‘Lion King’ Stage Show Coming To Disney+

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Rafiki in 'The Lion King' musical

Credit: Disney

The Lion King (1994) is one of the brightest jewels in Disney’s crown. Even after a Broadway show, a series of sequels and spinoffs, and a live-action remake by Jon Favreau, the original still remains one of the titans of the animation industry. This month, Disney is getting ready to celebrate the beloved film in a huge way, and you don’t need to shuck out hundreds of dollars for tickets, either.

Adult Simba and Nala with Rafiki holding their baby in 'The Lion King'
Credit: Disney

This summer, The Lion King will celebrate its 30th anniversary. A milestone for any beloved Disney film certainly deserves a showstopping event that celebrates the film, fans, and everyone who made it such a success. In honor of the anniversary, The Lion King: Live at the Hollywood Bowl will not only take over the titular concert venue but also come roaring onto Disney+.

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

It was recently announced that Jennifer Hudson, Nathan Lane, Jeremy Irons, Ernie Sabella, Billy Eichner, Jason Weaver, Bradley Gibson, and the cast of The Lion King on Broadway would be joined by North West, Heather Headley and Lebo M. in the production and that the concert would be filmed and presented on Disney+. However, Disney is notorious for squeezing every ounce out of their most-successful properties. The studio definitely won’t stop there.

The King Has Returned

A silhouette of a lion stands on a rocky outcrop against a red and orange sunset backdrop. The text "Disney The Lion King 30" is displayed below, with a stylized lion face incorporated into the number 30, celebrating the legacy of The Lion King.
Credit: Disney

Last week, the official Disney+ press release made the following announcement as North West joined the all-star cast,

 “North West, making her Hollywood Bowl debut, alongside Tony® and GRAMMY® Award-winning Broadway star Heather Headley and Grammy Award winner, Tony Award nominee, and the voice and spirit of The Lion King, Lebo M., will join “Lion King” franchise originals Billy Eichner, Bradley Gibson, Ernie Sabella, Jason Weaver, Jeremy Irons, Nathan Lane and special guest Jennifer Hudson on the Hollywood Bowl stage for the previously announced “Disney’s The Lion King 30th Anniversary – A Live-to-Film Concert Event” on May 24 and May 25. Emmy® Award-winning Disney Branded Television and Fulwell 73 Productions will reunite to capture the magic of these performances in the second music concert installment in their franchise, with the Disney+ Original special “The Lion King at the Hollywood Bowl” streaming at a later date. The special will celebrate the 30-year evolution of “The Lion King,” from the original 1994 animated film to the 1998 Tony Award-winning Broadway musical to the 2019 dramatic live-action film.”

You don’t have to be as wise as Rafiki to know what a tall order that description is, and that this will be far more than just the average Disney in-concert event. Like other events at the famous venue, Disney films at the Hollywood Bowl have traditionally been large and lavish events that bring together a bevy of stars of both the animated film in question and top performing recording artists to celebrate the movie’s success.

Related: Multiple New Characters Reportedly Featuring In ‘The Lion King’ Prequel

That’s all well and good and certainly to be expected from something as significant as The Lion Kingbut a concert event for something with Simba’s reputation needs much more than a reunion show. In short, Disney needs to go bigger.

From Hamilton to The Lion King

Lion King
Credit: Disney

This isn’t the first time a Hollywood Bowl show has made it onto Disney’s streaming service; that honor goes to Encanto (2021). However, The Lion King has remained one of the company’s most successful animated features for decades. While the Hollywood Bowl show is exciting, the Broadway adaptation should have come first.

Related: A New Timon and Pumbaa Disney+ Series Is Reportedly In The Works!

Disney+ already has filmed productions of Newsies and Hamilton ready to watch, so why isn’t its most successful show there as well? The Lion King is currently one of the longest-running stage shows in the history of Broadway, premiering three years after the original animated feature. A filmed version of the beloved production made famous by Julie Taymor and her vivid visions of the African savannah has been long overdue for years.

Credit: Disney

At the time of writing, Disney has made no moves to push the stage show to its more accessible platform. A $7.99 Disney+ subscription is way more affordable than a minimum $110.75 ticket to the New York stage show at the Minskoff Theater. However, it might not be long before the company takes that plunge.

Related: Disney Announces Lineup for Broadway Spectacular

If Disney is willing to get such big names to come back together after almost 30 years, who’s to say the powers that be won’t eventually push for a filmed version of the Broadway smash sometime thereafter? Stranger things have happened.

Have you seen The Lion King on Broadway? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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