I’m quoted in a Guardian story about the continued success of The Lion King, which has taken over £34 million in box office revenues in its 11th year in the West End.
The only reason I got to quote was that the piece’s author, Maev Kennedy, happened to ring the Stage offices as this week’s issue was going to press, so our knowledgeable news team were all tied up. So Guardian readers were made party to my thoughts instead – both online from last night, and on page 3 of today’s print edition.
Scott Matthewman, of the Stage, said: “It looks as if a big family outing to a big West End show is not necessarily counted as discretionary spending, in the way that regular cinemagoers might cut back. The shows which generate repeat visits, and target a family audience – like The Lion King – are doing particularly well. The Lion King, with the might of Disney behind it, is also putting a lot into education outreach work, so if school children are going to pester to be taken to one London show, that’s going to be the one.”
I have no idea whether any of that is true. It’s just what came off the top of my head as the call came through. I might have had a better, more cogent theory if I’d actually seen The Lion King even once during its 11 year run. As it is, it’s yet another in an embarrassingly long list of West End stalwarts I have yet to see…