Elton John Shows Up for Surprise Performance
On Sunday November 5, 2017, there was a surprise for the lucky audience members at the Minskoff Theatre. For the 20th anniversary of The Lion King, Sir Elton John performed a special surprise performance of “Circle of Life,” a song that he co-wrote along with Tim Rice for the original animated film of The Lion King. He posted a clip of the performance on YouTube, with a caption stating that he celebrated the 20th anniversary that night with Julie Taymor, the entire creative team, and over 100 cast alumni. Since the original film, the story of Simba and his journey to be king has become a ceaselessly successful Broadway show. The Lion King began Broadway previews on October 15, 1997 directed by Julie Taymor, and since then it has become the third longest running Broadway show of all time, just behind The Phantom of the Opera in first place, and Chicago in second place. In its inaugural year, The Lion King won 6 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical for Julie Taymor, Best Choreography for Garth Fagan, Best Costume Design of a Musical for Julie Taymor and Michael Curry, Best Scenic Design of a Musical for Richard Hudson, and Best Lighting Design of a Musical for Donald Holder.
Next week, on November 15, 2017, another event will take place to celebrate the 20th anniversary. That evening, the entire audience will be able to see the show free of charge. On November 12, 2017, there will be a high profile celebratory event in Times Square, where fans can sign up for the lottery, and furthermore, public libraries in all five boroughs also present opportunities to sign up for the lottery. In addition, The Lion King debuted a new SnapChat lens for the 20th anniversary, allowing users to put on the masks of Simba and Nala in the app. While the cast has overturned many times in the 20 years that the show has been on Broadway, one cast member has stayed with the show. Lindiwe Dlamini has been in the ensemble since the beginning, also understudying Rafiki and Nala, and she remains with the show until this day. This is testament to the fact that The Lion King is as enjoyable for the cast members as it is for the audience, and the show will continue to delight fans across the world for countless years to come, for The Lion King franchise keeps on growing. Most recently, it was announced that there will soon be a star-studded CGI remake film of the story, starring Beyoncé, Donald Glover, James Earl Jones, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, John Oliver, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, John Kani, Eric Andre, Florence Kasumba, and Keegan-Michael Key.
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