The international hit Disney musical The Lion King will begin an open-ended engagement at Toronto's Princess of Wales Theatre November 2, 2024.
The upcoming staging will make Toronto the first city in North America to have a second sit-down production of the Tony-winning musical. The original Canadian production, also at the Princess of Wales, opened in March 2000, subsequently playing a record-breaking 1,567 performances before closing January 4, 2004. It was the second production of The Lion King in North America, after the show’s Broadway premiere.
After the first sit-down production ended, The Lion King
touring production visited Toronto three times—in 2011, 2014, and 2019—each time selling out.
Casting for the new production will be announced at a later date.
Producer David Mirvish states in a statement, “The Lion King is an iconic work of theatrical art and that rare show that appeals to people of all ages. For these reasons I have decided to do what has not been done before in the commercial theatre industry in North America: present a sit-down production of a show for the second time. The industry standard after an initial sit-down is to bring in the tour, instead of investing in building a new production.
“I believe a new Toronto production will help launch a new generation of Canadian artists, whom we are committed to finding and supporting," he continues. “It’s remarkable how many people tell us the first stage show they saw was The Lion King and that’s what has made them regular theatregoers. I’m confident that will happen again. The Lion King will also support Toronto by providing hundreds of good jobs and stimulating the local economy, just as the original sit-down production did.”
“On behalf of Managing Director Andrew Flatt, Chief Creative Officer Thomas Schumacher and all of us at Disney Theatrical, we’re honored that David Mirvish’s remarkable organization is bringing The Lion King back for this historic engagement,” adds Executive Producer Anne Quart, a native of Toronto. “Mirvish has always been a loving steward of our show, so Julie Taymor and our entire creative team look forward to working with Toronto’s deep bench of world-class actors and theatre artists once again.”
The Lion King won six Tony Awards in 1998: Best Musical,
Best Scenic Design (Richard Hudson), Best Costume Design (Julie Taymor),
Best Lighting Design (Donald Holder), Best Choreography (Garth Fagan),
and Best Direction of a Musical. The international hit musical has also
earned more than 70 major arts awards, including the 1998 NY Drama
Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, the 1999 Grammy for Best Musical
Show Album, the 1999 Evening Standard Award for Theatrical Event of the
Year, and the 1999 Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Choreography and
Best Costume Design.
The Broadway score features Elton John and Tim Rice’s songs from The Lion King animated film, along with three new songs by the pair. There's also additional musical material by Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymor, and Hans Zimmer. It also inspired an album: Rhythm of the Pride Lands, written by Lebo M, Mark Mancina, and Hans Zimmer.