Category Archives: Las Vegas Shows

Days May Be Numbered for “Baz: Star Crossed Love” at Palazzo Las Vegas

It seems time is running out for “Baz: Star Crossed Love” at Palazzo Las Vegas. The show has been struggling mightily in its new location and indications are an announcement of the show’s demise could be coming soon.

Rumors of the plug being pulled on “Baz: Star Crossed Love” follow on the heels of casting shake-ups (one of the three performers in the production’s ads, below, is no longer in the show, and another recently announced her departure) and ticket sales barely able to fill a quarter of the theater’s capacity.

Baz Star Crossed Love

“Star crossed” describes a relationship “thwarted by outside forces.” Sort of fits, unfortunately.

Deeply discounted “Baz” tickets are making the rounds online, some as low as $44, which includes a cocktail. That’s a great value, but not a good sign for the health of the show.

Despite less-than-stellar ticket sales, “Baz: Star Crossed Love” has gotten mostly-glowing reviews. Sadly, in Las Vegas, even good shows can fail, especially when you figure in the costs of producing a show with a dozen cast members and a live band. (The recently-closed “Cherry Boom Boom” eliminated its live band to cut costs and still only survived six weeks.)

The show is described as a “celebration, a mash-up of music and moments from the greatest love stories imagined by famed director Baz Luhrmann.”

“Baz” has had a bumpy road in Las Vegas since it opened as “For the Record: Baz” inside the Light nightclub at Mandalay Bay in June 2015. It ended its run at Light two months later, in August 2015.

When “Baz” closed, its producers announced the show would relocate, and unlike many shows which make that claim, it actually did.

“Baz” got a second chance when it opened at the Palazzo Theater in July 2016. It looked like the show might just defy the odds.

Palazzo

The Palazzo has also played host to “Jersey Boys” and “Frank: The Man, The Music.” Now, not so much.

From what we hear, the future isn’t too sunny for “Baz: Star Crossed Love.” It’s unclear when the show will close, or when the announcement will be made.

We hope the rumors are untrue, of course, and we do not want another addition to our list of Las Vegas Shows That Have Closed in 2016. “Baz” has many devotees who suggest it’s the last of its kind on the Las Vegas Strip, a welcome departure from diva-driven concerts, lounge acts and topless revues.

You’ll hear more when we know more, but we suggest you give “Baz” some love while you still can.

Update (1/1/17): A reliable source says “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” will replace “Baz.” No official announcement has been made.

Update (1/1/17): In an official statement, a PR rep says, “‘Baz’ is not closing and is actually going from five to six days a week starting Sunday, January 29. ‘Beautiful – The Carole King Musical’ is not coming to The Venetian and The Palazzo.”

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“Cherry Boom Boom” Closes After Six Weeks at Tropicana

The “Tropicana Curse” is apparently alive and well, as the over-hyped “Cherry Boom Boom” has closed after a six week run.

The topless revue, which described itself as “awe-inspiring, immersive, engaging and interactive,” opened Sep. 12, 2016 and closed on Oct. 26, 2016.

Cherry Boom Boom

“Cherry Boom Boom” featured the classic story of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, girl meets feathers.

“Cherry Boom Boom” suffered from an all-too-common affliction in Las Vegas entertainment, high costs and disappointing ticket sales. Read more.

The closing of “Cherry Boom Boom” brings our number of Las Vegas Shows That Have Closed in 2016 (Or Will) to a jarring 23.

Cherry Boom Boom

We would personally be willing to volunteer our time to do these exit interviews.

The official Twitter account of “Cherry Boom Boom” claims the show is “in transition, but not over.” Granted, Las Vegas was built on optimism, but you know better than to hold your breath on that one.

“Cherry Boom Boom” wasn’t a bad show. The dancers were talented, and the choreography and production values were solid. The biggest disconnect came from the fact that although it was a topless revue, the toplessness was the least appealing part of the show. That’s the last thing we ever expected us to say, trust us.

