Let’s get this out of the way, up front. “Donny & Marie,” the resident show at Flamingo Las Vegas, is one of the best in Las Vegas. It’s funny as hell and has great production values, music and dancing, and it’s well worth the ticket price, even though it’s one of the most expensive on The Strip.
That said, the pair’s widely-publicized (but rarely talked-about in Las Vegas) feud can have a very real impact on the show-going experience, so we thought it might be useful to pass along the ways in which their spat could affect you.
First, you should know Donny and Marie don’t perform together very much onstage during their show, at all. Maybe two songs out of a 90-minute show, plus a brief “good-natured ribbing” segment. It’s jarring, especially if you come in expecting that a show called “Donny & Marie” might feature these beloved singers actually performing together.
Second, and perhaps most surprisingly, when you pay for a VIP meet-and-greet ticket (around $300 with fees), you won’t be getting a photo op with Donny and Marie. You’ll have a photo op with Donny, or you’ll have a photo op with Marie. Sometimes, one with each, but not together.
Guests are put into two lines in the meet-and-greet area (the nearby Diamond Lounge), and Donny works his way down one line, while Marie works the other. If there’s time, they switch lines, but they don’t cross paths or pose together with guests.
So, do those things matter? They might. One of the main ways the Donny and Marie feud affected us is we can’t quite see the duo in the same light now, whether it’s onstage or taking jabs at each other on TV talk shows. Because we know their playful barbs aren’t as playful as they once might have been, and we know their work together now is all about paying the bills. It’s a “marriage” of convenience, and that makes us a little sad.
As Donny himself puts it, “To make the business work, we set (our) rivalries aside.”
Note: The occasional lip-syncing during the show is sad, too, but all-too-common in Vegas shows these days. We’re looking at you, Celine.
Why don’t more people talk about this unfortunate sibling rift? Well, for one thing, it’s uncomfortable. Nobody wants to believe America’s sweethearts don’t really talk to each other offstage unless they have to.
Also, many journalists are deferential to “Las Vegas royalty,” preferring to tiptoe around certain subjects rather than run afoul of the casinos and their gatekeepers.
All this, of course, doesn’t do much to change our opinion of this great show. Just know what you’re getting into, especially if you’re going to splurge for the meet-and-greet (which can also be canceled without notice or explanation, by the way).
Enjoy the “Donny & Marie” show while you can, because once their contract is fulfilled, signs are they could be going their separate ways.