So, yesterday yours truly was very kindly invited along to the Comedy Store, Manchester, in order to attend a launch party for Disney Theatrical’s THE LION KING, which roars in to the Palace Theatre, Manchester, from 1st December 2012 (I totally already have amazeballs tickets for this first preview night).
I took my pal David with me, and together, we enjoyed hearing the back-story of the musical from a Marketing chap from DT, as well as being thoroughly entertained by performances of several of (my favourite) songs from the show by the ever so stunning West End Rafiki (Brown Lindiwe Mkhize), West End Adult Nala (Carole Stennett) and the very accomplished former West End and Shanghai Adult Simba (Jonathan Andrew Hume), who will also be reprising the role for the touring production. Manchester Sing Out did a simply gorgeous job with the gospel harmonies, and having them singing all around the auditorium was far better than any surround sound system could ever recreate!
As a massive fan of this show (I’ve seen it countless times already in the West End), I cannot even begin to tell you how amazingly magical it was to be in such an intimate setting and see these performances – and believe me, they held nothing back!!
It was also great to get to hear such detailed information about the show; the DT chap explained, in-depth, all about the costumes, musical roots, film roots, staging, everything! (of course, none of this was new to me hehe). Simply, it was as if I’d died and gone to heaven hehe!
Having recently moved away from the West End, it is so fantastic to have The Lion King coming to Manchester – the hype engulfing the city at the moment is thoroughly palpable! It’s great to have such a buzz around the city for a musical theatre show, and especially so far in advance of the production opening (Previews from 1 Dec, Opening Night is 6 December).
Photography was not prohibited yesterday – which surprised me slightly, especially with West End performers in full stage outfits – and so I managed to snap a few bad pictures from the rear of the auditorium (visible below). As you would doubtless expect, I was far more interested in actually watching the performances than snapping pictures. I say ‘watching’, let’s go with ‘singing along’ haha! Several of the cast gave me a cheeky smile on their way out of the reception – showing not just how intimate the setting was, but that obviously my enthusiasm for the show had shown out in the crowd of people who, for the most part, seemed not to have any prior knowledge whatsoever of the show, which took me a while to get used to ha! (there were gasps of astonishment when a clip of the stampede was shown).
In addition to the full costumes, several original models (presumably put together by the sensational Julie Taymor) were on display too, which was genuinely a money cannot buy experience.
Tickets go on sale to the general public at 08:30 on Monday 27 Feb (personal callers to the Box Office only, get there early and at a guess, I’d say expect MASSIVE queues), or from 10am Monday 27 Feb on the phones and website.
POTENTIAL GROUP TRIP (for people I know in real life or chat to online via Social Media)
As you can imagine, I am going to want to see this show several times during its stay in Manchester, which is significantly long, and affords several opportunities to fit a visit in.
Bookings for Groups of 10+ open on Monday, with all performances Tuesday – Thursday from January onwards having £5 off the top three prices (and, I assume, no b/f) – therefore, top price tickets would be £47.50 – which is not at all unreasonable in my opinion – especially as the same seats in the West End will sell for around £70 usually!
The £47.50 rate applies to adults and children alike, and I’d only have an idea of seating and dates they can offer once I can confirm numbers. Usually, they would hold tickets for us and allow us to pay a few weeks later, so I wouldn’t need the cash right this week.
If I can get enough people to sign up to this, I can speak with the Palace Theatre’s Groups team and see what they can offer us. It would likely be a Tuesday-Thursday in late January/early February to ensure we get the best seats.
For anyone interested in coming along, please drop me a line via my Contact Me form – I’d need to know by the evening of Sunday 26 Feb – the fast turnaround is as this is bound to be explosive once the general sales and groups orders start being processed – I know that the Palace are already manic with Groups enquiries – so I need to get one in quickly 🙂
Please make sure you let me know of any dates you definitely cannot do, and also if you have a preference of Stalls or Dress Circle (I’d suggest Stalls, but majority wins out).