Category Archives: Las Vegas Shows

“Baz” to Close at The Palazzo Las Vegas

It has not been a good week for Broadway-style musicals in Las Vegas.

First, it was announced “Marilyn” will close at Paris after just 15 performances.

Now, the cast of “Baz” at Palazzo has been informed that show, too, will close.

The final curtain comes down at “Baz” on July 29, 2018.

Baz

Don’t be too hard on yourself, “Baz,” that was a a solid run.

For a good part of its run, “Baz” was called “Baz: Star Crossed Love.” At one point, its title was “Baz: A Musical Mash-Up.”

Lately, it’s been referred to as “Baz: A Musical Tour de Force.”

The show originally opened at Light Nightclub in Mandalay Bay in 2015, but closed after just two months, in August 2015.

To the surprise of just about everyone, “Baz” re-opened at the Palazzo Theater in July 2016.

Baz Star Crossed Love

Where will we go now when we want to see lovers thwarted? There’s a definite lack of thwarting in Las Vegas shows.

In November of 2016, we got wind of lagging ticket sales and shared that the show’s days were numbered. While ultimately true, its number of days were greater than most expected.

“Baz” boasted songs and scenes from three Baz Luhrmann films: “Romeo + Juliet,” “Moulin Rouge” and “The Great Gatsby.”

The show has featured any number of world-class peformers, and the closing will come as a blow to its die-hard fans.

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Disastrous “Marilyn, The New Musical” to Close at Paris

Like a candle in a wind tunnel, “Marilyn, The New Musical” is being extinguished at Paris Las Vegas after just 15 performances since its official opening on June 1.

“Marilyn” closes June 17, 2018.

Marilyn musical closed

“Marilyn” is closing. Sorry, the gays.

From what we hear, the implosion of “Marilyn, The New Musical” had little to do with the talent of its cast.

Even as the show opened, there were rumors of behind-the-scenes drama, including a lack of competent direction and serious financial issues, and entertainment insiders predicted the show would have a very short run.

Few predicted the run would be this short. Oh, wait, no, there was us.

Marilyn

Look at all the fatalistic fun you’re missing on Twitter!

It should be noted we’re the one calling the show “closed,” not the show itself.

In an admirable piece of fiction, a news release says, “After launching to critical acclaim, ‘Marilyn: The New Musical’ will be going on a summer hiatus from Tuesday, June 19 through Monday, Sept. 3 in order to further refine the show and prepare for the Las Vegas-created production to launch a national tour. Performances at Paris Las Vegas will resume Tuesday, Sept. 4.”

Ah, the old “show refinement” ploy.

“Marilyn, The New Musical” won’t be resuming at Paris, or anywhere else for that matter.

In fact, we’re going to predict several others shows planned by the producer, writer and director of “Marilyn,” Tegan Summers, won’t be happening as announced, either. Las Vegas is a very small town and word gets around.

Summers was supposed to bring a series of Broadway-style shows to Las Vegas. The shows were to feature stories about Bettie Page and James Dean, with another involving EDM DJ and producer Steve Aoki.

Don’t hold your breath.

While ambitious, Broadway-style theatrical productions are hit-and-miss in Las Vegas. For every “Jersey Boys,” there’s a “Surf, The Musical.” For every “Phantom of the Opera,” there’s an “Avenue Q.”

For every “Mamma Mia” at Mandalay Bay there’s a “Mamma Mia” at Tropicana. Long story.

We trust the “Marilyn” cast and crew will find new gigs worthy of their time and talents.

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Wynn Resorts Rights a Wrong, Rolls Back Paid Parking

Few saw it coming, but Wynn Resorts has bucked a trend by announcing it will give free parking to its hotel guests, as well as a way for us commoners to get free parking, too.

Your first question, of course: Las Vegas hotels make their own guests pay for parking?

Well, yes. Where have you been?

Currently, Wynn and Encore charge guests for self-park and valet, a trend that’s become the norm in Las Vegas, just as it is in other cities.

Self-park rates run $7 for the first 1-2 hours, $12 for 2-4 hours and $15 up to 24 hours. Valet charges currently run from $18 (up to two hours), to $27 for 24 hours.

Starting July 1, 2018, that all changes.

Wynn Encore

Wynn Resorts could use some positive buzz right about now. Free parking is a great place to start.

Guests of Wynn and Encore will be able to self-park or valet for free. Remember when free parking was a thing in Las Vegas?

Free parking for hotel guests will be included in their $39 resort fee. Wynn Resorts assures customers the resort fee won’t be increased to accommodate the new policy.

Don’t get us started about resort fees. That’s a fight for another day.

But wait, there’s more.

Non-hotel guests will also be able to park free, albeit with validation. Guests will be validated upon receipt of a $50 spend at Wynn or Encore.

