To celebrate the upcoming 25th anniversary of Broadway's The Lion King, Tony-winning composer Elton John performed one of the hit musical's anthems—the Oscar-winning ballad "Can You Feel the Love Tonight"—on ABC's Good Morning America.
Prior to singing, John told the crowd that "[The Lion King] was one of the greatest things to happen in my life." He added that "it changed my whole life because it's such a magical show, brilliantly put on the stage by Julie Taymor ... I'm so proud to be a part of it."
Watch John's performance below:
The Lion King's 25th anniversary performance will take place November 13 at the Minskoff Theatre. 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.
Director, costume designer, and mask co-designer 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.
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 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 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.