At a launch event for the Irish premiere season of THE LION KING, held today in Dublin, Disney Theatrical Group President and Producer Thomas Schumacher gave those in attendance an exclusive look at Disney's award-winning musical, and explained how the legendary production was created.
Including songs performed by cast members from both the London and touring productions, the presentation gave a glimpse of what Irish audiences will experience when this global phenomenon arrives in Dublin next year.
THE LION KING will play the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre from Saturday, April 27th, 2013 as part of the show's first-ever tour of the UK & Ireland.
Four years in the making, this truly international production brings together a cast of over 50 actors, singers and dancers, from 17 different countries, supported by a backstage team of over 100 people. THE LION KING is the largest musical production ever to tour Ireland and the UK, with 21 giant trucks being used to transport the hundreds of masks and puppets, thousands of lights, spectacular scenery and more than 700 elaborate costumes used in the production. In total, the touring production will visit 10 cities over the next two and a half years, with further dates and locations to be announced.
"We continue to be thrilled by how audiences enjoy The Lion King around the world, and we are delighted to share Julie Taymor's epic vision with Ireland." said Fiona Thomas, Vice President of the Disney Theatrical Group EMEA. "Dublin's Bord Gáis Energy Theatre is a stunning venue, and we cannot wait to stage The Lion King there in the Spring."
This new touring production is currently performing in Bristol, where it is receiving standing ovations and record-breaking ticket sales. It will open in Manchester in December.
Meanwhile, the acclaimed West End production of Disney's THE LION KING continues to play at London's Lyceum Theatre, where it recently welcomed its 10 millionth visitor and is celebrating its 13th birthday this autumn.
Since its Broadway premiere in 1997, Julie Taymor's multi-award winning production has now been seen by over 65 million people across 15 countries on five continents and has been translated into seven languages. Taymor's extraordinary vision has gone on to achieve phenomenal success on an international scale, enthralling audiences across the globe with the timeless story and universal messages of hope, community and the circle of life.
Disney's THE LION KING is based on the beloved Academy Award-winning animated film which was entrusted to Director and Co-Designer Julie Taymor to adapt the film for the stage. Taymor brought a vast array of disciplines to THE LION KING which draws upon her immeasurable experience of various theatrical styles and cultures to tell the compelling tale of Simba, the young lion cub, as he journeys through life and struggles to accept the responsibilities of adulthood and his destined role of King.
In addition to the record-breaking productions in London and New York, Disney's THE LION KING can currently be seen in Tokyo, Hamburg, Sapporo, Madrid and on tour in the US. THE LION KING UK & Ireland tour is the 20th production to premiere internationally.
Disney's THE LION KING will play the BORD GAIS ENERGY THEATRE, DUBLIN:
SATURDAY APRIL 27 2013 – SATURDAY JUNE 22 2013
ABOUT THE LION KING
In its 15th year, THE LION KING remains ascendant, recently becoming the highest-grossing Broadway show in history. Since its Broadway premiere on November 13, 1997, 20 productions around the globe have been seen by more than 65 million people, grossed over $4.8 billion and, cumulatively, run a staggering 91 years. Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher), THE LION KING is the fifth longest-running musical in Broadway history and only the second show in history to generate five productions running 10 or more years. Translated into eight different languages (Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Mandarin, Spanish, Portuguese), the show has been performed in 15 different countries on five continents. Continuing to reign as one of the most popular stage musicals in the world, THE LION KING can currently be seen on Broadway and on tour in North America, in London's West End and on tour in the UK, in Hamburg, Madrid, Tokyo and on tour in Japan.
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, making Taymor the first woman in theatrical history bestowed with the honor. 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.
On stage, Taymor's creative vision blends elements of African art and Broadway artisanship to depict anthropomorphic animal characters. Taymor, along with designer Michael Curry, has created hundreds of masks and puppets for THE LION KING. 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.
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."
Other members of the creative team include: 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 associate producer.
For more information worldwide, visit LionKing.com.