An invitation-only 20th anniversary performance of “The Lion King” on Sunday didn’t end with the curtain call. Elton John surprised the nearly 1,700 guests, performing his mega- hit, “Circle of Life,” one of the five songs he wrote for the original movie with Tim Rice. To thunderous applause, John, who in April had to cancel two months of Las Vegas performances because of a serious bacterial infection, played the piano and sang the Oscar-winning song, backed up by the cast.
Rice was also at the performance, along with director Julie Taymor, musician Lebo M., who wrote additional songs for the musical, and hundreds of other former members of cast and crew.
The highest grossing musical of all time will celebrate the anniversary with a free performance on Nov. 15. For tickets, you’ll need to enter a lottery, see lion king.com/20 for details. Or join the celebration in Times Square on Nov. 12, where, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., you can enter the lottery, see some of the show’s masks and puppets, and meet members of the cast.