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The Lion King

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The Lion King

The Walt Disney Company UK and Irelandand Sunderland Empirehave announced that Disney's THE LION KING will return to Sunderland Empire's stage next spring. 

The internationally acclaimed production will come to Sunderlandfor 7 weeks fromThursday 16th Marchto Saturday 6th May 2023.

The show returns to Sunderland for the first time since 2014, when it enjoyed a triumphant sell out run.

Marie Nixon, Theatre Director at Sunderland Empire said: "We are delighted to be welcoming the incredible Disney theatrical phenomenon, THE LION KING, back to Sunderland for a huge seven week run from next March. The show first visited Sunderland Empire in 2014 with a record-breaking run for our theatre - with audiences from far and wide rushing to the venue and selling out every show. Eight years on, it's a privilege once again to have the opportunity to welcome tens of thousands of people from across the region and beyond to see this world-leading production. The Sunderland Empire is the only theatre in the North East to host this spectacular show with tickets in high demand. We strongly recommend booking as early as possible to secure your place."

The story of THE LION KING leaps into life using 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.

Julie Taymor's internationally celebrated stage adaptation of THE LION KING opened on Broadway in 1997 and 25 global productions in nine different languages have been created since then (English, Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Spanish, Mandarin and Portuguese). THE LION KING is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, under the direction of Thomas Schumacher. 

The previous tour of THE LION KING broke attendance records across the nation. Since the UK premiere in 1999, THE LION KING London has entertained more than 16 million theatregoers and is the sixth longest-running West End musical of all time. 

The stunning artistry of the production is the work of a team of designers which drew on diverse cultural influences to recreate the rich colours and vast expanses of the African savanna in this daring and inspiring reinvention of one of the most successful animated feature films of all time. 

Julie Taymor, one of the world's most innovative directors, brought a vast array of disciplines to THE LION KING, including extensive experience staging epic theatre and opera productions, exploring classic myths through ritualised puppetry, mask, and movement. The Lion King was the first musical Taymor directed in the commercial theatre and she made Broadway history by becoming the first woman to win the Tony Award® for Best Director of a Musical.   

The Broadway show's full creative team, which won five Tony Awards® for its work on THE LION KING, reunited in 1999 to recreate the show in London. Julie Taymor and Michael Curry created hundreds of masks and puppets. 

Scenic design is by British designer Richard Hudson and lighting is by Donald Holder. Costume design is by Julie Taymor, and choreography by Garth Fagan. The book was adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed the animated feature and Irene Mecchi, who co-wrote the screenplay. 

The original score from the animated film was expanded for the stage and now features 15 musical numbers.  As well as writing completely new songs, South African composer Lebo M created an evocative blend of African rhythms and chorales, with additional material by Julie Taymor and Mark Mancina. 

Elton John and Tim Rice have added three new numbers to the five that they wrote for the award-winning score of the animated film. The resulting sound of THE LION KING is a fusion of Western popular music and the distinctive sounds and rhythms of Africa, including the Academy Award®-winning Can You Feel The Love Tonight and the haunting Shadowland. 

Latest ticket booking information is here

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