Everybody knows Disney's classic 1994 animated film, The Lion King. Ya know, the coming-of-age story of Simba, the young cub set to take over the kingdom from his father, Mufasa? Mufasa tells Simba that everything the light touches is his kingdom, Simba runs around singing "I Just Can't Wait To Be King," then a stampede of wildebeest tear through Pride Rock and basically ruin everything. OK, maybe my Lion King knowledge isn't as sharp as it was when I was seven, but fear not. If you'd like to relive one of Disney's most treasured films, you don't need to rely on this shoddy summary. You can just catch it on Broadway, where it's been running since 1997 and – after grossing $853.8 million – has cemented itself as the highest grossing Broadway production of all time.
The theatrical adaptation of Disney'sThe Lion King first hit the stage on July 8, 1997, when it premiered at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, MN. It was an instant hit, and only three short months later moved to the New Amsterdam Theatre on Broadway. After a month of previews the play premiered on November 13 to rave reviews. Now, 15 years later, The Lion King is the sixth longest-running show on Broadway, an honor shared with the likes of Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables and Cats, to name a few. The Lion King has grossed over $800 million and earned six Tony Awards.
It's no surprise that The Lion King is one of Broadway's biggest gems. After all, the play did have people like Elton John, Tim Rice and Hans Zimmer at the production helm. This was the original trio who helped craft the soundtrack to the animated film, and produced hits such as "Can You Feel the Love Tonight," "Hakuna Matata," and "Circle of Life," all of which appear in the musical. In 1998, Elton John, Tim Rice, Hans Zimmer, Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin and Julie Taymor were nominated for a Tony Award for "Best Original Score."