Toronto producers David and Ed Mirvish announced Feb. 2 they will present the Canadian premiere of Disney’s The Lion King, beginning performances Mar. 30, 2000, at the Princess of Wales Theatre.
Julie Taymor, the Tony Award-winning director of the smash Broadway version of the animated film, will again direct the show, which has score by Tim Rice, Elton John, Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Hans Zimmer and renaissance woman Taymor. Opening night is set for Apr. 25, 2000.
This will be the second North American production of the musical, after Broadway, and the fourth in the world (the Tokyo production opened in December 1998 and London is expected to see an opening in October 1999).
The Lion King won the 1998 Best Musical Tony Award. Taymor’s potent directorial and design work -- using masks, puppets, Asian theatre techniques and a soundscape that included African rhythms, augmenting the traditional Rice-John score -- made her one of the major theatre stories of 1998.
The sought-after Taymor, who staged Juan Darien, The Green Bird and other more obscure but highly visual pieces, is directing a film version of Shakespeare’s bloody Titus Andronicus. The original Lion King creative team of Garth Fagan (choreography), Richard Hudson (scenic design), Donald Holder (lighting) and Michael Curry (puppetry and mask design, with Taymor) will be reunited. A Canadian casting call will begin next month.
The Lion King is the jewel in the crown of the subscription season at the Mirvish-run venues, the Princess of Wales and the Royal Alexandra theatres. Subscribers get first priority to buy up to six additional Lion King seats per subscription. Other shows on the 1999-2000 subscription have not been announced. For subscription information, call (416) 593-4225.
Reservations are now being taken for Lion King group sales. Single tickets go on sale September 1999. For group sales information, call (416) 593-4142 or (800) 724-6420.
Princess of Wales Theatre is at 300 King Street West in Toronto. Previous tenants have included the Toronto premiere of Miss Saigon, which opened the contemporary venue, and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. -- By Kenneth Jones