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Bellagio, Mayfair lead Las Vegas Strip entertainment return

Updated May 29, 2020 - 4:40 am

The return of Las Vegas Strip-style attractions and entertainment is unfolding at a right resort: Bellagio.

Mayfair Supper Club overlooking the Bellagio fountain show, is set to return with its stage show as the hotel itself reopens June 4. Petrossian Bar & Lounge, with its rotating pianists, is also set to return.

Already announced is the return of Bellagio fountains, silent since March 17, when the resort reanimates.

It’s a start.

The Mayfair is of particular interest. The chic supper club has been a focal point across the Vegas entertainment scene since opening New Year’s Eve. Vegas newcomers Kim Willecke, Dennis Jauch and Phil Shaw of No Ceilings Entertainment and MGM Resorts International creative minds returned the refined, dinner-and-a-show format to the Strip.

The show reached the locals’ scene, too. Folded into the stage show were performers familiar to those who track Vegas entertainment: J.F. Thibeault (of “Zumanity”at New York-New York and “Viva Elvis” at Aria); Lisa Marie Smith, late of “Pin Up” at The Strat and “Baz” at Palazzo Theater; Jason Martinez, original member of the “Jersey Boys” at Palazzo and Paris Las Vegas; Jassen Allen of Mondays Dark; and Patrick Hogan, a star-quality pianist and singer out of the UNLV jazz studies program.

Tireless singers Steve Judkins and LaShonda Reese were highlights in an experience worth a full-night investment. Word on the scene was that Mayfair was among the leading revenue-producing restaurants in MGM Resorts when the shutdown came down.

The club’s return to the present tense will be watched with great interest as shows return under COVID-19 safety directives. This is a show with a cast of singers, players and dancers who — in its original design — grooved aggressively through the dinner crowd. It was a real steak-and-sequins experience.

Expect modification of the show’s staging, as the staff and performers (offstage) adhere to face-covering protocols, socially distant table setup and routine disinfecting of all surfaces.

Hours are 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. The nightlife component is TBA. No late-night club hangs just yet at Mayfair.

Even so, MGM Resorts is bringing back a dinner show at its signature resort. Mayfair offers more than a chance to have fun. It’s an opportunity to understand the do’s and don’ts of the new normal of Vegas nightlife. Pay attention, and pass the scallops.

Neonopolis revived

“The Hilarious 7” comedy lineup at Notoriety at Neonopolis on Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard is a go. The stand-up performances hosted by comic John Hidler are set to start at 7 p.m. Friday at the 320-seat Robin Leach Lounge. The room will be set for 100 or so guests. The show has sold 60 tickets. I’d bet about 50 folks turn up.

The show is set to livestream on the Notoriety and Hilarious 7 Facebook pages and also on the Vimeo website.

Notoriety proprietor Ken Henderson of Best Agency and Neonopolis owner Rohit Joshi both said Thursday that the venue classifies as a bar without food, meaning it can operate at less than 50 percent of its fire-code capacity. This position separates the venue from a pure entertainment venue. Live-entertainment performances, or “events with audiences” are actually not allowed according to Phase 2 regulations.

It’s is an interesting issue to decipher, certainly an area of nightlife I’ve not dealt with, nor have room operators. In real-world terms, the Leach Lounge acts as a hybrid bar and entertainment venue. But in COVID-19, it’s a bar, with some entertainment … over there.

Regardless, the venue is following Phase 2 protocols: Tables are sufficiently spaced, no customers allowed at the bar, 6-foot markers placed anywhere folks would be closely assembled. Face masks are encouraged.

Henderson and Admit VIP founder Pete Housley scrapped “The Hilarious 7’s” scheduled debut Thursday night to review options for reopening. But this is designed to be an ongoing show to run Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Neonopolis also announced that Don’t Tell Mama, The Nerd (with a “MaskQuerade Party”), Cat’s Meow and Banger Brewing are opening Friday. Don’t Tell Mama will return with its piano-guest singer format. Cat’s Meow is a well-known karaoke experience with bar food and libations. Again, these places present entertainment where people congregate, but are set up as bars.

Axehole Vegas, an attraction where guests quaff brews and throw axes at targets (call it the COVID Reopening Biathlon), also opens Friday.

Heart Attack Grill already opened for two days last week — and shut down again. Joshi says the business reported such soft sales that it needed to wait until more pedestrian traffic returned to the Fremont Street Experience/Fremont East neighborhood. The Grill, where cleaning your plate has always been encouraged, is back Wednesday.

Tuscany’s return

The Piazza at Tuscany is returning to live entertainment/food at 8:30 p.m. Friday with “The Kenny Davidsen Show.” Davidsen is actually a mainstay at Don’t Tell Mama, so he’s back in action twice over.

Paige Strafella Nicoll sings with Davidsen and his two-man backing band at Tuscany, but no other guest singers will be onstage. It’s a true, no-cover lounge hang where you can order food and tip the guy at the piano. We’ll see where it all takes us.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats! podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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