'The Lion King' returns to Broadway following pandemic shutdown

More Broadway shows will reopen Tuesday night for the first time since the pandemic, including some of the most popular musicals like "The Lion King."

News 12 Staff

Sep 14, 2021, 8:59 PM

Updated 943 days ago

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More Broadway shows reopened Tuesday night for the first time since the pandemic, including some of the most popular musicals like "The Lion King."
"The Lion King" is one of Broadway's longest running shows. The Disney production opened 24 years ago in 1997 and now after this unprecedented shutdown, it's showtime once again.
The "Circle of Life" is "The Lion King's" iconic opening number and for some cast members it felt like life was imitating art.
Bonita Hamilton returned to her dressing room which remained untouched in the 18 months since the pandemic sent her home.
"The glass I was drinking out of was still on my dressing station, my shoes were placed under my dressing station, my chair was just as I left it," Hamilton said.
While some things remained just as they were, other things have changed. Performer L. Steven Taylor said he sees his character, Mufasa, in a new light after emerging from the shutdown.
"There was a weight to how I was playing the character before, and I think that when I go back there's going to be an air of lightness that I would like to bring to the role because of how hopeful I feel," Taylor said.
For Tshidi Manye, who has performed the role of "Rafiki" for more than 20 years, the time away was also transformative.
"I was studying to get my GED and I finished in June, towards the end of June, so that was one of the things I was focusing on, where my focus was the whole time," Manye said.
Now, for the performers in the show, "The Circle of Life" has brought them back to the stage.
Besides "The Lion King," "Hamilton," "Wicked," and "Chicago" also reopened Tuesday night and previews began of the play "Lakawanna Blues."


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