HAKUNA matata! Disney’s The Lion King, the most successful musical ever to visit The Playhouse is set to return to the Greenside Place venue later this year.
The Evening News can exclusively reveal that the award-winning show will open at The Playhouse in December for the only Scottish dates of a new UK tour, running over the Christmas period and into 2020.
Set against the majesty of the Serengeti Plains, The Lion King tells the story of Simba the wide-eyed lion cub as he follows his destiny to become King of the Pridelands.
It’s a major coup for The Playhouse which hosted the Scottish premiere of the show in 2013.
On that occasion it broke all box office records, enjoying a 15 week sell-out season and playing to more than 325,000 people.
That production also generated £17.2 million for the local economy attracting visitors from as far afield as Argentina, Malaysia and Canada.
Colin Marr, Theatre Director of The Playhouse, says, “We are incredibly excited to have Disney’s The Lion King return to the Playhouse.
“The previous record-breaking run had a huge impact on the city attracting hundreds and thousands of visitors and generating millions of pounds for the local economy.
“As the only Scottish venue, we are looking forward to welcoming audiences of all ages from Edinburgh, the rest of Scotland wide and internationally.”
With a cast of more than 50 actors, singers and dancers, Simba’s epic adventures are brought to life using masks, puppets and costumes.
Based on Disney’s 1994 animated film of the same name, the production features the music of Elton John and Tim Rice, including three new songs specially written for the stage version.
The songs include the Academy Award-winning Can You Feel the Love Tonight? as well as firm favourites Circle of Life, I Just Can’t Wait to Be King, Be Prepared and Hakuna Matata.
A mammoth production, The Lion King takes more than 90 people backstage and front of house to bring it to the stage, including a 41-strong crew, 12-piece orchestra, and a further 40 ushers and managers as well as 10 additional sound and lighting operators, 14 dressers, two maintenance people, two wig and make-up assistants and one laundry person.
Marr adds, “When I saw it for the first time I was blown away by the size and scale of the production.
“It’s an incredibly exciting show - a great spectacle. I can’t wait to see it on our stage.”
The stage adaptation of The Lion King premiered on Broadway in New York in 1997 winning six Tony Awards.
With more than 25 global productions the landmark show has now been seen by more than 95 million people and boasts a gross income exceeding that of any film, musical, or any other entertainment title at the box office.
The new UK tour coincides with The Lion King’s 20th year on London’s West End.
Performance dates and tickets for The Playhouse season will be released in March.
Fans can sign up for priority access to tickets from 10.30am today at www.thelionking.co.uk - probably a good idea, last time, the queue for tickets stretched from the box office all the way up Leith Street.