Disney's The Lion King set to roar back into Edinburgh - here's when tickets go on sale

Thwarted by the pandemic during its last run at the Playhouse in 2020, Disney's smash hit musical The Lion King is set for a triumphant return to the Greenside Place theatre next, Summer.

Thandazile Soni as Rafiki in Disney's The Lion King
Thandazile Soni as Rafiki in Disney's The Lion King

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Julie Taymor’s internationally celebrated stage adaptation of the blockbuster animated film of the same name​ will roar back onto the Playhouse stage for a limited four week run and its only Scottish dates next June.

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T​heatre ​director Colin Marr​,​ ​says, ​“It’s a real pleasure to be able to welcome the return of Disney​'​s The Lion​ ​King to the Edinburgh Playhouse.​ ​We were in the last few weeks of its record breaking five month run when we​ ​were forced to close our doors in March 2020. ​To see this powerful and​ ​emotional show return here is great for Scottish audiences.”

Alan McHale returns as Timon in The Lion King

​A cast of ​more than 50 actors, singers​ ​and dancers ​will return to the Capital with the show, among them are Thandazile Soni and Alan McHale​, ​two of the company​ who found themselves stranded here when the last run of The Lion King was cut short​.​​

Soni, who plays narrator Rafiki and normally resides in Durban, South Africa, recalls, "I was so confused by all that was happening, but I was hopeful at the same time, hoping that we were going to go back on stage in a matter of a few weeks."

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That few works turned into more than three months, and she recalls, “I was alone in Edinburgh for 14 weeks, and gosh I ate a lot. When I felt lonely I reached out to the world through Facebook and started some live singing​ sessions on there.​ I made a lot of people happy by taking song requests, and encouraging them to stay safe and happy in the spaces they were in. It made me happy too.”

Soni, who will reprise her role at the Playhouse, adds, “I am ecstatic to be coming back to Edinburgh. I just can't wait to stand in front of the audience and just celebrate with them that we're still here.”

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Thandazile Soni who plays Rafiki in The Lion King
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Alan McHale, who will also reprise his role as meerkat, Timon, remembers how he felt when the last run was forced to close – unlike Soni, he wasn't in Edinburgh at the time.

He explains, “I was in complete shock. Around the time we closed I remember hearing my nieces and nephew in Ireland were no longer going to school. That was a big shock, so when the news about The Lion King having to shut down came it just added to the worry.​”​

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McHale continues, “When the Playhouse shut down, I’d gone home to London for my day off. I was there when I heard. When I realised the severity of how quickly Covid was spreading, my husband and I decided to get out of London and headed back to Edinburgh where we happily stayed until the end of May. We love it in Scotland.” The ​landmark musical, which us​es​ spectacular masks, puppets, and​ ​costumes to tell the story of Simba​'​s epic adventures as he struggles with the​ ​responsibilities of adulthood and becoming king,​ includes the hit song, Can You Feel The Love.

The Lion King last visited the Playhouse in 2019/20
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Tickets for return season, which will run from June ​2 ​to July ​2, ​2022​, ​go on sale at 10am on Friday​, ​December ​3, ​at​ ​www.atgtickets.com/edinburgh

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