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BWW TV: THE LION KING'S 15th Anniversary Special - Watch Taymor's Rehearsal, Schumacher's Story & the Special Anniversary Curtain Call!

Broadway's landmark musical event The Lion King celebrated its 15th Anniversary Sunday evening with a one-night only celebratory performance benefitting The Actors Fund. Virtually the entire creative team, who collectively won six Tony® Awards for their work on the show, reunited for the sold out performance. Check out footage of the special event including interviews, rehearsal and the not-to-be-missed special curtain call!

As it enters its 16th year, The Lion King is in a position unprecedented in the history of Broadway.  Already the highest-grossing and fifth longest-running show in Broadway history, the show is routinely the #1 Broadway show in a given week, a feat previously unimaginable for a show at this stage in its life.  As it celebrates 15 years, the show, far from slowing, has actually strengthened recently; to take but one representative bit of data, 25,000 more tickets were sold in its 15th year than in the 14th and 50,000 more tickets were sold than in the 10th.

Among the most successful titles in entertainment history, its worldwide footprint is more remarkable still.  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.

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."

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:  Michael Curry, who designed the masks and puppets with Taymor, Steve Canyon Kennedy (sound design), Michael Ward (hair and makeup design), John Stefaniuk (associate director), Marey Griffith (associate choreographer), Clement Ishmael (music supervisor) and Doc Zorthian (production supervisor). Anne Quart serves as associate producer.

BROADWAY CAST
The Broadway cast of The Lion King features PATRICK R. Brown as Scar, Alton Fitzgerald White as Mufasa and Tshidi Manye as Rafiki.  Jeff Binder portrays Zazu, Ben Jeffrey is Pumbaa and Fred Berman is Timon. Mufasa's son, Simba, is played by Andile Gumbi and CHANTEL RILEY is Nala.

The hyenas are played by JAmes Brown-ORLEANS (Banzai), Bonita J. Hamilton (Shenzi) and Enrique Segura (Ed).  The role of Young Simba is alternated between DEREK JOHNSON and CALEB McLAUGHLIN and the role of Young Nala is alternated between Bobbi Bordley and Alonie Dowden.

PRODUCTION HISTORY
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 and moved to its current home in the Minskoff Theatre on June 13, 2006.

BWW TV: THE LION KING'S 15th Anniversary Special - Watch Taymor's Rehearsal, Schumacher's Story & the Special Anniversary Curtain Call!
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