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Even without considering its artistic merits, it's hard not to be impressed by the enduring majesty of Broadway juggernaut Disney's The Lion King
. Based on the 1994 animated film, the Julie Taymor-designed musical made its 1997 premiere here in Minneapolis before embarking for a history-making run on Broadway and around the globe. Currently, The Lion King
reigns as the third-longest-running show in Broadway history and — after factoring in the innumerable stagings around the world — the highest-grossing musical of all time. Much of the show's enduring appeal can be attributed to the family-friendly storyline, adapted by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi (one of the film's original screenwriters), wherein a young lion, Simba, grows into maturity to reclaim the role of king that had once been held by his revered father before being stolen by his treacherous uncle. Complementing the life-affirming storyline is the show's celebrated stage design in which the richly imagined puppetry (designed by Michael Curry) seamlessly interacts with a vibrantly attired cast who cross the stage with a fluid grace thanks to the mesmerizing choreography of Garth Fagan. Through it all, audiences can expect to be serenaded by the familiar musical numbers by Elton John and Tim Rice interwoven with the harmonious contributions of Mark Mancini, Jay Rifkin, Hans Zimmer, and South African musician Lebo M.