Lion King currently playing on tour in Houston, TX (till Aug. 04) and moves to Charlotte, NC (from Aug. 08)

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Archive for July, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Disney’s The Lion King paws in about $1.8 million per week

Disney’s The Lion King is reporting it has roared its way to a new box-office record for touring shows visiting Vancouver.

Wrapping up its third of a four-week engagement, the show reports it’s averaging about $1.8 million per week, selling more than 80,000 tickets, and already generating about $7.3 million at the box office here.

Presented by Broadway Across Canada, the musical continues at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre until August 8.

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PostHeaderIcon The Lion King Breaks Box Office Records in Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver

Finishing up the third week of a 4-week engagement, Disney’s The Lion King has already broken box office records previously held for touring theatre in Vancouver. The British Columbia premiere engagement is now playing through August 8, 2010 and is averaging $1.8 million Canadian per week. The engagement, which the Vancouver Sun enthused, “is as pure and powerful a piece of theatre as anything ever seen on stage,” has already sold more than 80,000 tickets and generated over $7.3 million Canadian at the box office.

Early estimates indicate that the Tony®-Award Winning Musical will bring a $20 million Canadian economic benefit to Vancouver from travel, hotels, restaurants, parking and other businesses patronized by both theatergoers and production staff.

The North American touring production of The Lion King has been seen by over 12.5 million theatergoers and grossed over $815 million to date. The tour is one of six productions running worldwide, along with New York City, London and Las Vegas. Having already played 60 cities across North America, The Lion King continues to entertain audiences in new cities.

Vancouver is not the first Canadian city for this tour. Audiences in Alberta were captivated by The Lion King during the summer of 2009 when the production set new box office records during its engagements in Calgary and Edmonton, grossing a combined total of $13 million and entertaining more than 154,000 guests. Making a major economic impact in the Province of Alberta, it is estimated that theatergoers spent a combined total of $36 million in Calgary and Edmonton during both engagements of The Lion King.

The Lion King North American Tour will once again return to Canada in April 2011 at Toronto’s Princess of Wales Theatre. This is the same theatre where the show had its Canadian premiere in April 2000, entertaining 2.9 million theater patrons and playing 1,560 performances (closing in January 2004). Tickets for the 2011 engagement go on sale this November.

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PostHeaderIcon Broadway Rallies for Lion King Star – Shannon Tavarez

Today, Shannon’s “Lion King” cast mates are coming together to hold a drive at the Minskoff Theater in Times Square, hoping to find a donor match.

Those who would like to become bone marrow donors, can go online to and sign up for a swab kit that will be sent in the mail.

Results are sent to a lab for genetic testing and if it’s a match for anyone in the database, including Shannon, the donor receives a call.

“They’re having a drive in the lobby, and I hope a lot of people come out because they can save my life or anyone else who’s going through what I’m going through,” said Shannon.

“It’s a great feeling, performing for people and being young Nala, because she’s tough and I feel like that’s who I am through this whole experience,” said Shannon.

Shannon, who has no siblings, is part African-American and part hispanic, but of the 7 million Americans listed as potential donors, only 12 percent are minorities.

“She’s just a great kid,” said Joel Karie, a Broadway cast member.

Shannon was hospitalized for two months, undergoing chemotherapy. She temporarily lost her hair but suffered no other side effects like nausea or loss of appetite. She gave her family a scare when she developed an IV line infection, but it later resolved.


PostHeaderIcon Stars of Disney’s The Lion King at the Arts Club

Some of the stars of the hit show Disney’s The Lion King up close and personal in an old-style, speakeasy-themed benefit cabaret this Monday night (July 26) at the Arts Club’s Revue Stage on Granville Island. Titled Le Jazz Hot, the show will raise money for the YouthCO AIDS Society and the National Congress of Black Women Foundation’s Vancouver chapter.

The musical revue was created by Vancouverite and cast member Ian Yuri Gardner and features Wendy Bollard, Vusi Mhlongo, Kendra Moore, LaShonda Reese, Sophia Stevens, and other members of the Lion King cast. It’s a one-night-only event, but you can see the singers in all their elaborate wildlife finery at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre till August 8.

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PostHeaderIcon “The Lion King”, a Groundbreaking Work of Art

Book by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi. Music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice. Directed by Julie Taymor. Lion King Musical, A Walt Disney Company production, presented by Broadway Across Canada. At the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Thursday, July 15. Continues until August 8.

The design is the star of The Lion King. That’s both a good and a bad thing. Some sequences are heart-stoppingly beautiful. In the opening of this story about a young lion named Simba, the savannah awakes. A tangerine sun rises as South African rhythms reverberate through the theatre, shaking your bones, and animals parade down the aisles. Actors dressed in spectacular costumes—hippos, birds, elephants—ascend the stage, where they meet giraffes (actors on four stilts), cheetahs, and more. It’s enough to make you weep.

