The Lion King, which opened on Broadway in November 1997, celebrates its 9,000th performance June 5 at 7 PM. The Tony-winning musical, which began its life at the New Amsterdam Theatre, currently plays the Minskoff (200 West 45th Street).
A few fun facts: Over the course of 9,000 performances, 1,098,000 steps have been climbed to the top of Pride Rock, “Hakuna Matata” has been said and sung 234, 000 times, Rafiki and Simba have swung in on the vine a combined 36,000 times, there have been 18,000 coronations, Pride Rock has rotated 603 miles, and there have been 109 Young Simbas and Nalas, which the company calls “The Cubs.”
Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, The Lion King won six 1998 Tony Awards: 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 show’s director, costume designer and mask co-designer, Julie Taymor, was the first woman to win a Tony Award for Direction of a Musical; she continues to supervise new productions of the show around the world.
The Broadway score features Elton John and Tim Rice’s songs 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, Julie 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 animated The Lion King feature, and Irene Mecchi, who co-wrote the film’s screenplay.
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.
In related news, Disney's live-action remake of The Lion King will arrive in movie theatres July 19.