responsibilities of adulthood and becoming king.
The stunning simplicity of THE LION KING is the work of a team of designers which drew on diverse cultural influences to recreate the rich colours and vast expanses of the African savanna in this daring and inspiring reinvention of one of the most successful animated films of all time.
Julie Taymor’s internationally-celebrated stage adaptation opened on Broadway in 1997 and 25 global productions have now been seen by more than 95 million people. 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 in Holland, Daegu in South Korea and on tour across North America – 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.
Julie Taymor, one of the world’s most innovative directors, brought a vast array of disciplines to THE LION KING, including extensive experience staging epic theatre and opera productions, exploring classic myths through ritualised puppetry, mask, and movement. THE LION KING was the first musical she directed in the commercial theatre, and Taymor made Broadway history by becoming the first woman to win the Tony Award® for Best Director of a Musical.
The show’s full creative team, which won five Tony Awards® for its work on THE LION KING, reunited in 1999 to recreate the show in London. Julie Taymor and Michael Curry created hundreds of masks and puppets. Scenic design is by leading British designer Richard Hudson and lighting is by Donald Holder. Costume design is by Julie Taymor, and choreography by Garth Fagan. The book was adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed the animated feature, and Irene Mecchi, who co-wrote the screenplay.
The original score from the animated film was expanded for the stage and now features 15 musical numbers.
As well as writing completely new songs, South African composer Lebo M created an evocative blend of African rhythms and chorales, with additional material by Julie Taymor and Mark Mancina. Elton John and Tim Rice have added three new numbers to the five that they wrote for the award-winning score of the animated film. The resulting sound of THE LION KING is a fusion of Western popular music and the distinctive sounds and rhythms of Africa, including the Academy Award®-winning Can You Feel The Love Tonight and the haunting Shadowland.