‘The Lion King’ returns to the Peace Center tonight

Dashaun Young as “Simba” in THE LION KING North American Tour. ©Disney. Photo by Joan Marcus.

GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) – Disney’s hit Broadway musical “The Lion King” returns to the Peace Center on Wednesday night.

The Tony Award-winning musical rolled into town with 18 trucks filled with props, puppets and machinery.

It takes four days of prep work to get the theater ready for this huge production.

The Disney classic will take the stage for the next four weeks.

Actors wear African masks to transform into animals and beloved characters including Simba, Timon and Pumba.

It’s also the only show at the Peace Center that removes seats from the theater to create aisles so actors can bring the show off the stage and into the audience.

One of the most iconic backdrops in the movie is Pride Rock, which is a larger than life set piece that plays its own role in the show.

“It’s essentially a slot car that runs on remote control and it has a track that it can’t deviate from. The back stage is as choreographed as the on stage and everyone has a part to play and knows it. It’s a pretty well oiled machine back there,” said Noah Kern, the head carpenter for the North American tour.

While it is one of the most highly anticipated shows in the Upstate, downtown businesses are just as excited for the shows’ return.

The last time “The Lion King” was at the Peace Center in 2012, it had a nearly $18 million economic impact on Greenville.

Carl Sobocinski, the President of the Table 301 Restaurant Group that owns Soby’s and Nose Dive among others, told 7News his restaurants see more business when it’s show night at the Peace Center.

He said the Peace Center was actually a deciding factor when the company decided to open Soby’s in the heart of downtown Greenville 20 years ago.

“To this day, whenever there’s a show there, especially a four week run, it’s phenomenal for business. Four weeks, that brings people in from a two to three, even four hour drive time radius. That’s just great for our whole economic development. It puts people in hotels, has them shopping during the day, spending the night and eating in our restaurants,” Sobocinski said.

The Peace Center has an estimated $35 million economic impact annually.

Tickets are still available for “The Lion King.” You can check our show times and buy tickets here.

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