Category Archives: Las Vegas Shows

Big Elvis to Perform Show on Facebook So We Can All Feel Human Again

Being in Las Vegas during the casino shut-down has been a daily punch to the loins.

The good news is our buddy (and the world’s greatest Elvis impersonator) Pete “Big Elvis” Vallee, is doing a free, live performance on Facebook so we can collectively rekindle our love of Las Vegas all over again.

Vallee’s show happens Saturday, March 28, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. Vegas time, that’s 9:00 EST.

Pete Vallee

In Vegas, you know you’re awesome when Golden Tiki shrinks your head. We’re waiting.

Big Elvis has been enthralling fans for decades in Las Vegas, most recently at Harrah’s. Prior to that run, he was at Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall, now the Cromwell.

His final show at Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall was on May 1, 2012.

Vallee’s first show in Las Vegas was at the Sahara in 1980. A lot has happened since then, including Saraha becoming the Sahara again.

Pete Vallee

Pete’s blushing from all the well-deserved attention.

We’ve known Pete Vallee for ages, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a nicer guy in Las Vegas. His fans are legion, and we count ourself among them.

It would be great if we could break the Internet logging on to catch Pete Vallee’s Facebook performance.

He’s the Elvis we need right now, so don’t miss it. Catch him live at Harrah’s when this mess is finally behind us. The Big Elvis show is one of our favorite free things to do in Las Vegas.

Cirque’s Financial and Critical Disaster “R.U.N.” to Close at Luxor

“R.U.N.” at Luxor has confirmed what we’ve been saying for months, the show will soon be put out of its misery. Cirque du Soleil says it will close for good on March 8, 2020. It opened October 24, 2019.

It’s hard to overstate the level of WTF associated with this doomed-from-day-one show.

“R.U.N.” was savaged in online reviews and cost $62 million (some say it was substantially more). Our sources say the show has been losing about $1.6 million a month for its four-month run.

Not only was this the biggest financial disaster in the history of Las Vegas entertainment, “R.U.N.” also had the shortest run of any Cirque show in Vegas history.

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“R.U.N.” made dumpster fires cringe.

“R.U.N.” billed itself as “a living, breathing graphic novel that’s non-stop tire-peeling, fist-flinging and double-crossing action including combat stunts, fast-paced car chases, cutting-edge technology and innovative multimedia.”

While we obviously feel for the performers who will lose their jobs when the show closes, we have issues with the bullshittery the show tried to pull by encouraging (and possibly paying) people to post glowing reviews to try and stem the avalanche of posts trying to steer people away from this baffling misfire.

Many of the fake reviews used approved talking points, many along the lines of “People only hate this show because it’s not a typical Cirque show.”

This delusional assertion was just one of many gross miscalculations made by the show’s producers and creative team.

The only “confusion” about “R.U.N.” was audience members expecting an entertaining show and, instead, getting one with a bewildering plot, graphic sadism, poorly-executed fight scenes and excruciatingly loud music.

Or, as reviewer Chris G. put it so eloquently on TripAdvisor, “Makes you embarrassed to be human.”¬†Honorable mention to Troyl H. who wrote, “Getting to leave is the highlight.”

“R.U.N.” was so bad, we hated it and never even saw it. Here’s a look.

Among the missteps was having feature film director Robert Rodriguez write it. Robert Rodriguez, of course, is known for his Writers Guild Award-winning scripts for movies like “Machete,” “Machete Kills” and the upcoming “Machete Kills in Space.” Oh, and “Spy Kids.”

The show’s director was Michael Schwandt, and the performance and action designer was Rob Bollinger.

As the future of “R.U.N.” began to grow dim, we hear Cirque called in a new director to overhaul the show. The new director was out quickly, as even good directors can’t perform miracles with a fundamentally flawed concept.

As we reported in early February 2020, buzz from insiders was TPG Capital (majority owner of Cirque du Soleil) was out of patience and said it wouldn’t invest another dime. The show’s fate was sealed.

While Cirque has taken a massive financial hit from “R.U.N.,” the company continues to dominate the Las Vegas entertainment scene. We understand the average occupancy for Cirque shows across Las Vegas sits at about 70 percent, although that’s down from 80-plus percent a decade ago.

We hear the company makes upwards of $120 million a year from its Las Vegas shows alone.

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Wheelies were popped, as were dreams.

Still, the financial damage from “R.U.N.” certainly won’t help the company’s extreme level of debt, which is rumored to be in excess of a billion dollars, leading to speculation the company could file for bankruptcy protection at some point.

Moody’s investor service reports Cirque has a “high level of discretionary borrowing, continued underperformance in several key areas previously targeted for growth as well as relative
stagnation of its existing core performing arts business.”

