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Mr. Las Vegas still in the game, but several out in Caesars cuts

Updated May 15, 2021 - 10:03 pm

Through pandemic and his company’s recent entertainment upheaval, Wayne Newton still stands.

“I deeply appreciate and am so honored to be valued by Caesars and asked to stay with the company,” Newton said Friday as the list of a dozen Caesars Entertainment shows closing was confirmed. “However, though understanding the pain that hotels must be going through due to COVID, my heart goes out to the performers and employees that saw light at the end of the tunnel and now have to find new homes. I am sure their talent will allow us to see them again soon.”

Newton’s latest home on the Strip, Cleopatra’s Barge at Caesars Palace, has been shut down, the company verified Friday. On Thursday, several shows were notified their theaters or showrooms had been closed. Newton celebrates 62 years of performing in Las Vegas next week. Also next week, he starts scouting rooms.

Mr. Las Vegas won’t be alone, but at least he remains in Caesars Entertainment’s plans.

We can also confirm magic headliner Mac King is not going to return to Harrah’s Showroom, but his decision is outside the company’s closing of venues. He will be back onstage, and is expected to make an announcement soon about his future.

Caesars Entertainment still showcases about 30 shows, not including such theater headliners as Usher, Morrissey and Sting, coming up this year at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace; and Judas Priest at Zappos Theater. Caesars Entertainment’s superstar residencies will continue to be the company’s primary entertainment focal point.

Elsewhere, the full rundown of venues and performers in Caesars’ sweep:

Cleopatra’s Barge

Newton is to remain with Caesars Entertainment but in different, existing venue (nothing being built for his show) and not any venue that is closed. This, according to Caesars Entertainment President of Entertainment Jason Gastwirth. Superstar Dionne Warwick is done in the room and with the company, we’re told focusing on touring. Mentalist Thomas John is seeking a venue elsewhere. David Perrico’s Pop Strings, too, is out of the venue.

Anthony Cools Experience at Paris Las Vegas

Cools’ hypnonsis show, “Friends! The Musical Parody” and “Sex Tips For Straight Women From a Gay Man,” are all not reopening with the company.

Sin City Theater at Planet Hollywood

The rock vocal ensemble Tenors of Rock, and long-standing adult revue “Crazy Girls” are not reopening with the company.

The Back Room at Bally’s

Adult revue “X Rocks” is not reopening in the company.

Chippendales Theater

“Chippendales,” the male revue that opened in 2002, is not reopening with the company.

Additionally, Bronx Wanderers and John Caparulo’s Mad Cap Comedy will not reopen at Harrah’s Las Vegas. But The Magic Attic, home of Frederic Da Silva’s “Paranormal,” Xavier Mortimer and “Potted Potter,” is still in business. Jimmy Kimmel’s Comedy Club remains dark, but is still on pause until it can reopen on Linq Promenade.

Caesars Entertainment President of Entertainment Jason Gastwirth explained the decisions as the result of a “strategy discussion” to identify what his company would present as the city reopens after the pandemic shutdown.

“These are very, very difficult decisions,” Gastwith said during an interview for an upcoming Kats! column. “These are shows we had long-term partnerships with, really productive and wonderful relationships with. In thinking through the right level of programming across different properties, we felt this was the right business decision.”

Gastwirth spoke to the timing of these cutbacks, enforced just as Las Vegas is moving to 100-percent capacity for public gatherings.

“There is a lot we’ve learned over this period, of what the business overall is going to look like and trying to assess what the demand patterns are, what the guests coming out of it are looking for,” he said. “We took an overall assessment of where we are today, especially with an opportunity to open more fully. It was arrived at recently, which is why we have had these very difficult decisions with these shows this week.”

A couple of popular lounges, too, have been shut down. Indigo at Bally’s and and Le Cabaret at Paris Las Vegas, which carried live entertainment through much of the early pandemic reopening, are shut down. But “Big Elvis,” Pete Vallee, is still performing at Piano Bar at Harrah’s. Carnaval Court, between Linq Hotel and Harrah’s, is still alive.

The decisions were met with widespread surprise. Just a week ago, Bronx Wanderers had anticipated possibly moving into Cleopatra’s Barge and toggling times with Newton.

Instead, they received their walking papers while touring at Sugden Theater in Naples, Fla.

“People love the show, but when Caesars doesn’t want us, it’s a tough situation,” group founder Vinny Adinolfi said Friday. “But we did have a chance to headline in Caesars Entertainment, which is like getting to play for the Yankees.”

Bronx Wanderers opened at the now-Magic Attic at Bally’s in September 2016.

“We’re definitely blind-sided, and heartbroken,” Vinny “Vin A.” Adinolfi added. “But we just lost a venue. We didn’t lose our show. We’ll be back.”

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.

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