HUNDREDS braved freezing temperatures to get their paws on the hottest ticket in town – one that is already worth more than £1 million to the Playhouse.
Tickets for The Lion King musical went on sale yesterday morning, with queues forming hours before the doors opened at 8am. Theatre bosses had prepared for the expected stampede by laying on extra box office facilities, and even dished out snacks and drinks to fans waiting in the cold.
The Lion King begins its three-month run in October and a source close to the production said pre-bookings by groups and members of the ATG theatre company – which owns the Playhouse – had already accounted for more than £1m worth of sales.
First in line when the box office opened was Frank Begbie, 71, right, from Dalkeith, who waited outside from 6am. The retired pensioner bought tickets as a belated Christmas present for his wife Lilias, 74, and daughters, Carol 46, and Lesley, 44.
He said: “My family and I had thought a few years ago about going to London, but we thought it was a bit far.
“Then when I heard it was going to be shown up town I thought ‘that’s the perfect Christmas present for my daughters and my wife’.
“The queues went all the way back to the Omni Centre and up the steps. At one point staff from the Playhouse came out and gave us coffee and doughnuts.
“I’ve heard so many good reviews – at the end of the day, 65 million people can’t be wrong.”
The story of the Lion King is told through a spectacular mix of puppetry, masks, music and movement and has proved to be a sell-out in more than 15 countries.
Adapted from Disney’s 1994 blockbuster of the same name, it is one of only five musicals in theatre history to have played for more than ten years on both Broadway and in the West End, and has now been seen by more than 65 million people.
Early estimates suggest the colourful performance could see the Capital’s economy benefit by as much as £6m.
Disney chiefs have said they believe the show will attract audiences from as far away as Iceland, Scandinavia and Ireland.
Bosses at the Playhouse have already branded the show as “the most anticipated Scottish premiere of a musical this century” and said early ticket sales had exceeded expectations.
General manager Gary Roden, said: “We are absolutely overwhelmed and delighted by the response.
“It just underlines how big an event Disney’s The Lion King is going to be for the Playhouse and all of Edinburgh.”
He added: “It will undoubtedly be the hottest theatre ticket in Scotland during 2013 and the most anticipated Scottish premiere of a musical this century.”