In celebration of the fifteenth anniversary of Broadway’s landmark musical event The Lion King, cast members Alton Fitzgerald White, Chondra La-Tease Profit and Lindiwe Dlamini will "flip the switch" and light the world-famous Empire State Building's tower lights with the signature color of the production. The lights will shine yellow in honor of the anniversary on Tuesday, December 4, 2012.
Among the most successful titles in entertainment history, with a cumulative gross in excess of $5 billion, the title has already earned more than the biggest hit films in movie history: more than the Lord of the Rings trilogy combined, more than the six Star Wars films combined, and more than Avatar and Titanic, the #1 and #2 highest-grossing films in movie history, combined.
With eight productions currently playing around the world, it will make its South American and Portuguese language debut when it begins performances in Sao Paolo, Brazil in February 2013. With that production, The Lion King’s 21 productions will have played in 98 cities in 16 countries on every continent except Antarctica.
The Broadway production has played through three Presidential administrations, four mayoral elections, eight New York City team championships and the opening and closing of 536 Broadway shows.
The show’s director, costume designer and mask co-designer Julie Taymor continues to play an integral part in the show’s ongoing success. The first woman to win a Tony® Award for Direction of a Musical, Taymor has in recent years supervised new productions of the show in Las Vegas, Madrid and the UK tour and just completed casting the Brazilian production in Sao Paolo.
As it enters its 16th year, The Lion King remains ascendant, continuing to reign as a cultural phenomenon and one of the most popular stage musicals in the world. Since its Broadway premiere on November 13, 1997, 20 global productions have been seen by more than 66 million people and, cumulatively, run a staggering 96 years. Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher), The Lion King is the fifth longest-running musical in Broadway history and only the second show in history to generate five productions worldwide running 10 or more years. Translated into seven different languages (Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Mandarin, Spanish and Portuguese), The Lion King can currently be seen on Broadway and on tour across North America, in Tokyo and on tour in Japan, in London’s West End and on tour throughout the UK, and in Hamburg and Madrid.
The Lion King won six 1998 Tony® Awards: Best Musical, Best Scenic Design (Richard Hudson), Best Costume Design (Julie Taymor), Best Lighting Design (Donald Holder), Best Choreography (Garth Fagan) and Best Direction of a Musical. The Lion King has also earned more than 70 major arts awards including the 1998 NY Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, the 1999 Grammy® for Best Musical Show Album, the 1999 Evening Standard Award for Theatrical Event of the Year and the 1999 Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Choreography and Best Costume Design.
The Broadway score features Elton John and Tim Rice’s music from The Lion King animated film along with three new songs by John and Rice; additional musical material by South African Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymor and Hans Zimmer; and music from "Rhythm of the Pride Lands," an album inspired by the original music in the film, written by Lebo M, Mark Mancina and Hans Zimmer. The resulting sound of The Lion King is a fusion of Western popular music and the distinctive sounds and rhythms of Africa, ranging from the Academy Award®-winning song “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” to the haunting ballad “Shadowland.”