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Julie Taymor’s internationally celebrated stage adaptation of the blockbuster animated film of the same name will roar back onto the Playhouse stage for a limited four week run and its only Scottish dates next June.
Theatre director Colin Marr, says, “It’s a real pleasure to be able to welcome the return of Disney's The Lion King to the Edinburgh Playhouse. We were in the last few weeks of its record breaking five month run when we were forced to close our doors in March 2020. To see this powerful and emotional show return here is great for Scottish audiences.”
A cast of more than 50 actors, singers and dancers will return to the Capital with the show, among them are Thandazile Soni and Alan McHale, two of the company who found themselves stranded here when the last run of The Lion King was cut short.
Soni, who plays narrator Rafiki and normally resides in Durban, South Africa, recalls, "I was so confused by all that was happening, but I was hopeful at the same time, hoping that we were going to go back on stage in a matter of a few weeks."
That few works turned into more than three months, and she recalls, “I was alone in Edinburgh for 14 weeks, and gosh I ate a lot. When I felt lonely I reached out to the world through Facebook and started some live singing sessions on there. I made a lot of people happy by taking song requests, and encouraging them to stay safe and happy in the spaces they were in. It made me happy too.”
Soni, who will reprise her role at the Playhouse, adds, “I am ecstatic to be coming back to Edinburgh. I just can't wait to stand in front of the audience and just celebrate with them that we're still here.”
Alan McHale, who will also reprise his role as meerkat, Timon, remembers how he felt when the last run was forced to close – unlike Soni, he wasn't in Edinburgh at the time.
He explains, “I was in complete shock. Around the time we closed I remember hearing my nieces and nephew in Ireland were no longer going to school. That was a big shock, so when the news about The Lion King having to shut down came it just added to the worry.”
McHale continues, “When the Playhouse shut down, I’d gone home to London for my day off. I was there when I heard. When I realised the severity of how quickly Covid was spreading, my husband and I decided to get out of London and headed back to Edinburgh where we happily stayed until the end of May. We love it in Scotland.” The landmark musical, which uses spectacular masks, puppets, and costumes to tell the story of Simba's epic adventures as he struggles with the responsibilities of adulthood and becoming king, includes the hit song, Can You Feel The Love.
Tickets for return season, which will run from June 2 to July 2, 2022, go on sale at 10am on Friday, December 3, at www.atgtickets.com/edinburgh