Moody’s adds, “We believe the company’s largely debt-funded expansion strategy could be unsustainable, resulting in financial strain on core operations and leaving minimal flexibility to address operating weaknesses when they arise.”

We love us some Cirque, but no more tire-peeling and double-crossing, please.

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There’s no denying it was “unique.” With quotation marks. In case that wasn’t clear.

There’s no word on what might replace “R.U.N.” at Luxor, but a contender is a magic show called “The Illusionists.” The Broadway magic show recently bumped “R.U.N.” at a charity event at Luxor. It was awkward, but makes more sense in light of “R.U.N.” closing.

Best of luck to the intrepid performers and stunt persons who did their best to give “R.U.N.” a shot at success, and here’s hoping Cirque can lick its wounds and deliver more of the company’s distinctive brand of brilliance in the future to help purge the memory of “R.U.N.” from our collective memory.

Ventriloquist Terry Fator’s Show to Close at Mirage

Longtime Strip headliner Terry Fator is having the plug pulled on his Las Vegas show by July 2020.

Fator and his company, Puppet Boy Entertainment, got a six-month notice of termination via old-school letter from the Mirage on Jan. 30, 2020. That means his show is done by July 30, 2020, although we trust he can bail sooner if he chooses.

Terry Fator

Props to Terry Fator for succeeding in a pursuit we’re pretty sure peaked in 1950.

The letter from Mirage said it’s exercising its right to end the show as the “average occupancy of the show is less than 75 percent of the seating capacity of the theater during any consecutive 12 month period.”

Harsh, bro.

Ventriloquist and “America’s Got Talent” winner Terry Fator started his run at Mirage in 2009.

Not surprisingly, at least to us, we were the first to share news Fator’s residency was in trouble and would soon come to an end. Although, honestly, we didn’t expect it to end with an unceremonious kick to the nads by Mirage. Oh, well, that’s show business.

Terry Fator Mirage

We don’t know everything, it just seems like it on the Internet.

Mirage is owned by MGM Resorts, at least for now. Rumor has it the casino is being shopped for a potential sale.

Fun Terry Fator facts: Terry Fator married his first wife Melinda in 1991. Melinda filed for divorce in 2009, it was finalized in 2010. One day after the divorce from Melinda was finalized, Fator married his assistant, Taylor. Fator proposed to his next wife, Angie, onstage in front of his then-wife, Taylor. He and Taylor divorced in 2015. He married Angie a few days later.

Terry Fator’s stint at Mirage surprised a lot of folks who expected a ventriloquist show on The Strip would be short-lived. Fator proved the skeptics wrong, but like a gambler’s lucky streak and wedded bliss, all good things must come to an end.

We totally typed that without moving our lips, by the way.

Watch for a Celine Dion Residency at Resorts World

Brace yourself for our latest bombshell!¬†We’ve long suspected Celine Dion wasn’t done with Vegas, now we’ve gotten exclusive scoop she’s signed for a new residency at Resorts World.

That sound you hear is your brain exploding. Same.

While details related to this juicy rumor are scant, we hear Celine will get a custom theater built to her specifications at Resorts World, just as she did at Caesars Palace (at a cost of $108 million back in 2003).

Celine Dion Resorts World

Has to be true. It’s on the Internet.

Celine’s run at Caesars Palace, of course, is the stuff of Las Vegas legend.

Her final show at Caesars was June 8, 2019, after two residences (“A New Day” from 2003 to 2007 and “Celine” from 2011 to 2019), 16 years and 1,141 shows.

Celine Dion’s residences reaped a record-crushing $681 million in ticket sales. That’s a mind-boggling 4.6 million tickets.

When her Caesars Palace residency ended, there was a lot of speculation about what Celine might do next. At the time, other top names were being snagged by lucrative offers at Park MGM.

Then came a mysterious errant Tweet from the LVCVA (Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority), listing Celine among Park Theater’s roster of divas. The LVCVA said it was a mistake, but the stage was set for Celine’s return.

Around that time, we heard Celine had begun construction of a new home in Las Vegas, and knew she’d take a little time off and tour (artists are often contractually prevented from changing venues before a year has passed) before lining up another, even more profitable, gig in Las Vegas.

This might help put “profitable” into perspective: She made about $500,000 per show during her most recent Caesars Palace residency. It’s rumored Lady Gaga makes a million a show at Park MGM.

If the rumor proves true, Celine’s choice of Resorts World as her new home is huge for both the reigning queen of Las Vegas residencies and Resorts World, slated to open in summer 2021 following numerous delays.

Resorts World Las Vegas

Word is this will be Celine’s new stomping grounds on the Las Vegas Strip.

For Resorts World, Celine would add an immediate stamp of legitimacy, and would bode well for the resort’s bottom line.

