62°F
weather icon Clear

Las Vegas musical ‘A Mob Story’ is dark until the spring

The Kats! Bureau at this writing is Palms’ CG Technology Sports Book. The hotel is hot right now — hot, I tell you! — with vaunted punk pioneer Billy Idol performing at Pearl Concert Theater on Friday and Saturday, and noted cocktail master Francesco Lafranconi’s Mr. Coco cocktail lounge VIP party Friday night.

Lafranconi can really deliver the FizzyWater, and many other libations. The place opens to the public Jan. 25.

More from this scene, and elsewhere:

Another ‘Mob Story’

“A Mob Story” plans to be back onstage at Plaza Showroom in April.

It has a lot of work to do before then.

The inventive mix of organized-crime and musical theater went dark in December, and is certainly facing serious financial challenges. The man at the center of the story says as much.

“Yes, there is outstanding debt,” show producer and reformed Colombo crime family “capo” Michael Franzese says. “I was handed a budget of $1.1 million and ended up spending over $2 million on the show, all money that came from and through my efforts. I was very disappointed with those I trusted to deliver the show on budget.”

Consequently, those who have done business with the production say they are owed a lot of back pay. Plaza Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Jossel said this week that he would not stage the show until he’s confident everyone who is owed money is paid.

Franzese says the show’s struggles have accelerated over the past few weeks, and are the result of a production team working together for the first time in Las Vegas. He is seeking financial partners for its next run. But if the show returns, fully funded, to the Plaza Showroom in April, it will have beaten some long odds.

“The show was an independent production in it’s entirety. I worked hard to make sure cast and crew were paid and paid since day one,” Franzese says. “Having said that, it was only the last few weeks that some crew and cast were owed money. Much of which has been resolved. I can say that cast and most all the crew love the show, understand what I did to keep the show going and want very much to return.”

The original Las Vegas musical is co-produced, written and directed by Vegas entertainment vet Jeff Kutash (who has not returned texts asking for comment). Financial struggles aside, “A Mob Story” has proven a uniquely entertaining trip through mob history, and has been well-received by critics and show-goers. The production has a great set designed by Emmy Award-winner Andy Walmsley, a terrific dance team and effective narration by Franzese himself.

Jossel, especially, is eager to see how the show deals with Franzese’s frequent absences to fulfill his many speaking engagements across the country. The show has gone dark whenever the onetime mob overlord/motivational speaker has hit the road.

“Jonathan and the Plaza brass want the show to return, and we have a mutual understanding as to how we will work together to reopen the show,” Franzese says. “It will be even a better production, operating more efficiently, I can assure you.”

He continued, “It’s a tough town. People have a lot of shows to choose from. We gave our audiences a great show, uniquely entertaining in many ways. We will be back. It is not wise to bet against us.”

Britney’s status

Published reports, some sourced accounts and widespread social-media speculation (which can always be trusted) indicate Britney Spears’ ticket sales for “Domination” at Park Theater were substandard in the weeks leading to her decision to call off all 32 dates this year. But there is no reason from here to doubt Spears’ stated reason for her decision on Jan. 4 to table the highly hyped show: Her father, Jamie Spears, spent nearly a month in Las Vegas’s Sunrise Hospital after emergency surgery on a ruptured colon.

On Wednesday, her Las Vegas manager Larry Rudolph said officials with MGM Resorts (which operates Park Theater) said they were “very happy” with advance sales. The show was to have opened Feb. 12-13. Rudolph reiterated that Spears’ decision was simply a family matter and the possible return of the show has yet to be addressed. “It’s just the set of facts,” Rudolph said in a text message. “When her father he’s in a better place, we will probably say something then.”

Untitled Saxe projects

Longtime Las Vegas producer David Saxe is developing two entertainment venues on the Strip this year. One is for a showroom-style venue that he says will play host to an immersive-interactive experience that Saxe says is “a little like ‘Sleep No More,’ but sexier. That’s a reference to the popular New York theater show based on “Macbeth” and other film-noir elements. Saxe’s other concept is a larger nightclub that can run thousands of folks through the venue in a single night.

In about six months, Saxe will be auditioning versatile entertainers who can dance, sing and act to populate these venues. As we say, more — much more — will be revealed. This is one reason Saxe Productions has been relatively quiet about developing or revamping shows at his V Theater and Saxe Theater at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. This effort has taken up most of his time.

