According to the Hollywood Reporter, at the close of October, The Lion King will become the first Broadway show to gross more than$1 billion in sales. To date, the show has brought in more than $997 million since it debuted October 15, 1997.
“This humbling milestone is a testament to the vision and artistry of [director] Julie Taymor,” shared producer and Disney Theatrical Group president Thomas Schumacher in a statement.
The production’s milestones don’t stop there. The show will soon pass Les Miserables as the fifth-longest-running show of all time. The production will also celebrate a new milestone in December 2013 when it returns to Australia, making it the tenth concurrent worldwide production of The Lion King, the highest number of productions running at any one time in the show’s history. In its 16th year, it is the highest-grossing Broadway show in New York history.
Since it premiered on Broadway November 13, 1997, its 21 global productions have been seen by more than 70 million people. To date, The Lion King has played in 98 cities, 17 countries, and on every continent with the exception of Antarctica. Current productions of the show can currently be seen across North America, in Tokyo, in Japan, in London’s West End, on tour throughout the UK, and in Hamburg, Madrid, and Sao Paolo.
The Lion King won six Tony Awards in 1998 for 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 show 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 musical is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions and is currently playing at Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre.