Category Archives: Las Vegas Shows

“Circus 1903” is Coming to Paris Las Vegas

Paris Las Vegas has found a replacement for the now-closed “Jersey Boys,” and it’s going to be an absolute circus.

“Circus 1903,” a family-friendly, circus-inspired production (with no live animals) opens July 25, 2017.

Circus 1903

“Circus 1903” is all the best parts of a circus, without the protestable parts.

The show features aspects of a traditional circus, including variety acts, but “puts a fresh, innovative and more humane spin on them.”

Here’s a look.

Expect fire-breathers, knife-throwers, jugglers, acrobats, aerialists and the like.

Bonus points if they can skip the clowns. They haven’t been funny since, oh, 1903.

Circus 1903

Oh, and there will definitely be bendy women. In Las Vegas, it’s the law.

Think “Absinthe” without the raunch.

A highlight of “Circus 1903” is puppetry from Significant Object, the team behind the Broadway show, “War Horse.”

The puppeteers bring realistic elephants to the stage instead of actual animals. We are personally a big fan of this.

The show currently traveling the country runs about two hours, but expect that to be shortened at Paris. Because Las Vegas.

The show’s official Web site says it will run through Dec. 31, 2017, but you can bet if it does well it’ll be around beyond that date.

“Circus 1903” would seem to be a great fit for Las Vegas. It’s visual, like a Cirque show, there’s not a lot of dialogue or story to follow (important for international visitors), and variety acts allow the ability to swap out acts to keep the show fresh over time.

And what’s not to love about a baby elephant? We’re ready to “step right up”!

We look forward to our first look at “Circus 1903” when it opens at Paris Las Vegas, and thanks to John Katsilometes for giving us just enough clues to solve a long-standing Las Vegas show mystery.

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“Wow Splash” Show to Open at Rio Las Vegas

The Las Vegas resort we don’t quite know what to make of is getting a show that we also don’t know what to make of. “Wow Splash” is coming to Rio Las Vegas in July 2017.

“Wow Splash,” which sounds like it was poorly translated from another language (we’re pretty sure it was), is a straight-up knock-off of a Cirque du Soleil show. Then again, that’s not always a bad thing. Just ask everyone who loves “Le Reve.”

Wow Splash

Attractive, limber performers, check. Wet clothes, check. Yep, all the hallmarks of a successful Las Vegas show.

The description of the “Wow Splash” show must be seen to be believed.

Please keep in mind this is completely real and in no way intended to be ironic.

“Downtown, steaming heat, nighttime, who are the people one would meet at this time and place? Street gangs, a strange panhandler, three sailors who stopped for the night, teenage cheerleaders, officers Jason and Suzy, and the one [and] only, Jason, the street sweeper who sees all and knows all, but right now he’s busy staring at a beautiful woman’s picture on an advertising board.”

Gangs, panhandlers, sailors, cheerleaders, police officers and an omniscient street sweeper. Got it.

Wow Splash

We’re think there’s more splash than wow, but you never know what’s going to click with audiences in Las Vegas.

But wait, there’s more.

“A good enough reason for him to try to climb up and step into the beauty’s world, trying to get a closer look. In the meantime, some thugs fight when suddenly a fire extinguisher erupts, washing the stage in water. The water seems to have magic powers, everyone on stage calms down and the street becomes a playground. A massive and transparent water pool is the heart of the show. International virtuoso artists jump into the water from different heights, dancing, flying and even splashing water on the audience in the front rows.”

First, we are not cleaning this up.

Second, please ignore the existence of “O,” thanks.

Wow Splash Las Vegas

It’s all fun and games until somebody puts an eye out.

To finish things off, the show says, “As in past ‘Wow’ shows, ‘Wow Splash’ includes 3-D animation, extravagant costumes, changing settings, big screens and beautiful dance and music. Prepare to be wowed.”

Here’s a look at this moist, game-changing and immersive stage extravaganza coming to Rio Las Vegas, and to which we are definitely not being invited to media night.

