‘The Lion King’ to roar again on Playhouse Square stage in 2019

Did somebody say “hakuna matata”? Well, no worries.

It would make sense if you’ve heard it recently, though, considering Playhouse Square has announced enduringly popular, puppet-powered stage adaptation of Disney’s 1994 animated smash “The Lion King” will return for a nearly month-long stay in Cleveland next year.

Gerald Ramsey portrays Mufasa in the North American tour of “The Lion King.” (Photos by Matthew Murphy)

“The Lion King” runs Aug. 7 through Sept. 1 as both a Huntington Featured Performance at Playhouse Square and as a show in the 2018-19 KeyBank Broadway Series, according to a news release from Playhouse Square.

The musical — with lauded music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice, a score by Hans Zimmer and direction by Julie Taymor — has racked up impressive statics in the years since its Broadway debut in October 1997. From the release:

  • Having played more than 80 cities in North America, those touring productions have seen by more than 20 million theater goers.
  • In all, 25 productions have been seen by 95 million people around the world.
  • The show has been performed in eight languages.
  • There are at present nine productions going, including Broadway, London, Tokyo, Madrid and Singapore.

Performed by cast members in masks and using puppets, “The Lion King” earned Taymor one of the show’s six Tony Awards in 1998. Hers was the first ever given to a woman for direction.

“Lion King” fever should be running high by the time the show arrives, as it is slated to come about a month after the release of director Jon Favreau’s big-screen remake, featuring the voices of Donald Glover, Beyonce, Seth Rogen and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Most importantly, James Earl Jones will reprise the role of Mufasa.

Now … the bad news: Individual tickets won’t go on sale until the spring, according to the release. However, tickets for groups of 20 or more will go on sale Oct. 8.

Get more information from Playhouse Square.

Mark Meszoros has seen “The Lion King” a couple of times and has no objections to another swing through that artistic jungle. Follow him on Twitter @MarkMeszoros.

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