Box office figures released Monday show that "The Lion King" last week swiped the title of Broadway's all-time highest grossing show from "The Phantom of the Opera." The cumulative gross for "The Lion King" is $853,846,062, according to the show's numbers. Its rival's is $853,122,847. The "Lion King" surged past "Phantom" after netting more than $2 million at the box office for the week ending Sunday, while "Phantom" pulled in about $1.2 million.
What makes the achievement all the more remarkable is that "The Lion King" chased down and grabbed the title despite "Phantom" having nearly a full 10 years' head start. The Disney show opened in November 1997 (after premiering at the Orpheum in Minneapolis), while "Phantom" debuted in January 1988. The upstart's victory is due in large part to its higher average ticket prices and a slightly larger theater. Cary Ginell, who edited the seventh edition of "Broadway Musicals: Show By Show," compares "The Lion King" to a Disneyland ride.
"It's a spectacle that satisfies on many different sensory elements -- audio, visually, emotionally. It's also good for all ages -- just like Disneyland is," Ginell said.
Fiona Apple is coming in July
With her first album in seven years due in June, "Criminal" hitmaker Fiona Apple will return with her first Minneapolis show in six years July 16 at the Orpheum Theatre. Tickets ($74, $59 and $44) go on sale Saturday at noon through Ticketmaster and the State Theatre box office. That's also the way to buy seats for Italian teen popera trio Il Volo's Aug. 12 show at the Orpheum, which go on sale Friday at 5 p.m. (prices were not released).
Two new acts for the Minnesota Zoo: The Tedeschi Trucks Band, the blues-leaning group led by wife-and-husband Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, will return on June 24-25 and the B-52's, the enduring new-wave funsters, will party on Aug. 28. Tickets will go on sale April 30. And if ever there was a band that deserved a proclamation from the mayor of Duluth, Chicago's adventurous indie-rock vets Wilco will return to Bayfront Festival Park on July 1 despite enduring wind and sleet when they played the same harbor-front outdoor stage right after Labor Day in 2007. Tickets ($46 and $36) go sale Friday at 10 a.m. through eTix.com.
Poll: Which remaining 2013 show interests you most in Hennepin Theatre Trust's Broadway season?