Everything came full circle at The Minskoff Theatre Sunday.
During The Lion King's curtain call, Elton John performed "Circle of Life" in celebration of the musical's 20th anniversary on Broadway. The show, which debuted at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis on July 8, 1997, officially opened at the New Amsterdam Theater on Nov. 13, 1997.
The Lion King went on to win six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and eight Drama Desk Awards; the musical moved to The Minskoff Theater in 2006. The Lion King—adapted from the animated film of the same name—is Broadway's third longest-running show, with over 8,310 performances. It's earned over $1 billion, making it the highest-grossing stage show in history.
The original Broadway cast recording won a Grammy in 1999 for Best Musical Show Album. The Lion King musical included three songs by Elton John and Tim Rice that did not appear in the original animated film: "Chow Down," "The Madness of King Scare" and "The Morning Report."
To celebrate its 20th anniversary, John's Lion King videos are now available to stream on Vevo.
The current cast, who sang in Zulu, backed John during Sunday's surprise performance.
Producers have invited fans to attend a free performance of The Lion King on Nov. 15 at 8 p.m. To win tickets, fans must enter the lottery in person during the Times Square Celebration on Nov. 12, which will include a meet and greet, a photo-op, a virtual reality experience and more.
Walt Disney Pictures hired Jon Favreau to direct a remake of The Lion King, scheduled for a July 19, 2019 release. The voice cast includes Eric Andre (Azizi), Beyoncé (Nala), Billy Eichner (Timon), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Scar), Donald Glover (Simba), James Earl Jones (Mufasa), John Kani (Rafiki), Florence Kasumba (Shenzi), Keegan-Michael Key (Kamari), J.D. McCrary (Simba), John Oliver (Zazu), Seth Rogen (Pumbaa), Alfre Woodard (Sarabi) and Shahadi Wright Joseph (Nala).