That minimum can be spent at all the retail stores, restaurants, shows, nightclubs and lounges at either of the resorts.

Players will be pleased to hear even money spent gambling counts toward the $50 minimum spend to get free parking. The company hasn’t release details about how that will work, but we trust they’ll figure it out.

Wynn parasols

Sorry, gazing at the pretty things won’t get your parking validated. Buy a couple of drinks, though, and you’re good.

This change in paid parking policy is a pretty big deal in Las Vegas. Paid parking is an ongoing source of frustration for visitors, and many believe is has caused a shift in public perception of Las Vegas as a value destination.

We are one of those people.

So, what’s the motivation behind Wynn Resorts’ move?

Well, there’s the official answer, referred to as “horseshit” in public relations parlance.

Maurice Wooden, President of Wynn Las Vegas, said, “We have come to believe that charging additional parking fees is counter to the personalized service we provide. This new policy directly reflects the way we know our guests want and deserve to be treated.”

So, it suddenly dawned on them guests don’t like having to pay for parking? Right.

Wynn $5,000 machine

This machine at Wynn is $5,000 per spin. You’re covered on the parking.

Wynn Resorts has at least three reasons to change its paid parking policies.

First, its restaurants, shows and retail stores have taken a hit since paid parking was instituted. And it’s not just happening at Wynn and Encore, but at casinos all across Las Vegas.

Restaurants don’t receive the financial benefits of paid parking, at all, so they’re being hurt with nothing to show for it.

Increasingly, restaurants, shows and retail stores are letting their casino overlords know they’re suffering, and it appears Wynn Resorts is listening.

Second, it’s Wynn Resorts, so there’s an undeniable public image component.

Generously setting aside parking fees can’t hurt during a time when Wynn Resorts is trying to restore its tarnished reputation following the Steve Wynn sexual misconduct scandal.

Wynn Resorts is throwing everyone a bone. Which, come to think of it, is what got Steve Wynn in all that trouble in the first place.

We’ll wait.

Wynn funny chip

Oh, like we’d do a story about Wynn without including this chip. Do you know this blog at all?

Third, follow the money.

Wynn’s neighbors, Venetian and Palazzo, still offer free parking. That means many customers park at these competing casinos and walk to Wynn and Encore.

One of the cardinal rules of Las Vegas casinos: Don’t send customers to a competitor. Guests may intend to pass through Palazzo to gamble and dine at Wynn, but there are lots of distractions along the way.

So, the bottom line is Venetian and Palazzo deserve props for holding strong on free parking. If they’d rolled out paid parking, it’s unlikely Wynn Resorts would be changing its policies.

Palazzo

We all owe you a beer, Palazzo.

Along those same lines, let’s not forget another neighbor with free parking: Fashion Show Mall. You can bet there’s a collective sigh of relief at retail outlets inside Wynn and Encore right about now.

We can only hope the new parking program at Wynn and Encore is an acknowledgment by casinos that paid parking is an unnecessary annoyance to customers.

Paid parking is a short-sighted revenue play that hurts brands and, ultimately, Las Vegas.

Let’s hope the other big casino companies in Las Vegas, Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts (which started this whole paid parking mess), see the light, too.

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Barry Manilow Finally Confirms Westgate Residency

Confirming a story we first got wind of back in Nov. 2017, Barry Manilow will undertake a new Las Vegas residency at Westgate Las Vegas.

The renowned singer-songwriter launches his follow-up to a two-year stint at Paris Las Vegas on May 24, 2018.

His new production, “Manilow Las Vegas: The Hits Come Home,” will be 85 minutes long.

The “home” in the show’s title is presumably a reference to the fact Manilow had a previous five-year run at Westgate (then the Las Vegas Hilton) that started in Feb. 24, 2005 and ran through 2010.

Barry Manilow at Westgate

Fun fact: Barry Manilow didn’t write one of his biggest hits, “I Write the Songs.” It was written by Bruce Johnston.

Manilow’s new show will feature some 40 of his top 40 hits, as well as a crowd-pleasing medley of catchy jingles he wrote for commercials back in the day.

Manilow wrote “You Deserve a Break Today” for McDonald’s, “Stuck on Band-Aid” for Band-Aid and “Like a Good Neighbor” for State Farm, among many others.

At 74, Barry Manilow has expressed a desire to have an easier schedule, as well as wanting to be able to keep his back gainfully employed, so his schedule will be relatively light at Westgate.

Scheduled dates are May 24-26, June 14-16, June 21-23, July 19-21, July 26-28, Sep. 27-29 and Oct. 4-6.

Tickets prices will range from $19.75 to $329.75.

Barry Manilow

Also fun: When Barry Manilow lived in Bel-Air, he frequently received room service from the Bel-Air Hotel at his home.

