Disney's Broadway musical, The Lion King, is one of the biggest and most beloved theater shows of all time. Last week, it was announced that the show is the first Broadway show ever to gross more than $1 billion in revenue. As of Oct. 6, the show was at $997 million, but by the end of October, that number will grow to more than $1 billion.
It's an amazing feat, especially for a show that's not even the longest-running production in Broadway's history. (That title belongs to The Phantom of the Opera, which has been on Broadway since 1988 — nearly 10 years longer than "The Lion King.") Part of what made The Lion King such a strong money-maker is that in its run, the musical has only dropped under 80 percent audience capacity less than 12 times.
Here are a few facts about The Lion King, the highest-grossing musical of all time:
- The Lion King opened on Broadway in 1997 (Nov. 13, 1997, to be exact). Its previews began Oct. 15, 1997.
In case you're finding yourself wondering what you'll do without Bryan Cranston on your television each Sunday night, don't worry: you can still see him on Broadway. It was recently confirmed that Cranston will go from portraying a meth dealer in Arizona to acting as Lyndon B. Johnson, former president of the United States.
The play, called All the Way, has been performing sold-out shows in Cambridge, MA. Although Cranston is the only confirmed actor at this point, the play will move to Broadway this winter and likely bring some "Breaking Bad" (or at the very least, Bryan Cranston) fans with it.
All the Way is set in the aftermath of the JFK assassination and follows Lyndon B. Johnson during his first year of presidency, focusing especially on the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Other historical characters include Martin Luther King Jr. and J. Edgar Hoover. No official dates have been set.
Are you ready to see Bryan Cranston in a role that isn't Walter White?
Motown The Musical will be the latest Broadway show to pack its bags and hit the road for a U.S. tour. Auditions for the show recently took place in both New York and Chicago. The show will run April 22-July 13, 2014, in Chicago, with additional cities to be announced.
Although Motown wasn't nominated for "Best Musical" at the 2013 Tonys, the show has become one of the most popular of this past season. In June, the show even released an original cast album. The show, which opened in April, features songs of Motown greats like Diana Ross and The Supremes, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and The Jackson Five. (We even compiled a list of some of the era's greatest songs here!)
Would you check out Motown The Musical if it stopped by a town near you?
Last time I wrote about Aladdin on Broadway, the announcement had just been made that it would officially open in 2014. But 2014 felt like a long, long time away. Now we're in September and 2014 will be here before we know it.
To bide our time until we can see the show on stage, here are some recently released details about the production:
- Aladdin will take over the former Mary Poppins home at New Amsterdam Theatre.
- Previews start February 26, with an opening night scheduled for March 20.
- The Broadway rendition will feature a book by Chad Beguelin, music by Oscar and Tony winner Alan Menken (!!), lyrics by Tim Rice and the late Howard Ashman and direction and choreography by The Book of Mormon Tony winner Casey Nicholaw.
- Previews start February 26, with an opening night set for March 20.
- There will be a pre-Broadway premiere at Toronto's Ed Mirvish Theatre from Nov. 13, 2013 through Jan. 12, 2014
Will you be seeing Aladdin? And what other Disney productions might you like to see on Broadway?
Denzel Washington is having a pretty good week — and it's only Monday. His latest movie, "2 Guns," a buddy cop-esque film starring Washington and Mark Whalberg, was number 1 at the box office this weekend (preview at left). It beat out "The Wolverine" and "Smurfs 2." On top of that, the actor announced he would be returning to Broadway in A Raisin in the Sun.
Washington will have the lead in the production as Walter Younger. It'll be his second time on Broadway, following his 2010 role in Fences (a performance that earned him a Tony Award). Previews for A Raisin in the Sun will start March 8, 2014, with opening night on April 3, 2014, at the Barrymore Theatre where the original production opened 55 years ago.
What do you think? Will you go see him on stage?