Category Archives: Las Vegas Shows

Barry Manilow Reportedly Set for Westgate Residency

Barry Manilow, a singer and songwriter with more hits than a defective Top Dollar slot machine, could be headed back to Las Vegas for a residency, this time at Westgate.

A tipster says Manilow could begin his next run in Las Vegas in April 2018.

Barry Manilow

Hey, he earned that money, he can spend it any way he wants.

Barry Manilow’s last residency in Vegas was a two-year stint at Paris. That’s where we saw his show, and it was great, with one sing-along favorite after another.

Should Manilow return to Westgate as rumored, it would be familiar territory for the 74-year-old pop music legend. He performed there from 2005-2010, back when the resort was the Las Vegas Hilton.

It’s likely Manilow struck a sweet financial deal with Westgate, but a residency’s a win-win. While Manilow’s deep catalogue of hits has multi-generational appeal, he tends to draw audiences who are the perfect demographic for a casino―a more mature customer with ample disposable income.

Barry Manilow Oscar Goodman

Former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman and Barry Manilow at some kind of thing back in 2010. We are a better photographer than we are a rememberer.

While there’s been no official announcement of the deal with Westgate, Manilow’s team and Westgate executives have left lots of clues about the residency. Manilow’s husband and manager, Garry Kief, hasn’t been shy about sharing Las Vegas visits in social media, and Westgate reps were spotted at a Manilow show in California in August.

Barry Manilow is a great fit for Las Vegas and Westgate, and the city should welcome him back with open arms.

Manilow has a reputation for being a genuinely nice person, unaffected by fame and decades on the charts.

You can keep Mariah, we’ll take Manilow any day.

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Rumor Has It Britney Spears Moving to MGM Resorts Venue After Planet Hollywood Run

It sounds like Britney Spears isn’t done with Las Vegas after all.

We’re hearing the lip-syncing diva will jump ship at Planet Hollywood at the end of 2017 and start another residency at a competing resort within the MGM Resorts family.

Spears’ residency at Planet Hollywood has been one of the most financially successful in Las Vegas history, generating more than $130 million in ticket sales.

Britney Spears

We’ll admit our favorite Britney song is “Toxic” when you admit you only visit this blog for the photo captions.

Spears announced back in April 2017 that her run at Planet Hollywood would end on New Year’s Eve.

At the time, Spears’ manager said the show “may continue, conceivably anywhere.”

That “anywhere” appears to be a casino in the MGM Resorts realm. The most likely candidate seems to be the Park Theater at Monte Carlo.

Monte Carlo is transitioning into Park MGM, and a Britney Spears residency would certainly be a boost for the re-imagined resort.

In an article on Forbes.com, the writer suggested, “If she wanted to stay where she currently is, Britney could probably start a bidding war between the other major players on the strip to see who gets to house her next.”

It seems that bidding war may have already happened, and MGM Resorts reportedly prevailed.

Time will tell. Which is Vital Vegas for, “We’re not betting the farm on this one, but only because we don’t especially own a farm.”

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“Purple Reign” Closes at Westgate, Dirk Arthur Returns

A popular Prince tribute show, “Purple Reign,” has closed abruptly at Westgate Las Vegas.

The show, which has performed at various Las Vegas hotels for decades, stars Jason Tenner. It’s easily one of the best tribute shows in Vegas.

Purple Reign

One of the show’s claims to fame is “Purple Reign” was the first tribute act to appear as a musical guest on “Late Show With David Letterman.”

The show will open again at Tropicana on Nov. 1, 2017.

As “Purple Reign” departs Westgate, longtime Las Vegas magician Dirk Arthur is making a return to the resort.

Dirk Arthur

You know, just Dirk Arthur taking a stroll with his kitty around the pool. It’s Vegas, baby.

Arthur’s show opens Nov. 15, 2017, and this time around he’ll attempt to sidestep criticism of his exotic cat show by keeping the inclusion of animals to a minimum.

