The musical adaptation of “The Lion King” will embark on its first-ever tour of the United Kingdom later this year.
The first stop of the tour will be at the Bristol Hippodrome on August 31 for 11 weeks, and then the production will travel to the Palace Theatre in Manchester. After that, the tour will hit ten cities in the U.K. and Ireland over the next two-and-a-half years.
The London version of the musical is currently in its 12th year, and has been seen by nearly 10 million people in the UK. Worldwide, the production has been seen by around 60 million people, making it one of the most successful musicals ever.
Producer Thomas Schmacher, president of Disney Theatrical productions, shared his thoughts on why the production has been so successful in a statement.
“People have a very emotional connection to “The Lion King,” he said. “Because it’s literally lived in their homes as a film, as books and as music, when they experience the theatrical production, the emotions are that much more resonant.”
He also said, “We continue to be thrilled by how U.K. audiences have enjoyed “The Lion King” in London, and have long wished to also share this production with audiences nationally.” The tour is four years in the making.
“The Lion King” musical is based on the 1994 Disney movie of the same name, and the original production was directed by Julie Taymor and opened on Broadway in 1997. That production won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical for Taymor. The musical features actors in animal masks and costumes along with puppets with music by Sir Elton John and lyrics by Sir Tim Rice.
In other “Lion King” news, a new 3D version of the now classic movie was released last year, and raked in $94 million at the box office.