Disney’s “The Lion King” Celebrates 25 Years on Broadway The All-Time Highest Grossing Show Soon to Be Second-Longest Running
By Main Street Sentinel Staff
When “The Lion King” opened for preview audiences in the summer of 1997, director Julie Taymor remembers the audience’s joyous reaction and the enormous relief she felt. “I burst into tears,” she recalled in a recent interview. “We were just overwhelmed and we knew we had something.”
And now that the production is celebrating its 25th year at New York’s Minskoff Theater it is safe to say that what Disney and Ms. Taymor had was more than just “something.” The adaptation of the Oscar-winning 1994 animated film has become the all-time highest grossing Broadway show. It has been staged in 21 countries on six continents, performed in nine different languages and seen by over 110 million people. And with “The Phantom of the Opera” closing next year, “The Lion King” will vie with “Chicago” for the title of longest-running.
But Elton John, whose “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” garnered the film a Best Original Song Academy Award, is not at all surprised by the show’s staying-power.
“I’m not surprised at the longevity because the movie, when it came out, was so brilliant,” he said. “Then they put the musical on stage, which was a brilliant interpretation of the movie by Julie Taymor. It’s just astonishing what she did.”