The Kats! Bureau at this writing is the front row of Reynolds Hall at Smith Center for the Performing Arts, rehearsals for the “Vivaldi Four Seasons — March Into the Stradosphere” show at 8 p.m. Saturday. Music director Donato Cabrera is working with the assembled string players, and I have taken off my hard-heeled boots, because they are clunking through the nuanced Vivaldi pieces as I take pics on my phone.
The four soloists in Saturday’s program are playing Stradivarius violins far older than the city of Las Vegas itself, dating to the late-1600s and early 1700. The uninitiated might ask, “Can’t they afford new instruments?” But the total value of the violins featured in the program exceeds $50 million.
Concertmaster De An Letourneau is playing a 300-year-old Stradivarius valued at $6.6 million. You get chills when you are near such an instrument, I am encouraged because in the 15 years or so that I’ve known Letourneau, the only item of value I’ve seen her drop is a shot of Crown Royal at Rush Lounge during a Frankie Moreno show.
Watching this performance, I well remember when violin master Joshua Bell opened the Smith Center by playing his $4 million Stradivarius, which dates to 1713. Just Bell and that instrument, under the spotlight. Several stars took the stage that night, including Carole King, John Fogerty (with his famous Louisville Slugger-fashioned guitar), Willie Nelson and Arturo Sandoval.
But the one a remember, over time, was Bell and that violin. This weekend should revive the rich feel of these violins, which are truly instruments for all time.
Show shuffle at Bally’s
“Miss Behave Game Show” is closing and “X Rocks” is relocating as Caesars Entertainment is turning The Back Room at Bally’s into a nightlife concept. “X Rocks” held its last show in the space Sunday “Miss Behave” closes March 22.
Seth Yudof’s UD Factory has most recently produced “Miss Behave,” and Yudof pointed to Caesars’ still-unspecified nightlife plans for the room as the reason for its closing.
“X Rocks,” the topless revue in the Stabile Productions collective, plans to re-open at a refurbished Buca di Beppo venue on March 19. That room is just across the walkway from The Back Room and the “X” team is currently rehearsing a new version of the production, which opened at the Kings Room, now the Comedy Cellar, at the Rio in August 2013.
“Miss Behave” creator Amy Saunders opened the rowdy, largely improv game audience-participation show nearly three years ago. She is taking the down time to reassess her show’s viability in Las Vegas. It’s possible she will perform pop-up shows until finding a more long-standing venue, using her Vegas affiliation to market the show abroad.
As has been proven by the terrific “Miss Behave,” staging a small show in Vegas is both a blessing and a curse: It’s easy to move, and it’s easy to move.
Terry Fator’s final date at the Mirage is June 20. That might change as he scouts venues with longtime production partner MGM Resorts International. The hotel is keeping with its current lineup of recurring headliners Boyz II Men and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Aces of Comedy, and magician Shin Lim with Colin Cloud.
I expect Lim’s “Limitless” show to be extended beyond his current schedule, which ends June 7. Also, I’ve noticed over the past several months a phasing out of Terry Fator Theater as the name of the room. MGM Resorts has been going with Mirage Theater for its non-Fator productions. Comic Nikki Glaser, in her debut at the room Feb. 16, referred to Fator as the room’s namesake but mispronounced his surname as “FAH-tor.” She added, “I don’t know him, but I’m sure he’s great.”
Has anyone aside from me thought to package Fator and Gordie Brown in a co-headlining show? I’d bet it would sell, and I’ve heard of (and observed) far worse concepts …
No M&G at Saxe shows
Several weeks ago, one of David Saxe’s performers returned from a cruise-ship gig just as the coronavirus scare was escalating in China. The entertainer suggested cutting the casts’ meet-and-greets in Saxe’s shows. Saxe did just that, ahead of the scare in the U.S. “Zombie Burlesque,” “Vegas! The Show” and “V! The Ultimate Variety Show” are no longer meeting fans after their performances at V Theater and Saxe Theater at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood.
“I wasn’t sure if it was the right move, but it turned out to be the right move,” Saxe says.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats! podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.