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Cirque pumps the brakes on ‘Ka’ return at MGM Grand

Updated August 18, 2021 - 3:53 pm

Cirque du Soleil is edging back the timeline of its final show to reopen on the Strip.

“Ka” at MGM Grand is now projected to relaunch in November, according to company spokeswoman Ann Paladie. She reiterated the show does plan to reopen by the end of the year.

Company CEO Daniel Lamarre said in July, as “Mystere” was about to restart, the show would likely be up and running in October.

Reportedly, “Ka” is taking measured steps in reopening because of the recent COVID surge and mask mandates. All Cirque performers in “Mystere” and “O” are wearing face covers onstage (except for most aerial acts or those performed in the water), according to company directives. Audience members are required to be masked because of the state’s latest COVID protocols.

Cirque’s upcoming openings are still going forward as scheduled. “Michael Jackson One” at Mandalay Bay is set for Aug. 19, followed by “Love” at the Mirage on Aug. 26. “Ka” is both the company’s largest, and most expensive, Vegas production.

ZZ Top in ‘21

Contrary to concerns that ZZ Top might not perform its Vegas dates at The Venetian Theatre in October, Billy F. Gibbons has confirmed the band plans to keep those dates on the books. Gibbons quoted the departed bassist Dusty Hill, laid to rest Tuesday in Houston, as saying, “Let the show go on!” It was not a metaphor. It was a directive. The band has taken on veteran ZZ Top guitar tech Elwood Francis as its third member.

Hill will be featured extensively, on bass and vocals, on the upcoming ZZ Top album. That project was almost completed upon Hill’s death, and should be out by the holidays.

Turner the burner

It has been three years, remarkably, since Earl Turner performed in town. The longtime Vegas headliner most recently appeared in “Soundtrack” with Clint Holmes at the Westgate in 2018. He’s breaking the string at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at South Point Showroom. Turner is performing songs he’s only sung for an audience once. “Love Me Like a Rock,” by Paul Simon, “Work To Do” by the Isley Brothers, and the Sinatra standard, “The Way You Look Tonight.”

Turner spent much of 2018-2019 on the road and also as a headliner on Royal Caribbean International. He has hosted his own Facebook Live talk show through much of COVID.

“It’s not a question of getting back on the bike again. I can do that,” Turner says. “We’ll see how long I can ride it.”

Ru the day

Ru Paul’s Drag Race Live!” is reopening at Flamingo Showroom on Thursday night. The cast took in Piff The Magic Dragon’s show on Monday night. Piff is on fire, pulling more than 500 paid a night, by the way.

On my way out a ticket-holder asked why all the “Ru Paul” performers were watching Piff. I said it was because the two acts split time in the showroom. “Do they offer two-for-ones?” this person asked.

Well. Now we have the possibility of the “Drag ‘n’ Dragon” discount package. Make it happen.

Meantime, at the Rio …

“Wow” is returning to its showroom on Aug. 10. The underdog production continues to find a way to make a show.

And, in a startling turn of events, “Chippendales” is set to return to the property. No announced venue or timeline, but we are confident the male revue is returning to its original home. Caesars Entertainment had shut down the Chipps’ theater in May, leaving the show without a venue. Now we are hearing new theater, and a September relaunch.

“Wow,” produced by the former prime-time mime Hanoch Rosenn, has logged more than 1,000 performances in Vegas. Rosenn also produces “Extravaganza” at Bally’s, a show similar to “Wow” in its many specialty acts, and also its resiliency.

Rolling with the punches

Floyd Mayweather and Usher wheeled around Mayweather’s Skate Rock City on Tuesday. Mayweather also hit Usher’s show at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace on Saturday night, the same night Kevin Hart blew up the show with his unbilled, R-rated dance number. The trio posed for pics at the show’s Backstory pre-show production beneath the Colosseum.

As Usher posted on his Twitter page, “What happens in Ushh Club stays in Ushh Club.”

Even more ‘Lovers’

The “Lovers & Friends Festival” has added a second date, May 15, to its performance at Las Vegas Festival Grounds. The original May 14 date reportedly sold out in an hour. The aforementioned Usher, Ludacris, Lauren Hill and Lil Jon are among the headliners. Tickets are onsale to the general public at 2 p.m. Monday.

Osmond names it

“Start Again” is the title of Donny Osmond’s upcoming release. Osmond posted the new album’s cover on social media last week. Osmond whittled 40 songs to 12 for the new release, due out just after Osmond opens at Harrah’s Showroom on Aug. 31.

Cool Hang Alert

Arizona Charlie’s Decatur revives the famed Naughty Ladies Saloon with American Eagle USA at 8 p.m. Saturday. Yes, an Eagles tribute band kicking it up where The Checkmates once held forth. There is no cover charge, but pay tribute to the musicians’ tip jar.

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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