Michael Cassel Group in association with Disney Theatrical Productions produced the first international tour of the world’s #1 musical, Disney’s THE LION KING.
Launched in Manila in March 2018, triumphant seasons included Singapore, Daegu, Seoul, Busan, Taipei, Kaohsiung, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Auckland. The tour played its final performance in Abu Dhabi in December 2022.
The international tour was performed in English and launched in celebration of THE LION KING’s 20th anniversary on stage and the title’s 25th global production.
“We’re proud to partner with our long-time friend Michael Cassel to bring the world-renowned stage production of THE LION KING to these vibrant cities,” said Thomas Schumacher President & Producer, Disney Theatrical Productions. “Julie Taymor and her extraordinary creative team have realized a production of enormous scale, beauty and heart. I cannot wait for new audiences to join us.”
The show’s director, costume designer and mask co-designer Julie Taymor said “It is wonderful that these countries in Asia will be able to experience this new international cast of THE LION KING. They’re in for a tremendous treat as the soul of this music will come through these extraordinary performers. Asia is a big part of my life, having spent four years in Indonesia and travelled throughout many countries in the region. It is thrilling to bring this production back to a part of the world that has been a major inspiration in my life.”
Lebo M, who provided additional music, lyrics, vocal score and arrangements to THE LION KING, commented “This international tour will provide the opportunity for audiences around the world to witness this incredible production, featuring South Africa’s greatest talents.”
THE LION KING continues ascendant as one of the most popular stage musicals in the world. Since its premiere on November 13, 1997, 25 global productions have been seen by nearly 110 million people. Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher), THE LION KING has made theatrical history with two productions worldwide running 15 or more years and four others running 20 or more years. In the history of Broadway, only two productions have run longer.
Performed over its lifetime in nine different languages (English, Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Spanish, Mandarin and Portuguese), there are currently 10 productions of THE LION KING around the world; Broadway, London, Paris, Hamburg, Tokyo, Madrid, on tour across North America, Japan and the U.K. & Ireland, with a separate production touring internationally. THE LION KING has played over 100 cities in 21 countries on every continent except Antarctica; its 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 supervises new productions of the show around the world, to this day.
The Broadway score features Elton John and Tim Rice’s songs 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 Lebo M’s rich choral numbers.
Elton John, Lebo M, and Hans Zimmer all collaborated on the 2019 version of the film, executive produced by Julie Taymor and Thomas Schumacher, which has gone onto extraordinary worldwide success.
The book has been adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed the animated THE LION KING King 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), Marey Griffith (associate choreographer), Clement Ishmael (music supervisor) and Doc Zorthian (production supervisor). Anne Quart serves as co-producer.
For further information worldwide, visit lionking.com.