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“The Lion King” takes the stage at Mandalay Bay.
Photo: Joan Marcus
Lions, monkeys, and other exotic animals on the Las Vegas Strip are hardly a novelty any more. But get those animals to sing and dance, and you’re bound to turn a couple of heads. After 12 successful years on Broadway and tours around the world, “The Lion King” roars into Sin City on Friday, May 15. With its laundry list of accolades and awards—a Tony for best musical director, six Tonyâs, and the New York Drama Critics award for best musical to name a few—this show, like its namesake animal, is king of the jungle.
The show provides audiences a chance to reacquaint with their favorite characters from the film as only live actors can portray them—Simba still can’t wait to be king; Scar is more evil and devious than ever before; and Timon and Pumbaa are just as carefree as you remember. Creative costumes and puppets artfully meld the humanity of the actors with the animalism of the characters, and unique sets transform the theater into the African Savannah. The diverse cast includes actors from around the world with résumés that include performances in such Broadway plays as “Grease,” “Miss Saigon,” “Rent,” and “The Color Purple.”
The score features Elton John and Tim Rice’s music from the animated film, along with three new songs by the duo. Additional music is produced by Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Hans Zimmer, and director Julie Taymor. Las Vegas native John Morgan was so excited for the show that he waited in line for 36 hours to be first to get his tickets when they went on sale in March. For his patience, Morgan received free tickets to the show, a one-night stay at Mandalay Bay, and various show-related merchandise.
Preview performances begin May 5, with the official opening on May 15.
An exhibit that celebrates the inspiration and reveals the evolution of the production is now on display at The Shoppes at Mandalay Place. The exhibit features historical photographs, imagery from “The Lion King” productions around the world, and maquette models—designed by Tony Award-winning director Julie Taymor—that served as prototypes for the countless costumes and puppets developed for the show. As visitors stroll through The Shoppes at Mandalay Place, they will enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour that shares the making of “The Lion King,” including its choreography, costumes, puppets, masks, music, and journey from film to stage.
The Lion King
Opening night: May 15
Dark Fri. thereafter