Shanghai, July 18, 2017 – Shanghai Disney Resort announced that today marks the beginning of the final 100 performances of the first-ever Mandarin production of the classic Broadway musical, THE LION KING, at the Walt Disney Grand Theatre. One of the most popular musicals of all time will give its 500th and farewell performance on October 8, 2017.
A new Broadway musical show will be announced at a later date and debut at the Walt Disney Grand Theatre in 2018.
Bringing director Julie Taymor’s bold creative vision to Shanghai and as one of the longest-running Broadway performances ever presented on stage in China since its debut on June 14, 2016, THE LION KING has created long-lasting and happy memories for audiences from across China and around the world, with its captivating story, dynamic choreography and intricately designed masks and puppets.
“THE LION KING is an incredible production that brings the magic of Disney to life on stage with humor and emotion that has resonated with thousands of Chinese guests over the past year. Witnessing the many milestones that the show has achieved has strengthened our commitment to bringing spectacular world-class live entertainment to Chinese guests,” said Philippe Gas, General Manager of Shanghai Disney Resort. “We can’t wait to share more with our guests about the exciting Broadway production we have planned next for the Walt Disney Grand Theatre, which has become one of the most visited landmarks at Shanghai Disney Resort as well as a new icon for the Shanghai culture and entertainment industry.”
The Authentic yet Unique Broadway Musical Resonates with Chinese Guests of All Ages
The highly-acclaimed musical of THE LION KING has been a key feature of the exciting immersive entertainment that guests can discover at Shanghai Disney Resort. With its highly unique theatrical props, masks and choreography, and special Mandarin Chinese script and local humor, the show allows the audience to be immersed in fantastic storytelling in a way that is authentically Disney, while at the same time, distinctively Chinese.
The adapted script and language of the Mandarin presentation enhances the theatrical experience for Chinese guests, allowing them to connect with the dialogue and gain a deeper understanding of the show’s themes and messages. In addition to bringing the stunning visual artistry, extraordinary music and exhilarating choreography of this Broadway hit to Chinese audience in Chinese, the producers have adapted the script by incorporating elements of Chinese culture, featuring local Chinese dialects, the Beijing opera and pop songs favored by the local audience.
The Mandarin production has proven to resonate deeply with children and adults, young and old. It draws audiences into the gripping tale of the Circle of Life, in which a young lion bravely overcomes tragedy and becomes the leader of his pride. The captivating story was presented for two special charity occasions that supported the Join the Herd Wildlife Conservation Campaign in partnership with WildAid to promote public awareness of the protection of elephants and other endangered wild animals, as well as the Shanghai Charity Foundation to bring care and magic to Chinese children and families in need.
In addition, the Mandarin presentation showcases an outstanding cast which features local talent as well as performers from all over the world, making this a distinctive and unique Broadway-caliber experience. The majority of the cast for the show were recruited from and auditioned in China, as Disney maintains a strong commitment to developing local talent and supporting the growth of China’s cultural industries. Their lively performances transport the storyline into the hearts and memories of every guest.
The Mandarin production of THE LION KING marks the ninth language for this long-standing Broadway musical, which debuted on November 13, 1997. More than 90 million people around the world have experienced this theatrical event, and it has earned more than 70 major theatre awards, including the Tony Award® for Best Musical.
Magic to Be Continued at the World-class Broadway-style Theatre
The world’s renowned and popular stage musical in Mandarin is performed exclusively at the 1,200-seat Walt Disney Grand Theatre, a world-class, Broadway-style theatre, located at the Broadway Plaza in Disneytown. The Broadway-style architecture features elements inspired by the grand theatres of old Shanghai, including Chinese fan motifs on the marquee, front door, carpet and acoustic panels in an art-deco industrial style. As an icon of Disneytown, the theatre is designed to introduce the authentic Broadway experience to Shanghai, and provides a truly enriching and holistic resort experience for guests.
Over the past year, the theatre has become a top entertainment destination for premium performances and events, extending the magic outside the theme park. In addition to THE LION KING, the theatre has witnessed the first-ever world premiere of a Hollywood production, the Disney blockbuster, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, as well as the China premiere of Beauty and the Beast. The theatre also hosted the premiere of Born in China, marking the first time a Disney documentary was filmed in cooperation with a Chinese partner.
At this “must-visit” magical place, a Join the Herd Wildlife Photography Exhibition was hosted this April in which more than 20 wildlife photographs, along with short films produced by WildAid, were showcased to help guests better understand the natural habitats of the animals that inspired the characters in THE LION KING.
After the farewell of THE LION KING mandarin production, Walt Disney Grand Theatre will present a special limited-time viewing of a wide range of classic and new classic Disney movies including those that have never been released in mainland China, before a new world-renowned Broadway musical is premiered at this grand theatre.