The original The Lion King movie is a monolithic success story, but one of its spinoffs has also had an unbelievable run of prosperity: The Lion King musical has been on Broadway since 1997 and is one of the most highly esteemed productions of all time. It’s the third longest-running show in Broadway history with over 8,000 performances, and the highest grossing, at over $1 billion.
The production celebrated its 20th anniversary at The Minskoff Theatre Sunday night, and the event had itself an iconic surprise guest in Elton John, who famously wrote three iconic songs for the original film — “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King,” “Can You Feel The Love Tonight,” and “Circle Of Life.” John performed the latter backed by a gospel-style choir, and all these years later, he doesn’t seem to have lost a step, as seen in the clip above.
Beyond that, The Lion Kingis having a real moment right now: The cast of the upcoming live-action remake was just announced, and it’s positively star-studded, led by Beyonce, Donald Glover, James Earl Jones, Seth Rogen, and plenty of esteemed others.
Watch a clip of John’s performance above, and watch John, Hans Zimmer, and others involved in the movie talk about its legendary music in an old behind the scenes clip below.