Latent no longer, Tropicana Theater and the adjacent Havana Room are showing signs of life. Red Mercury Entertainment of Las Vegas took over the box office and booking at the hotel Feb. 22, and is already firing up programming in both venues.
The theater has been devoid of ticketed shows since “Band of Magicians” closed after a three-week run in November. Havana Room has been used expressly for private events for nearly four years.
Red Mercury co-founder Carlos Reynoso confirmed Friday longstanding rumors that a live version of “Masters of Illusions” will open in late-April or early May. The show will fill the nightly 9 p.m. slot, with tickets costing between $60-$90. “Masters” currently runs on the CW, with a rotation of top magicians performing illusions in front of a live audience.
In the Havana Room, which has been home to Club Nikki, RPM nightclub and Club Bagatelle over the past seven years, Jeff Timmons is launching his male revue “Men of the Strip,” likely in late May.
Timmons has shown impressive zeal in pushing this production, showcasing it at House of Blues in 2014 and shopping it around the city – nearly making a deal at Stratosphere late last year – before settling on the Havana Room. The founding member of 98 Degrees is expected to perform in the early stages of “Men of the Strip,” but over time will be the celebrity face (and, yes, body) of the show.
Also likely, though not formally signed, is an ice-themed production at Tropicana Theater. This would be the first frozen-water spectacle on the Strip since “Ice: The Show From Russia” ended a 2 ½-year run at the Riviera in 2009. In 2006, at the end of its 21-year-run at the Riv, “Splash” was also an icy production.
These new shows arrive after the one-off performance of Kool & The Gang at Tropicana Theater on April 15, and star chef Robert Irvine’s April 6 live show. Those deals were signed by the hotel before Red Mercury took over, but expect the theater to be home to headliners booked around the residency shows.
“We’re looking for a headliner series with comics, solo artists, bands, comedy,” Reynoso says. “We’re looking for names that people know, and will sell tickets.”
STRAT’S NEW DATE: ‘ROCK SHOW’
“Pin Up” closes its run at Stratosphere Showroom on Saturday night. The show’s star throughout its run, Claire Sinclair, is turning her attention to her eight-room boutique hotel, tentatively named Clairbnb, on South 11th Street in downtown Las Vegas. “Pin Up” closes exactly four years after its 2013 opening, and has logged more than 1,000 performances.
The new production in the Stratosphere Showroom, brazenly titled, “The World’s Greatest Rock Show,” will open April 4. Shows will be at 8 p.m. daily (dark Mondays). This is a partnership between Red Merc executive Darin Feinstein and celebrated Vegas producer Dick Feeney (“The Rat Pack is Back” at Tuscany).
Lon Bronson, for 26 years the front man of his own Lon Bronson All-Star Band, is the show’s music director, with the show paying homage to such rock legends as Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Kiss, Journey, Guns N’ Roses, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, Heart, Van Halen and Ozzy Osbourne. Vegas performers Michael Shapiro (of Reckless in Vegas), Paul Johnson (late of “Rock of Ages” at the Rio) and Anne Martinez (“Alice,” “Baz” and the new “Twerk”) are among the singers. The show promises a dazzling LED panel, advanced lighting and video screens, backing dancers and rock anthems in from the 1960s-1990s.
In a statement, Stratosphere General Manager Paul Hobson said the show is “designed to deliver a pure, unapologetic, good time … for those about to rock, we salute you.” Set it to music.
BERNSTEIN TO SING
Boxing broadcast legend Al Bernstein, one of the highlights of Sunday’s “One Card Short” charity show benefitting the St. Baldrick Foundation (which was also my birthday shindig) will host his own show March 31 at Tuscany’s Piazza Lounge. Bernstein is a fine singer, and just a great guy to spend time with in a VegasVille lounge. Show time is 8:45 p.m., with Bernstein taking the stage at about 10 p.m.
There is no cover. Touch gloves, and come out singing.
HIGH WIRE TEAM ON ‘TODAY’
The eight members of the acrobatic team that fell from a 30-foot high wire at Circus Sarasota in Florida on Feb. 8 will be featured on NBC’s “Today” show March 23. That group includes “Absinthe” high-wire coach Lijana Wallenda, who suffered numerous fractures in the fall. The segment is the first formal interview with the troupe, led by Wallenda’s brother Nik Wallenda of the famed Flying Wallendas family of circus performers.
WHO WAS WHERE
From Thursday: Country superstar and accomplished photographer Ronnie Dunn, snapping photos of classic Vegas signs at the Neon Boneyard. Dunn is in town for the Reba and Brooks & Dunn series at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace … Ex-NFL great and current broadcaster Ron Jaworski at Topgolf Las Vegas … Rapper-producer Redfoo, in town for Friday’s “One Night for One Drop” show at New York-New York, at the 8 p.m. performance of “Absinthe.”
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section, and Fridays in Neon. He also hosts “Kats! On The Radio” Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on KUNV 91.5-FM and appears Wednesdays at 11 a.m. with Dayna Roselli on KTNV Channel 13. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.