The king will return soon. Disney Theatrical Productions’ The Lion King will reopen in London’s West End this summer. Performances will begin July 29 at the Lyceum Theatre, where it’s played for the past 21 years.
“At The Lion King, we have always considered ourselves to be one big family, and to be coming back together after being separated for so long will be a truly happy moment,” said Shaun Escoffery, who plays Mufasa. “We cannot wait to be back on stage. When the opening bars of ‘Circle of Life’ play out, I don’t believe there will be a dry eye anywhere in the theatre.”
The reopening plan was made in accordance with the U.K. Government’s latest COVID-19 protocols, which aims to end social distancing guidelines by June 21 to allow full capacity within theatres. While some productions have decided to play to reduced capacity houses in the meantime, many—particularly large-scale shows such as The Lion King—are making the call to wait for a more financially viable timeline.
The Lion King first premiered on Broadway in 1997 before expanding to over two dozen stagings around the world. Julie Taymor directed and designed the costumes and masks for the production, with a score by Elton John and Tim Rice and a book by Roger Allers, adapted from the 1994 Disney animated film.