Disney’s The Lion King musical launched at Deansgate Comedy Store

By Owen Williams and Jimmy Booker

Disney classic The Lion King roared into action in Manchester today, ahead of the tickets going on sale on February 27.

Deansgate’s Comedy Store was the venue for the launch, which provided guests with a taster of the shows to come, when the production arrives in Manchester later this year.

Manchester’s Palace Theatre will play host to the show from December 6 and will last until March 31 2013, the longest leg of the production’s tour of the UK.

The Manchester shows are expected to attract 300,000 visitors and are set to boost the city’s already booming tourism industry, which currently brings in £5.4 billion to the local economy each year.

“You are our anchor, the longest place of our UK tour,” said Thomas Schumacher, president and producer of the Disney Theatrical Group.

“I am gigantically excited about it, and it gives me great comfort to know that we have a nice long run here in Manchester.”

The tour will be the 20th production of the show to premier internationally and is the biggest stage production ever to tour the UK with over 200 people – including 12 children – involved, with around 700 handcrafted costumes specially made for the show.

Andrew Stokes, chief executive of Marketing Manchester, added: “We are delighted that one of the most iconic and much loved shows of all time will be open to the public in Manchester.”

“Manchester has been described as the UK’s other theatre city, the fact The Lion King is taking up its longest residency here reaffirms this.”

Mr Schumacher added: “The Lion King is a story that has transcended genres and touched people no matter what language it is performed in and what audience it is performed to.”

The new show features the five songs included in the Disney classic as well as two more specifically written by Elton John and Tim Rice for the show.

There are always a minimum of six South African performers and the show features six African languages including Zulu, Swahili and Xhosa – the famous clicking language.

Around 230 puppets are used in the production, creating a ‘double effect’, allowing the audience to see the characters as animals as well as the humans who play them at the same time.

THE LION KING: The Circle of Life will be brought to Manchester in Christmas 2012

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