That savanna sun is set to rise once again at the Neal Blaisdell Center, as it does seven times a week in nine productions around the world.
No arguing with success -- the global box office for Disney's musical "The Lion King" is close to $1 billion. Thirty million more is expected from Honolulu alone when the musical returns for an 8-week run next January.
"The expectation is there will be tens of millions of dollars of economical benefit to the state as well," said Gov. Neil Abercrombie. "This production has always had deep roots in the islands with the talent on stage and behind the scenes. 'The Lion King' family has ohana right here in Hawaii."
From the beginning, the show has given local talent an opportunity to shine.
Need a cheetah? Charlaine Katsuyoshi sashayed in the National Touring Company in St. Louis along with Halau Kumana music teacher Geno Segers. Assistant Stage Manager Hula Camilo called the shots backstage and Mixed Plate trekked to New York where Christine Yasunaga pranced in the Broadway pride while husband Darryl Pelligrini played in the orchestra.
The Honolulu run starts on Jan. 14, 2014 with the premiere recognizing the Boys & Girls Club of Honolulu and the islands' military.
Group ticket sales start this Thursday at the Hawaii Opera Theatre box office. Individual tickets will be available this summer.