David King likes what he sees in the wall-length mirror of the rehearsal space at Backstage Studios.
Twenty dancers burn their way through the title song of “Dancing Queen,” proving the British producer has not made a shallow promise to deliver “a huge amount of energy” in a “bigger, glitzier, sexier” version than the dance revue’s first incarnation on the Strip.
“This is fine,” he says of the rehearsal. But it’s the Showroom at Planet Hollywood Resort “that I worry about.” He says of the show’s ultimate home, where it opens Friday, “All I’ve got to do is fill it.”
Some shows follow a stranger path than others, and “Dancing Queen” finds itself going from a 300-seat cabaret at New York-New York to the 900-seat capacity (after closing the balcony) theater left vacant by the closing of “Peepshow” on Labor Day weekend.
King would have been happy to stay, but “they pulled the bloody building down,” he jokes of the Strip-front facade of New York-New York giving way to a new retail corridor. “Despite being the second showroom, we did all right.
“One thing I have learned is don’t go into a casino where you’re second-favorite, because you will remain second-favorite,” he adds, referring to Cirque du Soleil’s “Zumanity,” which he calls “the heart and soul of that casino. Whatever else we were doing really was like snapping at their heels.”
Now King will see if an enlarged version of the show will step up to the expectations of Planet Hollywood “and the fact that for now, for the time being, we’re the No. 1 show in that room.” (Meat Loaf is coming later this month, but that one is a limited engagement. Both King and that show’s producer, Adam Steck, reserve the right to call their show the casino’s top attraction.)
If King was happy to see his Abba and disco tribute expand according to his vision, he also points out something audiences won’t see: “Not a bungee jumper in sight!”
That would be a slightly subtle way of saying “Dancing Queen” will challenge Cirque du Soleil’s domination of the Strip with the more traditional revue King has produced around the world and in U.S. markets such as Branson, Mo., in particular.
“Dancing Queen” actually skews younger than his usual Branson fare, aiming for a 35-to-50 demographic.
“Nice, middle-of-the-road people,” he says. “It’s great music, it’s disco, it’s ‘Have a party and have some fun.’ One of the reasons I got interested in making it a bigger show and a bigger production is I don’t think there’s anything like this in town, that’s just fun. Have a good time and get up and boogie and dance. Half the night, we’re hoping the audience will be up on their feet.” …
Bob Anderson doesn’t mind being a blast from the past.
“I’m stuck in a time warp and I really don’t want to leave it,” the singing impressionist says.
And so it makes sense that Anderson will perform Saturday and Sunday at the Italian-American Club, 2333 E. Sahara Ave. The recently spruced-up club is the rare venue that’s still around, looking much as it did when Anderson sang on the top floor of The Dunes in the 1970s.
“It’s a place for me to catch up with everybody, and I do something they can’t see anywhere else,” he says of his impressions of classic crooners performed with Vincent Falcone’s quintet.
Anderson has a project in development related to one of his best voices, a true Las Vegas icon, and the concept is so tantalizing and crazy-sounding that it tests my vows of “off the record” confidentiality. For this weekend though, he has sworn me to just the facts of a $25 ticket for shows at 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday, available at the door or through his bobanderson.com website. …
It’s a tough way to get back at a reviewer. But the same weekend I praised the resiliency of magicians Steven and Cassandra Best, while finding little else to admire about their “Superstars of Magic” show, they closed it at the Plaza. …
Today, on the other hand, marks the 11th anniversary of “V — The Ultimate Variety Show” in the V Theater at the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort. Producer and theater operator David Saxe has shown you don’t need a Cirque budget to showcase variety performers with a knack for working a crowd. …
“One Night for One Drop,” Cirque du Soleil’s unique-content fundraiser for water advocacy and clean-water issues around the globe, will return for a second year March 21. The debut performance used Cirque cast members from all over town, thus closing the regular Cirque titles for that night, and put the Bellagio’s “O” pool stage to a rare new use.
This year’s edition is on the Mandalay Bay stage of “Michael Jackson One.” Nothing unusual about that stage, you say? I’m told to look outdoors and imagine the possibilities for the post-show party at the hotel’s wave beach.
Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0288.