The Lion King celebrates 18 years on Broadway

Disney Theatrical's production of The Lion King will tonight celebrate its 18th Birthday on Broadway, as the production plays its 7,500th Broadway performance at the Minskoff Theatre. On 31 October 2015 the musical overtook 'Cats' to become the third longest running musical on The Great White Way.

The Lion King originally opened at the New Amsterdam Theatre on 13 November 1997, following previews from 15 October. On 13 June 2006, the musical moved to its current home - the Minskoff Theatre. It is currently booking through to 13 March 2016.

Producers of the show have announced a brand new digital lottery system that will begin on Monday, 16 November 2015 at 10:00am, with winners getting for tickets to the next day's 7pm performance.

The Lion King features a book by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi. The 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.

The musical tells the story of the epic adventures of a young lion cub named Simba as he struggles to accept the responsibilities of adulthood and his destined role as king.

Directed by Julie Taymor and choreographed by Garth Fagan, the principal cast of The Lion King currently features Jelani Remy (Simba), Chantel Riley (Nala), Gareth Saxe (Scar), L. Steven Taylor (Mufasa), Gugwana Dlamini (Rafiki), Jeffrey Kuhn (Zazu), Ben Jeffrey (Pumbaa), Fred Berman (Timon), James Brown-Orleans (Banzai), Bonita J. Hamilton (Shenzi), and Enrique Segura (Ed).

The creative team for The Lion King features scenic design by Richard Hudson, costume design by Julie Taymor, lighting design by Donald Holder, and sound design by Steve Canyon Kennedy. Masks are co-designed by Julie Taymor and Michael Curry, who also functions as puppet co-designer.

The Lion King won six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and Director Julie Taymor became the first woman in Broadway history to win the Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical.

- by Dom O'Hanlon