New York City is known to have an unusually high concentration of the world’s billionaires, and Broadway mainstay The Lion King can now count itself among them. Over the course of 16 years on Broadway, the Disney juggernaut has brought in over one billion dollars in cumulative gross – a first for any Broadway show.
The Lion King very recently became the fourth longest running show on Broadway, and its popularity has seldom waned during that time. Rarely offering any kind of discount, the musical (based on the Disney animated film) routinely packs the theater and tops the Broadway ticket sales charts.
With stunning direction and design from Julie Taymor, The Lion King was an instant sensation when it opened on Broadway, earning six Tony Awards, including including Best Musical (the other contenders for the Best Musical award that year were Ragtime, Side Show and The Scarlet Pimpernel). The show opened in 1997 at the New Amsterdam Theater and moved to the Minskoff Theatre in 2006, where its still runs to this day with close to 100% of its seats sold every day. Lion King is now Broadway’s fourth longest running show on in history. The show has also enjoyed great success with many touring and sit-down productions all over the world.
The 24th Annual Gypsy of the Year Competition took place on December 4 at the New Amsterdam Theatre, and during the event it was announced that $3,902,608 was raised for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Each autumn, Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, as well as national Broadway tours, participate in six weeks of fundraising for the charity, which culminates in the Gypsy of the Year Competition, an event that gives the companies of many shows the opportunity to perform songs, dance pieces, and original comedy sketches.
Ricky Martin, Katie Holmes, and Chita Rivera were on hand to announce the top fundraisers. The show that raised the most money for BC/EFA was the national touring company of The Book of Mormon, which brought in $478,130. The top fundraiser on Broadway was the Tony Award-winning musical Once ($232,770), while Avenue Q ($24,940) raised the most among Off-Broadway shows.
The Lion King company was recognized as having the best onstage presentation at the event for a piece that was choreographed by Ray Mercer. Bring It On: The Musical was the runner-up for its high-flying hip-hop number.
A first for a Broadway show, “Inside The Lion King” is an immersive, pop-up exhibit that can be seen next to Bryant Park at 42nd Street and 6th Avenue (Avenue of the Americas) from December 1st through the 16th. The exhibit, which is free to view, gives people the opportunity to see and even interact with 86 artifacts associated with the various worldwide productions of The Lion King, including sculpted masks, handmade puppets, artisan costumes, and eye-popping sets, as well as displays of concept materials and sketches. Items like the 13 foot tall elephant and a 17 foot tall ostrich will delight both adults and kids alike.
The “Inside The Lion King” exhibit is also designed to give visitors some great photo opportunities. They can pose with a gigantic Wildebeest mask, next to Madame Tussaud’s wax figures of Rafiki and the villainous Scar, and they can even step into a thematic representation of the show’s most famed musical moment, “The Circle of Life”.
A series of workshops will make The Lion King even more vivid for fans. The music, dance, design, and story elements of the Tony-winning musical will be explored in these 90-minute workshops, taking place in the morning and afternoon the weekend of December 8-9 and December 15-16. Children over 6 and adults can participate in the workshops (all children need to be accompanied by a guardian).
Visit LionKing.com to learn more.
TDF’s Autism Theater Initiative (ATI) has announced that it will be presenting autism-friendly performances of Broadway shows in the coming year. These performances will be performed in a supportive environment for an audience made up of children and adults on the autism spectrum, as well as their friends and family. The productions themselves may include slight adjustments, such as the reduction of jarring sounds or disturbing lighting effects (such as strobe lights). The lobby of the theater will have designated quiet areas and activity areas, where autism experts will be on hand if any audience members feel the need to leave the theater during the performance.
“When we piloted this program we had a sense that there was a large audience of families in need of this service,” said Executive Director of TDF, Victoria Bailey. “After the first performance it was clear that our presumption was true. Watching families experience live theatre together for the first time in an environment that was safe and supportive is a truly emotional and gratifying experience.”
Four Broadway shows are currently scheduled to present autism-friendly performances in 2013: Elf, the Musical on Saturday, January 5 at 2pm; Spider-man: Turn Off the Dark on Saturday, April 27 at 2pm; The Lion King and Newsies on Fall 2013 dates to be determined. Tickets for the Elf performance are already on sale at www.tdf.org/elf.
Disney’s Broadway mega-hit The Lion King will be celebrating its 15th anniversary on Broadway on Tuesday, November 13 with a live broadcast from the Minskoff Theatre. The popular ABC morning show Good Morning America will be broadcasting live from the theater to show a performance by The Lion King cast.
Fans of The Lion King are invited to come witness this free event. The first 500 people who arrive at the Minskoff Theatre box office (located in the heart of Times Square at 200 W. 45th St.) by 7am on the morning of November 13 will be admitted into the theater for the broadcast. The event will include the taping of additional program segments, prize giveaways, and light refreshments for attendees.
If you are under 18 years of age, you need to be accompanied by an adult to attend. People will be seated on a first come, first served basis. Find out more here: www.facebook.com/events/163090573833839.