Travis Cloerremembers New Year’s Eve 2010, when his take on “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” was interrupted by a fired-up fan of classic rock.
“This is my favorite song!” the man shouted during a performance of “Jersey Boys” at Palazzo Theater. “‘These Eyes!’ It’s great!”
Guess Who sang that song. No, really. The Guess Who sang that song. Not Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
“So I get into, ‘Can’t Take My Eyes off of You,’ and I’m singing the lyrics very deliberately, right at this guy,” Cloer said during a dinner with his “Jersey Boys” castmates Tuesday night at Eiffel Tower Restaurant at Paris Las Vegas. ‘It’s just too good to be true! Can’t take my eyes off of YOU!’”
It was just one of many memorable moments leading to a bittersweet one, as “Jersey Boys” ends its run at Paris Theater on Sunday night. The show ran for 8½ yeas on the Strip, first at Palazzo and, since 2012, at Paris.
The other “JB” performers ringing the table were Graham Fenton (who alternates the Valli role with Cloer), Jason Martinez (Nick Massi), Jason Kappus (Bob Gaudio) and John Gardiner (Tommy DeVito).
Fenton, especially, has dealt with the rough realities of show business, as he learned “Jersey Boys” was closing just six weeks before his wife, Nicole Kaplan, had been told her show, “Steve Wynn’s Showstoppers” was also scheduled to close at Encore Theater in September. The Fentons were relieved that Wynn gave “Showstoppers” an extended life, keeping the show alive through the end of December, but when the “Showstoppers” announcement came down, the couple had just moved into a new house in Las Vegas.
“I was like, ‘Wait! Nicole! ‘You kept the receipt, right?’” Fenton said, laughing and shaking his head. “That is show business.”
Gardiner recalled meeting not only Tommy DeVito, but DeVito’s brother, Nick DeVito. “Nick was really fascinated by me, and for a while I think he really felt I was Tommy,” said Gardiner, whose wife, Kyli Rae, is an ensemble member of the “JB” cast. “He just locked in on my neck, ‘Come here and gimme a hug!’”
IMAGINE DRAGONS AT T-MOBILE?
In a quick-shot session on the “gold carpet” at Criss Angel’s H.E.L.P. fundraiser Monday night at Luxor, Vegas rockers Imagine Dragons said they were hoping for a headlining date at T-Mobile Arena in 2017 “in our next round” of their U.S. tour. Frontman Dan Reynoldsjoined Brandon Flowers for a duet of “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine” when The Killers helped open the arena in April. Imagine Dragons is also starting work on the follow-up to 2014’s “Smoke + Mirrors.”
“We are writing a little,” Reynolds said. “It’s loose and easy.” As bassist Ben McKee explained, “We are confidently creating on our own terms at our own pace.” The band is working without a deadline, for the first time, for the new release.
The next live performance for ID in Las Vegas will be an acoustic set at its annual Tyler Robinson Foundation charity event on Sept. 30 at Caesars Palace. But when a fan shouted if the band would perform a surprise set at Life is Beautiful next weekend, Reynolds called back, “Maybe! You never know!”
ORLANDO’S HILTON EXPERIENCE
The emcee of Angel’s charity show, Tony Orlando, remembered his first gig in VegasVille, at the big lounge at Las Vegas Hilton in 1972. “I was with Dawn, after ‘Knock Three Times’ and ‘Candida,’ but before ‘Tie a Yellow Ribbon,’ so it was before we broke it big,” Orlando recalled before the H.E.L.P. event, which he hosted. “We got word that Elvis was coming in — he was in the main room of course — and word spread around the hotel. We had about 600 people there that night; it was a huge lounge. I see this white flash of something, and everyone started screaming. Elvis walks in, he has no place to go because the place is packed, so he walks by the stage and he says to me, ‘Thank you! Thank you very much!’ And then he left. It was incredible.”
The production show at Caesars Palace will be the focus of a hearing in Clark County District Court on Tuesday morning. Co-producers Base Entertainment and Spiegelworld are still involved in litigation that Base hopes will keep the show at Roman Plaza through 2018; Spiegelworld has announced it will bolt from the property for the Cosmopolitan when the current lease expires Oct. 21.
The latest legal dispute has been moved from federal to state court, which gives Base another shot at preventing a relocation of the popular production. The lease keeps Base in a production partnership with Ross Mollison’s Spiegelworld company. If the show moves, Base is out. The two sides have been arguing in court over ticket revenue and operating costs.
To update: At this writing, there is still no evidence of “Absinthe” on the Cosmopolitan website and no listing for an opening date or any tickets yet on sale for shows at the under-renovation Rose. Rabbit. Lie. ballroom. But tickets are on sale for the show at the Spiegeltent at Roman Plaza through Dec. 18 via Ticketmaster on the Caesars Palace and Absinthe websites.
And, I can confidently impart that the lease to stage the show to the Cosmopolitan has not yet been signed by all parties. Cosmopolitan says it is moving forward with plans to open the show on its property — and Mollison has said he wants it to re-open in November.
John Katsilometes’ column runs Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday 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.