The Lion King Celebrates Broadway Milestone Tonight

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03 Sep 2014

Alton Fitzgerald White

Disney's The Lion King, which now makes its home at the Minskoff Theatre, plays its 7,000th Broadway performance Sept. 3 at 7 PM. Only The Phantom of the Opera, Chicago and Cats have also reached this Broadway milestone.

The Lion King was the first show in Broadway history to pass $1 billion in cumulative gross, a threshold also crossed by the North American tour and, most recently, the Hamburg production.

There are ten concurrent worldwide productions of the musical. Five of those productions have been running for 10 years or longer. Two new productions have recently been announced: for Mexico City’s Telcel Theatre and the new Walt Disney Grand Theatre at Shanghai Disney Resort.

In the Broadway company Scar is played by Gareth Saxe, Alton Fitzgerald White is Mufasa, Nteliseng Nkhela is Rafiki, Jeffrey Kuhn portrays Zazu, Ben Jeffrey is Pumbaa, and Fred Berman is Timon. Mufasa’s son, Simba, is played by Aaron Nelson, and Chantel Riley is Nala.

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, 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 book was 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). 

Directed by Julie Taymor — who became the first woman to ever receive a Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical — The Lion King has become an international hit with productions playing all around the globe. In fact, the Elton John-Tim Rice musical has won over 30 major awards. Those include six Tony Awards, including one for Best Musical; eight Drama Desk Awards; six Outer Critics Circle Awards; two Sir Laurence Oliviers; the Evening Standard Award for Best Theatrical Event; and three Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards.

The Minskoff Theatre is located at 200 W. 45th St.