Disney’s The Lion King extends its season at Manchester Palace Theatre

The Walt Disney Company UK and Ireland and Manchester Theatres have announced on sale dates for a seven week extension of the musical THE LION KING, opening at the Palace Theatre later this year. The internationally acclaimed production will open on Thursday 27 October with tickets available until Sunday 19 February 2023. 

The extension coincides with the show celebrating its 20 millionth guest in the UK. The landmark production has now been seen by over 110 million people in 100 cities around the world.

Priority tickets for the extension will be available from 10am Monday 13 June. The general sale will begin 10am on Friday 17 June. Tickets will be available for performances from Tuesday 27 December to Sunday 19 February. For more information please visit: thelionking.co.uk/tour

Sheona Southern, Managing Director of Marketing Manchester, said: 

We are delighted to welcome Disney’s sensational musical The Lion King back to Manchester. A major international show of this calibre and popularity delivers enormous benefits to our hotels, restaurants, and attractions. The return of iconic production The Lion King strengthens Greater Manchester’s growing events offer and ultimately helps draw visitors back to the city-region.”

The story of THE LION KING leaps into life using spectacular masks, puppets and costumes to tell the story of Simba’s epic adventures, as he struggles with the responsibilities of adulthood and becoming king.

THE LION KING touring company includes Stephenson Ardern-Sodje as Simba and Nokwanda Khuzwayo as Nala, who previously played in the Germany and Brazil production. Ireland’s Alan Mchale returns in a new role as Timon with Cardiff born newcomer Owain Rhys Davies taking the role of Ed. They join returning principals Matthew Forbes as Zazu, Jean-Luc Guizonne as Mufasa, Richard Hurst as Scar, Rebecca Omogbehin as Shenzi, Thandazile Soni as Rafiki, Carl Sanderson as Pumbaa and Simon Trinder as Banzai.

The UK & Ireland tour cast also includes: Lwando Bam, Mamido Bomboko Souchu, Khanyisani Beato, Jorell Coiffic-Kamall, Rushand Chambers, Tau-En Chien, Elisa Chou, Tevin Daniel, Tim Driesen, Oraine Frater, Adebunmi Gabriel, Brian Gilligan, Daniel Griffith, Alicia Hayward, Zalika Henry, Caleaf Henson, Olivia Jones, Melvin Le Blanc, Jochebel Maccarthy, Zanele Mazibuko, Fallon Mondlane, Zanele Ndlovu, Buhle Nkomo, Craig Pedro, Joaquin Pedro Valdes, Connor Pelé Williams, Tara Price, Kyle Richardson, Cristiane Santos De Jesus, Lukin Simmonds, Sherry Tay, Francesca Thompson, Maria Yim and Bukiwe Zinganto.

Julie Taymor’s internationally celebrated stage adaptation of THE LION KING opened on Broadway in 1997 and 25 global productions in nine different languages have been created since then (English, Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Spanish, Mandarin and Portuguese). THE LION KING is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, under the direction of Thomas Schumacher. 

The previous tour of THE LION KING broke attendance records across the nation. Since the UK premiere in 1999, THE LION KING London has entertained more than 16 million theatregoers and is the sixth longest-running West End musical of all time. 

The stunning artistry of the production 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 feature films of all time. 

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 Taymor directed in the commercial theatre and she made Broadway history by becoming the first woman to win the Tony Award® for Best Director of a Musical.   

The Broadway 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 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. 

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