It was recently revealed that The Lion King would be revamped by Disney and Jon Favreau.
The project follows the technologically groundbreaking smash hit The Jungle Book, directed by Favreau, which debuted in April and has earned $965.8 million worldwide.
The Lion King builds on Disney’s success of reimagining its classics for a contemporary audience with films like Maleficent, Cinderella, and The Jungle Book. The upcoming Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson as Belle, is already one of the most anticipated movies of 2017. Like Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King will include songs from the animated film. Disney and Favreau are also in development on a sequel to The Jungle Book. No release date has been announced for either motion picture.
Now Disney has announced that the North American tour of The Lion King will unveil a newly-configured production in October 2017. The reshaped version will allow the groundbreaking musical to play in venues that previously couldn’t accommodate the show.
The Tony Award-winning design team, led by director Julie Taymor, will re-create and refresh their original designs for the state-of-the-art production, which will be equal in size and scope to the current one. The live show will close in summer 2017, during which time technical modifications will be implemented. The touring production will reopen a few months later.
“I remember clearly when The Lion Kingopened on Broadway, the comment we most heard was, ‘You’ll never be able to recreate the spectacle on tour,’” said Thomas Schumacher, President of Disney Theatrical Productions, in a statement. “Yet, Julie Taymor and her team cracked it and found a way to deliver the Broadway experience on the road for the last 14 years. Now, that same group of artists has used their ingenuity to deliver the show to markets we never imagined we would be able to reach because of the show’s complexity. Bringing the exhilaration of musical theater to new audiences is our deepest passion.”
The development was welcomed by presenters of Broadway series across the country whose audiences have placed The Lion King among their most-requested shows for nearly two decades.
“Our smaller communities love Broadway shows every bit as much as theatregoers in larger cities and no show represents premium Broadway to as many patrons as Disney‘s The Lion King. Now, thanks to Disney Theatrical Productions, our audiences can experience this blockbuster in their home theater,” remarked Ed Payton, CEO Celebrity Attractions, a presenter of Broadway series. “We are thrilled to host this newly-configured tour in Little Rock, Arkansas and look forward to The Lion King playing in more of our markets in the future.”
The tour will close in summer 2017, during which time the musical’s technical modifications will be implemented and perfected. The tour will reopen in October 2017 and will play premiere engagements in various cities, including El Paso, TX; Eugene, OR; and Sarasota, FL, as well as return engagements in markets previously played.