Disney Theatrical Productions, in association with Michael Cassel Group, announced March 7 that the Tony-winning The Lion King will launch its first international tour in March 2018 in Manila.
The tour, which will be performed in English, will celebrate The Lion King’s 20th anniversary onstage and the title’s 25th global production. The production will subsequently open in Singapore in June 2018, in South Korea in October 2018, in Taiwan in 2019, and in South Africa in 2020.
“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 and producer of Disney Theatrical Productions, in a statement. “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 in the Philippines, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan and South Africa, the show’s creative birthplace.”
“It is wonderful that these countries in Asia will be able to experience this largely South African cast of The Lion King. They’re in for a tremendous treat as the soul of this music will come through these extraordinary performers,” added Tony-winning director, costume designer, and mask co-designer Julie Taymor. “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, stated, “This international tour will provide the opportunity for audiences around the world to witness this incredible production, featuring South Africa’s greatest talents.”
Auditions will commence in South Africa in March. Tickets for the Philippines premiere will go on sale in October.
The Broadway score features Elton John and Tim Rice’s music 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, 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, Mancina, and Zimmer.
The book was adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed The Lion King animated feature, and Irene Mecchi, who co-wrote the film’s screenplay. Directed by Taymor—who became the first woman to ever receive a Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical—The Lion King has won over 30 major awards. Those include six Tony Awards—including one for Best Musical, eight Drama Desk Awards, six Outer Critics Circle Awards, two Sir Laurence Oliviers, the Evening Standard Award for Best Theatrical Event, and three Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards.