Disney's THE LION KING continues to reign across North America with a sold-out, record-breaking engagement in Wichita, which concluded on Sunday, September 30 at the Century II Concert Hall. The premiere four-week engagement grossed over $4.3 million at the box office and entertained more than 60,000 patrons, making it the highest-grossing theatrical production in Wichita history.
It is estimated that by the conclusion of the Wichita engagement, THE LION KING generated a $15 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 3.5 times the gross ticket sales to the local metropolitan area's economy.
"The incredible success of THE LION KING's first-ever visit to the state of Kansas underscored the importance of the commitment made by the City of Wichita and its leaders to the development of downtown Wichita and the region's performing arts," praised Theater League president Mark Edelman. "It was an honor to present THE LION KING in the beautifully-renovated Century II Concert Hall and a thrill to witness the amazing emotional impact this wonderful musical has for audiences of all ages."
"We are truly overwhelmed by how warmly the Wichita community has embraced THE LION KING," said Jack Eldon, Vice President, Domestic, Disney Theatrical Productions. "It is incredible to reflect that in our tenth year of touring this theatrical phenomenon, the response is just as strong as when the tour first launched. We thank the city of Wichita for an incredible engagement and look forward to someday returning to this fantastic town."
The North American touring production of THE LION KING has been seen by more than 14 million theatergoers and grossed over $928 million to date. After 10 years on the road, THE LION KING continues to celebrate unparalleled achievements and delight new audiences throughout North America. The current schedule is listed below.
In its 15th year, THE LION KING remains ascendant, recently becoming the highest-grossing Broadway show in history. Since its Broadway premiere on November 13, 1997, 19 productions around the globe have been seen by more than 65 million people, grossed over $4.8 billion and, cumulatively, run a staggering 91 years. Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher), THE LION KING is the fifth longest-running musical in Broadway history and only the second show to generate five productions running 10 or more years. Translated into seven different languages (Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Mandarin, Spanish), the show has been performed in 15 different countries on five continents. Continuing to reign as one of the most popular stage musicals in the world, THE LION KING can currently be seen on Broadway and on tour in North America, in London's West End and on tour in the UK, in Hamburg, Madrid, Tokyo and on tour in Japan.
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, making Taymor the first woman in theatrical history bestowed with the honor. 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.
On stage, Taymor's creative vision blends elements of African art and Broadway artisanship to depict anthropomorphic animal characters. Taymor, along with designer Michael Curry, has created hundreds of masks and puppets for THE LION KING. 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.