Wellington Street, London
Previewed: 24 September 1999
Opened: 19 October 1999
Closed 15 March 2020
Reopened: 29 July 2021
Booking up to: 3 April 2022
Nearest Tube: Covent Garden
Monday no show
Tuesday at 7.30pm
Wednesday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Thursday at 7.30pm
Friday at 7.30pm
Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Sunday at 2.30pm
Runs 2 hours and 35 minutes including one interval
£? to £?
(plus booking fees if applicable)
Disney's spectacular stage musical The Lion King in London ... SEE IT NOW ... REMEMBER IT FOREVER!
Set against the majesty of the Serengeti Plains and the evocative rhythms of Africa, Disney's multi award-winning musical The Lion King will redefine your expectations of theatre. A spectacular visual feast, this adaptation of Disney's much-loved film transports audiences to a dazzling world that explodes with glorious colours, stunning effects and enchanting music. At its heart is the powerful and moving story of Simba - the epic adventure of his journey from wide-eyed cub to his destined role as King of the Pridelands.
Disney musical with music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice, additional music and lyrics by Jay Rifkin, Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Julie Taymor and Hans Zimmer, and book by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi, adapted from the original Disney screenplay by Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts and Linda Woolverton.
The cast from 29 July 2021 included Shaun Escoffery as 'Mufasa', Kayi Ushe as 'Simba', Janique Charles as 'Nala', George Asprey as 'Scar', Thenjiwe Thendiva Nofemele as 'Rafiki', Gary Jordan as 'Zazu', Jamie McGregor as 'Timon', Mark Roper as 'Pumbaa', Melone M'kenzy as 'Shenzi', David Blake as 'Banzai', and Phil Adele as 'Ed'. Casting subject to change without notice.
Directed by Julie Taymor, with choreography by Garth Fagan, sets by Richard Hudson, costumes by Julie Taymor, masks and puppets by Julie Taymor and Michael Curry, lighting by Donald Holder, sound by Steve Canyon Kennedy, and original sound by Tony Meola.
Note: This production was booking up to 30 May 2020, but closed on 15 March 2020 due to the COVID-19 situation. It reopened from 29 July 2021.
"The Lion King is an indisputable triumph - in the stage-version, at least, because Disney has entrusted the show to a director (Julie Taymor) and a creative team with exceptional imagination and a rare grasp of theatrical resources. You are gripped from the first scene: a magnificent rippling sunrise, the chanting of a much-bedaubed and bedizened shaman, fabricated animals trooping down the aisle and flocking across the stage... It is so well done that you wonder where they can go from there, but scene after scene proves equally impressive... What makes the spectacle so entrancing is that we are invited to enter into it as a game - to enjoy the means by which it is produced rather than goggling as the simulated reality... At every stage we are made aware of the actor behind an animal... The visual splendours of the show are never allowed to swamp the drama. The storyline remains clear and compelling... The Lion King is superlative entertainment, and puts most other mega-musicals in the shade." The Sunday Telegraph
"The haunting chants for the grassland and the lionesses are by South African musician Lebo M, who also co-wrote four songs, with Mark Macina and three others. The wonderful Shadowlands, with its blend of European and African rhythms and orchestration, is their best. The sets are by the Zimbabwe-born Richard Hudson: their sense of broad spaces, high, cloud-fringed skies, and the brilliant reds, oranges, browns and deep yellows of the African landscape will haunt you for weeks to come. But it is finally Julie Taymor's show. She has directed it, designed the stunning costumes, and collaborated with Mark Curry on the even more stunning masks and puppets... The Lion King is a wonderful, wonderful musical: thrilling, warm-hearted, inventive and original. It has a pulsating, teeming sense of animal life effortlessly at home in its rich, dangerous natural habitat, and a seamless blend of story and spectacle." The Sunday Times
"I could see the show a dozen times more and still not tire of the spectacular opening sequence. This is probably the most magical beginning in the history of the musical theatre. With music from Elton John and Tim Rice and pulsating African rhythmns throughout, the entire experience is one not to be missed. If you love the Disney movie, you'll love the show. Even if you have never seen the movie - hasn't everybody? - you'll still love the show. No matter your age, treat you and yours to tickets for this royally entertaining event. And don't worry if you have to wait-this King will reign and reign!" The News of the World
