DISNEY’S smash hit musical The Lion King will return to Southampton in 2020, the Daily Echo can exclusively reveal.

The iconic show, which was seen by over 140,000 people during its record breaking visit to the city in 2014, will be back at Mayflower Theatre for a five week run from September 3 to October 10 next year.

The Tony and Olivier award-winning musical boasts a cast of more than 50 actors, singers and dancers who tell the story of Simba’s epic adventures as he struggles to accept the responsibilities of adulthood and becoming king.

The Lion King is miraculously brought to life using masks, puppets and striking costumes. It features Elton John and Tim Rice’s music from the animated film along with new music from the celebrated duo and an evocative blend of African rhythms and chorales from South African composer Lebo M, creating a distinctive fusion of sound in songs including the Academy Award-winning Can You Feel The Love Tonight and the haunting Shadowland.

The tour of the beloved show, which opened last weekend in Bristol, sees the cast of 50, from 17 different countries, crew of 60, over 350 costumes and nearly 250 carefully crafted puppets, undertake a mammoth road trip around the UK with the set packed tightly into 23 trailers.

“It’s about as big as it gets in terms of any show in the UK,” said Richard Oriel, general manager of Disney Theatrical Group.

“We’ll work closely with the brilliant technical team at the Mayflower around the clock to get the show in.

“We really are incredibly proud of this new production, which is as good as any production you will see anywhere in the world. There are no compromises. What Southampton audiences will see is what London and Broadway audiences see.

“The show will look fantastic at the Mayflower, especially since its lovely refurbishment.

“You guys are in for a treat, I can promise you that.”

The Lion King celebrates 20 years in the West End next month with a special charity gala at the Lyceum Theatre, its home for one sell out show after another for the past two decades. Since its Broadway premiere in 1997, 25 global productions have been seen by more than 100 million people. The Lion King has made theatrical history with six productions worldwide running 15 or more years.

There will be a number of pre-sales before tickets for The Lion King go on general sale on Wednesday October 9 at 10am.