On the day that the Los Angeles production of Disney's The Lion King opened, spokespersons for the show, citing an “overwhelming demand for tickets,” announced that the run has been extended three full months, until Oct. 1, 2001. A new block of tickets is being put up for the extension and goes onsale Oct. 20.
Directed by Julie Taymor, The Lion King officially opened Oct. 19. The show began previews Sept. 29 at the Pantages Theatre and was to run there through June 30, 2001. For tickets and information call Ticketmaster at (213) 365-5555 or via the website http://www.lionkingla.com.
This first domestic presentation of The Lion King outside of the original Broadway production also marks the first show to be presented in the Nederlander Org's soon-to-be-restored Pantages Theatre. The ongoing, landmark theatre restoration, now widely reported as the most extensive and significant of its kind in the city's history, has added to the public anticipation and general cachet attached to the Disney opening.
A 48-member cast comprising many newcomers in the show. Even so, Broadway production vets John Vickery (Scar) and Danny Rutigliano (Timon) will join the cast and reprise their roles. Other stars include Rufus Bonds (Mufasa), Fuschia Walker (Rafiki), Clifton Oliver (Simba), Moe Daniels (Nala), William Akey (Zazu), Bob Bouchard (Pumbaa), Carla Renata Williams (Shenzi), Jeffrey Polk (Banzai) and Price Waldman (Ed). In addition, Adrian Diamond and KaRonn Henderson will alternate as Young Simba, and Jazmin Guy and Lisa Tucker will alternate as Young Nala.
Disney's The Lion King is the winner of six Tony Awards (Best Musical), eight Drama Desk Awards, six Outer Critics Circle Awards, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, a l998 Theatre World Award, the Astaire Award for Outstanding Choreography, a Drama League Award, and a Grammy® Award for Best Musical Show Album. Director Julie Taymor was the first woman in history to win the Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical. Elton John and Tim Rice wrote the music for The Lion King, (Disney's animated film). For the stage version, additional music was contributed by South African Lebo M and Mark Mancina, plus new songs written by John and Rice in collaboration with Julie Taymor, Hans Zimmer and Jay Rifkin.