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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

The Tony-Winning Stage Version of 'The Lion King' Roars Its Way Into New Zealand This Month

The smash-hit Disney musical is finally making its New Zealand premiere, hitting Auckland's Spark Arena for a month-long season.
By Stephen Heard and Sarah Ward
June 09, 2021
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By Stephen Heard and Sarah Ward
June 09, 2021
  shares

Following a year-long hiatus, international touring stage production The Lion King is heading back to the stage for a limited run. An estimated 100 million people worldwide have seen the six-time Tony Award-winning production and, after singing and dancing its way across stages in Hong Kong, Manila, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, the Disney classic is finally making its New Zealand premiere this month.

Come Thursday, June 24, the musical will roar into Spark Arena for a month-long season, playing shows until Sunday, July 18. Unsurprisingly, it's already proving popular — first announced in March this year, the production's Auckland stint has already sold nearly 100,000 tickets.

Presented by Michael Cassel Group in association with Disney Theatrical Productions, The Lion King is the most successful and highest-grossing musical in theatrical history. Acclaimed director Julie Taymor is bringing a "specially designed theatre-mode layout," to Spark Arena, with the show said to outweigh the scale of any other theatre experience previously seen in Auckland.

Matthew Murphy, Disney

Based on the 1994 animated film of the same name, the musical follows young lion Simba, who is set to succeed his father Mufasa as the king of the pride lands — only for his uncle Scar to throw a spanner in the works. Beloved characters Nala, Rafiki, Timon and Pumbaa pop up along the way, naturally. And yes, you'll hear about a little thing called the circle of life.

At the stage production in Auckland, audiences can expect stunning larger-than-life costumes, giant puppets and all of the original songs written by composer Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice. And, there's also a local connection, with New Zealander Nick Afoa playing Simba — as he has previously both in Sydney and on London's West End.

The Lion King will premiere at Auckland's Spark Arena from Thursday, June 24 for a limited season. To buy tickets, visit lionkinginternational.com/auckland.

Top image: Joan Marcus, Disney.

Published on June 09, 2021 by Stephen Heard

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