Well, the audience at London’s Lyceum Theatre was certainly feeling the love last night, if you’ll excuse the pun, as the crown jewel of Disney Theatrical finally roared back onto the stage for the first time since March 2020.
My colleague Sarah and I had the great fortune to be in the auditorium for The Lion King yesterday evening, which, for us, marked the first time watching a show at full capacity in over 16 months. Before the curtain rose, producer Thomas Schumacher (President of Disney Theatrical) graced the stage to deliver an eloquent and rousing speech (as if the audience needed any more stimulation) and also praised the show’s crew. He revealed that last night’s performance was put in jeopardy just hours beforehand due to hydraulic failures, but fortunately the crew managed to save the day in the nick of time, allowing the celebrations to go ahead as planned. And celebrate we did, as the audience erupted every time a new character made their long-awaited return to the stage.
A special shout-out also goes to Kayi Ushe, who has previously appeared on the West End stage in The Book of Mormon and Motown The Musical and has also starred as Lola in the UK tour of Kinky Boots. Kayi made a triumphant debut last night in the role of Simba and we’re sure he’s set for a long future of leading roles ahead of him.
Following its 1997 Broadway premiere, The Lion King has been delighting theatregoers in London since October 1999 and will probably outlive us all. Featuring a dazzling array of theatrical styles from across the globe, direct from the ingenious mind of director and costume designer Julie Taymor, and the beloved musical numbers penned by Sir Elton John and Sir Tim Rice, The Lion King is as iconic today as it was over 20 years ago.
Check out our #BackOnStage experience in the video below.
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