After 31 months and 1,078 performances, the Las Vegas run of “The Lion King” will end with a final performance tonight. Though the original Broadway show is still ongoing, the Las Vegas run, held at the Mandalay Bay Theatre, represents the longest run of the show in any other American city. That record was previously held by Los Angeles, which had a 27-month run of the show that ended in 2003.
“The Lion King” opened on Broadway in November 1997, and it currently is the seventh longest-running show in Broadway history. To date it has been performed on Broadway nearly 6,000 times. Originally performed at the New Amsterdam Theater, the show was later moved to the Minskoff Theatre, where it has been held since 2006. A London show, which opened in 1999, also is still running. The musical has become a hit around the world, and has been performed in additional cities such as Tokyo, Toronto, Sydney, Paris and Madrid.
With music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice, Disney Theatrical produces the show. Additionally, Hans Zimmer created the musical score choral arrangements by Lebo M.
Since it’s introduction, over 45 million people have seen the musical around the world. It has won numerous awards including six Tony Awards, one of which was for Best Musical. Additionally, it has won eight Drama Desk Awards, six Outer Critics Circle awards and one Theatre World Award. Julie Taymor is the director of the show, and became the first woman to win a Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical in 1998. The London version of the show was awarded two Laurence Olivier Awards in 1999, though it lost for the Best New Musical Award. The Paris version was nominated for three Moliere Awards in 2008 and won all of them.