One of the most popular musicals in history, The Lion King, will play at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre from December 2013.
The Lion King is a worldwide phenomenon. Since its Broadway premiere on November 13, 1997, 19 productions around the globe have been seen by more than 63 million people and grossed more than $4.7 billion. (See Dance Informa’s review of the Las Vegas production here).
In its 15th year, The Lion King continues to reign as a cultural phenomenon and one of the most popular stage musicals in the world. The Lion King is the seventh longest-running musical in Broadway history and one of only six productions in theatre history to play for ten years or more both on Broadway and in the West End. 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 Director Julie Taymor the first woman in theatrical history bestowed with the honour. The Lion King has also earned more than 70 major arts awards including a Grammy® for Best Musical Show Album and 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. The Broadway score features Elton John and Tim Rice’s music from The Lion King animated film along with many new numbers. The resulting sound of The Lion King is a fusion of Western popular music and the distinctive sounds and rhythms of Africa.
Thomas Schumacher, Producer and President of Disney Theatrical Productions said, “Australia has embraced our Disney stage musicals as warmly as audiences anywhere in the world and we are thrilled that The Lion King is being invited back. We look forward to re-introducing Sydney to Julie Taymor’s singular, captivating vision.”
The Lion King is an established tourism magnet for Sydney. The last season ran for almost two years and played to 1.35 million people. NSW Minister for Tourism, Major Events and the Arts, George Souris said “We wanted to ensure that Sydney would host one of the world’s most enduring musical events.” The 2013 production is expected to attract 50,000 visitors from interstate and overseas generating $36 million in new money for NSW.
Top photo: The opening number ‘The Circle of Life’ from The Lion King, Las Vegas. ©2009, Disney. Photo by Joan Marcus.