Arthur’s show will still feature a bobcat, snow leopard and birds.

We know Dirk Arthur, and have found him to be compassionate when it comes to his animals, but shows with big cats are a tough sell in Vegas these days.

Details about Arthur’s new show are slim at the moment, but there’s sure to be more information soon on Westgate’s Web site.

 

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“Circus 1903” at Paris is Family-Friendly Spectacle With Thrills and Laughs Galore

“Circus 1903” at Paris Las Vegas is the newest show to open on the Las Vegas Strip, and it’s full of family-friendly variety acts, belly laughs and mesmerizing elephant puppetry.

In fact, the show’s so good, you might say it’s “Absinthe,” but without the dirty jokes. Given “Absinthe” is one of the best shows in Las Vegas, that’s saying something.

Circus 1903

Something you need to know about early circuses is they were intense. We’ll wait. (Thanks to “Circus 1903” for all the pics, by the way.)

The anchor of “Circus 1903” is its host and ringmaster, Willy Whipsnade, played to perfection by David Williamson. Williamson commands the stage, and his whip-smart jokes are the perfect through line for the show.

Williamson masterfully creates the old-timey circus vibe, while occasionally winking to the audience with references to iPhones and current pop culture accompanied with the aside, “Which wasn’t a thing in 1903.”

Williamson not only cues up each variety act, he also supplies ample comic relief while interacting with kids from the audience for several segments of the show. The humor is never corny or strained. It’s spot on throughout the evening, and provides a great contrast to the thrills in the show.

And thrills there are.

Circus 1903

No circus would be complete without a high-wire. Previously, it was just a wire, but recreational marijuana is now legal in Las Vegas.

Good circus-style variety acts are hard to come by. The popularity of circuses has flagged in recent years because audiences have so many more entertainment options, many involving CGI.

But “Circus 1903” has pulled together a diverse collection of acts, each with a distinct personality.

Right out of the gate, audiences are left breathless thanks to The Flying Finns, Artur Ivankovich, Ilya Kotenyov and Petter Linsky. As you might have guessed, they’re not from around here.

These three fearless performers from Finland are masters of the teeterboard, and soar above the stage at Paris untethered and without a net.

Circus 1903

The technical term is “Sproing!” Well, that’s our word for it.

The Flying Finns are followed by an equally dazzling performer, The Sensational Sozonov, with a “rola bola” act.

A rola bola is a balancing board set atop a variety of things its impossible to balance upon. The Paris Theater may need to reinforce its seats because we were on the edge of ours the whole time The Sensational Sozonov was atop his pillar of OMFG. (Probably not its official name.)

Circus 1903

We didn’t entirely know equilibristics were a thing until this very minute. Oh, like you did.

The variety acts come fast and furious, some gripping (Los Lopez on the high-wire), some awkwardly entertaining (contortionist Senayet Assefa Amara), some whimsical (acrobatic cyclist Florian Blummel) and some just downright impressive (juggler Francois Borie).

Circus 1903

Our pal Jeff Civillico seems to be on a bit of a hiatus from performing on The Strip, so “Circus 1903” gave us our juggling fix.

The final act, Les Incredibles (Anny Laplante and Andrei Kalesnikau), was a show-stopper.

Essentially, a petite woman is lofted into the air repeatedly, with each catch more heart-stopping than the last. The “human trapeze,” or Russian cradle, has a long history with the circus which we do not have time to look up because we are drinking heavily as we write this.

The couple previously performed in Cirque Du Soleil’s touring show, “Corteo.”

Circus 1903

We did find out the woman being tossed is called the “flyer,” her partner is called the “catcher” or “caster.”

These two made quite a splash on “America’s Got Talent.” Here’s a look at why this couple (yes, they’re a married couple) has such massive chiropractor bills.

Not all the acts in the program appeared in the show we saw (arialist Lucky Moon and acrobats Fratelli Rossi took the night off), so presumably the performers can be swapped out without the quality of the show suffering.

