25 Years Later, ‘Lion King’ Needs The ‘Hamilton’ Treatment

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A grayscale image of a person in historical attire is superimposed on a vibrant orange background featuring silhouettes of animals reminiscent of The Lion King and a colorful theatrical performer. The performer wears a mask and headdress, creating a dynamic and dramatic scene.

Credit: Inside the Magic

This June, The Lion King (1994) celebrates a 30-year reign as Disney royalty, and the House of Mouse is already honoring it with a star-studded concert at the Hollywood Bowl set to hit Disney+. That’s all well and good, but that’s not the only jewel in Simba’s crown.

the-lion-king-musical-anniversary
Credit: Disney

Not only has The Lion King kept its title as the most successful traditionally animated film of all time, but it also bears the historical achievement of being one of the longest-running musicals on the Broadway stage. Sitting just under Chicago and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s iconic Phantom of the Opera, Julie Taymor’s African-inspired adaptation of the Disney film has delighted audiences around the world for years.

Related: He Can’t Feel the Love Tonight: Elton John ‘Hurt’ After Being Canceled From ‘Lion King’ Prequel

Be that as it may, while The Lion King remains one of Disney’s most successful stage musicals, very few can afford a ticket to see the show in New York City or even on the touring circuit. Since Disney has brought stage productions of Beauty and the Beast, Hamilton, and Newsies to its magical streaming service, why hasn’t its golden child passed the auditions?

The Lion King: From Stage to Stream

@The Lion King

For 25 years, The Lion King has touched hearts & inspired imagination. Share the Show of a Lifetime.

♬ Promoted Music – The Lion King

Likely in honor of the film’s upcoming anniversary (or maybe even hyping up Mufasa (2024)) promos for the Broadway show celebrating 25 years on stage like the one above have been circulating TikTok. As majestic and stunning as the stage production is, it’s still the only Disney theatrical event that has achieved such a sense of immortality. So why not bring it onto Disney+?

Related: After Years as Mufasa, Disney Replaces James Earl Jones

The decision to film a production of Hamilton with Lin-Manuel Miranda undoubtedly did wonders for both the show and Miranda’s careers, generating a whole new sea of fans for the Ten-Dollar-Founding-Father. Given the generations of fans that already love The Lion King, it would easily be one of the most-streamed features on the platform in no time.

What’s The Hold Up?

A performer dressed as a lion leads a vibrant dance routine reminiscent of the Lion King, with fellow actors in colorful costumes on stage. The background is a gradient of deep blue to light blue, adding depth to the lively scene. The performers' costumes are patterned and brightly colored.
Credit: Playbill

Apart from bootlegs on YouTube, there is currently no filmed version of the Broadway show, which is truly a disservice on Disney’s part. While no recording, no matter how vivid, could ever replace the experience of seeing the performance live on stage, making the musical more accessible for a general audience could generate some good publicity in Disney’s favor.

Related: Would Simba Have Been the Next Scar If Mufasa Survived?

In the age of streaming services, many classic Broadway shows have become readily available for the public to enjoy. BroadwayHDfor example, has dozens of filmed versions of iconic stage productions such as Godspell, Pippin, Gypsy, and even Phantom of the Opera. At this point, there is practically no reason that The Lion King hasn’t been given the same routine.

The Lion King might be one of the most successful shows on stage, but what happens when the production inevitably has to close? Hopefully, as Disney brings the Hollywood Bowl celebration to Disney+, it will pave the way for an eventual filmed variant of the beloved musical version.

Do you think Disney needs to bring the show from stage to screen? Tell Inside the Magic in the comments below!

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