"The Lion King is a ravishing spectacle, the cat's whiskers no less, and an unmissable treat for the whole family... I can hardly wait to see it again or, even more tantalising, to see the effect of the breathtakingly brilliant opening few moments of pure animal magic (which the rest of the show never supersedes) on the faces of my children. A more imaginatively conceived carnival of creatures is impossible to conjure. There's a person in each leg of the massive elephant and an enchanting tiny calf running behind it; the giraffes walk on stilts, a towering hat suggesting the neck and head; three bounding antelopes leap with each turn of the wheels of a tricycle; Zazu, the accident-prone toucan, is sometimes an elaborate earthbound glove puppet, sometimes a paper kite at the end of a wire attached to a long pole, fluttering among other bright and beautiful beasts of the air... Julie Taymor's stunning, jaw-dropping designs never attempt to disguise the human operator beneath. Indeed, she goes to great lengths to display the artifice and the mechanics. A mask or headdress begins an idea which the costume develops and is then continued in movement which delightfully evokes the scampering, stalking, slinking or prowling nature of the beast. Looking east to Asia for its inspiration, the show is a celebration of the art and illusion of the most ancient theatrical techniques - of masks, puppetry and shadow-play. Some of the effects have an exquisite, arresting simplicity: the mourning lionesses pull white ribbons of tears from the eyes of their masks; a waterfall is a cascade of shimmering silk; the famine that ravages the savannah is vividly illustrated by a waterhole, a circle of silvery material that shrinks as it is pulled across the stage by an actor, a skeleton of an antelope in each hand, another on his head. Where the production falls short is in the acting, which is tame, two-dimensional stuff... Visually, however, it is inspired, and never more so than when flashing fishy shapes in a watery wilderness assemble to create the ghostly face of Mufasa to remind Simba to avenge his death. A thrilling coup de theatre and the highlight of an intensely theatrical experience." The Mail on Sunday
The role of Mufasa was originally played in London by Cornell John from 1999 to 2001; Ray Shell from 2001 to 2002; Sello Maake Ka-Ncube from 2002 to 2003; Nathaniel Stampley (AKA Nate Stampley) from 2003 to 2004; Sello Maake Ka-Ncube from 2004 to 2005; Ako Mitchell from 2005 to 2006; Scott Michael Bourne from 2006 to 2007; Lloyd Notice from 2007 to 2008; and Shaun Escoffery from 2008 to 2020;
The role of Simba was originally played in London by Roger Wright from 1999 to 2003; Brian Themba Makiwane from 2003 to 2008; Andile Gumbi from 2008 to 2012; Jonathan Andrew Hume from 2012 to 2016; and Nicholas Afoa (AKA Nick Afoa) from 2016 to 2020.
The role of Nala was originally played in London by Paulette Ivory from 1999 to 2000; Javine Hylton from 2000 to 2002; Brandi Chavonne Massey from 2002 to 2003; Nataylia Roni from 2003 to 2004; Alexia Facey from 2004 to 2005; Alexia Khadime from 2004 to 2008; Gloria Onitiri from 2008 to 2009; Narran Mclean from 2010 to 2011; Ava Brennan 2011; Carole Stennett from 2011 to 2012; Melina M'Poy 2012; Ava Brennan from 2012 to 2013; Nokubonga Khuzwayo 2013; Melina M'Poy from 2013 to 2014; Carole Stennett from 2014 to 2015; Ava Brennan from 2015 to 2017; and Janique Charles from 2017 to 2020.
The role of Scar was originally played in London by Rob Edwards from 1999 to 2005; James Simmons from 2005 to 2008; and George Asprey from 2008 to 2020.
The role of Rafiki the Baboon was originally played in London by Josette Bushell-Mingo from 1999 to 2000; Sharon D Clarke from 2000 to 2002; Gugwana Dlamini from 2002 to 2005; Brown Lindiwe Mkhize from 2005 to 2013; Nteliseng Nkhela fromm 2013 to 2014; Brown Lindiwe Mkhize from 2014 to 2018; and Gugwana Dlamini from 2018 to 2020.
The role of Zazu the Hornbill was originally played in London by Gregory Gudgeon from 1999 to 2001; Eric Mallett from 2001 to 2008; Cameron Pow from 2008 to 2009; Stephen Matthews 2009 to 2013; Ashley Artus 2013 to 2014; Howard Gossington from 2014 to 2017; and Gary Jordan from 2017 to 2020.
The role of Timon the Meerkat was originally played in London by Simon Gregor from 1999 to 2001; Ian Hughes from 2001 to 2002; Mark Hadfield from 2002 to 2004; Richard Gauntlett from 2004 to 2005; Nick Mercer from 2005 to 2011; Damian Baldet from 2011 to 2013; Richard Frame from 2013 to 2019; and Jamie McGregor from 2019 to 2020.
The role of Pumbaa the Warthog was originally played in London by Martyn Ellis from 1999 to 2001; Howard Crossley from 2001 to 2007; Keith Bookman from 2007 to 2014; Mark Roper 2014; Keith Bookman from 2014 to 2018; and Mark Roper from 2018 to 2020.
The role of Shenzi the Hyena was originally played in London by Stephanie Charles from 1999 to 2001; Nicola Blackman from 2001 to 2003; Jacqui Dubois from 2003 to 2006; Sandra Bee from 2006 to 2007; Allyson Addo from 2007 to 2011; Jacquelyn Hodges from 2011 to 2013; Sarah Amankwah from 2013 to 2015; Nadine Higgin from 2015 to 2017; Dominique Planter 2017; Nadine Higgin from 2017 to 2018; and Melone M'Kenzy from 2018 to 2020.
The role of Banzai the Hyena was originally played in London by Paul J Medford from 1999 to 2001; Gary Forbes from 2001 to 2013; Taofique Folarin from 2013 to 2015; and David Blake from 2015 to 2020.
The role of Ed the Hyena was originally played in London by Christopher Holt from 1999 to 2001; Matthew Lloyd Davies from 2001 to 2003; Jamie Hinde from 2003 to 2004; Kyl Messios from 2004 to 2006; Mark Sangster from 2006 to 2011; Sebastien Torkia from 2011 to 2013; Mark McGee from 2013 to 2018; and Barnaby Thompson from 2018 to 2020.
Disney's The Lion King in London previewed from 24 September 1999, opened on 19 October 1999, closed on 15 March 2020, and reopened on 29 July 2021