Cherry Boom Boom

Don’t get us started about the show’s pointless “comedia del arte” actors.

Similar shows like “X Burlesque” at Flamingo and “Fantasy” at Luxor have endured for years on The Strip, but the secret sauce for success is elusive, and the adage “sex sells” doesn’t always prove to be true in such a competitive market.

We trust the talented dancers in “Cherry Boom Boom” will all find new gigs, and we’ll be curious to see how Tropicana’s next effort, “Band of Magicians,” fares. By that, of course, we mean, “We know how it’s likely to fare, but we’re trying to not be a buzzkill all the time.”

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“Love” at Mirage Opens Up Rehearsals to Boost Ticket Sales

Cirque du Soleil shows have dominated the entertainment scene in Las Vegas for such a long time, it’s easy to forget they actually require marketing to fill seats.

Recently, “Mystere” at Treasure Island (rumored to be struggling, and some suggest its
time on The Strip may be coming to an end, but a PR rep for the show says the show “will not be coming to an end anytime in the foreseeable future”) began allowing guests to attend rehearsals.

We loved our visit, and there’s no denying Cirque has an eye for some of the most talented
performers and athletes in the world.

Mystere Las Vegas

“Mystere,” without its makeup on.

Similarly, “Ka” at MGM Grand has experimented with giving guests behind-the-scenes access
with a weekly open house.

Again, it’s an incredible opportunity to see the work and talent that goes into these
unforgettable shows.

Granted, it’s a little difficult to remember which Cirque show is which, but we’ve got you covered.

Ka theater

We could sort of just sit and look at the “Ka” theater itself for an hour and feel entertained.

Now, “Love” at Mirage is following suit. “Love” will let guests get a free peek at
rehearsals starting Oct. 14, 2016. The rehearsals are open to guests of all ages.

Open rehearsals will happen each Friday, 4:15 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. and Sundays, 3:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Beatles Love Mirage

“Love.” Rumored to be all you need.

The show notes these open rehearsals are subject to cancellation, and it’s recommended
guests call the show’s box office (702.792.7735) to confirm they’re happening on a given
day.

We love the idea of giving guests a glimpse into the weird, wonderful world that is Cirque. Open houses and rehearsals help raise awareness about the shows, and in turn, increased ticket sales shore up the bottom line. That’s especially important now that so many of the expensive production shows in Las Vegas are receiving scrutiny about their profitability, and several have closed because of soft ticket sales.

In a fun twist, Cirque’s most brilliant marketing move yet may have been to use some kind of mind control on the Venetian, a competing resort just across the street from the Mirage, to help advertise “Love.” The Venetian recently installed a massive “Love” statue by artist Laura Kimpton in its atrium area. The “Love” art installation was previously on display at the Life is Beautiful music festival.

Love statue Venetian

We are not making this up. Genius!

So, check out the open rehearsals at “Love.”

More fun, free things to do in Las Vegas? We’ll drink to that! Technically, we’ll drink to just about anything, but let’s not get bogged down in details.

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All the Las Vegas Shows That Have Closed in 2016 (Or Will)

With the announcement “Rock of Ages” at Rio Las Vegas will close, we’re reminded once again how brutal 2016 has been for Las Vegas shows.

Jubilee Las Vegas showgirl

“Jubilee” was the last classic showgirl production in Las Vegas. It closed in February 2016 and put tens of thousands of rhinestones out of work.

To help keep track of the ongoing carnage, we figured it was time to compile a list of all the Las
Vegas shows that have either closed, or will close, in 2016.

