Disney's landmark musical event THE LION KING celebrated 5000 Broadway performances on Thursday, November 5 at the Minskoff Theatre. Only eight other musicals have reached this milestone, including Disney's Beauty and the Beast. THE LION KING is the ninth longest-running musical in Broadway history and the first American musical to welcome 50 million guests worldwide. Now entering its 13th smash year, THE LION KING officially opened on November 13, 1997 (previews began October 13 at the New Amsterdam Theatre) and has consistently been among Broadway's top five grossing shows. The show transferred to its current home at the Minskoff Theatre on June 13, 2006.
On Broadway to date, THE LION KING has played to more than 8.5 million people, grossed $718 million, employed 223 adult actors (including 20 South African performers) and 66 children as young lions. Globally, THE LION KING has grossed $3.8 billion with 17 productions (a new production will bow in Singapore in September 2010 - a first for Disney Theatrical Productions). The London company recently celebrated its 10th anniversary making THE LION KING one of only five musicals in theatre history to play for ten years or more on both Broadway and the West End.
Based on the 1994 Disney animated film, THE LION KING continues to reign as one of the most popular shows on Broadway and around the world. The global phenomenon is the winner of more than 70 major awards worldwide, including the 1998 Tony Award® and NY Drama Critics Award for Best Musical, the 1999 Grammy® for Best Musical Show Album, and the 1999 Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Choreography and Best Costume Design. The show has been seen by over 50 million people in 13 different countries (US, Canada, UK, Japan, Germany, Holland, France, Mexico, Australia, China, Taiwan, South Africa and Korea) and translated into five different languages (Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch). In addition to Broadway and a North American tour, THE LION KING can also be seen on stage in London, Hamburg, Paris, Tokyo and Las Vegas.
Director Julie Taymor was the first woman in theatrical history to win the Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical. She is also the winner of the 1998 Tony Award for Best Costume Design.
Julie Taymor, along with designer Michael Curry, has created hundreds of masks and puppets for THE LION KING. Scenic design is by Richard Hudson; costume design is by Julie Taymor; lighting design is by Donald Holder. Choreography is by Garth Fagan. The book has been adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed the animated feature and Irene Mecchi, who co-wrote the screenplay of THE LION KING. The score features Elton John and Tim Rice's music from the 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 an album inspired by the animated film, "Rhythm of the Pride Lands," written by Lebo M, Mark Mancina and Hans Zimmer. The resulting sound of THE LION KING score is a fusion of Western popular music and the distinctive sounds and rhythms of Africa, embracing the Academy Awardâ-winning "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" and the haunting "Shadowlands."
THE LION KING ticket prices range from $61.50-$121.50, and are available online at www.DisneyOnBroadway.com, in-person at the Minskoff Theatre Box Office (200 West 45th Street) and Ticketmaster outlets, or by calling Ticketmaster's Disney on Broadway hotline at 866-870-2717. Performance & holiday schedule varies; check online for current schedule (running time is approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes.)
For more information, visit online, www.DisneyonBroadway.com
Photos by Peter James Zielinski
The Lion King Celebrates 5000!
Jim Ferris and Thom Christopher Warren
Shannon Skye Tavarez, Marquis Kofi Rodriguez, Alphonso Romero Jones II and Shereen Pimentel
Ta'Rea Campbell and Dashaun Young
Gabriel Croom, Christopher Freeman and Philip Turner
Danny Rutigliano and Tom Alan Robbins
Tony James and Philip Turner
Production Stage Manager Ron Vodicka and Tony James
Original Cast Members. Back row, left to right: Lindiwe Dlamini, Camille M. Brown, Tom Alan Robbins (Pumbaa), Ron Kunene, Danny Rutigliano (Timon), with Thomas Schumacher (Producer and President, Disney Theatrical Productions) and Michele Steckler (Senior Vice President, Creative Affairs, Disney Theatrical Productions)
Ta'Rea Campbell, Dennis Johnston and Willia-Noel Montague
Jeff Lee, Bonita J. Hamilton and Enrique Segura
Bongi Duma, Michelle Brugal, L. Steven Taylor, Alvin Crawford, Dashaun Young and Garland Days
Sophia Stephens, Nicole Adell Johnson, Brandon Christopher O'Neal, Ta'Rea Campbell, Angelica Edwards, Charity De Loera, Philip Turner (partially hidden) and Jim Ferris. Kneeling is Christopher Freeman