Disney's 20 Years on Broadway: Lion King, Beauty and the Beast Winners; Tarzan, Little Mermaid Losers
Twenty years ago this month, Disney said "Open Sesame" to Times Square and Broadway, and Times Square and Broadway opened the sooty doors of the Palace Theater to Beauty and the Beast. With music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, Disney's first Broadway musical opened April 18, 1994. It ran for 13 years.
The era of Mayor Rudy Giuliani had just begun, and 1994 was perfect timing for the Mouse, who scampered down Broadway just as the mayor's Times Square cleanup was getting underway.
Three years later, with Beauty still going strong, The Lion King roared into the New Amsterdam Theatre. It eventually topped Beauty's run of 46 previews and 5,461 performances, and it still hasn't yet closed, moving to the Minskoff and becoming the fourth longest-running musical in the history of Broadway.