The Lion King celebrates 17 years in London's West End

The Disney musical celebrates 17 years in London's West End.

The Lion King

Walt Disney's musical The Lion King yesterday celebrated its 17th anniversary in London's West End where it continues to run at the Lyceum Theatre. The long-running show originally opened in London on 19 October 1999 following previews from 24 September, 1999. It is currently booking to 2 April 2017.

The Lion King is currently the sixth longest running musical in West End history, and recently embarked on its first UK tour, which has been seen by over 1.8 million people. To date the show has played 19 countries on every continent except Antarctica.

The current cast for the West End production features Nicholas Afoa (Simba), Shaun Escoffery (Mufasa), George Asprey (Scar), Jonathan Andre, Etian Almeida, Zinhle Dube, Janique Charles, Kwesi Jeffers, Sandile Gontsana, Sadia McEwen, Stephanie Lo, Daniel Monteiro, Khaya Maseko, Dominique Planter, Antoine Murray-Straughan, Nosipho Nkonqa, Ricardo Walker and Kayode Salina.

The Lion King has a book by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi, songs by Elton John and Tim Rice, with additional songs by Lebo M, Julie Taymor, Mark Mancina and Hans Zimmer. It is directed by Julie Taymor, designed by Richard Hudson, lighting by Donald Holder with choreography by Garth Fagan.

Based on the 1994 Disney animated film of the same name, the musical follows the young lion prince Simba, whose birth results in his evil uncle Scar being pushed back to second in line to the throne. Scar plots to kill both Simba and his father, Mufasa, and proclaim himself king. Simba survives but is led to believe that his father died because of him and he decides to flee the kingdom.

The musical originally opened on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre on 13 November 1997, following previews from 15 October. The production originally premiered in July 1997 at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is currently running at the Minskoff Theatre in New York where it transferred in 2006. It won 6 Tony Awards, including the award for Best New Musical at the 1998 ceremony.

The West End production will celebrate its 18th birthday on 19 October 2017.

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