THE LION KING Premieres In Madrid October 21

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As previously announced by BWW's Spain Editor Juanjo Gonzalez, Disney Theatrical Productions (Thomas Schumacher, producer and president) in association with Stage Entertainment SPAIN (Julia Gómez Cora, general director), Alberto Ruíz-Gallardón (Mayor of Madrid) and Simón Amselem (Managing Director, The Walt Disney Company Spain and Portugal), have announced the Spanish premiere of Disney's landmark musical event, THE LION KING, to open October 21 at Lope De Vega Theatre on Madrid's Gran Via. THE LION KING in Madrid will mark two firsts: as the largest stage musical ever presented in Spain and the first time the show has been performed in Spanish.

Mayor Gallardón emphasized the importance of the magnitude of this production for the Spanish capital, "Madrid is grateful, committed and proud to be the host of the biggest musical production ever presented in Spain." He reiterated that "the success of our tourism, our Gran Via and our theatre has much to do with musicals. And here, this success is owed to Stage Entertainment."

"We are honored to be invited back to this magnificent city to present The Lion King," said Thomas Schumacher. "Julie Taymor's astonishing vision of this beloved tale has always had a universal appeal and we trust its power and artistry will move Spanish audiences just as it has touched people all over the world. Our two previous productions in town were joyous experiences for us and we cannot wait to begin this journey in Madrid."

In turn, Simón Amselem said, "we are delighted to bring the acclaimed stage version of this unforgettable story to Spanish audiences."

Julia Gómez Cora remarked, "now more than ever the spectators are looking for stories that are able to move them, to make them dream and escape to a magical universe. Because all of that, we believe that now is the moment to bring THE LION KING to Spain."

ABOUT THE LION KING
As it begins its 14th year THE LION KING remains ascendant, continuing to reign as a cultural phenomenon and one of the most popular stage musicals in the world. Since its 1997 Broadway premiere, 18 global productions have been seen by more than 54 million people, and grossed over $4.2 billion to date. Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher), THE LION KING is the seventh longest-running musical in Broadway history and one of only five productions in theatre history to play for ten years or more, both on Broadway and in the West End. Translated into seven different languages (Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Mandarin, Spanish), the show has been performed in 14 different countries on five continents. THE LION KING can currently be seen on Broadway (its flagship production), on stages across North America, and in Las Vegas, London's West End, Hamburg, Tokyo and Singapore.

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 and the 1999 Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Choreography and Best Costume Design.

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. 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). Anne Quart serves as associate producer.

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."

For more information worldwide, visit LionKing.com.

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