The North American tour of Disney’s THE LION KING celebrated 12 triumphant years on the road on Sunday, April 27 in Atlanta. Since launching in April 2002 in Denver, CO, THE LION KING North American touring productions have played nearly 7,000 performances during 135 engagements in 77 cities. The record-breaking tours have been seen by more than 15 million theatergoers and grossed over $1 billion to date.
During the Atlanta engagement, the tour grossed the highest weekly domestic gross in its history ($2,402.279 during a nine-performance week ending April 20, 2014). The sold-out three-week return concluded on Sunday, April 27 at The Fox Theatre where it grossed over $6.2 million at the box office and entertained more than 97,000 patrons during 23 performances. This was THE LION KING’s first time to play The Fox Theatre, having previously played two wildly successful engagements at the Atlanta Civic Center: a seven-week premiere in 2003 and a five-week return in 2008.
It is estimated that the Atlanta engagement of THE LION KING generated a $25 million economic benefit to the city from travel, hotels, restaurants, parking and other businesses patronized by both theatergoers and production staff. This figure is based upon a Touring Broadway League report which found that, on average, Broadway tours contribute an economic impact 4.17 times the gross ticket sales to the local metropolitan area’s economy.
“It is profoundly gratifying to know that since opening the tour in Denver at the Buell Theatre in April 2002, THE LION KING has been instrumental in bringing new audiences to the theatre across North America for the past 12 years,” said Jack Eldon, Vice President, Domestic, Disney Theatrical Productions. “We were delighted to celebrate this milestone in the great city of Atlanta, where it was especially thrilling for THE LION KING to play The Fox Theatre for the first time. We remain overwhelmed by the enduring response to the show and are enormously thankful to the Atlanta community, and all of our audiences nationwide, for their continued enthusiasm and support. We look forward to sharing this theatrical phenomenon with more cities in the coming years.”
“Blockbuster shows like THE LION KING draw audiences to our theatre from greater distances and reinforce Atlanta as a leading tourism destination in the Southeast,” said Russ Belin, vice president of Fifth Third Bank Broadway in Atlanta, part of the Broadway Across America network. “We are honored to have been a part of this record-breaking engagement, especially as it coincides with a significant anniversary in the show’s decorated history. Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to the community, the patrons who supported this impressive production and the talented cast and company of THE LION KING.”
ABOUT THE LION KING
In its 17th year, THE LION KING remains ascendant; it is the highest-grossing Broadway show in New York history and one of the most popular stage musicals in the world. Since its Broadway premiere on November 13, 1997, 22 global productions have been seen by more than 70 million people and, cumulatively, run a staggering 104 years. Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher), THE LION KING is only the second show in history to generate five productions worldwide running 10 or more years. Translated into eight different languages (Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Mandarin, Spanish and Portuguese), productions of THE LION KING can currently be seen on Broadway and on tour across North America, the U.K., and Japan, and in London’s West End, Hamburg, Tokyo, Madrid, Sao Paulo, and Sydney, Australia. The Australian production marks the tenth concurrent worldwide production of THE LION KING, the highest number of productions running at any one time in the show’s history. To date, THE LION KING has played 18 countries on every continent except Antarctica.
Among the most successful titles in entertainment history, with a cumulative gross in excess of $5 billion, the stage production of THE LION KING has already earned more than the biggest hit films in movie history: more than the Lord of the Rings trilogy combined, more than the six Star Wars films combined, and more than Avatar and Titanic, the two highest-grossing films in movie history, combined.
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 LION KING 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 continues to play an integral part in the show’s ongoing success. The first woman to win a Tony Award for Direction of a Musical, Taymor has in recent years supervised new productions of the show around the world.
The Broadway score features Elton John and Tim Rice’s music 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 resulting sound of THE LION KING is a fusion of Western popular music and the distinctive sounds and rhythms of Africa, ranging from the Academy Award®-winning song “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” to the haunting ballad “Shadowland.”
The book has been adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed The Lion King animated 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, Steve Canyon Kennedy (sound design), Michael Ward (hair and makeup design), John Stefaniuk (associate director), Marey Griffith (associate choreographer), Clement Ishmael (music supervisor) and Doc Zorthian (production supervisor). Anne Quart serves as associate producer.
For more information worldwide, visit LionKing.com.
NORTH AMERICAN TOUR SCHEDULE THROUGH APRIL 2015:
Toronto – Princess of Wales Theatre
April 30 – June 15, 2014
Washington, D.C. – Kennedy Center Opera House
June 17 – August 17, 2014
Montreal – Place des Arts
August 19 – September 7, 2014
Boston – Boston Opera House
September 9 – October 12, 2014
Columbus – Ohio Theatre
October 14 – November 9, 2014
Milwaukee – Milwaukee Theatre
November 11 – December 7, 2014
San Antonio – Majestic Theatre
December 10, 2014 – January 5, 2015
Ft. Lauderdale – Broward Center for the Performing Arts
January 7 – February 1, 2015
Memphis – The Orpheum Theatre
February 3 – March 1, 2015
Louisville – Kentucky Center
March 3 – 29, 2015
Cincinnati – Aronoff Center
March 31 – April 26, 2015