1. “Jersey Boys” at Paris
2. “Puppet Up” at Venetian
3. Paul Zerdin’s “Mouthing Off” at Planet Hollywood
4. Dirk Arthur’s “Wild Magic” at Westgate
5. “Jubilee” at Bally’s Las Vegas
6. Frankie Moreno’s “Under the Influence” at Planet Hollywood
7. “Zarkana” at Aria
8. Matt Goss at Caesars Palace
9. “Raiding the Rock Vault” at Tropicana
10. Jan Rouven’s “Illusions” at Tropicana (long story)
11. “Twisted Vegas” at Westgate
12. The Improv at Harrah’s
13. “Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding” at Bally’s Las Vegas
14. Zowie Bowie at Downtown Grand
15. “One Epic Night” at The Plaza
16. “Yes, You Can’t” at El Cortez
17. “Spoofical the Musical” at Planet Hollywood
18. Michael Monge at Encore
19. “Cherry Boom Boom” at Tropicana
20. “53X” at Paris Las Vegas
21. “Band of Magicians” at Tropicana
22. “Country Superstars” at Hooters Las Vegas
23. Gordie Brown at Golden Nugget
24. “Everybody: The Boy Band Review” at Planet Hollywood
25. “Million Dollar Quartet” at Harrah’s
26. “Shotspeare” at Planet Hollywood
27. “Men of Steele” at Tommy Wind Theater
28. “Showstoppers” at Wynn
29. “Rock of Ages” at Rio Las Vegas
30. “Clint Holmes: Between the Lines” at Palazzo

Alarming, isn’t it?

Based upon our nearly 10 minutes of Captain Morgan-fueled research, we’ve concluded 2016 has had the most shows close in the history of Las Vegas!

Las Vegas shows Jersey Boys

“Jersey Boys” was a great show, but in Vegas, everything runs its course.

In the world of Las Vegas shows, only the strong survive.

The good news is each closed show also represents another new entertainment offerings in the works. (Except in the case of “Zarkana,” where meeting space is the only thing in works. Sad trombone.)

Twisted Vegas

“Twisted Vegas” closed after just 70 performances at Westgate, or approximately 65 too many.

If we’ve forgotten anything, please let us know. We’ll update our list of “All the Las Vegas Shows That Have Closed in 2016 (or Will)” if there are any more casualties.

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Freedom Beat Restaurant Opens at Downtown Grand

Freedom Beat has opened at Downtown Grand, offering a shiny new menu with American favorites, live entertainment and an energetic vibe that could inject some new life
into the three-year-old resort.

Freedom Beat Downtown Grand

Freedom Beat was designed by Bunnyfish Studio, the company that also did Eat, Perch, Carson Kitchen (still no Captain Morgan, so suck it) and Nacho Daddy, among many others.

Freedom Beat replaces the casino’s original cafe, Stewart + Ogden, utilizing that restaurant’s space and more. Freedom Beat also incorporates part of another closed venue, Red Mansion.

Freedom Beat Downtown Grand

Unforgiving seats in this section for the Millennials, booths with cushioned seats for the rest of us.

Freedom Beat will operate 24/7, and the plan is to have a variety of artists perform in the space.

Music was front-and-center during our visit. We’re pretty much of the mind that the world is divided into two groups: Those who love live music in restaurants and those who don’t. We tend to be in the latter group, as we like our music as an undercard as opposed to the main event.

Yes, we made a sports analogy. Don’t freak out.

Here’s a walk-through of Freedom Beat.

We are as impressed with our videography as you are, especially since most restaurants discourage indoor droning.

But enough about us. What’s up at Freedom Beat? Well, for starters, we love the decor. It has a rock ‘n’ roll vibe, with guitar cases built into the booths and artwork fashioned from vinyl records. You remember those, right? They were a thing.

Freedom Beat Downtown Grand

A thing of beauty, but that paint is going to wreck your stereo needle.

Freedom Beat is a collaboration between Downtown Grand and 34th Floor Hospitality Group, the same folks who revamped the hotel’s Citrus pool deck with very pleasing results.

The restaurant’s menu was developed by Chef Scott Commings, a name that might sound familiar because he won season 12 of “Hell’s Kitchen.”

Here’s a look at the menu.

Freedom Beat Menu

Breakfast anytime, apps, sandwiches, salads and desserts. The prices don’t scream a locals play, but aren’t bad given there’s live music.