Despite all the P.R. flotsam, the show’s previous incarnation has gotten rave reviews on TripAdvisor, so despite all the evidence to the contrary, we’ll reserve judgment until we see it. Sorry, further judgment. You know what we mean.

Everyone loves a good Cirque-style show, right? Variety acts. Skimpy costumes. No dialogue to slow things down. Nonsensical storyline. What’s not to love?

The show will take up residence in the Rio’s Crown Theater, former home of “Rock of Ages” and gang-related gun violence.

Thanks to Johnny Kats at the Las Vegas Review-Journal for the heads up about “Wow Splash.”

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Criss Angel Loses Consciousness During Show at Luxor

Magician Criss Angel has made national headlines for passing out during a straight jacket escape during his show at Luxor.

The medical emergency happened about 15 minutes into a performance of “Mindfreak Live” on March 10, 2017.

The illusion in question is fairly badass. Angel is suspended over the stage, upside down, in a straight jacket. Rather than just merely contorting to escape, Angel spins feverishly until he gets free.

About two minutes into the escape, the show’s crew realized Criss Angel had lost consciousness, lowered him to the stage and Angel was rushed to Spring Valley Hospital.

Criss Angel

We feel compelled to mention this photo of Criss Angel has not been Photoshopped in any way.

By the following morning, Angel had been cleared by physicians, and was released.

To Criss Angel’s credit, the magician returned to the stage the following night. He performed the straight jacket stunt without incident.

Criss Angel has performed his straight jacket escape so many times, and makes it appear so effortless, it’s easy to forget how physically strenuous, and potentially dangerous, it is.

Hanging upside down can cause a rush of blood to the head (hence the term “head rush”) which can cause dizziness and vertigo and a sudden change of blood pressure. The medical term is “postural hypotension,” which we’re thinking would make a great band name.

The effects of being inverted can be exacerbated by dehydration and certain kinds of medication.

We’re glad to hear Criss Angel appears to be fine, and trust he’ll get a bump in ticket sales resulting from this unfortunate incident. Hey, Vegas doesn’t stop being Vegas just because somebody blacks out.

While his show has been disparaged by some, and Angel is a relatively easy target for satire, his show is one of the most successful magic shows in the history of Las Vegas (and possibly the world), and success is always the best revenge.

Criss Angel casino chip

Criss Angel’s show opened at Luxor in 2008. That’s an estimated metric ass-ton of inverted straight jacket escapes.

Criss Angel performs “Mindfreak Live” Wednesday through Sunday at 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. The show is dark Monday and Tuesday, although that’s probably a poor choice of words given the recent mishap.

Find out more about “Mindfreak Live” at the official Web site.

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Pete “Big Elvis” Vallee Gets a Star on the Las Vegas Walk of Stars at Harrah’s

Harrah’s Las Vegas headliner Pete Vallee, known to legions of fans as “Big Elvis,” has been honored with a star on the Las Vegas Walk of Stars.

Known for having a heart as big as his voice, Vallee was feted by friends and fans at a ceremony on Feb. 27, 2017.

Big Elvis Las Vegas Walk of Stars

Caesars Entertainment execs unveil Pete Vallee’s star. No veils, or stars, were harmed during the ceremony.

Pete Vallee has spent two decades entertaining Las Vegas visitors with his uncanny impression of Elvis Presley, and is pretty much single-handedly keeping The King’s memory alive in Las Vegas at the moment. No, really.

Vallee did a 10-year stint at the Barbary Coast, later called Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon, before moving to Harrah’s when Barbary Coast closed to become the Cromwell.

Big Elvis Las Vegas Walk of Stars

Somebody got a little emotional during the star ceremony. It was us, but let’s just say it was Pete.

It’s estimated Pete Vallee performed for 20,000 people in the Harrah’s Piano Bar in 2016, and has done an estimated 10,000 shows during his time on The Strip. His show remains one of the best free shows in Las Vegas.

Here’s the Big Elvis schedule at Harrah’s: Big Elvis shows happen Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 2:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

The Piano Bar at Harrah’s was recently expanded to accommodate bigger crowds, in large part because of Pete Vallee’s fervent following. We count ourself among them, by the way. We can be pretty fervent if we put our mind to something.

