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Disney's THE LION KING North American Tour Hits $1 Billion


The Associated Press reports that Disney Theatrical Group's North American tour of The Lion King has hit $1 billion in grosses since its launch in 2002.

"We remain overwhelmed by the enduring response to the show and are enormously thankful to our patrons - new and returning - for their continued enthusiasm and support," said Jack Eldon, vice president of Disney Theatrical Productions.

Read the original report here.

Not even the Broadway production, which has played the Great White Way for 15 years, has reached this number -- though the race is close. For the week ending in July 7, the New York show had reeled in $972 million.

More than 15 million theatergoers in more than 70 cities have seen The Lion King national tour since it began in 2002. THE LION KING is the second show in theatrical history to produce five productions running 10 or more years. Phantom of the Opera is the other show.

THE LION KING is the sixth longest-running musical in Broadway history. Translated into seven different languages (Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Mandarin, Spanish), the show has been performed in 15 different countries on five continents and continues to create new avenues around the world. Continuing to reign as one of the most popular stage musicals in the world, The Lion King can currently be seen on Broadway, on stages across North America, on tour in Japan, and in Tokyo, London's West End, Hamburg, Madrid and in the UK.

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.

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."

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