After over 5,000 performances, The Lion King is now Broadway’s fifth longest-running show ever. It is also the highest-grossing show in history, with ticket sales of over $850 million so far. However, these things you may already know. For some less-known trivia, check out the list below:
1. Its Debut
Before it opened on Broadway, The Lion King actually debuted in Minneapolis, Minnesota (in 1997). An immediate success, the show then quickly opened on Broadway. Playing first at The New Amsterdam Theater, the production moved to the Minskoff Theater to make space for Mary Poppins.
2. International Productions
Following its Broadway success, countless productions have opened worldwide, the next 2 being in Tokyo, followed by on London’s West End. Toronto, Los Angeles, Germany and then Sydney came next. The show has also played in some more exotic counties, including China, Korea, South Africa and Brazil (and will soon open in Russia).
3. The Lion King In China
During the show’s run in China, writers integrated Chinese cultural elements into the performance. For example, one of the show’s songs was adapted to a well-known Chinese pop song, “Laoshu ai dami” or “Mice Love Rice”.
4. The Royal Family
The cast of London’s West End production were invited to perform at the London Palladium in 2008, in front of senior members of the British Royal Family.
5. Producers changed the show when adapting it from the movie version.
Mandrill Rafiki’s gender changed from male to female role because the director believed there was no leading female character in the film.
The musical introduces several new scenes, including a conversation between Mufasa and Zazu about Mufasa’s parenting. Also in the musical Timon nearly drowns in a waterfall while Simba is powerless to help.
Another difference is Nala’s departure, when Scar tries to make her his mate. Nala refuses and later announces her decision to depart the Pride Lands and find help. She then receives the blessings of the lionesses and Rafiki during a new song “Shadowland.”