'Lion King' breaks Strip time barrier


The main hurdle "The Lion King" will have to leap will be the test of time: 21/2 hours of it, to be precise.

A full hour longer than the long-held preference in this city for 90-minute shows, "The Lion King" may be the rare exception, and associate director John Stefaniuk has a quick response for doubters.

"It's shorter," he said, "than 'Mamma Mia!"

The ABBA-inspired musical hit lasted almost six years at Mandalay Bay, a run that covered 2,200 performances and sold 2 million tickets.

Fifteen minutes already have been cut from "Lion King's" Broadway edition, Stefaniuk said Friday at the opening night after-party.

One got the impression that Disney has dug in its heels at further trims.

SONG PROJECT

Danny Gans' band is going back to work.

They are joining Elvis tribute artist Paul Casey in a recording studio this week to work on a Casey-penned song he hopes will rival Elvis' "Viva Las Vegas."

Casey said he wrote "Only Las Vegas" about eight years ago but didn't get the inspiration to record it until the recession hit the city.

He described the song as "a high energy tune with horns that throw you back like a ride in a Ferrari. It's the essence of what Vegas is all about."

"Kermit the Frog could sing it, and it would be a hit," added Casey, who recruited many of the town's top musicians, including Gans' band, for the project.

Casey wrote the theme song "The Traveler" for the 2006 "Dukes of Hazzard" spinoff "Collier & Company," starring John Schneider.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

Art Manteris, Station Casinos' vice president of race and sports book operations, has installed Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra a 3-2 favorite over Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird in the Belmont Stakes on June 6. ...

The NHL is branding a Toronto Globe and Mail report as "entirely fictitious" that the Phoenix Coyotes could be heading for Las Vegas in a couple years. The scenario involves an escape clause that eventually would allow the team to be purchased by movie and TV producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Harry Sloan, CEO of MGM studios, and be moved to Nevada. ...

Bridesmaids at the wedding of ex-Chippendale Bryan Cheatham and Lauren Smith sashayed down the aisle to Beyoncé's hit "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It") on Saturday at the International Church of Las Vegas.

SIGHTINGS

Tiger Woods, with a group in the private dining room Friday at Charlie Palmer Steak in the Four Seasons. In the main dining room: tennis star Lindsay Davenport. ... Actress Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat, with friends Friday at Rain (Palms). ... At Spago (Forum Shops at Caesars) on Saturday: cast members of "The Hangover," in town for a celebrity poker tournament at Caesars Palace. Among the group: Heather Graham, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha and Bradley Cooper. ... Crooner Tony Bennett, singing his greatest hits today at Sheldon Cloobeck's 76th birthday party at XS nightclub (Encore). Stephen and Chantal Cloobeck hosted the party for 100. ... Home run king Barry Bonds, having lunch Saturday at Simon at Palms Place. ... Shannon Elizabeth with boyfriend and "Dancing with the Stars" partner Derek Hough, having a cocktail Friday in Blush Boutique Nightclub (Wynn). ... At opening night of "The Lion King": cat lover Roy Horn, wearing a jacket featuring the face of a lion on the back.

THE PUNCH LINE

"I think all this publicity has gone to (Donald) Trump's head. Today he held a press conference and said some Burger King guy could keep his crown." -- Jay Leno

Norm Clarke can be reached at 383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com.

 

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