If while you’re feasting on your bird of choice this weekend your thoughts turn to the veldt, and thenceforth to The Lion King, we advise you to get your speed dial up and running, since if the lines outside the Colonial Theatre last week were any indication, next summer’s arrival of the Tony-devouring Broadway blockbuster, which will christen the newly restored Opera House, is already one of 2004’s hottest tickets. Now in its seventh sold-out year on Broadway, The Lion King — adapted for the stage by Roger Allers, who co-directed the Disney animated film, and famous equally for its Tim Rice/Elton John score and for its fantasmic costume design by Julie Taymor, who also collected the world’s first directorial Tony for a woman — brings Simba and his pride to town beginning July 16 for what we’re hearing is a projected run of at least eight months. Tickets are $22.50 to $87.50; call (617) 931-2787. Then again, if you prefer your Lion chilled — with a side of The Jungle Book and Tarzan — you can still grab tickets to the Disney on Ice Safari that’s hitting the FleetCenter this December 26 through 29. Tickets are $12 to $42; call (617) 931-2000.
First Night: first look
Boston’s First Night is the oldest such arts celebration in the country, and it just keeps getting hipper. Among the things we’re already looking forward to this New Year’s Eve: a Japanese anime festival at the Hynes Convention Center; a program of performances caught on video in local clubs between 1978 and 1982, including never-before-seen sets by Mission of Burma, the Cure, the Buzzcocks, and the Lyres, as part of "Flippin’ the Lid: Live Rock Music in Boston 25 Years Ago"; some actual live, rootsy rock from Josh Ritter and the Pernice Brothers, at the Orpheum; a couple of sets by our favorite purveyor of music ostensibly for children, Elizabeth Mitchell, who’s better known to indie kids as one-fourth of the Brooklyn neo-folkie group Ida; a comedy showcase headlined by local legend Tony V; and a typically vast cross-section of performing and visual-arts expos, including the traditional ice sculpture on the Boston Common Parade Ground — augmented this year with selections from the recent "Between Rock and an Art Place" exhibits showcasing art by musicians. The $15 First Night button gets you into everything. For a complete rundown, visit www.firstnight.org, or call (617) 542-1399.
A merry FNX-mas
Our corporate sister, radio station WFNX, gets its holiday on at the Paradise December 9 with an "Alternativity" pageant that’ll have beard-scratching wise men fleeing for their lives. Dance-punk and garage-rock fiends, however, are in for a treat. Before house-rocking production geniuses the DFA turned the Rapture inside out, they did the same for Brooklynites Radio 4, who’ll raise the roof with sweaty Gang of Four–inspired scrape, wriggle, and jive. They’ll headline a bill with Basement Jaxxy house-music hooligans Audio Bullys, Gang War–covering NYC garageniks the Star Spangles, local art-pop sensations Apollo Sunshine, and more. The Paradise is at 967 Commonwealth Avenue; tickets are $15, $10 in advance — and they’re going fast, so call (617) 423-NEXT.
Legacy of Brutality
Taking over any job once held by Rikki Rachtman could have been plenty embarrassing — especially if, like Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta, you happen to be the leader of metalcore’s reigning underground-turned-major-label sensation. But as host of MTV’s Headbangers Ball, Jasta is fortunate to have taken over a show that has recommitted itself to music as loud and destructive as his own. Hatebreed’s new The Rise of Brutality, just out on Stillborn/Universal, brings the band back from the Pantera-ish metal edges and into the bracing, vintage-hardcore fold. And they’ve put together a raging "Stillborn Fest" that they’ll headline, with sets from New York hardcore legends Agnostic Front, Sick of It All, and Madball plus nine more up-and-comers including Cannae, Stretch Armstrong, and Sworn Enemy. That’s December 27 at the Palladium, 261 Main Street in Worcester. It’s all-ages, and tickets are $20; call (800) 477-6849.