In addition to the comedy and variety acts, the big draw of “Circus 1903” is the life-size, lifelike pair of elephants, Queenie and Karanga (or Peanut).

Circus 1903

Karanga means “peanut” in Swahili. Yes, we sometimes take notes.

The adult elephant takes three puppeteers to operate, and the smaller takes one. In the program, credit is given to the three Queenie puppeteers as operating her “Head,” “Heart” and “Hind.”

Imagine having “Puppeteer, Elephant Hind” on your resume.

Circus 1903

It took awhile, but circuses finally figured out you don’t need to make animals do tricks to have a good time.

The movements of the elephants are majestic and uncannily realistic, brought to life by the same folks who made the stage version of “War Horse” a hit. Here’s a look at these remarkable creations.

“Circus 1903” is a lavish production, and the Paris Theater, formerly home to “Jersey Boys,” feels like a great fit.

The production feels like a fine fit for Las Vegas overall, as the visual nature of the show lends itself to appealing to international visitors. That’s why Cirque du Soleil is so popular in Sin City, by the way. You don’t have to understand English to enjoy the eye-popping visuals, and there’s no plot to follow.

“Circus 1903” cleverly side-steps a couple of potential pitfalls. Since there are no live animals, there are no protests. Also, the show’s music is pre-recorded, so it’s saving big bucks by not having to pay for union musicians.

“Circus 1903” is scheduled to be at Paris Las Vegas through Dec. 31, 2017, although we trust there’s an option to extend if the show does well.

Circus 1903

All the performers in “Circus 1903” bend over backwards to entertain audiences. Hey, you try writing a million photo captions.

Tickets start at $49, and the show is suitable for all ages. The show is at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, with two shows on Saturday and Sunday, 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. (dark on Mondays).

If you take in “Circus 1903” at Paris, let us know what you think. And give Peanut a big, wet kiss on the trunk for us. Which, for once, isn’t a euphemism for anything.

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Vital Vegas Podcast, Ep. 58: Inside Carrot Top

Scott Thompson, better known as Carrot Top, is one of the most successful comedians in the history of Las Vegas residencies.

His began his stint at Luxor back in 2005, and the comic continues to pack them in.

We’ve got an exclusive interview with Carrot Top in this hastily slapped-together episode. Thompson talks intimately about fame, haters and his hilarious show on the Las Vegas Strip.

Carrot Top

Carrot Top’s show at Luxor was recently extended through 2020.

Rounding out this week’s episode is a listicle of useless gambling terms and all the Las Vegas news we could put together in under five minutes, including myriad announcements of Las Vegas casinos investing bajillions in renovations.

Take a listen as we celebrate passing 200,000 downloads, despite lackluster reviews, horrible production values and misguided modesty like you wouldn’t believe.

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“The Miss Behave Game Show” is a Bawdy, Boisterous Bash at Bally’s Las Vegas

A new show, “The Miss Behave Game Show,” has opened at Bally’s Las Vegas, and it’s an offbeat, rowdy, irreverent evening of interactive entertainment on the Las Vegas Strip.

Miss Behave Game Show at Bally's

We probably should’ve said “Spoiler alert.”

The “Miss Behave Game Show” production is a relatively modest endeavor, with a streamlined cast of four and a no-frills set, mainly comprised of Sharpie scrawls on pieces of cardboard.

Miss Behave Game Show

We are not making this up. The entire set cost upwards of $14.

What the show lacks in Las Vegas spectacle it more than makes up for in originality, audaciousness and audience enthusiasm.

The show takes place in a little-known space at Bally’s, the recently-converted Back Room, adjacent to the casino’s Indigo Lounge. The discreet entrance is in the walkway to BLT Steakhouse, just across from Tequila Taqueria Bar & Grill.

Upon entry to the theater space, guests are split into two halves, depending upon what kind of smartphone they use. At the performance we attended, it was “iPhones” and “Everybody Else.” (Technically, the “Others.”)

