Does The Lion King Deserve Its Long Run?

Broadway's The Lion King has played more than 5,300 performances, the team of producers no doubt counting the cash while they hum "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?"

And in a new book about hits and flops called Broadway Musicals, author Peter Filichia concedes that the show's opening sequence -- a pageant of stylish, Julie Taymor-directed faux-wildlife striking poses -- is extraordinary enough to merit the hoopla.

But he takes pains to add, "So much of the dialogue in the musical is inane.

"There are punny jokes about a 'cub' sandwich and such toss-offs as 'That looks like a shower curtain from the Guggenheim.'

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"Granted, animals in Africa don't speak English in the first place, but if they did, they wouldn't be using it to cite a museum on Fifth Avenue and Eighty Ninth Street.

"The hoariest types of jokes abound," he continues.

"To be sure, The Lion King was aiming for children, but it needn't have sunk to the level of jokes about flatulence."

Filichia also wonders why no fewer than seven writers had to get together and write the score.

But, hey, that opening number kills!

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