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Las Vegas Strip shows ‘MJ Live,’ Purple Reign survive Trop closing

Updated February 28, 2024 - 2:34 pm

It’s Trop no more for the productions that have anchored Tropicana Theater.

The “MJ Live” tribute to Michael Jackson is moving to Sahara Theatre, opening March 18 and running 7:30 p.m. daily through July 28 (tickets and intel at Ticketmaster.com or tix4vegas.com).

Purple Reign, Jason Tenner’s Prince tribute, opens at V Theater at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood on March 19. The open-ended run is set for 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Ticket and scheduling aer at VTheater.com and ticketmaster.com.

Both shows close Friday night at the Trop. The hotel closes for good April 2.

The shows are co-produced by Darin Feinstein’s Red Mercury Entertainment company, with Feinstein and Dick Feeney partnering in “MJ Live.” David Saxe Productions is the landlord for Purple Reign’s V Theater annex.

Feinstein has also taken over majority investment in “Jersey Boys” at Orleans Showroom, with John Bentham’s Ivory Star continuing day-to-day management of the production.

“MJ Live” is a run-through of Jackson’s hit-making career, with backing dancers and a live band. “Bad,” “Billie Jean” and “Beat It,” are highlights from Jackson’s solo catalogue. “I’ll Be There,” “I Want You Back” and “ABC” are from the Jackson 5 era. “Rotating impersonators” alternate the Jackson role.

Developed by Feeney more than a decade ago, “MJ Live” has played the Rio and The Strat before relocating to Tropicana Theater in 2022.

Tenner has starred as Prince for more than 25 years, the past six at the Tropicana. Purple Reign recites Prince’s “Purple Rain” album and movie. Tributes to Morris Day and The Time and Vanity 6 are performed in the show.

Tenner premiered the show at the old Tom & Jerry’s on Maryland Parkway in June 1997. Donning the Victorian-styled costumes made famous by Prince and the Revolution, Tenner and his backing band and dancers have performed at the Beach on Convention Center Drive, 3121 Jazz Cuisine at the Rio (the nightspot near Club 3121, when Prince headlined at the hotel), House of Blues at Mandalay Bay, the Pub at Monte Carlo, assorted Station Casinos venues, Hooters, Sin City Theater at Planet Hollywood, the D Las Vegas, and, finally, Westgate from 2014-16.

Tenner mulled hanging up the purple suit for good as the show closed at Westgate. But he saw a shot at Tropicana, saying at the time, “I’m taking one last crack at this. Hopefully the move I’m making will push us forward.” That move kept Prince’s legacy alive.

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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