Vegas Values: Time is Running Out

The talented cast brings these Disney characters to life
Photo Courtesy of MGM Resorts International

Disney’s The Lion King at Mandalay Bay will close at the end of the year. The final performance is set for December 30, 2011. Time is running out to experience the critically acclaimed show with its compelling musical score, extraordinary costumes and heartfelt story. If you loved the animated Disney film, you’ll love this stage adaptation of The Lion King, the Tony award-winning musical straight from Broadway.

The Lion King Las Vegas features the full-length production nearly identical to the one on Broadway with a run time over two hours. There is a 15 minute intermission between Act I and Act II. The 20-plus member orchestra sets the tone for this magical journey that begins at Pride Rock. Immediately, you’ll notice the stunning costumes designed by Julie Taymor which bring the animals of the African Savanna to life. Giraffes, antelopes and even an 11-foot-tall elephant will gather before your eyes to join Rafiki in welcoming Mufasa and Sarabi’s new lion cub, Simba. Who is destined to become king.

A small sample of Taymor's stunning costumes
Photo Courtesy of MGM Resorts International

In addition to a cast of nearly 50 actors, puppetry makes up a good part of The Lion King. Bunraku Puppetry, with Japanese origins, is used for characters like Zazu and Timon where both the puppet and puppeteer are seen. The synchronization of the actor and puppet throughout the storyline is remarkable.

As Simba grows from a young cub he travels various landscapes including the pridelands, the elephant graveyard and the gorge. It’s a treat to see the sets change with each scene. The scene at the gorge is a spectacular one when Simba gets caught in a stampede of wildebeests. Soon after, we meet a meerkat and warthog, named Timon and Pumbaa, these characters provide much of the comedic relief in the story. They teach Hakuna Matata (or no worries) to Simba so he can forget his troubled past and live in the present. Ultimately, this allows him to take on his role as king and complete the circle of life.

The talented performers bring new vivacity to the beloved Disney characters and captivating music, including Elton John and Tim Rice’s Oscar winning song “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” and other catchy songs like “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” and “Hakuna Matata”. The Lion King provides fun-filled entertainment for children and adults alike. Tickets are priced at $168.50, $113.50, $86.00, $64.00 (tax included, additional service fees apply). Las Vegas Locals can purchase 2-for-1 tickets until March 15, 2011 (blackout dates are February 12-14, 19-21). Performances are Tuesday-Friday at 7:30pm and Saturday & Sunday at 4:00pm and 8:00pm. The show is dark on Mondays.