THE LION KING to Celebrate 16th Anniversary on Broadway, Nov 13
As the 2013 calendar year comes to a close, Disney's landmark musical event, The Lion King, celebrates several milestones around the globe.The Broadway production celebrates its 16th anniversary Wednesday, November 13th at the Minskoff Theatre (200 West 45th Street). As it plays its 6,660th performance on that anniversary, The Lion King finds itself in a position unprecedented in the history of Broadway. Already the highest-grossing and 5th 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. Next month The Lion King will pass LES MISERABLES to become the 4th longest-running show on Broadway. The production recently became the first show in Broadway history to pass $1 billion in cumulative gross, an achievement made by the North American tour of The Lion King earlier this year. In the United Kingdom, the West End production celebrated its 14th anniversary on October 19th. Along with the UK tour, which opened in August 2012, over 11 million people have enjoyed the The Lion King in the UK to date.
Among the most successful titles in entertainment history, The Lion King's worldwide footprint is remarkable. 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 two highest-grossing films in movie history, combined.
Since its Broadway premiere on November 13, 1997, 21 global productions have been seen by more than 70 million people and, cumulatively, run a staggering 104 years. Translated into eight different languages (Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Mandarin, Spanish and Portuguese), productions of 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, Madrid and Sao Paolo. To date, The Lion King has played 18 countries on every continent except Antarctica.
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 Madrid, Sao Paolo and the UK tour and retains creative oversight for the new Australian production.
Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, The Lion King is playing at Broadway's Minskoff Theatre (200 West 45th Street). For tickets, show information and performance schedule, call Ticketmaster's Disney on Broadway hotline at 866-870-2717 or visit online, LionKing.com.
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 52 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.
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.
The award-winning musical will celebrate another milestone next month when it returns to Australia, making it the tenth concurrent worldwide production of The Lion King, the highest number of productions running at any one time in the show's history. Five of those productions have been running for 10 years or longer, an accomplishment shared by only one other show in history.
BROADWAY CAST: "Scar" is played by Gareth Saxe. Alton Fitzgerald White is "Mufasa," Tshidi Manye is the baboon shaman "Rafiki," Jeffrey Kuhn portrays the hornbilled bird "Zazu," Ben Jeffrey is the warthog "Pumbaa" and Fred Berman is the meerkat "Timon." Mufasa's son, "Simba," the lion prince born to be king, is played by Aaron Nelson, and Chantel Riley is the lioness "Nala."The show also features JAmes Brown-ORLEANS ("Banzai"), Bonita J. Hamilton ("Shenzi") and Enrique Segura ("Ed"). The role of "Young Simba" is alternated between Cole Bullock and Caleb McLaughlin and the role of "Young Nala" is alternated between Teshi Thomas and KACI WALFALL. For more information worldwide, visit LionKing.com.
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