Category Archives: Las Vegas Shows

Vital Vegas Podcast, Ep. 36: “Xavier Mortimer’s Magical Dream,” Virgil’s Real BBQ, Hugo’s Cellar and More

It’s another girthy installment of the Las Vegas podcast earlier generations would’ve burned at the stake for being a witch. Or something.

In this episode, we gush over our latest favorite Las Vegas show, “Xavier Mortimer’s Magical Dream” at Planet Hollywood. We also wonder how this enchanting, imaginative show has managed to fly under the radar since it opened in July 2016.

We’re calling “Xavier Mortimer’s Magical Dream” one of our favorite things of the year, a show that’s part Cirque, part magic, part mentalism, part “How in the holy hell did he do that?”

Xavier Mortimer's Magical Dream

We welled up at the sheer creativity of “Xavier Mortimer’s Magical Dream.” And we don’t well. We are not a weller.

Naturally, we expel some juicy Vegas rumors, dive headlong into a perfunctory round-up of Sin City news and wrangle another “Listicle of the Week.”

We also provide a shower of pith about the just-opened Virgil’s Real BBQ at Linq promenade and our first visit to a Las Vegas institution, Hugo’s Cellar at Four Queens.

Hugo's Cellar

Remember when classy Vegas restaurants used to prepare salads table side? Neither do we. It’s one of the things that makes Hugo’s Cellar a stand-out.

Hike up your casino nerd pants and get some inside skinny from Rob Baker of Tre Builders, the guy coordinating all the upgrades at The D Las Vegas.

For all that and much, much less, put some Vegas in your ears, already.

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“Country Superstars” to Close at Hooters Las Vegas

In an all-too-familiar refrain, it’s been confirmed the “Country Superstars” tribute show at Hooters Las Vegas is closing.

The show will have its final performance at Hooters on Nov. 22, 2016. According to the show’s Web site, it opened at Hooters on Sep. 1, 2016.

Country Superstars

As country folks say, “If you can’t run with the big dogs, stay under the porch.” Whatever that might mean.

Entertainment writer Mike Weatherford of the Las Vegas Review-Journal was the first to catch wind of the untimely demise of “Country Superstars,” and we confirmed the closure with a Hooters rep.

“Country Superstars” promoted itself as a 70-minute show with tributes to some of the biggest names in country music, including Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw and Willie Nelson.

It originally opened on June 21, 2007 at Fitzgerald’s (now The D Las Vegas). Then it ran at Whiskey Pete’s in Primm, Golden Nugget, Planet Hollywood (V Theater) and Bally’s, before its short time at Hooters.

The departure of “Country Superstars” at Hooters brings our tally of Las Vegas shows that have closed in 2016 to a whopping 26.

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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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Coed Adult Show “53X” to Close at Paris Las Vegas

It’s a tough time to be a Las Vegas show. The coed adult show, “53X,” will close at Paris Las Vegas on Nov. 20, 2016.

“53X” joins a brutally long list of Las Vegas shows that have closed in 2016.

The good news is the closing of “53X” provides an excellent excuse to look at a photo of super hot people, several of whom could probably benefit from the eating of a sandwich.

53X at Paris closed

Even dramatic cost-cutting measures like not providing male performers with shirts couldn’t save “53X.”

It’s important to try and ferret out a reason “53x” closed, of course. (Props to Johnny Kats at the Las Vegas Review-Journal for the scoop.)

Could it be the kind of show? A topless revue, “Cherry Boom Boom” recently closed at Tropicana.

Was it the fact “53X” tried to appeal to both men and women? A coed strip club, Olympic Garden, and its show “Men of Olympic Garden,” recently closed downtown.

Perhaps it was the location of the show? “Jersey Boys” recently closed at Paris Las Vegas as well.

Could it be people aren’t thrilled about a show with numbers in the title? “One Epic Night” was dead on arrival at Plaza.

Could it be the name of the show itself? “53X” was inspired by how the word “SEX” appeared on early pager displays. “Spoofical” had a weird name, and that one closed at Planet Hollywood.

Oh, what are we doing? Those fanciful reasons aren’t it. There’s something all closed Las Vegas shows have in common: They don’t sell enough tickets. We probably should’ve just skipped to that part.

The world of Las Vegas shows has experienced a purge in 2016, so perhaps the bleeding will stop in 2017. Maybe Las Vegas shows will find some equilibrium, some balance and stability.

Which would be incredibly boring, but it could happen.

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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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