Very quietly, almost stealthily, a new king has been inaugurated on Broadway.
Revenue figures indicate that "The Lion King" has swiped the title of Broadway's all-time highest grossing show from "The Phantom of the Opera."
As of Monday, the cumulative gross for "The Lion King" was $853,846,062. Its chandelier-swinging rival's cumulative total was $853,122,847.
What makes the achievement all the more remarkable is that "The Lion King" grabbed the title despite "Phantom" having almost a full 10 years' head start.
The upstart's victory is due in large part to its higher average ticket prices and a slightly larger theater.
"Phantom," now in its 24th year, is still the longest-running show in Broadway history.
-MARK KENNEDY, AP Drama Writer