The Lion King stormed on to Broadway in October 1997 and won all kinds of accolades, including the 1998 Tony for Best Musical, for its stunning stage presentation. We finally saw the show in 1999 after we’d moved to the city and could take care of getting tickets for it in person because the show remained a difficult ticket to get for several years.
While I was not completely impressed with the show because it felt too long and, at times, over produced, there are a couple of sequences that have achieved Geek Out status over the years.
The first of these is the song “Endless Night,” which was written for the stage show. In this song, the older, exiled Simba is longing for his father’s guidance to help him find his way.
The other clip is an obvious choice. “Circle of Life” was stunning on-screen, but soars to new levels on the stage. The procession of animals as the sun rises is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in the theater. It is completely goosebump inducing. This clip is from the ’98 Tony Awards and the number takes on even more grandeur as the animals make their way through Radio City Music Hall.
I got to see LION KING for the first time recently when it came through the Cities. I thought I might hate it because of how much the show had been hyped for the last ten years and there was no way it could live up to all that. But I did enjoy it a lot and definitely thought it deserved most of its Tonys.
I still think RAGTIME got cheated for Best Musical.
Why, yes, I can hang on to my righteous indignation for decades at a time. Thanks for asking.
Completely agree about RAGTIME! It was the best musical that year hands down.