The Lion King on Broadway celebrates its 25th anniversary with a hallmark short film, the first of its kind for the industry, highlighting “The Circle of Life” across generations
Disney Theatrical Productions has teamed up with ArtClass’ Jamaal Parham and Bashan Aquart, also known as Brooklyn-based directorial duo ‘Jams x Bash’, to collaborate on a branded short film, Generationsthe first of its kind for a Broadway production on the historic 25th anniversary of The Lion King on Broadway.
The emotional spot commemorates the production’s legacy, forged over a quarter of a century: connecting generations, bringing them together around a common love and the enchantment of The Lion King’s visuals, music and story. The advert celebrates the charm cast by the show as it takes us on a leap in time, between 1997 and today, showcasing the longevity of the production and the bonds it has forged within countless millions of families. At the same time, the film celebrates Broadway and the impact of live performance on audiences, especially New Yorkers. Shot entirely on location in New York City and featuring the show’s current cast, the film acts as a celebration of the triumphant return of visual storytelling and the arts as a whole.
Jams x Bash approached the creative, created in conjunction with next-gen production and post-production company ArtClass, with the idea that The Lion King is integral to their understanding of the community.
While two Broadway shows have already reached the 25-year milestone, The Lion King marks several historic firsts. Never before has a show in its 25th year played simultaneously in so many productions around the world and placed in the Top 5 highest-grossing Broadway shows – nearly 1,300 consecutive weeks and counting. Currently, 115,000 people enjoy the show in nine productions on three continents each week. There have been 27 productions over the series’ run, viewed by 112 million people. This is more than the combined populations of Canada, Greece, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark and Australia.
“Over the past 25 years, we’ve heard countless stories from viewers around the world about their experience of seeing The Lion King with someone they love. From one generation to the next, the show is almost become a rite of passage for many families,” said Angelo Desimini, vice president, marketing, publicity, sales and education, Disney Theatrical Productions. “With this spot, we set out to bring those memories to life.”
“The feelings we have for The Lion King as a whole have worked their way into our project,” shared makers Jams x Bash. “Over 25 years on Broadway and around the world, it’s always been an experience of something truly beautiful. This play is probably the most authentic, heartfelt thing we’ve ever done and there’s so much about how we feel about the shared experiences embedded in the short.
The Lion King continues to establish itself as one of the most popular musicals in the world. Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher), The Lion King made cinematic history with two worldwide productions lasting 15 years or more and two others lasting 20 years or more. .
Performed over its lifetime in nine different languages (English, Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Spanish, Mandarin and Portuguese), there are currently nine productions of The Lion King around the world: Broadway, London, Paris, Hamburg , Madrid, Tokyo, touring across North America, the UK and Ireland, with a separate production touring internationally. The Lion King has played in over 100 cities in 24 countries on every continent except Antarctica; its worldwide grossing exceeds that of any movie, Broadway show or other entertainment title in box office history.
The Lion King won six Tony Awards in 1998: Best Musical, Best Scenic Design (Richard Hudson), Best Costume Design (Julie Taymor), Best Lighting Design (Donald Holder), Best Choreography (Garth Fagan) and Best production of a musical. The Lion King has also won more than 70 major artistic awards, including the 1998 NY Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, the 1999 Grammy® for Best Musical Performance Album, the 1999 Evening Standard Award for Theatrical Event of the Year and the 1999 Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Choreography and Best Costume Design.
The Broadway score features songs by Elton John and Tim Rice from the animated film The Lion King as well as three new songs by John and Rice; additional musical material by South African Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymor and Hans Zimmer; and the music for “Rhythm of the Pride Lands”, an album inspired by the original film score, written by Lebo M, Mark Mancina and Hans Zimmer. The resulting sound of The Lion King is an amalgamation of Western popular music and the distinctive sounds and rhythms of Africa, ranging from the Academy Award®-winning song “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” to the rich numbers Choruses by Lebo M.
Elton John, Lebo M and Hans Zimmer all collaborated on the 2019 version of the film, produced by Julie Taymor and Thomas Schumacher, which was an extraordinary worldwide hit.
The book was adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed the animated feature The Lion King, and Irene Mecchi, who co-wrote the film’s screenplay. Other members of the creative team include: Michael Curry, who designed the masks and puppets with Taymor, Steve Canyon Kennedy (sound design), Michael Ward (hair and makeup design), Anthony Lyn (associate director), Marey Griffith (associate choreographer), Clement Ishmael (music supervisor) and Lisa Dawn Cave (production supervisor). Anne Quart is the co-producer.
Previously, Jams x Bash led high profile campaigns for established brands such as ESPN, HBO, SoundCloud and Vogue. The two have amassed a resume of work that spans commercials, documentaries, music videos and social content working with talents such as Robert DeNiro and Bryan Cranston. Jamaal and Bashan have worked side by side over the past decade and have gone on to produce numerous works, attracting audiences around the world.
Disney Theatrical Productions and Jams x Bash are thrilled to have the world celebrate alongside them as The Lion King continues its reign welcoming guests to Broadway and around the world.