Vegas Weekender: Bring some Hakuna Matata to your Vegas trip

Derrick Williams as Mufasa in Disney's "The Lion King," at Mandalay Bay.

Derrick Williams as Mufasa in Disney's "The Lion King," at Mandalay Bay. Photo by Joan Marcus.

A little Hakuna Matata would be nice in everyone’s life. Not having to worry about bills, work and the pressures of life in general. You can escape reality for awhile with Disney’s “The Lion King” at Mandalay Bay. The movie was a hit in 1994 with not only children, but adults as well and 16 years later the stage production is intriguing audiences on the Las Vegas Strip.

“The Lion King,” which plays nightly except Fridays, has taken the film version a step further with new scenes and new music combined with the imagination of puppeteers who have created some of the most interesting puppets you have ever seen.

The powerful performance follows the original storyline, but with a human element that engulfs the feelings of the audience. By the time Simba takes his rightful place on Pride Rock, you will have gone through a roller coaster of emotions and you’ll leave the theater in awe of what you just witnessed.
The show runs at 7:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday and at 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets start at $66.


A weekend of rock music takes over the Hard Rock Hotel with Grammy Award-winning band Weezer on Friday and Buckcherry the following night. Weezer, whose hits include, “Buddy Holly,” “Say it Ain’t So” and “Beverly Hills,” makes their first trip to Las Vegas this year as part of their “Weezer Memories Tour.” The show kicks off at 8:30 p.m. and tickets are $41.

Buckcherry rolls into town Saturday with the Jagermeister Music Tour, which also features All That Remains, HellYeah, and The Damned Things. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $28.

Social Distortion takes over the stage at the House of Blues inside Mandalay Bay for three nights. The punk-rock band performs at 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday and at 7 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $37.50.

Drew Carey brings his “Improv-A-Ganza” to the MGM Grand where he will not only feature some of the nation’s top improvisation artists, but he will also be filming a yet-to-be-named TV show for the Game Show Network. The show runs twice nightly at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Tickets start at $58.90.

Grammy-winning singer Jon Secada comes to the Tropicana for three shows Thursday-Saturday.

Grammy-winning singer Jon Secada comes to the Tropicana for three shows Thursday-Saturday.

Jon Secada’s smooth, Latino voice will fill the Tiffany Theater inside the Tropicana for a three-night gig. The Grammy Award-winning singer’s hits include “Just Another Day,” and he has performed with legendary artists like Frank Sinatra. The shows start at 9:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and tickets start at $55.

The powerful voice of Gladys Knight comes to Buffalo Bill’s in Primm on Saturday. The iconic artist kicks off the show at 8 p.m. and tickets start at $46.70.

“Tonight Show,” host Jay Leno takes a break from his hit NBC show and gets back to his roots as a stand-up comedian at 10 p.m. Saturday at the Mirage. The show is part of the Mirage’s “Aces of Comedy” show, which features headlining comedians like Ray Romano, Kevin James and Ron White, all performing on different nights. Tickets start at $79.99.

Comedian Paula Poundstone brings her observational humor to the Orleans for a two-night engagement beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday. Poundstone was named to Comedy Central’s Top 100 list of greatest all-time stand-ups and has made numerous television appearances. Tickets for the show start at $22.

The band that brought reggae legend Bob Marley to the world, The Wailers, takes the stage at the House of Blues at 8 p.m. Sunday. The band’s hits include “War,” “Get Up, Stand Up,” and “Simmer Down,” and they are known to play some of Marley’s biggest solo hits as well. The show will also feature Tomorrows Bad Seeds, Duane Stephenson and One Pin Short. Tickets start at $28 for standing room only.

David Spade returns to the Venetian for a two-night engagement beginning at 9 p.m. Friday. The sarcastic comedian has made a home at the Venetian in a semi-residency that has him coming back almost monthly throughout the year. Spade is known for movies like “Tommy Boy,” along with his latest, “Grown Ups,” and was once a regular cast member of “Saturday Night Live.” Tickets for the show start at $85.75, while VIP tickets are $175.75 and allow guests to take part in a meet and greet after the show.


The hottest and newest nightclub in Vegas, Marquee, welcomes electronic-house DJs the EC Twins on Friday and international DJ Robbie Rivera on Saturday.

Marquee Nightclub, which is owned and operated by the same people who own Tao and Lavo, started things of on New Year’s Eve with the biggest party in town. Jay-Z and Kanye West both made appearances and even performed together to a packed house that came to count down to 2011. The club features three rooms with three different musical genres playing in each of them and will also have a pool club during the summer months. The club opens at 10:30 p.m. and the cover charge starts at $20.

Eve Nightclub inside Crystals at CityCenter welcomes Playboy model Andrea Lowell to celebrate her birthday party. Lowell is also a host from Playboy Radio on Sirius-XM along with fellow Playboy model, Brandie Moses, who will also be at Eve. The doors open at 10:30 p.m. and the cover charge starts at $20.

Cabo Wabo Cantina at Planet Hollywood will host a viewing party for “UFC Fight for the Troops” Jan. 22. The party will feature the long awaited bout between Evan Dunham and Melvin Guillard, broadcast live on numerous high-definition screens throughout the restaurant. The program starts at 6p.m. The event is free and open to the public.