The Lion King will make South African history by the end of this week, when the 500,000th ticket is sold.
The Disney musical is the most successful in entertainment history in South Africa. Until now the musical Phantom of the Opera had sold the most seats at 287,000.
"The Lion King has changed the face of South African theatre and has changed the perception that theatre is dead, it is thanks to the support of the South African public that The Lion King has done so well," says marketing director of Tsogo Sun Noeleen Bruton. "Throughout the millions of people that have seen The Lion King worldwide, the South Africa production has had the most audience interaction, crossing all age and racial barriers."
The Lion King has been a sell-out since its opening at the R100-million Teatro at Montecasino in Johannesburg on June 6 last year and this will be its final extension.
"We would never have had such a phenomenal show without the support of the producers Lebo M and Pieter Toerien, Disney, Telkom, the sponsors and the wonderful Teatro at Montecasino," says Rob Collins, Managing Director of Tsogo Sun Gaming.
The show embarks on an international tour of the east after it closes February 17.
On Sunday, December 9, 2007 the cast and crew of the musical concluded an unprecedented 13-week run in Honolulu. The production set a house record for the Blaisdell Concert Hall, grossing $1.3 million during its final week.
In Honolulu, more than 180,000 people saw the production. There were over 99 performances, with a gross of more than $14.8 million.
According to the League of Theatres and Producers, Inc., the typical touring Broadway show produces at least three dollars in local revenue for every dollar spent on tickets, so The Lion King meant an estimated $45 million boon for the state of Hawaii.