Mandalay Bay is a 43-story luxury resort and casino at the south end of the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada. Mandalay Bay has a tropical South Seas theme and covers 120 acres. The resort also has an 1,800-seat theater, which has hosted several Broadway shows, including Chicago (1999–2000), Mamma Mia! (2003–2009), and The Lion King (2009–2011). Since 2013, the theater has hosted Michael Jackson: One.
Several additions opened in 2003, including the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, and a second hotel tower, THEhotel at Mandalay Bay. It has 1,117 rooms, and was renamed Delano Las Vegas in 2014. A shopping mall, Mandalay Place, was also added in 2003. Other features include a House of Blues club, the Shark Reef aquatic attraction, and an events center known as Michelob Ultra Arena.
The resort includes the 1,800-seat Michael Jackson: One Theatre, originally known as the Mandalay Bay Theatre. Among Las Vegas tourists, entertainment offerings became increasingly popular during the 1990s, in addition to gambling. Circus Circus Enterprises believed that Las Vegas had evolved enough to support a full-time Broadway show. A production of the classic Broadway musical Chicago debuted at Mandalay Bay's 1999 grand opening and ran for one year. Storm, an original production show featuring Latin music, weather effects, and aerialists, ran from April 2001 to July 2002.
Both Chicago and Storm failed to achieve wide success. Schaeffer acknowledged that the resort needed "a more forceful and exciting show", prompting the addition of the Broadway musical Mamma Mia! in February 2003. It had a successful run which ended in January 2009, after approximately 2,300 performances. It was replaced by another Broadway show, Disney's The Lion King, which ran from May 2009 to December 2011.
During that time, resort executives realized that the property needed an A-list show, as many guests would travel elsewhere to see live entertainment. In response, Mandalay Bay partnered with Cirque du Soleil to create Michael Jackson: One, which eventually opened in May 2013. It is a music production show featuring numerous songs by late singer Michael Jackson.