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Las Vegas entertainment venue abruptly closing

Updated October 31, 2023 - 9:25 pm

The Duomo is done.

The once-promising entertainment venue at the Rio is finished with live entertainment. The venue has pulled tickets to all of its shows from the Ticketmaster website.

Word from the hotel is Comedy Cellar is moving into the now-former Duomo annex. A restaurant is reportedly planned for the current Comedy Cellar space.

Room operator Damian Costa of Pompey Entertainment said Tuesday the Duomo was not in the hotel’s long-term plans. The Duomo project includes the Cupola Cafe Italian eatery and an ’80s-style video-game arcade.

“Sometimes these things force you into a what is probably a better situation, that you might not have considered,” Costa said Tuesday afternoon. “The Rio is going to be a beautiful place once they finish these transformations. But it’s time for The Duomo and Cupola Cafe to move on to their next phase.”

A Rio rep said in a statement Monday night, “We would like to thank Pompey Entertainment, employees of both The Duomo and Cupola Café and all the guests who experienced the venue over the past two years. These spaces are integral to our ongoing property renovation, and we look forward to sharing further updates at a later date.”

The Rio is in a transitional phase under new owner Dreamscape Companies, which took over operations on Oct. 2. Renovations include a refresh of the properties 2,500 suites, its 150,000-square-foot casino floor and 220,000-square-foot-meeting space and the pool deck.

Duomo opened just off the Rio’s casino floor, across from Wow Theater, in June 2022. Raiding the Rock Vault was the opening show. The rock retrospective has since moved to Hard Rock Live on the Strip.

Jennifer Romas’ “Exxcite” female revue, “The Heist” mob-themed musical production, the “Khoree The Poet” night of spoken word and music, and The Chi-Lites feat. Marshall Thompson are all listed as canceled on Ticketmaster. “Exxcite” was the last show to perform Monday night.

The move to close seems sudden. “Exxcite” celebrated its premiere six weeks ago. “The Heist” launched this month. Romas says she plans to move her show to the Orleans, home of The Venue, this month.

“Exxcite” has previously played Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club prior to The Duomo.

Costa’s company has presented “Late Night Magic” ensemble production at The Venue. Costa also is developing the Composers Room Showlounge & Restaurant at Commercial Center, to premiere Nov. 19.

Those venues are available for shows moving into new homes. Costa promised, “All of our shows have already found new homes and details are coming soon.”

Costa opened Pompey after leaving Caesars Entertainment in July 2021. He signed on with Caesars in January 2013 after spending nearly four years as entertainment director at South Point.

Costa also books Jimmy Kimmel’s Comedy Club at Linq Promenade. He and attorney-rock musician Tony Sgro have been partners in The Duomo since its inception. Sgro’s band Limoncello has played a no-cover residency at the club.

The Rio remains home to Penn & Teller, who have the longest tenure in a single hotel of any Vegas headliners dating to January 2001. The resort this month stripped the duo’s building wrap to restore and repaint the metal mullions between the windows. That is not indicative of the duo’s tenure at the hotel P&T have signed an extension with the hotel through 2026.

The Chippendales male revue, the Comedy Cellar and the ”Wow” variety show fill out the Rio entertainment roster.

Keep watch on the Chippendales, still selling strong after two decades, but has been reviewing venues off and on for at least one of those decades.

Cool Hang Alert

Pepe Jimenez and Groove Culture is back at Maxan Jazz from 7 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday. Jimenez, the great drummer and former member of Santana, is always worth a trip. No cover, but a $40 F&B minimum on Fridays and Saturdays at Maxan.

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 X, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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