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Lion King cast's song on Virgin Australia flight goes viral

Lion King Virgin Australia © Provided by The Age Lion King Virgin Australia

As passengers buckled in for Virgin Australia's flight 970 from Brisbane to Sydney on Wednesday, they were treated to a seemingly impromptu performance from the cast of the hit musical The Lion King.

The assembled cast, buckled in their seats in the first three rows of the plane, burst into The Circle of Life, the iconic song which opens the musical.

They were led by Buyi Zama, who plays Rafiki in the production.

The song, which was composed by Elton John, with lyrics by Tim Rice, features in the opening of The Lion King. It is sung by Rafiki as the sun rises over the Pride Lands, where the musical is set.

"After an amazing day at The Lion King's Brisbane season launch announcement, members of our Australian cast felt so elated they decided to sing the Circle of Life prior to take off on their flight back to Sydney," Disney said in a statement.

As in-flight entertainment goes, it has been nothing short of an unqualified hit.

One of the show's cast-members, Toni Ann Stewart, posted the clip to her YouTube account. "Yes we did," she declared. "We surprised our fellow passengers on Virgin Australia flight 970 back to Sydney.

"After an amazing day at the official Brisbane launch announcement we felt elated enough to sing the Circle of Life. It was so much fun."

Her clip has been viewed  more than half a million times.

But the clip was then re-posted onto Disney on Broadway's official YouTube account and almost immediately went viral.

That version of the clip clocked 5.5 million plays within 48 hours and is still climbing.

It has also been picked up by media outlets as far and wide as The Los Angeles Times, London's Daily Telegraph, the Huffington Post, US television networks and the New York Daily News.

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