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Roaring success: lyricist Rice flies in for opening of 'Lion King'

IT took 23 trucks to haul in the 700 costumes and high-end stage props for Disney's theatre extravaganza 'The Lion King'.

West End legend and award-winning lyricist Tim Rice, who co-wrote 'The Lion King' songs, flew into Ireland for the opening night.

He went back stage at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre before the curtain rose to speak to the performers of the long-running show.

The opening night of the production attracted dozens of well-known faces from the acting world including 'Game of Thrones' star Liam Cunningham, 'Raw' actress Charlene McKenna, 'Love/Hate' actress Aoibhinn McGinnity and RTE stars Pat Kenny, Joe Duffy and Derek Mooney.

Cunningham revealed the crew behind the acclaimed US TV series 'Game of Thrones' will be taking their interactive touring museum with props and costumes to fans around the world, including Amsterdam and Belfast.

"Bizarrely the biggest viewership after the US is Brazil," the actor laughed at the red carpet opening.

Kenny, accompanied by his wife Kathy and two children, dubbed the stage production "brilliant".

London-based 'Raw' actress McKenna revealed she was back in Ireland to film period drama 'Ripper Street'. "They started on Monday – I'm starting in two weeks and that is until September," she said. "It is BAFTA nominated so it has already gone above and beyond what we hoped."

So far around 70 million people have seen 'The Lion King' musical.

"We have sold over 100,000 tickets for Bord Gais Energy Theatre so far – so it is 80pc sold out. It is going to run until June 22," said spokeswoman Christine Monk.

Read John McKeown's review in tomorrow's Irish Independent

Irish Independent