A select number of tickets to the 25th anniversary performance of Broadway's The Lion King—November 13 at the Minskoff Theatre—benefit the Entertainment Community Fund (formerly the Actors Fund). The organization supports the needs of those working in the entertainment and performing arts industry.
“We’re honored to celebrate 25 years of The Lion King on Broadway with everyone at the Minskoff Theatre and Disney Theatrical,” said Entertainment Community Fund President and CEO Joe Benincasa in an earlier statement. “From their opening in 1997, they’ve always been incredible supporters of the Fund and the work we do to care for our community. We can’t wait to share in the excitement on November 13!”
Watch Elton John Sing 'Can You Feel the Love Tonight' to Celebrate The Lion King's 25th Broadway Anniversary
The Tony-winning musical officially opened November 13, 1997, at the New Amsterdam Theatre, subsequently transferring to the Minskoff Theatre in June 2006. It still runs there to this day. There have been 28 touring and international productions over the life of the show, seen by 110 million people. Currently, 115,000 people enjoy the show in nine productions on three continents every week.
Check out new production photos of the Broadway company below:
Watch: International Casts of The Lion King Perform Multilingual 'Circle of Life'
Director, costume designer, and mask co-designer Julie Taymor, the first woman to win a Tony for Best Director of a Musical, remains actively involved in the show, launching new productions and maintaining the flagship Broadway production. Composer Lebo M and Tony-winning choreographer Garth Fagan hold their own records: With The Lion King at over 9,700 Main Stem performances, they are the longest-running Black composer and choreographer in Broadway history.
Many of the artists and craftspeople who launched the show remain an integral part of it. Lindiwe Dlamini has performed in the musical since its first pre-Broadway preview in Minneapolis summer 1997. Seven musicians have been in the orchestra pit since its Broadway opening, including Karl Jurman, who has been musical director since 2005. All told, 16 original staff members continue their work onstage and off.
READ: Bonita J. Hamilton Has Played the Hyena Shenzi in Broadway's The Lion King for 17 Years
Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher), the worldwide gross of The Lion King musical exceeds that of any film, Broadway show, or other entertainment title in box-office history.
The Lion King won six Tony Awards in 1998: 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 international hit musical 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 songs from The Lion King animated film, along with three new songs by the pair. There's also additional musical material by Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymor, and Hans Zimmer. It also inspired an album: Rhythm of the Pride Lands, written by Lebo M, Mark Mancina, and Hans Zimmer.
The book was adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed the animated The Lion King feature, and Irene Mecchi, who co-wrote the film’s screenplay.
The Broadway cast is currently led by Stephen Carlile as Scar, L. Steven Taylor as Mufasa, Tshidi Manye as Rafiki, Cameron Pow as Zazu, Ben Jeffrey as Pumbaa, Fred Berman as Timon, Brandon A. McCall as Simba, Pearl Khwezi as Nala, and James Brown-Orleans, Bonita J. Hamilton, and Robb Sapp as the hyenas Bonzai, Shenzi, and Ed, respectively. Mariama Diop and Evie Winter Lee alternate as Young Nala, and Donovan Louis Bazemore and Jayden Theophile alternate as Young Simba.
Other members of the creative team include Michael Curry (who designed the masks and puppets with Taymor), as well as sound designer Steve Canyon Kennedy, hair and makeup designer Michael Ward, associate director John Stefaniuk, associate choreographer Marey Griffith, music supervisor Clement Ishmael, and production supervisor Doc Zorthian. Anne Quart serves as co-producer.
For more information about tickets to The Lion King's 25th anniversary performance, click here.