Spending a year away from his casino showroom has inspired Mat Franco to host a “casino night.”
Franco returns, finally, to his eponymous theater at Linq Hotel on April 29. His “Magic Reinvented Nightly” show is playing to a little less than 250 folks, running 7 p.m. Thursdays through Mondays, with an additional performance 9:30 p.m. Saturdays. Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. Friday, sold in pods of two or four, starting at $44.05, on ticketmaster.com.
Franco has been giving his show what he says is “a pretty substantial revamp,” and is incorporating a new segment where he performs over a blackjack table.
“I created the new ‘Casino Night’ segment as a framework to give myself an opportunity to share the latest things I’m working on,” Franco said Wednesday. “The tricks will be different, night to night.”
Despite closing in on 2,000 shows during a five-year run on the Strip, Franco allows he is anxious in his return. He was anticipating a return in December, but was halted under the statewide “pause” limiting public gatherings to 50 people.
“This is the longest break, by far, I have ever had since I started performing,” the 32-year-old Franco said. “So I am a little nervous. I don’t know how the audiences are going to react, but I’m also elated to be coming back.”
Franco is working with Brian Burke, creative producer of “America’s Got Talent” who has helped Franco develop his residency show. Burke has had a hand in such Strip productions as “Le Reve” at Wynn Las Vegas, Pitbull and Lionel Richie at Zappos Theater, Celine Dion’s “A New Day …” at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, and also the sidelined “Celestia” at The Strat.
Franco is hopeful he’ll be able to effectively deliver magic, even when audience’s smiles have disappeared behind face covers.
“I’m just seeing light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m helping get us there,” he said. “This is what I love, I’m a live performer at heart and this is what I look forward to the most.”
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.