Disney’s two current West End musicals have extended their booking periods. Both Mary Poppins and The Lion King are now booking through to autumn 2007.

At the Prince Edward theatre, Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s stage adaptation of Mary Poppins, has extended by two months to 29 September 2007. The musical, which opened in London on 15 December 2004 (following previews from 6 December), was previously booking to 28 July 2007 (See News, 11 Oct 2006). The Broadway production opened this past November.

Based on the children’s stories by PL Travers and the Disney film, Mary Poppins has a book by Julian Fellowes and new music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, in addition to many of the Sherman brothers’ original film songs. It’s co-directed by Richard Eyre and Matthew Bourne, choreographed by Bourne and Stephen Mear, and designed by Bob Crowley. The current cast features Lisa O'Hare as the eponymous nanny, Gavin Creel as Bert, Aden Gillett as George Banks and Rebecca Thornhill as Winifred Banks.

At the Lyceum Theatre, The Lion King, which was previously booking to 29 July 2007, has extended by just over two months to 7 October 2007.

Based on Disney's 1994 animated feature film, the stage adaptation opened first on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre in November 1997. The original Broadway creative team, led by director and designer Julie Taymor, reunited for the London production, with choreography by Garth Fagan, costumes by Taymor, puppetry and masks by Taymor and Michael Curry and set design by Richard Hudson. It opened at the Lyceum on 19 October 1999 (previews from 24 September).

The Lion King features 15 songs, including the five from the film. Unlike the screen version, however, African sounds and rhythms are fused on stage with Western popular music to create the musical's distinctive sound. The stage score comprises three new songs written by Elton John and Tim Rice, with additional numbers by South African-born Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Hans Zimmer and Julie Taymor. The book is by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi.

- by Caroline Ansdell