Disney's landmark musical event, THE LION KING celebrates 14 years on Broadway on Sunday, November 13th at the Minskoff Theatre (200 West 45th Street, NYC).
As it enters its 15th 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, 19 global productions have been seen by more than 63 million people, and grossed over $4.7 billion to date. Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher), THE LION KING is the seventh longest-running musical in Broadway history and one of only six productions in theatre history to play for ten years or more both on Broadway and in the West End. Translated into seven different languages (Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Mandarin, Spanish), the show has been performed in 14 different countries on five continents. THE LION KING can currently be seen on Broadway, on stages across North America, and in Las Vegas, Tokyo, London's West End, 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, making Taymor the first woman in theatrical history bestowed with the honor. 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.
On stage, Taymor's creative vision blends elements of African art and Broadway artisanship to depict anthropomorphic animal characters. Taymor, along with designer Michael Curry, has created hundreds of masks and puppets for THE LION KING. The book has been adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed The Lion King animated feature, and Irene Mecchi, who co-wrote the film's screenplay. Other members of the creative team include: Steve Canyon Kennedy (sound design), Michael Ward (hair and makeup design), John Stefaniuk (associate director), Marey Griffith (associate choreographer), Clement Ishmael (music supervisor). Anne Quart serves as associate producer.
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."
The Broadway cast of THE LION KING features Gareth Saxe as the sardonic and deviously cunning Scar, Alton Fitzgerald White as Mufasa, the great warrior and ruler of the Pridelands, and Tshidi Manye as the wise baboon shaman Rafiki. Jeff Binder portrays the prim and proper hornbilled bird Zazu, Ben Jeffrey is the carefree warthog Pumbaa, Fred Berman is the wisecracking meerkat Timon. Mufasa's son, "Simba," the lion prince born to be king, is played by Adam Jacobs and CHAUNTEÉ SCHULER is the loyal lioness Nala.
The three evil hyenas are played by James Brown-ORLEANS (Banzai), Bonita J. Hamilton (Shenzi) and Enrique Segura (Ed). The role of Young Simba is alternated between Judah Bellamy and Aubrey Omari Joseph and the role of Young Nala is alternated between Khail Toi Bryant and IMANI DIA SMITH.
The pre-Broadway engagement of THE LION KING had its world premiere on July 13, 1997 in Minneapolis at the historic Orpheum Theatre. The pre-Broadway engagement ran for eight weeks, closing on August 31, 1997. The show officially opened on Broadway on November 13, 1997.
THE LION KING moved in its entirety, including all 51-cast members and the entire 24-member orchestra, from the New Amsterdam Theatre on June 4, 2006, and began performances nine days later at its new home in the Minskoff Theatre on June 13, 2006.
For tickets, show information and performance schedule, call Ticketmaster's Disney on Broadway hotline at 866-870-2717 or visit online, LionKing.com.