Julie Taymor Adds New Character in THE LION KING Mandarin World Premiere, June 16

Julie Taymor Adds New Character in THE LION KING Mandarin World Premiere, June 16

Shanghai Disney Resort celebrated the global premiere of the first Mandarin production of Disney's THE LION KING Tuesday night in a gala affair at the Walt Disney Grand Theatre.

Director Julie Taymor has added a new character to the show, a mischievous monkey. She says, "It is the first time we have brought in a new character. And it is the year of the monkey after all."

The premiere launched the Grand Opening festivities for the new resort, which officially opens on June 16. A red carpet entry to the new theatre welcomed celebrities, luminaries and Julie Taymor, the Tony Award®-winning director of THE LION KING.

One of the most popular and acclaimed musicals of all time, the Broadway hit is presented at the lavish, 1,200-seat theater in Disneytown, the resort's retail, dining and entertainment area. This is the first time the full Broadway production will be presented at a Disney resort anywhere in the world.

"We are very proud to present the world premiere of the first-ever Mandarin production of Disney's beloved classic, THE LION KING," said Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive officer, The Walt Disney Company. "This historic performance brings the story to life for our guests in a way that is authentically Disney, distinctly Chinese and completely unique."

The Mandarin production marks the ninth language for this long-standing Broadway musical, which debuted on Nov. 13, 1997. THE LION KING has been enjoyed by over 85 million people in 20 countries across six continents, and has garnered more in ticket sales than any movie or stage play in entertainment history. For this production, Disney auditioned in more than a dozen cities in China and Asia to put together the ideal cast of more than 50 performers. The multi-national cast ranges from newcomers to seasoned professionals, with talent from Shanghai and across China plus 10 South African performers.

The 23rd global production of this highly successful Broadway musical will contribute to the one-of-a-kind immersive entertainment found throughout Shanghai Disney Resort.

The Walt Disney Grand Theatre, designed in Deco industrial style, is reminiscent of the grand theaters of old Shanghai. It has a Chinese fan motif on the marquee, front door, carpet and acoustic panels and is an icon for Disneytown. With separately ticketed shows, it introduces a world-class theatre experience to Shanghai and offers guests the opportunity to enrich their resort experience. Guests walk to the theatre along a floral-inspired paving pattern that comes to life at night with sparkling lights.

The show runs 2 ½ hours with a 15-minute intermission, with one evening performance daily Tuesday through Friday, and two performances on Saturdays and Sundays (schedules subject to change).

To purchase tickets for THE LION KING at the Disney Grand Theatre:

The official website of Shanghai Disney Resort, www.shanghaidisneyresort.com

THE LION KING Reservation Center at 400-108-8888 or 86-21-31768888

In its 19th year, THE LION KING remains ascendant as one of the most popular stage musicals in the world. Since its Broadway premiere on November 13, 1997, 23 global productions have been seen by more than 85 million people and, cumulatively, run a staggering 132 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, Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin), productions of THE LION KING can currently be seen on Broadway; London's West End; Hamburg; Tokyo; Madrid; Mexico City; and on tour across North America and Japan, for a total of eight productions running concurrently across the globe. Having played 20 countries on every continent except Antarctica, THE LION KING's worldwide gross exceeds that of any film, Broadway show or other entertainment title in box office history.

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), Anthony Lyn (associate director), Celise Hicks (associate choreographer), David Kreppel (music supervisor) and Doc Zorthian (production supervisor). Anne Quart serves as associate producer.

For more information worldwide, visit LionKing.com.

DISNEY THEATRICAL PRODUCTIONS, a division of The Walt Disney Studios, was formed in 1994 and operates under the direction of Thomas Schumacher. Worldwide, its eight Broadway titles have been seen by over 133 million theatergoers and have been nominated for 59 Tony Awards®, winning Broadway's highest honor 20 times. With 16 productions currently produced or licensed, a Disney musical is being performed professionally somewhere on the planet virtually every hour of the day.

The company's inaugural production, Beauty and the Beast, opened in 1994. It played a remarkable 13 year run on Broadway and has been produced in 28 countries worldwide. In November 1997, Disney opened The Lion King, which received six 1998 Tony Awards including Best Musical. In its 19th smash year on Broadway, it has welcomed more than 85 million visitors worldwide to date, and can currently be seen in eight productions worldwide. Having played 20 countries on every continent except Antarctica, The Lion King's worldwide gross exceeds that of any film, Broadway show or other entertainment title in box office history.

Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida opened on Broadway next, winning four 2000 Tony Awards. It was followed by Mary Poppins, a co-production with Cameron Mackintosh, which opened in London in 2004 and went on to enjoy a six year Tony-winning Broadway run. Mary Poppins is currently on tour across the U.K.

Tarzan®, which opened on Broadway in 2006, is now an international hit with an award-winning production in its 6th year in Germany. In January 2008, The Little Mermaid opened on Broadway and was the #1-selling new musical of that year.

Disney Theatrical Productions opened two critically acclaimed productions on Broadway in 2012, receiving seven Tony Awards between them: Newsies, which is currently on tour throughout North America, and Peter and the Starcatcher, which enjoyed a two year New York run.

Aladdin is its most recent Tony Award-winning Broadway hit. Its success continues internationally with productions in Tokyo and Hamburg, and upcoming sit-down productions in Sydney, London, and the North American Tour.

Other successful stage ventures have included the Olivier-nominated London hit Shakespeare in Love, stage productions of Disney's High School Musical, Der Glöckner Von Notre Dame in Berlin, and King David in concert. DTP has collaborated with the country's leading regional theatres to develop new stage titles including The Jungle Book and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Frozen, based on the Academy Award®-winning film, is slated to open on Broadway in spring 2018

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