Miss Behave Game Show

There’s a 90% chance you’re one of those “I don’t do audience participation” people. There’s also a 90% chance you’ll get over yourself at “The Miss Behave Game Show.”

That audience split sets the stage for a game show-inspired format where the groups complete in dozens of cleverly-themed “rounds,” vying for the most points and bragging rights.

“The Miss Behave Game Show” is hosted by a character named (wait for it) Miss Behave, played by multi-talented comedian Amy Saunders.

Saunders is brash, brilliant at improv and manages to keep the often raucous proceedings on course.

Saunders’ silent sidekick and assistant (at left, below), Tiffany, is played by Bret Pfister.

Miss Behave Game Show

Now, you don’t even have to attend to be part of the show. Careful, though, if you text this number, yours is likely to appear on a screen everyone at the show can see.

The show seems to have a large gay following (longtime Strip female impersonator Frank Marino was in the audience during our visit), due in no small part to the charismatic flair and flirtation of Pfister.

Miss Behave Game Show Bally's

We’re sitting down and we just herniated something.

While the production is a showcase for the talents of Amy Saunders, there are two stand-alone variety acts thrown into the mix to shake things up.

First, there’s Marawa the Amazing (real name, Marawa Wamp).

Her few minutes onstage don’t do her hula hoop wizardry justice, but that’s why Al Gore invented the Internet.

Miss Behave Game Show Bally's

Wamp holds the world record for keeping 200 hula hoops aloft at once. Her site says she currently holds eight world records.

Another amusing, bewildering diversion in the show is billed as the Evil Hate Monkey.

The hirsute Evil Hate Monkey is part ballerino and part stripper. It’s impossible to describe, so we won’t even try.

One of the most remarkable feats on the “Miss Behave” stage is when the tutu-wearing Evil Hate Monkey repeatedly jumps up and down “en pointe,” like it’s no big deal. It’s a throw-away sequence that shows the depth of the talent in this deceptively frivolous show.

Miss Behave Evil Hate Monkey

So much WTF, so little time.

The laughs come fast-and-furious in “The Miss Behave Game Show,” and the sheer number of “rounds” means even if one falls flat, there are other killer segments to come.

Part of the fun of the show is the fact there are no “rules,” per se. At various times, audience members just shout out requests for more points, and Miss Behave often grants their requests. Get greedy, though, and she’ll take points away.

Rounds include themes like “The Laid Lottery” (audience members stand, and sit based upon how long it’s been since they’ve had sex), “You’re So Vain, You Probably Think This Selfie’s About You” (audience members take selfies and text them to a number provided), “Stand Up Last” (last person to stand gets a point for their team), “The Age Lottery” (last one standing is the oldest in the room) and “Shout Loudest” (this isn’t rocket science).

The rounds, or “games,” are inventive and the only downside is guests who have seen the show previously sometimes ruin the twists, but then again, no rules, and cheating is encouraged.

Miss Behave Game Show Bally's

Suck it, Dave Chappelle. Everybody get your phones out.

Ultimately, “The Miss Behave Game Show” is a wild night out, the perfect playground for tipsy tourists to lower their inhibitions and become part of the show.

As the show progresses, audience members become bolder, and because of that, no two performances will ever be the same.

The party atmosphere is amplified as entire portions of the show are devoted to simply playing iconic hit songs as the performers, and many audience members, just boogie.

The show culminates with a chaotic ball fight. No, the plastic kind. Freak.

“The Miss Behave Game Show” is a cheeky, subversive and sexy breath of fresh air, and well worth a look during your next Las Vegas visit.

See “The Miss Behave Game Show” Wednesday through Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $49.99. Find out more at the official Web site.

You may want to get your drink on before arriving at the show. Our Captain Morgan and diet at the bar inside the venue was $15. On the bright side, shots of a colorful, unknown liquor were distributed during the show for as little as a $1 tip.

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