Curtain to Fall On Tropicana’s “Band of Magicians”

We knew “Band of Magicians” wouldn’t last long at Tropicana, but we didn’t think it would only last three weeks.

The doomed show, billed as featuring the “world’s first magic supergroup,” is about to do a vanishing act after becoming yet another victim of the Tropicana Curse.

Band of Magicians

In this illusion, the performers predicted what audience members would say. We predicted “Band of Magicians” would close by the end of 2016. Voila?

According to Johnny Kats at the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the four members of the “Band of Magicians” cast have already been notified the show will be going dark.

We anticipate an official announcement will be forthcoming soon, including something about the show seeking another venue in Las Vegas. Because for failed Las Vegas shows, that’s the law.

While “Band of Magicians” was almost entirely forgettable, it did have strengths. The performers are technically talented magicians, and extremely likable and funny.

Band of Magicians

If “Band of Magicians” was on your bucket list, we have some bad news.

The show, though, largely featured close-up magic projected on screens. “Band of Magicians” lacked the spectacle Las Vegas visitors have come to expect from performers like David Copperfield and Criss Angel.

Penn & Teller at Rio and Mac King at Harrah’s have made the most of patter and charm, but they’ve been at this awhile, and it’s not easy.

Band of Magicians

If we wanted to watch magic on a screen, we’d buy video of a Doug Henning special on Ebay. Oh, just move on, millennials.

The economics of producing a Las Vegas show were also in effect at Tropicana. Despite “Band of Magicians” being produced on a shoestring budget, union and other costs meant the show had to sell a substantial number of tickets to survive.

We wish all the “Band of Magicians” performers well in their future endeavors, of course. No one wants to be added to our list of Las Vegas shows that have closed in 2016. “Band of Magicians” brings our running total to a jaw-dropping 25.

Band of Magicians

Given they’re young, attractive and talented, we suspect they’ll land on their feet. Bastards.

We’re thinking 25 closed Las Vegas shows in a year is plenty. We need a moment to catch our breath.

In Vegas, though, only the strong survive. “The Purge” means stronger shows, with solid marketing, have a better shot at the limited pool of show-goers. It’s painful to see the herd thinned, but the survivors have a better chance of success.

What’s worked in the past in Vegas—played-out magic, cheesy lounge acts and topless revues—seem to be fading away. Big name residencies are killing it. We can’t wait to see what’s next.

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  • Dan Yost

    So we’ve had a topless show go bust in six weeks and a magic show will vanish in three; do the producers have no stomach to give a show anytime to grow, evolve, and gain traction though word-of-mouth?

    It seems like a show has to be a smash from day one, or have the backing of the right people, to even have a chance to make it a couple months. I just don’t get the logic behind putting the resources (and belief) into producing the show, but not giving it any real time to work out. If you have no real conviction that it will work, why even begin to produce it?

    Best example; that “Duck Dynasty” show that went up at the Rio. I never read from or talked to a single person that thought it would work, but it still got made and proved everyone right… by bombing. Who are the people putting the money behind these things, but not really seeing them all the way out? If it’s going to suck or you don’t have a real conviction about it, don’t do it. If you think it has a chance, give it a (legitimate) chance.

    • FYMYAWF

      Very good point. I think lack of backing is one problem, and the other is a complete lack of imagination. Who’s thinking up these things? Frickin’ Duck Dynasty gets a real, live stage in the entertainment capital of the Earth?

      How many played out magic, topless, and “retro” shows need to fail before Vegas show producers hire someone with an original idea?

      Hey Vegas, here’s a hint – NOBODY WANTS TO SEE THOSE SHOWS ANYMORE. You’re welcome.

  • Photoncounter

    Over the past year I’ve seen the comment made several times about the costs of production due to the local Unions being involved. Yeah, they have a solid lock on the strip but maybe there could be some concession here? Nobody is getting paid if the show is cancelled.

  • George Dixon

    the costumes are so annoying (the little hipster cuffed skinny pants and silly hats) that the show deserves to close just based on that…

  • mkhnks

    How about a Doug Henning residency? Whatever happened to that guy? (Update: Wikipedia tells me he died in 2000. I had no idea.)

    I get that residencies with bit stars are money in the bank. I’m not a fan of Celine, but she has a huge following. I get that. Classics like Elton John or Rod Stewart? Makes sense. Younger skewing acts that had a string of hits, like Brittney and Jennifer Lopen? Sure thing.

    It seems like everybody wants a residency to drive traffic these days rather than find a new show to fill a showroom void. Like everything else, if it works for one, plenty of others will try to replicate the formula and reap the same success.

    I am a bit puzzled by the announcement that Ricky Martin is going to have a residency. I realize he has a healthy international career, but his time in America was a relative flash in the pan. Is there really a tourist clientele clamoring for his act? If so, somebody call Snow or Jimmy Ray!

    • Bouldersteve

      A residency with a music act that has low production costs makes sense. There are lots of bands that may not be on top of the charts now but still have a loyal following that would work well and not be that expensive to book

    • Alex

      I think you’re underestimating both Ricky Martin’s popularity and the importance of Spanish in the United States. Although his last two albums were in Spanish, they debuted at #3 and #20 in the Billboard 200 chart.
      In the US, there are roughly 45 million people who speak Spanish as a first or second language. Lots of those people are within driving distance of Las Vegas.

      • mkhnks

        Not underestimating either.

        Good info on his career.