Shows on the Strip hit milestones ... more or less


You can get your Frank Marino and Frankie Moreno mixed up, but don’t be confusing their number of shows.

On Saturday, drag star Marino celebrates 25,000 performances on the Strip, if you combine his current “Divas Las Vegas” with the 23 years he spent in “La Cage” at the Riviera.

On June 12, Stratosphere headliner Frankie Moreno marks his 500th show at the Stratosphere.

Reporters get these news releases all the time. They mean more to producers and performers than they do to readers. One this month, about “Panda!” celebrating 100 shows at the Palazzo, seemed to be pushing it. And yet, I wouldn’t deny its producers a victory in their uphill battle with Cirque du Soleil.

But we get so many of these, and the numbers are so abstract, it took a while to notice that Marino’s first went out with a typo of “250,000 performances.”

Marino says it’s hard to comprehend even 25,000 shows, a number he says involves some rounding by publicists for The Quad but is “pretty close.”

“I came here 19 years old, and in my head and — with all the plastic surgery — I still feel like I’m 19 years old,” he says. “I live in the same home that I built when I first got here, so it’s like time stood still. Every day I drove my car to the Strip, I did a performance and I came home. My life really didn’t change very much between then and now. For me, it seems like it was just yesterday.”

It only sinks in with the “then and now” comparisons. “Sammy Davis Jr. was the first person to ever introduce me in an audience,” he says. “Now, looking back, that is so cool, to think that happened to me.”

Moreno says he actually does keep count. “I’ve always been (one to) keep really crazy good track of that just for my own fun. I have it in my phone what exact number we’re on. I don’t know why.”

He thinks it may be his version of “Treat every show as though it’s your last.”

“I’m an Elvis and Bobby Darin fan, and you never know when the last one is going to be for whatever reason. … What number is this, just in case?” he says with a laugh.

I decided to do some rounding of my own. Since June of 2000 I’m close to 672 show reviews and 1,344 entertainment columns. Should I put out a press release?

“We tend to live in a world of round numbers,” says Dave Kirvin, whose Kirvin Doak Communications represents many shows on the Strip. Though he vouches for the accuracy of his releases, “We typically base our celebratory numbers on milestones.”

Steve Flynn, whose Langdon Flynn Communications put out the “Panda!” release, says it can be good press “because it shows longevity and staying power.”

But he and Kirvin both had the same advice: “Hang in there until Column 1,500,” Kirvin said.

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