Category Archives: Las Vegas Shows

Lady Gaga Residency at Park MGM Theater Is a Done Deal

MGM Resorts has snagged another bona fide superstar for its Park Theater at Park MGM (currently Monte Carlo). We have it on good authority Lady Gaga has been signed for a 50-show residency.

Expect an official announcement of the deal this week.

The dollars involved, of course, will be staggering. Our source shares that the deal for 50 shows will pay Lady Gaga a whopping (wait for it) $100 million. (Recent reports say 74 shows.)

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga will soon bring her special brand of WTF to the Las Vegas Strip.

Park Theater is set to be a major player in the Las Vegas live entertainment scene. Bruno Mars has a series of shows lined up for Dec. 2017 and Feb. 2018.

Cher, too, is scheduled for a residency of 18 shows through May 2018.

Rumors have circulated since June 2017 that Lady Gaga would be one of the new residencies at Park Theater, but now we’re hearing it’s a fait accompli.

There have also been rumors about Justin Timberlake joining the list of musical luminaries at Park MGM, but it doesn’t appear that’s in the cards at the moment.

We have heard Timberlake will perform two mammoth shows at the T-Mobile Arena in April 2018.

Stay tuned for the official confirmation of Lady Gaga’s residency at Park Theater.

Competition for big name talent among the major Las Vegas music venues is reaching new heights, so expect ticket prices to do the same.

Update (12/181/7): The Las Vegas Review-Journal has confirmed our story, although it claims there will be 36 shows. The numbers provided ($400,000 per show) does not take into account the agreed-upon extension or compensation from deal points like merchandise.

Update (12/19/17): Our story has been confirmed officially by MGM Resorts and Lady Gaga herself. Her Park MGM residency starts in Dec. 2018. The residency will span two years and further details will be announced in the coming months, according to a news release. Variety sets the number of shows at 74 and confirms our $100 million figure for the run.

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“Circus 1903” Rumored to Be Closing at Paris

The curtain is about to fall on a memorable show at Paris Las Vegas. We’re hearing the final performance of “Circus 1903” will be Jan. 7, 2018.

Circus 1903

Don’t be sad, guys. Do what we do. Get hammered.

“Circus 1903” had all the makings of a successful Las Vegas show.

Interchangeable (but quality) variety acts, check.

Visual spectacle, check.

No real plot to follow (visitors often don’t speak English, hence the popularity of Cirque shows in Vegas), check.

No annoying clowns, check.

There was even a unique twist: Life-size elephant puppets from the folks behind “War Horse” on Broadway.

Circus 1903

Time to pack your trunk, Queenie.

Despite our glowing review, it appears time is running out for “Paris 1903.”

The show opened at Paris Las Vegas on July 25, 2017.

As we’ve said before, successful shows don’t close on the Las Vegas Strip, so it’s likely ticket sales for “Circus 1903” couldn’t keep up with the costs of such a lavish production with dozens of cast and crew members.

Circus 1903

The cost of tights alone must have been through the roof. And those were just for the men.

There’s no word on what might replace “Circus 1903.” The theater had been vacant since the departure of “Jersey Boys” in Sep. 2016.

“Circus 1903” is overflowing with great talent, so we hope the show finds a new life elsewhere.

Expect an official announcement of the show’s closure soon.

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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.

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.

Barry Manilow

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

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.

Update (4/27/18): Our story has been confirmed. “Manilow Las Vegas: The Hits Come Home” starting May 24, 2018.

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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 “If U Seek Amy” singer 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 own a farm.”

Update (1/10/18): Thanks to KLAS (channel 13 in Las Vegas) for letting us share our Britney Spears scoop on-air.

Update (1/11/18): Us Weekly confirmed our story, stating Britney Spears will begin her residency at Park Theater in 2019.

Update (6/9/18): The Britney Spears residency at Park Theater in Las Vegas is being confirmed to guest of the theater’s production team. Done deal.

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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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