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  • TWO YEARS OF LION KING


    The Simbacake’s mane is dried, edible grass. It’s perfect for those with a sweet tooth, and ungulates. (Photo by Bryan Haraway)

    The Lion King celebrated its second anniversary at Mandalay Bay, but like Simba on the Serengeti when Teddy Roosevelt comes to town, it won’t live to see three.

    Not only did the cast mark the occasion with champagne, but they got a four-foot, 75-pound Simba cake designed by Mandalay’s Executive Pastry Chef Vincent Pilon and cake decorator Brittany Harris. Tragically, the Simba cake was caught and nearly killed in a stampede of wildebeest cakes.

    Look for a giant, melting Michael Jackson bust cake to take its place in spring 2012.

    BRITNEY BRINGS THE BOYS TO LION KING


    Pumba looks pretty good in a sun dress. (Photo by Angela Weiss)

    Britney Spears is still milling about town, bringing her sons, Sean Preston and Jayden James to see The Lion King yesterday. They went backstage after the show to meet with castmembers when Jayden said to Derrick Williams (Mufasa), “Hey, I saw you dead!” It’s cute when the kid says it, but it was kind of sad when Britney said, “Yeah, me too!” At least she busted out her finest flip-flops to go to the show.

    Britney was also spotted Saturday night at Nove Italiano with the boys, and boyfriend Jason Trawick.

    LION KING HAS FINISH LINE

    LionKing
    The circle of life is closing, apparently.

    There’s another 14 months in The Lion King, which just announced its extension through Dec. 30, 2011. They’re not actually announcing any new dates, that’s just how long it’ll take them to finish the show that started Tuesday night. There will be one scheduled intermission in March.

    That does leave a theater vacant at an MGM property when they just so happen to be planning on adding the Cirque du Soliel Michael Jackson show to an MGM property. Call off the Mystery Machine, guys. We think we got this one.

    THE LAST LION KING OF SCOTLAND

    Whitaker
    Something, something, Vision Quest.

    The Ghost Dog himself, Forest Whitaker, was at The Lion King inside Mandalay Bay last night with his wife, Keisha Nash, and daughters Sonnet and True. So. We already have a handle on how much weed Whitaker smokes. But anyway. The fam went backstage to go meet the cast. Forest himself was busy hustling Paul Newman at pool while leading the Ridgemont football team. By the way, we haven’t seen a Forest Whitaker movie made after 1986.

    HAKUNA MA-WAX-A

    Rafiki
    If we had a wax doppelganger we’d never stop re-enacting Weekend at Bernie’s (Photos by Erik Kabik | Retna)

    Much like the Beastie Boys, The Lion King is putting it on wax. Madame Tussauds at The Venetian unveiled its Rafiki statue today, with Buyi Zama, who plays the baboon shaman on stage at Mandalay Bay, on hand for the debut. Honestly, we’re kind of creeped out by the spindly, shaggy, vaguely pointy looking costume as it is. You throw overtones of Vincent Price on that thing and we’re creeping into nightmare fuel territory.

    Rafiki_h1 Rafiki_h2 Rafiki_h3

    Rafiki_v1 Rafiki_v2 Rafiki_v3 Rafiki_v4 Rafiki_v5

    MAYOR ACROSS THE POND FOR LION KING

    GoodmanLion
    Oooh, someone’s going to get headdress inferiority complex.

    If Mufasa looked a little wobbly on stage to the Brits, that’s because we sent our own personal gin bomb, Mayor Oscar Goodman, during his goodwill mission to London to promote British Airways new nonstop service from Heathrow to McCarran. The colonies say hello, Jolly Old.

    Hizzonner went to check out The Lion King at the Lyceum Theater. But we know his secret mission was to distribute Martinis to the cast so disappointed theatergoers in Blighty would jet off to Mandalay Bay to see a sharper performance. You can fool most everyone, Mr. Mayor, but we’re onto your masterful scheme here.

    WELCOME DWTS TO THE JUNGLE

    LionKing
    It’s the circle of dance.

    The cast of Mandalay Bay’s Lion King will perform Sept. 23 on the Dancing with the Stars results show, which we believe signals good things for the dancing zebra teamed up with Julianne Hough. They’ll be doing “Circle of Life” on the show, which should mark the first time a puppet elephant has ever attempted the jitterbug.

    Between the revolving door of VH1 celebs at clubs, Top Chef, America’s Got Talent and now DWTS is there any reality show we, as a city, won’t get involved with? Well, Ice Road Truckers, we suppose. But that’s just until they can figure out how to get the semi into Minus 5.

    0618THURS: THE ROUNDUP

    lkpoetry
    They’ll be consuming all their booze out of saucers.

    How often do you have the chance to say you partied with a bunch of gazelles? Unless you spent a lot of time out in the savanna, we mean. In which case you’re probably more interested in finding a decent zebra burger around here. Regardless, Poetry at the Caesars Palace Forum Shops brings in the cast of The Lion King tonight to finally turn “Hakuna Matata” into the drinking song it was always meant to be. (more…)

    LION KING FEELS LOVE FROM AUDIENCE

    lionking
    Oh, the old guy-dressed-like-herd-of-antelope routine again?

    We never saw The Lion King when it came out because we were in high school and way, way too cool for Disney movies. (We had cool things to do with cool kids like play some super cool Dungeons & Dragons and drink totally cool Mountain Dew in the completely awesome basement at our friends’ mother’s house.)

    So we were probably the very, very rare individual to go to see the Lion King last night at Mandalay Bay with only the vaguest idea of what the story was. We didn’t know, for instance, that the story was quite so Hamlet-y, or that lions carried swords. (Holy crap! Lions carry swords?! You mean someone found a way to make lions more rad? Well played, Lion King. Well played indeed.)

    The opening of the production is jaw-dropping. The show starts with the birth of Simba and Mufasa doing his whole Roots routine on Pride Rock while a parade of animals marches down the aisles to the stage. From herds of antelope to zebras to birds to four actors playing one elephant that just blows you away, you get the sense from the get-go of just what Lion King‘s strengths are. (more…)

    STEFANI GIVES GIFT OF LION KING

    nodoubt_pool
    Well, it’s better than a Love. Angel. Music. Baby. CD, anyway.

    Gwen Stefani brought son Kingston for an early birthday treat last night when they checked out a preview performance of The Lion King last night. The show makes its official premiere tomorrow, but if you wanted to get a jump on your Simba-viewing, Minus 5 is doing an ice carving right now. It started around 1 p.m. with ice carvers doing their thing, and the public can watch them put the finishing touches on the mane and face from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m.

    On Monday, No Doubt drummer Adrian Young and bass player Tony Kanal checked out The Limit at J-Pop and made a point to tell the band their performance was “mind blowing” before Young got on stage to do a song. The band is here for a private show tomorrow and Tiger Jam Saturday at Mandalay Bay Events Center.