On June 6, 2007, the hit Disney musical will open at the Montecasino Theatre in northern Johannesburg. The theatre is being built especially for the musical, which will be presented by Lebo M and Pieter Toerien in association with Disney Theatrical Productions.
A local South African cast will be featured in the upcoming production. Many of the actors have performed in other productions of The Lion King around the world.
In a statement Disney Theatrical Productions President Thomas Schumacher said, "We have always dreamed of producing our show in South Africa. The music, the culture, and the spirit of the country are an integral part of The Lion King and opening this production brings us full circle. We wish to extend our warmest appreciation to Lebo M and Pieter Toerien for bringing this together for us in South Africa."
The Lion King, according to press notes, "follows the adventures of lion cub Simba as he struggles to accept the responsibilities of manhood and his future role as king."
The Lion King originally opened at Broadway's New Amsterdam Theatre Nov. 13, 1997. Directed by Julie Taymor — who became the first woman to ever receive a Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical — The Lion King has become an international hit with productions playing all around the globe. In fact, the Elton John-Tim Rice musical 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. Visit www.disneyonbroadway.com for more information.