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.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
Heavier traffic expected from EDC festival attendees
Electric Daisy Carnival attendees began to vacate the Las Vegas Motor Speedway starting before 5 a.m., the majority heading south on Interstate 15.
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DJ Steve Aoki visits Las Vegas comic book store
DJ Steve Aoki visits Torpedo Comics in Las Vegas Friday, May 17, 2019, for a signing for his new comic book series "Neon Future." (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas Smith & Wollensky opens at The Venetian
After 18 years, the Smith & Wollensky location on Las Vegas’ south Strip closed in 2017, to be re-born two years later with a rib-cutting — instead of a ribbon-cutting — in The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Colin Cantwell, Creator Of Iconic Star Wars Ships Visits Vegas
Colin Cantwell, who created and designed such "Star Wars" ships as the X-Wing fighter, and Death Star, met fans at Rogue Toys in Las Vegas today. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Beauty & Essex in Las Vegas makes an EDC Wonder Wheel
In honor of the Electric Daisy Carnival, Beauty & Essex at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas makes its Wonder Wheel party-worthy. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Giada talks Vegas Uncork’d
Giada De Laurentiis talks during Aperitivo Hour, a Vegas Uncork'd event, at her Caesars Palace restaurant, Pronto, May 10, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Scenes from Vegas Uncork’d 2019 on the Las Vegas Strip
The 13th edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit brought four days of food, wine, celebrity chefs and parties to town, May 9-12. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three ingredients Gordon Ramsay can’t live without
Bon Appetit's Andy Baraghani interviews the "Hell's Kitchen" chef during a Vegas Uncork'd event at Caesars Palace, May 11, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Uncork’d launches wiith bubbles and a blade
Dozens of chefs representing some of the Strip’s top restaurants gathered Thursday at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas to launch the 2019 edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bunky the Clown at the clown convention
Bob "Bunky the Clown" Gretton talks about his life as a clown and the Clown Convention which was in Las Vegas at Texas Station this week. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Frying soft-shell crab at Lola’s in Las Vegas
At Lola’s: A Louisiana Kitchen in Las Vegas, soft-shell crab is breaded and fried and served either as an appetizer, po’boy or platter. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
The Stove in Henderson makes Pecan Pie Pancakes
At The Stove in Henderson, chef/partner Antonio Nunez stacks buttermilk pancakes with pecans and dulce de leche and tops them pie crust crumbs. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vinnie Paul remembered at Count's Vamp'd
The late rocker's favorite table at one of his favorite clubs in Las Vegas. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
4DX movie experience at Red Rock
4DX movie experience during a demo reel at Red Rock. (Christopher Lawrence/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What To Do On May The 4th
There are plenty of events going on May the 4th this year around Las Vegas. Celebrate Star Wars and Comic Book Day all at once. The Rogue Toys, the 501st, Rebel Legion and Millennium Fandom Bar are all hosting fun events to help celebrate your geek-dom. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Water Sports Introduces New Attraction At Lake Las Vegas
Las Vegas Water Sports will debut its new aqua park attraction at Lake Las Vegas Days this weekend. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Making the Space Invader at Greene St. Kitchen in Las Vegas
Lysa Huerta, pastry cook at Greene St. Kitchen at the Palms in Las Vegas, starts with angel food cake, Fruity Pebbles ice cream and strawberry sorbet to create a space creature engulfed in flashing lights and swirling mists. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Pools
The M, Park MGM and NoMad are just a few great pools in Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jose Andres explains Iberico pork
(Al Mancini/Las Vega Review-Journal)
Inside Life is Beautiful
Craig Asher Nyman explains how Life is Beautiful festival is booked and talks about this year's line-up. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America Pops Up In Vegas
Tattoo'd America, a new pop-up attraction on the Linq Promenade, had their grand opening Friday. The attraction is dedicate to the culture of tattoos. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Jose Andres gets key to the Strip
Chef Jose Andres was presented with a Key to the Las Vegas Strip and a proclamation declaring April 26 Jose Andres Day in Clark County by County Commissioner Tick Segerblom on Friday. The ceremony took place at his restaurant Bazaar Meat in the SLS Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sadelle’s in Las Vegas makes a grilled cheese with an inverted bagel
Michael Vargas, executive sous chef at Sadelle’s at Bellagio in Las Vegas, inverts an everything bagel and grills it with Swiss, cheddar and Muenster cheeses to make the Inverted Bagel Grilled Cheese. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures
Kassandra Lopez at Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Prime rib is carved tableside at Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Las Vegas
Dave Simmons, executive chef of Lawry’s The Prime in Las Vegas, which plans special cuts for National Prime Rib Day, demonstrates the restaurant’s service from rolling tableside carving carts. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making gluten-free pizza at Good Pie in Las Vegas
Good Pie owner/pizzaiola Vincent Rotolo makes his gluten-free pizza.
Rockabilly fans enjoy Las Vegas weather poolside
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender runs Thursday, April 18th through Sunday, April 21st with a huge car show on Saturday featuring The Reverend Horton Heat, The Delta Bombers and The Coasters. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Brownie sundae at VegeNation in Las Vegas is completely vegan
Donald Lemperle, chef/owner of VegeNation in Las Vegas and nearby Henderson, NV, makes his sundae with ice cream made with coconut and almond milks, a brownie made with coconut flour and oil and organic sugar and cacao, and fresh fruit. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
Celine Dion’s lounge gig a boon to Las Vegas act

Celine Dion performed “Because You Loved Me,” “Ashes,” Beauty and the Beast” and “My Heart Will Go On.” Her arrival drew a roar from the 300 VIPs in attendance, who were not informed of the night’s entertainment.