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Caesars Entertainment pulls all shows for 2 weeks

Updated March 15, 2020 - 4:05 pm

Caesars Entertainment is tabling all of its Las Vegas entertainment performances beginning Sunday through March 31.

The company released a statement Sunday morning confirming the unprecedented decision to suspend all of its Vegas performances and productions.

“All ticketed live entertainment held in Caesars Entertainment venues company-wide will suspend performances beginning Sunday, March 15 through March 31, 2020. Refunds and exchanges for affected dates are available at the point of purchase.

“We are taking these bold measures now and look forward to welcoming guests back to enjoy world-class entertainment experiences as soon as we are able. We thank you for your understanding and patience as we work through these challenging circumstances.”

Caesars officials were unavailable for further comment Sunday. The company has referred customers to its coronavirus guest information page, emphasizing its health-safety measures and reminding that the company’s resorts are still open for business.

Officials declined to answer how, or if, such rank-and-file employees as bar tenders, box-offers personnel, ushers and maitre ‘ds would be compensated in the downtimes.

Caesars’ move to close entertainment operations covers the company’s seven properties in Las Vegas, and such prominent venues as the Colosseum at Caesars Palace and Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood. Shania Twain performed at Zappos Theater on Friday and Saturday. Rod Stewart was on stage at the Colosseum those same nights.

Twain posted a message on her social media pages that her March dates would be rescheduled: ”The safety and well-being of my fans, my touring staff, family and anyone else who could be affected is my top priority.”

Headliners Wayne Newton and Dionne Warwick at Cleopatra’s Barge at Caesars Palace, Mat Franco at his eponymous venue at The Linq Hotel, the Righteous Brothers at Harrah’s Showroom, Mac King at Harrah’s, Piff the Magic Dragon at Flamingo, Tape Face at his theater at Harrah’s and Criss Angel at his self-named Planet Hollywood theater are all dark.

“To my knowledge, this is the first time this has ever happened in Las Vegas,” Newton said Sunday. “But the safety of people has to be the top priority.”

King, a 20-year headliner at Harrah’s recalled working through 9/11 early in his residency on the Strip. He says there is a clear divide in how entertainers are dealing with this crisis compared to the 2001 terrorist attacks.

“After 9/11, we kept doing shows, and it was determined by whether people wanted to show up,” Kind said. “At that time, people were happy there was something to do. They wanted to get away for an hour. Nobody was telling us not to commiserate.”

King had been performing his 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. schedule up until Sunday’s edict from Caesars.

“I did two shows Saturday and have been doing shows all week,” King said, noting that he did address the pandemic from the stage one time. “I made one joke about it, where I had a guy onstage luck an envelope and I said, “Maybe that’s not the best idea.’ It got a little bit of a laugh but it changed the dynamic for the last 20 minutes of the show, you could feel it was a little down after that.”

Franco is the 2015 champion on “America’s Got Talent” and a five-year headliner on the Strip. He is working on his show until it can be returned to the stage.

“In the interim I’m continuing to edit the show (from home) in an effort to be socially responsible in terms of physical contact and distancing,” Franco said in a text message. “Given that the show is so interactive, in the past weeks we had already started taking precautions and making changes in terms of how we manage participation.”

Saturday, Penn & Teller announced they were suspending shows at their theater at the Rio. Warwick had also halted her show at Caesars.

Caesars Entertainment production shows pulled from the stage include the long-running hit “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace, Bronx Wanderers at Harrah’s, “RuPaul’s Drag Race Live!” at Flamingo Las Vegas, “Menopause the Musical” and “X Country” at Harrah’s, “X Burlesque” at Flamingo, “Wow” at the Rio, and “Crazy Girls” at Planet Hollywood, which has been running on the Strip since opening at the Riviera in 1987.

In classic case of unfortunate timing, “Extravaganza,” from the producers of “Wow” at the former Jubilee Theater at Bally’s, opened Saturday and was put on hold less than 12 hours later.

Jimmy Kimmel’s Comedy Club, the Comedy Cellar at the Rio, and Raiding the Rock Vault and “Little Miss Nasty” at the Rio’s 172 club are also halted.

Rock Vault was among the earliest shows cut its schedule, from five performances per week to three, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

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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