Director Julie Taymor designed the costumes and she codesigned the masks and puppets with Michael Curry. Many of these elements are stunners as well. A wheeled, geared machine supports sculptures of antelopes that appear to leap in complicated groupings as it moves along.

Taymor’s emphasis on design sometimes overwhelms the story, however. The 1994 animated film, upon which this 1997 stage musical is based, is full of boisterous, unpretentious action. Here, beautiful fabrics and shapes become the substitutes.

When Simba’s evil uncle Scar manipulates the young cub into running away from home, the outcast Simba picks up a couple of comic sidekicks: the warthog Pumbaa and the meerkat Timon. With the arrival of these two, the musical takes a sharp—and welcome—turn toward the goofy. And all of a sudden, the show is about surprising relationships and personalities. Throughout most of Act 1, the only surprising personality belongs to Scar, who was sinuously played on opening night by standby Nicholas Carriere. Ben Lipitz is in excellent, flatulent form as Pumbaa, and Nick Cordileone delivers one of the funniest performances of the evening as the silly, slightly hysterical Timon.

Most of the music by the central composers, Elton John and Tim Rice, is forgettable pop. But the stage version of The Lion King also borrows songs from the album, The Rhythm of the Pride Lands, which features work by South African songwriter Lebo M, among others. This more authentically African material is thrilling, especially when it’s sung by Brenda Mhlongo, who plays the baboon narrator Rafiki.

In terms of spectacle, Taymor’s Lion King is a groundbreaking work of art, but Taymor is sometimes more of a visual artist than a compelling storyteller.


Lion King is currently performing at Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver, BC Canada. The Lion King continues in Vancouver until Aug. 8. Buy your Lion King Vancouver BC Canada Tickets now!


PostHeaderIcon Bone marrow drive held in NYC for ‘Lion King’ star

A bone marrow drive for an 11-year-old “Lion King” star with leukemia has turned out to be one of the hottest matinees on Broadway.

Some 385 people registered as bone marrow donors Sunday in hopes of helping Shannon Tavarez (tuh-VAR’-ehz) beat leukemia.

Shannon played the role of Young Nala the lion cub in “The Lion King” for seven months before she was diagnosed with the life-threatening blood cancer in April.

Her best shot at recovering and returning to the theater is a bone marrow transplant, which requires a genetic match.

The bone marrow registry DKMS held a bone marrow drive Sunday at St. Malachy’s Roman Catholic Church in the theater district.

Shannon won the role of Young Nala in an open audition — her first ever.


PostHeaderIcon Vancouver Singer Ian Yuri Gardner returns to Lion King Cast

The Lion King at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre

The Lion King at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre

The local Vancouver singer Ian Yuri Gardner has spent most of the past seven years in various stage productions of The Lion King. Yes, this show has legs, especially when Gardner comes onstage as a giraffe.

Gardner plays a “swing” in the cast, meaning he’ll be onstage in several different roles during any given show.

“We’re in puppets the majority of the time,” Gardner says. “There’s lots of choreography even for the singers. We’re never just standing there.”

Disney’s movie cartoon was adapted for the Broadway stage by director Julie Taymor 13 years ago, with the story’s various animals represented by huge puppets manipulated by the cast. The stage version has since become a durable audience-pleaser as well.

Gardner’s giraffe moment comes during the opening song “Circle of Life,” which recreates the movie’s panorama of wildlife. Gardner plays one of the two giraffes in that sequence, requiring him to walk on all fours with stilts on his hands and feet, while singing.

“It takes a while to get used to it,” Gardner says. “Some people never get used to it — they go out there still nervous, but I actually enjoy it. This is one of the most unique shows that I have ever been a part of.”

Gardner was born in Britain, but grew up in Vancouver, graduating from Gladstone secondary in 1986, the year his school choir sang at Expo.

He went on to a career doing musical theatre in Vancouver, singing on cruise ships, and producing his own shows in Britain and Canada. The travelling continued when he first joined a production of The Lion King in Toronto in 2003.

After that production’s run, he joined a production in Holland (for which the cast had to learn Dutch), and eventually joined the Broadway show in New York, where he stayed for two-and-a-half years.

“I heard the tour was coming back to Canada so I asked to join,” he says over the phone from a U.S. tour stop. “They always called me, every time I thought that was enough of The Lion King.”

He will do as many as 20 costume changes in a show, and the touring schedule involves eight shows a week.

“The fact that it’s coming back to Vancouver makes it full circle for me,” he says. “My goal has always been to open up my own production company doing a variety of events in Vancouver. I’m slowly heading that way more permanently. I’ll still be in The Lion King for a little bit, but I’m definitely on my way back home.”

