'The Lion King': Watch Rafiki perform 'Circle of Life' on top of Abu Dhabi's Etihad Arena

The award-winning musical will make its Middle East debut on November 16

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Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Arena was transformed into Pride Rock this week as the capital prepares to welcome award-winning musical The Lion King for a four-week run.

To mark two weeks until the show’s opening night, Rafiki, played by South African performer Futhi Mhlongo, delivered a special performance of the show’s opening number, Circle of Life, from the top of Etihad Arena.

Filmed using a drone, the video includes sweeping shots of Yas Island as Rafiki delivers a powerful performance of the song.

The musical will make its Middle East debut on November 16 and run until December 10. The show was originally meant to be put on a total of 24 times, with two performances per day on Saturday and Sunday.

However, owing to demand, five more shows have been added to the roster, taking place on November 22, 23 and 30, and December 6 and 7.

Tickets start from Dh200.

The venue will be specially configured for the production to ensure a theatre-like experience. Expect to hear hits such as Circle of Life, Hakuna Matata and Can You Feel the Love Tonight.

Marking 25 years since its premiere in 1997, the show has been watched by nearly 110 million people around the world. It has permanent residences in New York, London, Madrid and Tokyo.

The Lion King is the highest-grossing Broadway production of all time and has also won more than 70 theatrical awards including six Tonys and a Grammy for Best Musical Show Album.

“Director Julie Taymor and her extraordinary creative team first brought The Lion King to the stage in a stunning production 25 years ago, and this production brings that vision to thrilling life at every performance,” said Thomas Schumacher, president of Disney Theatrical Group. “It’s a joy to bring The Lion King to the Middle East for the first time in the show’s history. We cannot wait for you to join us in Abu Dhabi.”

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Updated: November 02, 2022, 10:51 AM