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'The Lion King': The trip to Pride Rock still full of 'Life'

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Image Credit: Joan MarcusAfter return looks at The Phantom of the Opera and Chicago over the past two days, EW’s march toward re-reviewing the five longest-running shows currently playing Broadway continues today with a revisit to Disney’s The Lion King. The lavish production is the third-longest running show currently on Broadway, and overall, it’s the eighth-longest running in Broadway history — right behind (surprise!) another Disney production: Beauty and the Beast. Of course, the show is based off the 1994 animated movie, which grossed more than $700 million and came to help define Disney in the ’90s.

When the Mouse House unleashed the Serengeti on stage back in November 1997, eyes everywhere popped at the show’s lavish costumes and puppetry to recreate the African animals — it was a downright dazzling transportation to Africa. (It’s worth noting that the production was directed by Julie Taymor, who’s set to return to Broadway soon with the highly anticipated Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, the theater’s biggest production ever.) The show won six Tony Awards in 1998, including Best Musical. And now, after 5,301 performances (and counting) in NYC, I’m happy to say that The Lion King still roars and that nearly 13 years have hardly aged the show at all. The over-the-top costumes and booming numbers still manage to overshadow nearly everything else (including most of the performances) in the production. (You can check out my full review here.) Has anyone else seen The Lion King on Broadway recently? Still enjoying the “Circle of Life”?

Tomorrow: I take a dive into Greece — and ABBA’s disco tunes — with a second take at Mamma Mia!, currently the Great White Way’s fourth longest-running show.

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

More stage:

Second Take: Stage Review: ‘The Lion King’

Second Take: ‘Chicago’ on Broadway: After nearly 14 years, more razzle than dazzle

Second Take: ‘The Phantom of the Opera’: Would you still swing from a chandelier for Broadway’s longest-running show?