The promoter of The Lion King’s Middle East debut has announced that, following unprecedented demand for tickets, five extra shows have been added to the award-winning musical’s historic run in Abu Dhabi. Set to be held at Etihad Arena on Yas Island, the curtain will rise for the first time on 16 November and close for the last time on 10 December, with five evening shows now scheduled to take place at 8.00 pm on 22,23 and 24 November, as well as 6 and 7 December 2022.
Nicolas Renna, managing director of Proactiv Entertainment, the promotor responsible for bringing the musical to the Middle East, said demand in the region has exceeded expectations and urged those keen to buy tickets to do so at the earliest opportunity to avoid disappointment.
“With The Lion King coming to the region for the first time, we expected a positive reaction when tickets went on sale, but the overall response has far exceeded our initial expectations,” Renna said. “We’re delighted to be able to add these additional five performances and provide audiences further opportunities to experience the magic of Disney’s landmark musical event. We encourage everyone to secure their tickets before they sell out.”
Michael Cassel, CEO of Michael Cassel Group, the theatrical producer leading The Lion King’s four-week run at Etihad Arena, added: “It has been wonderful to see UAE audiences embrace The Lion King with such enthusiasm, allowing us to extend the season further. To be bringing Julie Taymor’s extraordinary vision, exactly as audiences have enjoyed it on Broadway and around the world, to Abu Dhabi for the first time is truly an honour.”
Following overwhelming demand, promoter Proactiv Entertainment has added five new evening performances to the award-winning musical’s record-breaking residency in Abu Dhabi, beginning 16 November
The Lion King has also unveiled the talented cast that will be heading to the UAE to captivate audiences with their spectacular performances. Futhi Mhlongo has played the role of ‘Rafiki’ for 15 years across the globe, with no sign of slowing down. Mhlongo’s experience includes the North American Tour, as well as performances in New Zealand and Germany.
Dashaun Young, having played the role of Simba on Broadway, as well as in Las Vegas, and the North American tour, reprises his role. The lioness ‘Nala’ will be played by Amanda Kunene, who has performed on stage since childhood and has been with the International Tour since its commencement in 2018.
The legendary role of ‘Mufasa’, King of the Pride Lands, will be led by Mthokozisi Emkay Khanyile who performed on the West End before joining the International Tour. The show’s iconic villain ‘Scar’, will be played by Antony Lawrence, while Australian-born actor André Jewson is set to return as ‘Zazu’, after previously performing in the Australian Tour of the production.
A talented cast of international performers is set to reprise roles they played on Broadway, the West End, and Las Vegas at Etihad Arena in the UAE capital.
Two of the show’s most memorable characters, Timon and Pumbaa, will be taken on by Nick Mercer and Pierre van Heerden who both toured with the show across the globe. South African performers Candida Mosoma and Mark Tatham, alongside British performer Jorell Coiffic-Kamall will reprise their roles as the hyenas Shenzi, Ed, and Banzai.
In addition to the lead roles, the talented ensemble is made up of a diverse mix of nationalities and experience, with both emerging and established performers taking to the stage. Joining The Lion King ensemble are José Ahued, Dayan Kingsley Beukes, Mpho Bodibe, Reoagile Choabi, Gavin Hart, Yu-Ting Hsueh, Phumelele Jili, Kudzai Christine Kapswarah, Lungile Khambule (Sarabi), Dalila Leal, Milang Lie Meeuw Lew, Sfiso Matlala, Sipho Mlombile, Annakanako Mohri, Benton Morris, Neo Motaung, Noluyanda Mqulwana, Zodwa Mrasi, Lwazi Mzimase, Msizi Njapha, Thabani Ntuli, Aphiwe Nyezi, Peace Nzirawa, Nonofo Olekeng, Angeles Reyes, Mahlatse Sachane, Phumelele Sikhakhane, Romy Jo Swales, Vuyelwa Tshona, Tlholo Tsotetsi, Benn Welford, Daniel Zazueta, Sandile Zondi, and Bonga Zulu.