While you look adorable squinting, for a version of the menu you can actually read, click here.

We haven’t tried the food at Freedom Beat yet, but it looked tempting on its way to customers, and we did try a signature cocktail. You know us so well.

The Bathtub Gin Daisy is a bone fide panty-dropper. All the cocktails run $12, and we expect to try them all over time. And by “over time,” of course, we mean our next visit.

Freedom Beat cocktail

Panties, consider yourself dropped.

Freedom Beat also has regional boilermakers, craft beers and a healthy selection of wine.

Overall, Freedom Beat is a huge leap forward from the previous restaurant, and there’s a lot to like about the joint. If loud, live music isn’t your thing, just plan to dine when there’s no entertainment scheduled.

Freedom Beat bar

In music, a “bar” is a segment of time corresponding to a specific number of “beats.” Freedom Beat has thought of everything!

We’re interested to see how live music is received in the casino floor, and how much of the ambient casino noise bleeds into the performance space. We’re also curious whether Freedom Beat will cannibalize business from Triple George Grill, just across the street, as it also serves American fare.

Now that Freedom Beat is open, we understand The Commissary at Downtown Grand will be put out of its misery, although that hasn’t been announced yet.

Freedom Beat private room

We’re a big fan of this smaller, quieter dining room area. The screen door wasn’t even installed yet.

Props to Downtown Grand for changing things up and striving to attract a younger crowd (an ongoing effort exemplified by the eSports lounge on its casino floor).

Let us know what you think of Downtown Grand’s new restaurant, Freedom Beat.

Freedom Beat at Downtown Grand

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“Million Dollar Quartet” to Close at Harrah’s Las Vegas

Oof, it’s been a really rough year for Las Vegas shows. Now, another long-running show on The Strip is closing, “Million Dollar Quartet” shutters Dec. 4, 2016.

Million Dollar Quartet

The original cast of the Las Vegas production of “Million Dollar Quartet” at a media preview. They rocked it.

The list of Las Vegas shows that have closed, or will, in 2016 include: “Jersey Boys” at Paris, “Showstoppers” at Wynn Las Vegas, “Puppet Up” at Venetian, Paul Zerdin at Planet Hollywood, Dirk Arthur at Westgate, “Jubilee” at Bally’s, Frankie Moreno at Planet Hollywood, “Zarkana” at Aria, Matt Goss at Caesars Palace, “Raiding the Rock Vault” at Tropicana, “Twisted Vegas” at Westgate and “Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding” at Bally’s.

And that’s not even the entire list. We’re drunk.

Million Dollar Quartet

Even the show’s ice sculpture on opening night was sort of awesome.

“Million Dollar Quartet” is easily one of the best musicals on The Strip, and is one of the rare shows where performers sing without backing tracks. They also play their own instruments. You know, talent, it’s a thing.

The show made its debut at Harrah’s Las Vegas in February 2013. We were there, of course.

Million Dollar Quartet

We’d tell you the cast member’s names, but we are a Las Vegas blog, not a note-taker.

Sadly, “Million Dollar Quartet” has run its course. There’s no word yet as to what might replace it.

The closing date of Dec. 4 wasn’t chosen at random, by the way. The date marks the 60th anniversary of the night that inspired “Million Dollar Quartet.” On December 4, 1956, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash got together for a jam session at Sun Record Studios in Memphis.

Million Dollar Quartet

“Million Dollar Quartet” was one of the best shows ever mounted on the Las Vegas Strip.

While the future of production shows on The Strip seems to be in question, there’s no doubt “Million Dollar Quartet” was a success (with more than 1,500 performances), and will be fondly remembered for its charismatic cast, top-notch performances and that time the lead actress adjusted herself on the red carpet.

Million Dollar Quartet

There’s a fairly good chance this is going to get us unfriended on Facebook. We love you, anyway, Felice!

We recommend you see “Million Dollar Quartet” while you can! Find out more at the official site.

 

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