Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's official: The Lion King Coming To Vegas

Mike Weatherford had this scoop last week, but MGM Mirage announced for real today in this press release that Disney's Lion King is setting down paws at Mandalay Bay in May 2009 instead of replacing Mamma Mia! with yet another Cirque show.

You're going to read a lot of yammering about how this is part of a swerve back towards family-friendly Vegas which allegedly flamed out in the mid-1990s. And yet there's been more than enough geared to families -- four of the existing Cirque shows, all those magic shows, almost all those Broadway shows, all those roller coasters, all those animal attractions -- for some time. It's simplistic media shorthand to view Vegas offerings as one thing or another; there's no way for this city to be successful by catering to one sort of customer.

I suspect this will be a pretty smart fit for all the reasons that Phantom works: Everyone knows and loves the music and story. And Lion King has one more thing going for it; while there have been tours of the show, for sure, it doesn't feel done to death. There's no place other than New York in North America to see it, either.

The release says: "Mandalay Bay's production of THE LION KING will be virtually identical to the other companies seen around the globe and will be staged with all of the same spectacular music, sets, and costumes that have made it a worldwide phenomenon."

It's not clear whether there's any wiggle room in that statement to cut the show down from its nearly 3-hour original running time, intermission included.


Anonymous said...


Lion King was here in DC this past summer: http://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/index.cfm?fuseaction=showevent&event=titse

While I certainly agree that it isn't a show that seems to have toured extensively, it certainly has been places other than NYC
(unless I misread what you meant by having been nowhere else in North America).

Anonymous said...

They have a travelling cast, as most shows do. NYC is the only place you can see the Lion King year round in North America, as far as I know. :)