Disney's THE LION KING Opens at Princess of Wales Theatre Tonight

Disney's THE LION KING Opens at Princess of Wales Theatre Tonight

The Toronto return of Disney's THE LION KING began performances on Wednesday April 30 and officially opens tonight, Thursday, May 1 at the Princess of Wales Theatre, where it will play a limited seven-week engagement through Sunday June 15. The award-winning musical premiered in Toronto in April 2000 at the Princess of Wales Theatre, where it played 1,560 performances through January 2004 and returned in 2011 for an eight-week sold-out engagement.

In Toronto THE LION KING will play Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 7:30PM; Sunday evenings at 6:30PM; Wednesday matinees at 1:30PM on the following dates: April 30, May 21, May 28 and June 11; Saturday matinees at 1:30PM and Sunday matinees at 1:00PM. There are no performances scheduled on Tuesday May 20 and Tuesday May 27.

"Thus far sales have exceeded our expectations, but there are still great seats available" said David Mirvish, Producer.

Tickets are available online at www.mirvish.com, by phone by calling TicketKing at 416-872-1212 or 1-800-461-3333 or in person at the Princess of Wales Theatre box office - 300 King Street West. Group orders of 15 or more may be placed by calling 416-593-4142 or 1-800-724-6420. Premium Ticket Packages, which include a prime seat location, a commemorative souvenir program and an exclusive merchandise item, are also available.

THE LION KING began as a 1994 animated feature-length film developed and produced by the Walt Disney Company. The story, a coming of age parable set among animals indigenous to its setting, the African savanna, tells the tale of Simba, the lion cub who rises to be the King of the jungle.

The production features Patrick R. Brown as "Scar", L. Steven Taylor as "Mufasa", Brown Lindiwe Mkhize as "Rafiki", Andrew Gorell as "Zazu", Ben Lipitz as "Pumbaa", Nick Cordileone as "Timon", Jelani Remy as "Simba", Nia Holloway as "Nala", Keith Bennett as "Banzai", Rashada Dawan as "Shenzi" and Robbie Swift as "Ed."

The role of "Young Simba" is alternated between Jordan A. Hall and Nathaniel Logan McIntyre and the role of "Young Nala" is alternated between Nya Cymone Carter and Tyrah Skye Odoms.

The North American touring productions of THE LION KING have been seen by more than 15 million theatergoers and grossed over $1 billion to date. Having already played more than 70 cities across North America, THE LION KING now proudly makes its Toronto return at the Princess of Wales Theatre. The current schedule is listed below.

In its 17th year, THE LION KING remains ascendant; it is the highest-grossing Broadway show in New York history and one of the most popular stage musicals in the world. Since its Broadway premiere on November 13, 1997, 22 global productions have been seen by more than 70 million people and, cumulatively, run a staggering 104 years. Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher), THE LION KING is only the second show in history to generate five productions worldwide running 10 or more years. Translated into eight different languages (Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Mandarin, Spanish and Portuguese), productions of THE LION KING can currently be seen on Broadway and on tour across North America, the U.K., and Japan, and in London's West End, Hamburg, Tokyo, Madrid, Sao Paulo, and Sydney, Australia. The Australian production marks the tenth concurrent worldwide production of THE LION KING, the highest number of productions running at any one time in the show's history. To date, THE LION KING has played 18 countries on every continent except Antarctica.

Among the most successful titles in entertainment history, with a cumulative gross in excess of $5 billion, the stage production of THE LION KING has already earned more than the biggest hit films in movie history: more than the Lord of the Rings trilogy combined, more than the six Star Wars films combined, and more than Avatar and Titanic, the two highest-grossing films in movie history, combined.

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

The show's director, costume designer and mask co-designer Julie Taymor continues to play an integral part in the show's ongoing success. The first woman to win a Tony Award for Direction of a Musical, Taymor has in recent years supervised new productions of the show around the world.

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."

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: Michael Curry, who designed the masks and puppets with Taymor, 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.

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