Disney's record-breaking musical 'The Lion King' enters its 14th triumphant year at London's Lyceum Theatre on October 19th. Having opened in 1999, this award-winning production remains the West End's best-selling stage production.
Julie Taymor's internationally celebrated stage adaptation of Disney's beloved 1994 animated film premiered on Broadway in 1997 and has now been seen by over 65 million people across
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, reunited in 1999 to recreate the show for British audiences. 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 of 'The Lion King'.
Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher) 'The Lion King' has been translated into eight different languages (Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Mandarin, Spanish and Portuguese) and the show has been performed in 15 different countries on five continents.
In addition to the successful London production, 'The Lion King' also recently commenced a tour of the UK and Ireland. The new touring production opened in Bristol in September to critical and popular acclaim and begins performances in Manchester on 30 November. 'The Lion King' can also be seen in New York, Tokyo, Hamburg, Madrid and on tours of North America and Japan. Recently becoming the highest-grossing show in Broadway history, 'The Lion King' is only the 2nd show in history to have five international productions running ten or more years.
'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® for Best Musical Show Album, the 1999 Evening Standard Award for Theatrical Event of the Year, the 1999 Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Choreography and Best Costume Design and seven 2012 Spanish Musical Theatre Awards, including Best Musical.
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.