Little Rock Culture Vulture

Cultural events, places and people in the Little Rock area

20 years of THE LION KING

On November 13, 1997, THE LION KING opened on Broadway.  It would go on to win six 1998 Tony Awards including Best Musical.  Today it celebrates its 20th Birthday!  It has played 8,325 performances on Broadway.

This coming April the entire Serengeti will come to life inside the newly renovated Robinson Performance Hall when Celebrity Attractions brings this Disney production to Little Rock!

More than 90 million people around the world have experienced the awe-inspiring visual artistry, the unforgettable music, and the uniquely theatrical storytelling of this Broadway spectacular “one of the most breathtaking and beloved productions ever to grace the stage.

THE LION KING brings together one of the most imaginative creative teams on Broadway.  Tony Award®-winning director Julie Taymor brings to life a story filled with hope and adventure set against an amazing backdrop of stunning visuals.  THE LION KING also features the extraordinary work of Tony Award®-winning choreographer Garth Fagan and some of Broadway’s most recognizable music, crafted by Tony Award®-winning artists Elton John and Tim Rice.


ROCKing the TONY AWARDS – Billy Joel and Elton John

Rock the Tonys

Joel and John in photo by  Dimitrios Kambouris/

Joel and John in photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/


Little Rock Connection: Both have performed in Little Rock over the years.  In 1995, they played a joint concert at War Memorial Stadium which brought in $1.6 million. An additional Little Rock connection for Joel – who’s birthday is today – is in his song “We Didn’t Start the Fire” there are references to South Pacific (which had a fictional Little Rock heroine), Little Rock resident Winthrop Rockefeller, and the 1957 integration crisis at Little Rock Central High.

Tony Awards Connection: Billy Joel won a Tony Award for his orchestrations of Movin’ Out which featured his songs as a backdrop of dances choreographed by Twyla Tharp.  Elton John won a Tony Award for his score to Aida.  He has received additional Tony nominations for The Lion King and Billy Elliot for Best Score.  He additionally was a producer of Best Play nominee Next Fall.