Manilow should be a much-needed boost to a spotty history of entertainment offerings at Westgate.

Additionally, his schedule is realistic and the theater is small enough (about 1,600 seats, despite the fact Manilow has said it’s 3,000 in media reports) that the producers shouldn’t have to paper the house to keep the theater full.

We saw Barry Manilow’s show at Paris, and his voice was still strong and charisma (and humor) were very much intact, so we look forward to seeing “Manilow Las Vegas: The Hits Come Home” at Westgate.

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“Opium” at Cosmopolitan is a Raucous Romp Around Uranus

A new show from the twisted minds at Spiegelworld, the company behind “Absinthe,” has opened at Cosmopolitan. “Opium” is an imaginative, irreverent journey through a vast expanse of WTF.

We’ve got a metric ass-ton of adjectives still to come, but let’s cut to the chase about what “Opium” actually is.

At its core, “Opium” is a comedy-variety show. The good news it’s an exceptionally imaginative one.

Opium at Cosmopolitan

We don’t entirely remember this sequence in “Opium,” but that could be related to the fact the theater’s signature drinks are delicious. Thanks to our pal Erik Kabik for all the production photos.

“Opium” is frothy and puerile and bizarre and psychedelic and LGBT-friendly and downright exuberant.

We warned you there would be more adjectives.

Perhaps we should put it this way: “Opium” is evidence weed is now legal in Las Vegas.

Enough foreplay!

Opium Las Vegas

Subtle, “Opium” is not.

The basic premise of “Opium” (we’re fairly sure they named the show before they knew what it was going to be about) is that a crew of colorful characters is traveling on a spacecraft, the OPM 4.2, from Uranus to Las Vegas.

Yes, there are a lot of Uranus jokes. Maybe you should’ve taken a moment to look up the word “puerile.”

A lot of time and creativity have been devoted to fleshing out the characters in the show, and each has a distinct subplot which unfolds during the roughly 90-minute production.

Opium Cosmopolitan

The cast of “Opium” attacks the outlandish premise with verve and gusto. Fun fact: Verve and Gusto were a popular comedy team in the 1930s.

The characters include Captain Ann Tennille, Lt. Lou Tenant, Chip, Rob the Robot and (wait for it) Leslie. Somebody clearly ran out of steam with the Leslie thing, but the cast never seems to suffer the same fate. They’re universally comedically talented and seem genuinely enthusiastic about taking part in this new theatrical effort at Cosmopolitan.

Along with the larger-than-life characters, there’s a talented singer who drops in with random musical interludes throughout the show, presumably to provide a diversion from the comedy bits and variety performances.

Think Melody Sweets in “Absinthe,” but in drag.

Opium

If they give away an award for “Torch Singer With the Hairiest Back,” this guy’s a shoo-in.

Vegas Seven has a rundown of the cast of characters.

The humor in the show, 90 percent of which orbit around sexual organs, is non-stop.

“Opium” isn’t as edgy or caustic as “Absinthe,” but it manages to hit the sweet spot for Las Vegas visitors out for a night of inebriation and adolescent humor.

And while we’re on the subject, it should be noted one might want to avoid comparisons to “Absinthe.” While a common DNA between the shows is undeniable, “Opium” is more strange
than raunchy.

“Opium” also exists on a much smaller scale than “Absinthe.” The mere fact “Opium” is in a theater with a low ceiling means it can’t have some of the more jaw-dropping variety acts that have made “Absinthe” a must-see show in Las Vegas.

“Opium” relies on well-performed, tried-and-true variety acts it can easily swap out with others if needed. You know the ones, they involve variety show classics like hula hoops, unicycles and objects being juggled.

Opium

Enjoy classic variety acts? Join the club.

While none of the acts were death-defying, some were stand-outs, like a balancing act with a trained Chihuaua. Then again, that could be because we are a dog person.

There was also a stunning woman wearing S&M garb dancing with, and inside, a giant balloon, a throwback to Angel Perrino’s tap dancing act in the early days of “Absinthe.” We asked for a photo, trust us. No luck.

A favorite of the evening was the sword swallower, Brett Loudermilk. Sword swallowing is standard variety act fodder, but the performer had top-notch material and delivered it
masterfully.

Opium

Yes, the sword swallower joke that springs to mind is exactly the one in the show. You should be in the entertainment business!

The biggest laughs of the evening were evoked by a couple who did alarming things with bananas.

Not the kind of alarming things you’re thinking of, perv. They basically bite off pieces of banana and spit them into each other’s mouths through the air. And they’re really good at it.

The duo also gets audience members to participate. Which is as hilarious and disturbing as it sounds.

