The Disney-obsessed little girls inside of us could barely contain our excitement when we were invited to the exclusive press launch of The Lion King in Edinburgh this week. As if hearing the news that the smash-hit musical was finally set to tour the UK and Ireland wasn’t exciting enough, we were treated to a behind the scenes look at how one of Disney’s most iconic films came to dominate the stage both on Broadway and in London’s West End. Here’s some things we learnt at the launch….
- In 1990, Peter Schneider (President of Feature Animation for The Walt Disney Company) commissioned a film called King of The Jungle. It was not a musical and, according to Thomas Schumacher (Producer and President of Disney Theatrical Group), it “bore more than a passing resemblance to an animated National Geographic special”. It took a total of four years and a huge team of animators, writers and producers to develop this idea into The Lion King motion picture that we know and love today.
- The Lion King very nearly did not make it to the stage after many claimed it would be impossible to translate into theatre. Schumacher himself commented that turning the film into a stage production was “the worst idea in the world”. It was only after Michael Eisner told him that all he needed was “a great idea” to make it possible that the stage adaption of The Lion King truly began.
- The show has won in excess of 70 renowned theatrical awards internationally. These include Best Musical (France Moliere Awards, 2008), Theatre Show of The Year (The London Lifestyle Awards, 2011), Outstanding Costume Design – Julie Taymor (Toronto Dora Awards, 2000) and the Award for Mask and Puppet Design (Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, 2000).
- The touring cast will include more than 50 singers, dancers, puppeteers and actors. There will also be more than 700 different costumes used to represent 26 different types of animals. It will take 21 trucks to transport all the props and scenery to each city on the tour.
- The Lion King is the highest grossing theatre show in Broadway history. It has now been seen by over 65 million people worldwide and Scotland will be the 18th country in which it has been staged. It will be the biggest production to ever be hosted by The Playhouse.
After watching Monday’s preview, we can’t wait to snap up tickets for the tour!
Tickets for The Lion King are on sale now and are sure to sell out. For more information or to purchase, call 0844 871 7692 or visit www.thelionking.co.uk