Pete Vallee star

Fun fact: Pete Vallee is rumored to know the lyrics to 500 Elvis songs. We did not personally know there were 500 Elvis songs.

Pete “Big Elvis” Vallee joins an exclusive club with his star on the Las Vegas Walk of Stars. Vallee’s ceremony marked the 81st such star dedication ceremony. Other luminaries who have received stars include Wayne Newton, Liberace, Siegfried and Roy, Sammy Davis Jr., Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and others.

Vallee’s star is made of Red Indian Granite, which we’re fairly sure should be called Red Native American Granite. The star weighs 180 pounds, mainly to prevent it from being shoplifted.

Big Elvis Las Vegas

They were going to call it the Las Vegas Walk of Regular Star Polygons, but that didn’t quite have the same ring to it.

Stars in the Las Vegas Walk of Stars can be found along Las Vegas Boulevard, from Sahara Ave. to Russell Ave. Vallee’s star will be just outside the Harrah’s entrance closest to Carnaval Court.

We’ve known Pete Vallee for more than a decade, and chatted him up on the Vital Vegas Podcast. Take a listen.

For many Las Vegas visitors, Pete Vallee is an essential part of their time in Las Vegas. His
warmth, wit and immense talent have helped him become a beloved fixture on The Strip and one of the most lauded Elvis impersonators in the world. (Time Magazine ranked him in the top 10 worldwide.)

He’s uniquely deserving of a star on the Las Vegas Walk of Stars and we’re proud to call him a friend.

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“Le Reve” at Wynn Provides an Over-the-Top Escape

We figured it was high time to dive into “Le Reve” at Wynn Las Vegas, and the dazzling show certainly doesn’t disappoint.

“Le Reve” at Wynn is quintessential Las Vegas spectacle, and it’s no secret nobody does spectacle better than Sin City. Or hangovers. But mostly that first thing.

Le Reve Wynn Las Vegas

As first impressions go, this one’s impressive.

“Le Reve,” French for “The Dream,” is a water-based show performed in the round. Most of the action takes place in a 1.1 million gallon water tank. Sorry, “aqua theater,” because it sounds fancier.

It’s said no seat is more than 40 feet from the action at “Le Reve,” so there are no bad seats in the house. Unless you sit behind an Abraham Lincoln impersonator.

Because of the hat.

We’ll wait.

Many Las Vegas visitors mistakenly believe “Le Reve” is a Cirque du Soleil show. It’s not, but the show was created by Franco Dragone, the creative force behind “Mystere” and “0,” the Cirque show most likely to elicit comparisons to “Le Reve.”

Le Reve Wynn Las Vegas

Let the dangling commence!

There are two big differences between “O” and “Le Reve.”

First, where “O” involves lots of diving, “Le Reve” features dangling and dropping. It’s impressive dropping, to be sure. At one point, someone plummets about 10 stories into the pool below, an exhilarating thrill to behold.

The second difference is there are no “clowns” in “Le Reve.” This comes as a great relief to those of us who put “clowns” in quotation marks because Cirque “clowns” are never very “funny.”

Le Reve Wynn Las Vegas

There’s sort of an orgy, but, you know, the family-friendly kind.

“Le Reve” checks a number of boxes when it comes to successful Las Vegas shows, including the fact you don’t have to speak English to enjoy it. We’re fairly sure the show claims to have a plot, but ultimately any attempt at a story would distract from the non-stop, intoxicating eye candy.

Just about every sequence in “Le Reve” captures the imagination, and one can’t help but marvel at the technology involved in such a complex production.

Le Reve Wynn Las Vegas

They’re going to need a bigger burger.

There are a whopping 90 performers in the cast, or slightly less than the number of people who live in Vermont. Each member of the cast is scuba certified, and all are extraordinarily fit. They’re also scantily-clad. Hey, it’s still Vegas.

Fun fact: Pretty much all the male performers in “Le Reve” are muscular, bald and pasty. Think War Boys in “Mad Max: Fury Road,” but shimmery.

