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PostHeaderIcon Lion King Grosses $4.6 million in Norfolk City

Estimates from city-run venue Chrysler Hall show that “The Lion King” brought $4.6 million into downtown Norfolk, with additional boosts for hotels and shopping. “The Lion King” played to 76 percent capacity during its five-week stay from November through January, according to the city. During that 38-performance run, 66,078 paying customers saw the show. Two performances were cancelled because of inclement weather.

“A show like this truly raises all boats in the harbor,” said John Rhamstine, director of Seven Venues, which manages Chrysler Hall. “It was more than just a healthy run. The $4.6 million gross was in spite of the fact that this is the second time in this market and the fact that we lost two performances to the snow. We were pleased not only with the numbers but to be able to host such a great cast and crew, who were not only professional but friendly. They truly seemed to enjoy being in Norfolk despite some challenging weather.”

“The Lion King’s” first run in Norfolk five years ago set a record, grossing $6.5 million with 98 percent capacity in sales by the end of its run in January 2006. That, however, was for a 45-performance run. A repeat was unlikely because 98 percent capacity is a rarity in the present economy. “The Lion King,” too, is in competition with itself, with 17 versions around the world, including productions in New York and Las Vegas.

The company is now playing in Durham Performing Arts Center, Durham, N.C., along with its 39 hyenas, 52 wildebeests, several giraffes, gazelles, zebras, an elephant and one money-making lion.

Future bookings will include, next season, another return of a previous box office success, “Wicked,” which had a successful run here two years ago.

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