Highly entertaining acts, to be sure, but we’re thinking if the show finds some success, a bigger budget will be available for variety acts with a similar wow factor to “Absinthe.” Which we’re still definitely not comparing “Opium” to, by the way.

The show’s producers have made it clear the show is still being developed, so we have no doubt the jokes are being punched up and other variety acts are up for consideration.

Opium

Hula Hoops were once banned in Japan because the hip movement was deemed indecent. Sort of a selling point for “Opium.”

Other items of note: The show’s five-piece band is top notch. One would expect nothing less in Las Vegas.

The psychedelic sci-fi costumes are eye-popping and ingenious. Nearly all are shimmery and intentionally too tight, which adds to the androgynous vibe of the production.

Opium Las Vegas

Leave it to Las Vegas to take banana hammocks to the next level.

Because we know how you are, we can confirm there is some toplessness in “Opium,” but it’s more for the sake of comedy than arousal. All due respect.

The show takes place in the Cosmo’s Opium Theater, adjacent to Rose. Rabbit. Lie. Find the box office at the top of the escalators above Vesper lounge.

A bar inside the theater offers a limited selection of liquor, as well as a signature drink menu themed to the show. Drinks include the Kiss My Asteroid, Gorgon’s Revenge, Sputnik Cage and the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster.

The specialty cocktails are $18, which seems like a lot until you realize a Captain and diet at Vesper, served in a thimble, is $12. Live a little.

Opium Las Vegas

The Kiss My Asteroid cocktail. We do not recommend using Pop Rocks during your post-show intimate encounters unless you have excellent insurance. We are not kidding.

Ticket prices for “Opium” vary widely at the moment. The best deal we’ve found is a $35 ticket if you book using the promo code “MOON.” That discount should work for tickets through May 21, 2018.

Regular ticket prices are $79, with upgrades available at $99 (ringside), $119 (terrace) and $129 (Banana Zone, which isn’t really a thing, but you don’t know that).

Visit the official Cosmopolitan site to find out more.

Overall, “Opium” is a worthy genetic mutation of the highly-regarded “Absinthe” and a vast improvement over the previous Spiegelworld show at Cosmo, “Vegas Nocture.”

Opium Las Vegas

Shout-out to our favorite celestial phenomenon, the areola borealis.

“Opium” at Cosmopolitan checks most, if not all, the boxes to make for a successful Las Vegas show. Music, check. Levity, check. Visual acts you don’t have to understand English to enjoy, check.

Oh, and the occasional boob. Check. (Or boob check. See photo above.)

It’s time to gird your warp core, because “Opium” is a little bit “Galaxy Quest” and “Spaceballs,” a little bit “Absinthe,” a little bit drug trip and a whole lot of “When can we see it again?”

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Gwen Stefani Confirms Las Vegas Residency at Planet Hollywood

A rumored residency for Gwen Stefani at Planet Hollywood has been confirmed.

The singer officially announced “Gwen Stefani – I’m Just a Girl,” a 25-date residency at the Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood, kicks off in June 2018.

Gwen Stefani

Fun fact: Gwen Stefani was named after a stewardess in the 1968 novel, “Airplane.” You remember books, those things people read before smartphones.

The 7,000-seat Zappos Theater was recently renamed. It was formerly Axis. The theater features 60 ultra high-definition projectors and LED walls.

Other regulars in the venue include Jennifer Lopez, Backstreet Boys, Pitbull and Lionel Richie.

Tickets for Gwen Stefani’s shows are set at $59. No word yet on whether there will be VIP meet-and-greet tickets for Stefani, but Britney Spears offered a three-second photo op for $2,500 during her run at Axis.

Here’s where to go for tickets.

Here are the dates for Gwen Stefani’s Las Vegas residency, with the option to extend, we assume, should the show break the bank as it did for Britney Spears.

googie June 2018: 27, 29, 30
googie July 2018: 3, 6, 7, 11, 13, 14, 18, 20, 21
googie December 2018: 27, 29, 30, 31
googie February 2019: 27
googie March 2019: 1, 2, 6, 8, 9, 13, 15, 16

Everything’s more exciting with Googie stars!

A refreshing element of Gwen Stefani’s residency is she’ll donate a buck from each ticket sold to the Nevada-based Cure 4 the Kids Foundation. The organization provides medical treatment to children with life-threatening conditions.

Just another reason to like Gwen Stefani, beyond the great music and the fact she once told a mutual friend we were cute. We are not making this up, and yes we’re going to keep telling that story until someone believes us.

All due respect, Blake Shelton.

Thanks to all the tipsters who kept us in the loop leading up to Gwen Stefani’s official residency announcement, and we can’t wait to not be invited to previews for the show because we once had the audacity to Tweet that Britney Spears lip-syncs. No, really.

All due respect, lip-syncing.

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