Lion King is currently performing at Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver, BC Canada through August 08, 2010.
Timings: 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays, 2 p.m. Saturdays, 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sundays. Until Aug. 8

Buy Lion King Vancouver BC Canada Tickets.

{Via Postmedia Network Inc}


PostHeaderIcon Salt Lake’s The Lion King Schedule 8/11-9/26

Casting has been announced for the Salt Lake City engagement of Disney’s The Lion King. Salt Lake City’s most eagerly awaited stage production ever will leap onto the Capitol Theatre stage from Wednesday, August 11 to Sunday, September 26, 2010. The press opening night is Friday, August 13 at 8:00 pm.

The engagement has already sold more than 83,000 tickets and generated more than $6.5 million at the box office. Even with all this success, there are still seats available with the best locations in the weeknight and Sunday performances during the last two weeks. Patrons are encouraged to contact the Capitol Theatre Box Office for availability at 801.355.5502.

On stage, Director Julie Taymor’s creative vision blends elements of African art and Broadway artisanship to depict anthropomorphic animal characters. The sardonic and deviously cunning “Scar” is played by J. Anthony Crane. Dionne Randolph is “Mufasa,” the great warrior and ruler of the Pridelands. Brenda Mhlongo is the wise baboon shaman “Rafiki.” Tony Freeman portrays the prim and proper hornbilled bird “Zazu.” Ben Lipitz is the carefree warthog “Pumbaa” and Nick Cordileone is the wisecracking meerkat “Timon.” Mufasa’s son, “Simba,” the lion prince born to be king, is played by Adam Jacobs and Syndee Winters is the loyal lioness “Nala.”

The three evil hyenas are played by Omari Tau (“Banzai”), Monica L. Patton (“Shenzi”) and Ben Roseberry (“Ed”). The role of “Young Simba” is alternated between Jerome Stephen, Jr. and Kolton Stewart and the role of “Young Nala” is alternated between Monique Lee and Madai Monica Williams.

The North American touring production of The Lion King has been seen by over 12.5 million theatergoers and grossed over $815 million to date. The tour is one of seven productions running worldwide, along with New York City, London, Hamburg, Paris, Tokyo and Las Vegas. Having already played 60 cities across North America, The Lion King continues to entertain audiences in new cities.

In Salt Lake City, The Lion King will play Tuesday through Thursday evenings at 7:30 pm; Friday and Saturday at 8:00 pm; and Sunday at 6:30 pm with matinees at 2:00 pm on Saturday; Sunday at 1:00 pm; and Thursday, August 12 and Friday, September 24 at 2:00 pm. There will not be a 6:30pm performance on Sunday, September 26. There will be a special matinee performance on Wednesday, August 18 at 2:00pm to benefit The Actors Fund. Ticket prices start as low as $37.50. Premium Ticket Packages, which include prime seat locations, a commemorative souvenir program and an exclusive merchandise item, are also available.

Buy Lion King Salt Lake City UT Tickets.



PostHeaderIcon Lion King Roars into Vancouver‎ BC

The Vancouver premiere of Disney’s The Lion King opens tonight, Thursday, July 15 at 7:30pm at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre for a limited engagement of four weeks through Sunday, August 8. In Vancouver, The Lion King plays Tuesday through Saturday evenings at 7:30pm, Sunday evening 6:30pm, Saturday matinees at 2pm, Sunday matinees at 1pm with an additional matinee performance on Wednesday, August 4 at 2pm. There will be no 6:30pm performance on Sunday, August 8.

After the Vancouver engagement The Lion King will return to Canada in April 2011 when the record-breaking musical comes back to Toronto where it had its Canadian premiere in April 2000, entertained 2.9 million theater patrons and played 1,560 performances (closing in January 2004). The North American touring company will begin performances on April 19, 2011 for a limited five-week run at the Princess of Wales Theatre, the same venue where the Toronto production was originally housed.

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PostHeaderIcon Lion King Salt Lake City Tickets

Lion King, the Broadway show, is visiting Capitol Theatre – UT in Salt Lake City, UT, and is currently scheduled from August, 11th to September 26th in 2010. Everyone’s favorite Disney classic, The Lion King, has become a hit Broadway production. Join in on the celebration of life and get tickets to The Lion King now!

Since its first showing in 1997, The Lion King has become the eighth longest-running show in Broadway history and received the Tony Award for Best Musical in 1998. Reminiscent of the animated film, the musical features great songs like “Circle of Life,” “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King,” “Hakuna Matata,” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” Watch as Simba grows from a timid lion cub to the king of the jungle with the help of characters, Timon, Pumbaa, Rafiki, Nala, and Zazoo. Don’t miss The Lion King live at Capitol Theatre!

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Visit here to see a list of all Lion King 2010 Tour Dates and Tickets

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