Elton John Gives Surprise Performance at Broadway's 'Lion King' Anniversary

Elton John and the cast of The Lion King - photo by Walter McBride - 22992-H 2017
Courtesy of Walter McBride

The blockbuster Disney production celebrated its 20th anniversary Sunday night.

Elton John made a surprise appearance at The Lion King on Sunday night, in honor of the production's 20th anniversary on Broadway.

The Tony-nominated composer of the hit stage show followed the curtain call with a performance of the musical's opening song, "Circle of Life," with the entire company. 

Fellow creative team members Julie Taymor, Tim Rice, Garth Fagan, Lebo M., Mark Mancina, Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi, as well as hundreds of cast alumni, also attended Sunday's performance.

The Lion King first debuted on Broadway on Nov. 13, 1997, and won six Tony Awards including Best Musical. It has since grown into 24 global productions in eight languages and been seen by more than 90 million people. Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher), it has a worldwide gross exceeding that of any film, Broadway show or other entertainment title in box-office history. Directed by Taymor, the production has surpassed $1.4 billion in Broadway box office alone.

The stage musical adaptation of The Lion King is based on the 1994 animated classic, also featuring award-winning songs by Elton John and Tim Rice. Disney recently unveiled the full voice cast of its starry big-screen reboot, directed by Jon Favreau and featuring Donald Glover, Beyonce, James Earl Jones, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Seth Rogen, Billy Eichner, Alfre Woodard, John Oliver and Keegan-Michael Key. It is set to open July 19, 2019.

Watch a clip of John's performance below.