With ‘Queen’ out at Planet Hollywood, Meat Loaf counts as hip (Who knew?)


Meat Loaf will never be confused with Britney Spears. Maybe that’s the point.

Planet Hollywood Resort turned all of last month’s attention to its remodeled 7,000-seat theater, now called The Axis, and star tenant Spears.

With her show out of the gate for better or worse, the news shifts up to the top of the giant escalator and the casino’s other problematic venue, the 1,500-seat Showroom at Planet Hollywood.

The disco revue “Dancing Queen” quietly closed at the end of 2013, and Meat Loaf will return for 24 dates starting Feb. 13.

At least three more veteran acts, most likely starting with the Jacksons (Jermaine, Jackie, Marlon and Tito), will be booked into a rotation. They will share the unifying brand “RockTellz &Cocktails,” though it isn’t clear how well the public understood this attempt to establish a “VH1 Storytellers”-like vibe when Meat Loaf debuted last fall.

While The Axis will join the hunt for midsize concert draws, “I’m looking for the artists that are looking to stop touring, that want to sit down and do something really cool and legacylike with their career,” producer Adam Steck says.

Both the Showroom and downstairs theater were leased to third-party operator Base Entertainment before Caesars Entertainment Corp. acquired the hotel.

Caesars regained control of the downstairs theater last year. But Steck will sublet the Showroom from Base, with Caesars’ support, for eight months this year. Base will still book the slow stretches of December-January and July-August.

“Peepshow” and other titles that played the theater since it opened with “Stomp Out Loud” in early 2007 had one thing in common: Being good for 300-to-500 tickets per night in a room with 1,500 seats.

“Dancing Queen” producer David King says in an email that he was “under no illusion that we would ever sell a thousand tickets (per night). But I did feel we would sell in the 500 range, and in the end, this was about what we were selling.

“The problem was the advertising costs we had to spend to reach those numbers and the costs of the venue, which were expensive.”

King says his dealings with Caesars Entertainment were “totally professional, reliable and real.” But it goes without saying that the marketing push for Spears didn’t leave much energy for “Dancing Queen,” and that the revue was seen as too baby-boomer stodgy for the young, “hip” demo Planet Hollywood is pursuing (never mind that the song “Dancing Queen” came out in 1977, only a year before Meat Loaf’s “Bat Out of Hell”).

Steck believes the Planet Hollywood theater can be viable with the 300-seat balcony closed. Meat Loaf averaged about 900 tickets per show during his fall run, which Steck says was well worth a return booking. Other acts may run concurrent with Meat Loaf, starting at 9:30 p.m. after his 7 p.m. show.

All Steck has to do is sign them.

“These artists aren’t easy to secure,” he says. “They all have touring schedules and it has to be the right place at the right time.” …

Do magicians get a group discount for surgery?

First came word of Criss Angel taking a break from his Luxor “Believe” to get shoulder surgery this month, returning with limited mobility to host “Magicjam — World’s Greatest Magicians” Feb. 4 through March 29.

Now, Jan Rouven, star of “Illusions” at the Riviera, says he, too, needs preventive surgery this month, to avoid the risk of compounding an earlier injury.

Rouven and producer Frank Alfter found a different way to stay open: Teaching the whole “Illusions” show to another magician, Spencer Horsman, who performs it through Feb. 24.

Horsman competed as an escape artist on “America’s Got Talent” in 2012 and was part of the packaged “AGT” show that fall at the Palazzo (Maybe Horsman will catch up to comedian-contestant Tom Cotter next weekend at the Suncoast).

Alfter says Horsman will put his own comedic spin on “Illusions.” But leaving the bulk of the production as is keeps the dancers and assistants employed. …

If you can’t imagine those “Pin Up” billboards without pin-up girl Claire Sinclair, you won’t have to this year. The 2011 Playmate of the Year this week signed a contract extension that will keep her for a second year in the Stratosphere’s not-quite-topless revue. …

Those who want to see Bally’s “Jubilee!” one more time as we’ve known it for decades have until Jan. 30 before the show goes down for a makeover, reopening in March with a more contemporary attitude. Dancers audition for the new version on Tuesday. …

Boozy comedian Ron White enlists fellow Mirage regular Gabriel Iglesias to take part in “Ron White’s Comedy Salute to the Troops” on Feb. 19 at The Mirage. Kathleen Madigan, Josh Blue and Ray Wood Jr. also are on the bill for the show filmed for future airing on cable’s CMT network.

It’s White’s sixth benefit for the Armed Forces Foundation, and the second to be taped at The Mirage. Tickets are $80 to $110. …

Next week’s Neon will take a longer look at producer Ross Mollison and his Spiegelworld expanding from “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace to the new “Vegas Nocturne” at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas’ environmental supper club Rose.Rabbit.Lie.

The marketing has been deliberately cryptic, perhaps to a fault, for a new blend of club, dining and show in multiple rooms with “pop-up” performances. You can go in and eat without seeing the separately ticketed “Nocturne,” but there are dinner-show options that allow one to make an entire night of it.

“Nocturne” is open for ticketed previews of three nightly shows, with different content in each, at 8, 10 and 11:59 p.m.

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.