Blaisdell Arena to host ‘Lion King’
For the first time in eight years, a Broadway musical will call the Blaisdell Concert Hall home -- "The Lion King" arrives for an extended run in late 2007.
The Tony Award-winning adaptation of Disney's animated movie classic will play for three months, Sept. 9 through Dec. 10. The last Broadway show at the Blaisdell, "Miss Saigon," ran for just one month in 1999.
Specifics on play dates, times and ticket prices won't be known until the official Jan. 17 announcement of the touring company's shows.
"This will give people here the opportunity to experience what many would not normally see if they don't travel outside of the state," said Sidney Quintal, director of the City's Department of Enterprise Services, which oversees the Blaisdell Center complex.
To accommodate the musical's elaborate staging of the African grasslands, the concert hall will undergo major renovations, all paid for by promoter Jack Lucas of Spokane, Wash.
"The Lion King" has been playing on the Great White Way for nine years and also has toured the world with great success. Director Julie Taymor, known for her visual flair and style, puts the actors in puppet-like costumes, with some wearing large headpieces. (She won a Tony in 1998 for best costume design.)
The score by Elton John and Tim Rice -- with its hits "Circle of Life," "Hakuna Matata" and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" -- is augmented with three songs specifically for the stage adaptation.
The Honolulu Symphony Orchestra, which regularly books the concert hall during that time of year, will have to find a temporary home elsewhere, but Quintal emphasized that the symphony "is not being kicked out, not being ousted."
He said the concert hall was meant to be a multi-use facility. " 'The Lion King' will boost the performance schedule of the venue and utilize the concert hall to the best of its ability."