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The Lion King on Broadway makes history with virtual reality technology

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You can now experience first-hand what it feels like to stand on a Broadway stage — and, even better, at the top of Pride Rock. Disney’s hit Broadway production The Lion King recently made history by using virtual reality technhology to film the iconic opening number “Circle of Life.” It’s the first time the technology has been used inside a Broadway theater.

Filmed from at least five different angles, the 360-degree footage allows fans to experience the opening number from the actors’ point of view, surrounded by cast members, intricate costumes, and moving set pieces, and even the Minskoff Theatre audience. By giving viewers multiple options for viewpoints, the experience is one that truly drives home how immersive live theater can be.

Now available on Facebook and YouTube, the video can be viewed on a desktop, mobile device or tablet by using your mouse to view different angles. You can also view the video on a headset using Samsung Gear VR, or on Google Cardboard via the Android YouTube app or iPhone Littlstar app.

“In our 19th year, The Lion King continues to be embraced to an unprecedented degree around the world, and we are humbled,” Thomas Schumacher, president and producer for Disney Theatrical Productions, said in a press release. “But with that success comes the responsibility to consistently find new ways of sharing Julie Taymor’s bold artistry. What better way to do that than this cutting edge virtual reality technology that puts you right in the middle of one of the most unforgettable production numbers ever staged? For the first time ever, you become part of the ‘Circle of Life.’”