Musical lovers mark your calendar! The Lion King Musical will roar back to the stage in Toronto in November 2024. Mirvish Productions made a surprise announcement this week at the Princess of Wales Theatre with both patrons and press in the house. Yes, we’re feeling the love!
The Lion King has taken the crown for the most attended musical in history with over 110 million audience members worldwide. The classic Disney tale of love overcoming hatred, family, and life is still considered one of the most loved and attended musicals for all ages.
As the world continues to evolve in all directions, musicals like The Lion King bring us hope and togetherness. Just think, this time next year as the nights get longer and colder, a night out for this musical will be perfect.
Actor Sebastian Heins took to the stage with David Mirvish to make the announcement earlier this week. He had fond memories of when he was casted in the original 2000 production in Toronto to play young Simba in the production. He told a heartfelt story about being ten years of age when his mother noticed a newspaper ad for an audition. “I had never done anting like this in my life. I had never gone on an audition before and the experience truly changed my life,” said Heins at the Princess of Wales Theatre.
“Well, that’s what The Lion King has done for people,” said David Mirvish. “It’s extraordinary and had that affect on many people not just those involved in the production but those who saw it. It was a very special and beautiful work of art with wide appeal and a gateway to theatre for an entire generation.”
Mirvish told the audience members that this will be the second “sit down” production and a real coop with a show at this calibre. “We decided to do something we’ve never done before. When a groundbreaking shows like Hair or Les Mis come along, we try to do our own production rooted in our own community. That’s what happened with Lion King. It’s an extraordinary moment. We don’t want to wait for a touring production.”
Mirvish explained that by searching within our communities and seeking out the talented artists helps also by giving them the opportunity to grow their careers. Many actors here are often hired in London or New York after a production.
He tells us it’s rare for a city to have two sit downs. But he’s excited about the idea of returning to The Lion King and finding a whole other generation of actors. He’s equally enthusiastic about a whole new generation in the audience almost 25 years since the first production. Mirvish also mentioned that if it had’t been for SARS this show would have continued to run. By the way that run had 3 million audience members during its time! Wow!
“This is an evergreen production that tells a universal story,” said Mirvish. “People come back to see it again and bring multiple generations to enjoy it. It’s not just about a new generation seeing the show but a new generation of artists who are launching their careers in this outstanding production.”
What he, and the production team, hopes for is that people have a connection and an experience and that they would want to share with others. Who can forget the way the larger than life animals enter the theatre at the beginning? Pure magic! There’s nothing like experiencing this musical in person
The new production of The Lion King will open in Toronto at the Princess of Wales Theatre in November 2024. Casting calls will start in the new year so stay tuned for that if you have a budding performer in your circle. Ticket information will be announced at a later date. Patrons who would like to be kept informed of ticketing details and get priority access to tickets should sign up to The Lion King email list.
Here are a few interesting facts …
- The original Canadian production of the multi-award winning musical opened in March 2000 to critical acclaim and sold-out houses.
- It was the second production in North America, after the show’s Broadway premiere. It had a record breaking 1,567 performances and had over 3 million patrons during its run.
- It attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors to Toronto and Ontario, generating an estimated $1.4 billion into the economy. (This figure is based upon a Touring Broadway League report which found that, on average, Broadway tours contribute an economic impact 3.27 times the gross ticket sales to the local metropolitan area’s economy.)
- After the sit-down production ended, The Lion King touring production visited the city three times – in 2011, 2014 and 2019 – each time selling out.
- There have been 27 productions (in 9 different languages) around the world including Germany, Brazil, Spain, Japan, and France.
- The Lion King has garnered 70 major theatre awards globally. This includes six Tony awards (1998), a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album (1999).
- There are six indigenous African languages incorporated into the production both in music and storytelling.
- There are 232 different puppets in every performance.
- It is the 3rd longest running musical on Broadway.