Le Reve Wynn Las Vegas

By casting bald guys, “Le Reve” saves a ton on swim caps.

“Le Reve” opened in May 2005, and was mercilessly panned by critics. The show appears to be doing brisk business now, and recently got yet another creative overhaul.

Insiders share that the new incarnation didn’t pass muster with Steve Wynn when it was unveiled, so he essentially scrapped the retooled show at great expense.

From what we understand, some of the elements from the revamped show remain, and are probably the reason the show feels uneven in places. The best example is the closing sequence. The dramatic tone suddenly takes a hard turn into a Disney-style “Under the Sea” number even those involved with the production admit is a bit of a trainwreck.

Le Reve Wynn Las Vegas

Sometimes, you just have to go with it.

Setting the closing number aside (and the distracting, hit-and-miss music throughout), “Le Reve” is, in fact, dreamlike, including standard things you find in dreams: Sex, mysterious characters, flying, vivid visuals and lots of random WTF.

Inverted, synchronized swimmers in red pumps spring to mind.

Le Reve Wynn Las Vegas

There’s nothing sexier than a leggy swimmer with wrinkly toes and fingertips.

“Le Reve” at Wynn Las Vegas is surprising and engaging and a feast for the eyes. From the aerial feats of daring to the pyrotechnics and dancing fountains, it’s everything you could ask of a Las Vegas show. Plus, it’s at Wynn Las Vegas. Where else but the Wynn can you leave a show, and as you’re passing through the theater lobby take a selfie with a $28 million Popeye statue? The art formerly in the space, “Tulips” by Jeff Koons, has been shipped off to Wynn Palace in Macau.

Tickets to “Le Reve” start at $115.

For $175, you’ll get “Dream Seating,” with plush seats, more leg room and a monitor providing live backstage and underwater video during the show.

Le Reve Wynn Las Vegas

It’s not an extra $60, it’s memories, so just pony up.

Enjoy more exclusive photos from “Le Reve,” below. Oh, and did we mention audience members are encouraged to take non-flash photos during the show? For a Las Vegas blog, that is indeed a dream come true.

Le Reve at Wynn Las Vegas

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Comedian Jeff Civillico On the Move, Won’t Return to Flamingo Las Vegas

Comedy-juggler Jeff Civillico is making moves again, and that includes ending his headlining gig at Flamingo Las Vegas.

Civillico was supposed to return to Flamingo after a brief hiatus, but he’s moving his “Comedy in Action” show to Paris Las Vegas starting April 5, 2017. The new show will happen at 7:00 p.m. in the Anthony Cools Experience showroom.

Jeff Civillico

Weird fact: Jeff Civillico claims to hold a world record for bungee jumping off a cliff in New Zealand while on a unicycle.

Civillico has been in Bugsy’s Cabaret at Flamingo since 2015. Before that, he headlined at the Linq hotel after building a fan base at the Planet Hollywood restaurant in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace.

There’s no word on what might replace Civillico’s show at Flamingo.

Civillico is keeping his performance schedule light at Paris, just one night a week, as he focuses on a burgeoning TV hosting career.

Civillico currently hosts “Weekend in Vegas,” formerly “Las Vegas Good News,” a weekly entertainment and news show taped live at Linq promenade. We chatted up Jeff Civillico about it on an early episode of the Vital Vegas Podcast.

Las Vegas Good News

Civillico’s TV show was produced in a re-purposed shipping container which straddled the Linq’s fountains. Oh, yes, there was straddling.

He also helms a TV effort called “Backline,” a show featuring musical guests such as Blues Traveler, Smash Mouth, Eddie Money and others. “Backline” launches in fall 2017.

His TV shows are just a couple of the plates Civillico is keeping aloft at the moment. It was recently announced his successful nonprofit, Win-Win Entertainment, an organization that connects other nonprofits with Las Vegas entertainers, has gone national.

“Jeff Civillico: Comedy in Action” is one of the best, family-friendly values in Vegas, so we’re glad to hear it will find a new home at Paris. Given the brutal string of Las Vegas shows that closed in 2016, we’ll take a “moved” over a “closed” any day.

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