Celine’s appeal to a casino isn’t as much about ticket sales as it is other revenue. She appeals to a casino’s ideal customer. They not only buy expensive show tickets, but also spend money in the casino and on non-gambling amenities like restaurants, shopping and nightlife venues.

Celine’s residency at Caesars Palace was a windfall, and Resorts World no doubt would love to have that scenario unfold all over again.

The tricky part, of course, is a lot of people have seen Celine. Also, Resorts World will be an unknown quantity, and it remains to be seen if Celine’s star power will be enough to lure fans to a stand-alone resort on the north end of The Strip.

At the very least, a Celine Dion residency could cement Resorts World as a major player in Las Vegas, and would get the new resort on the radar of other A-list performers seeking a big payday.

Celine Dion

Yes, that’s Celine. Your insolence is duly noted.

Competition for entertainment dollars is already cutthroat in Las Vegas, and even more seats are coming online with the MSG Sphere and Raiders stadium.

Questions abound about who’s filling all those seats, as visitation in Las Vegas has been flat for two years and a number of shows have tanked in a big way recently, including “Blanc de Blanc” at Sahara and “R.U.N.” at Luxor (to the tune of $60 million).

It would be great to see Celine Dion back where she belongs, on the Las Vegas Strip.

She paved the way for other Vegas residencies including Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and innumerable others.

The Celine Dion residency at Resorts World hasn’t been officially announced or confirmed, but our sources are awesome, official announcements are boring and dropping scoop first is just how we roll.

Days Are Numbered for Cirque’s “R.U.N.” at Luxor

A wildly expensive and polarizing Cirque du Soleil show, “R.U.N.” at Luxor, looks to be closing after April 2020, according to a source.

“R.U.N.” opened on Oct. 24, 2019 at a staggering cost of $62 million.

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It’s a blog, we don’t have to be neutral.

“R.U.N.” has received scathing reviews since its debut, with many declaring it the “worst show ever in Las Vegas.”

On TripAdvisor, the show has received 115 “terrible” ratings, and 31 “excellent” ratings, although a good deal of the “excellent” ratings are of questionable origin.

For example, many use the same or similar terminology (“immersive!”), and are written by first-time reviewers using generic profile photos. Another common theme among the dubious raves are claims audience disappointment with the show is due to it not being a “typical Cirque show.”

We can’t disagree, as typical Cirque shows are “enjoyable” and “entertaining” and tend to not feature torture sequences.

Here’s a taste of “R.U.N.” Warning: Viewing this video may cause nausea, headaches, vomiting and an uncontrollable urge to, well, run.

There has been no official announcement or confirmation of the closure of “R.U.N.” by Cirque du Soleil or Luxor (owned by MGM Resorts).

A source shared an internally-distributed schedule of upcoming performances of “R.U.N.,” which abruptly ends after its April dates.

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“R.U.N.,” it seems, has run out of gas.

There’s been speculation that because of the show’s $62 million price tag, it would be disastrous to simply pull the plug on “R.U.N.” There’s a chance the show could close temporarily for an overhaul to try and salvage it.

There’s also a chance Cirque has realized it misread the market and will cut its losses to stop the bleeding.

While it’s no fun when a show closes and performers and crew members lose their gigs, it’s also no fun when customers feel ripped off after seeing a Las Vegas show, especially one from a respected company like Cirque du Soleil.

“R.U.N.” was a noble, but misguided and poorly executed, attempt to reach a new audience for Cirque. Unfortunately, there’s no evidence that audience actually exists.

“Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel” to Close at Harrah’s Las Vegas

The long-ailing Elvis tribute show at Harrah’s Las Vegas, “Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel,” is set to close Dec. 30, 2019.

The show showcased images of Elvis, 18 of his hits and “Broadway-style choreography.”

Heartbreak Hotel

For once, this show hasn’t said it’s looking for a new place to dwell.

The Elvis impersonator featured in the show, Eddie Clendening, originated his role while starring in “Million Dollar Quartet.”

There were rumors “Heartbreak Hotel” had struggled for some time, including before it even opened.

The show lasted just eight months. It opened on April 15, 2019.

The show celebrated its 100th performance in August 2019.

While “Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel” will shutter, Elvis hasn’t completely left the building. Harrah’s is home to Big Elvis, who performs in the hotel’s piano bar.

Some have suggested the demise of “Heartbreak Hotel” is further evidence Broadway-style productions are done in Las Vegas. Yes, we are one of the some. Some figure Elvis is pretty much done in Vegas, too.

“Million Dollar Quartet” closed at Harrah’s in 2016. “Jersey Boys” closed at Paris the same year.

There’s no word about what might replace “Heartbreak Hotel” at Harrah’s. Expect the show to say it’s gearing up for a national tour starting mid-2020.