Watch 'The Lion King's' 360-Degree Music Video for "Circle of Life"
The five-minute clip is the first time the virtual-reality technology has been used inside a Broadway theater (but not the first time for Broadway altogether, as Andrew Lloyd Webber is quick to point out).
It's officially possible to step inside the "Circle of Life."
The Lion King on Wednesday released a 360-degree video of the show's famous immersive opening number, marking the first time the virtual-reality technology has been used inside a Broadway theater.
Produced by Total Cinema 360, the five-minute video lets viewers scroll in all directions while watching the number from the actors' point of view; it introduces the musical's 31 costumed castmembers from the Minskoff Theatre aisles and balconies, as well as from the stage. The video is best viewed on YouTube or Facebook — on mobile, using the latest version of each app, on desktop, using the latest Chrome browser, or on VR headsets.
The release makes The Lion King the latest Broadway musical to pursue a digital initiative.
"In our 19th year, The Lion King continues to be embraced to an unprecedented degree around the world," said Thomas Schumacher, producer and president of Disney Theatrical Group, in a statement. "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?"
Still, the long-running Disney behemoth is not the first show ever to dabble in this specific 360-degree video technology — and Andrew Lloyd Webber made sure everyone remembered that the music video for his new musical, School of Rock, got there first when it was released last month.
"Just as there is no debate about who were the first anthropomorphized felines on Broadway," said the Cats composer, following the Lion King video release, "there should be no debate about which show was the first to use 360-degree technology. Big cats shouldn't be copycats!"
Watch the Lion King video below.