Performers in The Lion King.

Disney’s The Lion King is celebrating a sold-out, record-breaking run of Sarasota performances. 

The three-week run of shows grossed more than $3.5 million at the box office and entertained more than 37,000 theatergoers. The show, which played 23 performances from March 14 through March 31, broke the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall’s record for the highest-grossing and most attended engagement in the hall's history.

It's estimated that the Sarasota engagement of The Lion King generated an economic benefit of more than $11.4 million to the Sarasota economy from travel, hotels, restaurants, parking and other businesses patronized by both theatergoers and production staff. This figure is based upon a Touring Broadway League report which found that, on average, Broadway tours contribute an economic impact 3.27 times the gross ticket sales to the local metropolitan area’s economy. 

“Bringing The Lion King to Sarasota has been an effort many years in the making,” says Mary Bensel, executive director of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. “It has been thrilling to see the joy and excitement of the entire community at this special premiere, which was also the first time the hall has ever presented a three-week run. Audiences of all ages and backgrounds have been moved by these amazing performances and the actors have been a joy to work with. This production surpassed our highest expectations on all levels. Bravo to all!”

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