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New room, new voices for Strip-bound Gordie Brown

Life is The Cabaret for Gordie Brown.

The long-running Vegas impressionist is back onstage, on the Strip, at The Cabaret at Planet Hollywood. Brown opens the show, simply titled, “Gordie Brown Live,” at 7 p.m. May 9.

Brown’s latest production is scheduled at 7 p.m. nightly (dark Mondays and Fridays), with tickets set at $59.95, $69.95 and $79.95, not including fees. The Cabaret is on the second-floor, mezzanine level of the hotel, across from Planet Hollywood Showroom and adjacent to Crazy Girls Theater.

Brown’s production is the most adventurous in the short history of The Cabaret, which is being expanded from 115 seats to 185. The venue opened at the start of 2016 and is currently home to the “Comedy & Dolls” comic-burlesque production at 9 p.m. That show will move to 10 p.m. if the club finishes off a deal bringing an 8:30 p.m. show to the room.

Brown had been performing corporate shows since ending his seven-year run at Golden Nugget in November. The Canadian-born impressionist has actually played Planet Hollywood before, for eight months in 2008 at V Theater at Miracle Mile Shops.

Grown had previously headlined at The Venetian, in what is now Sands Showroom, from 2006-2007. He arrived in Las Vegas in 2004, spending two years at the Golden Nugget and becoming known as “Downtown Gordie Brown.”

But Brown is done with downtown.

“Being on the Strip was something we were very serious about,” said Brown, who enlisted Chip Lightman as his manager the day he was told his show was closing at Golden Nugget. “We had interest right away, which lessened the blow of leaving the Golden Nugget. It just took us a lot longer to find the right deal.”

Lightman, who is moving back to Las Vegas from Boise, Idaho to manage Brown’s career, had a long partnership with the late Danny Gans and a somewhat shorter partnership with Donny & Marie as they opened at the Flamingo.

Brown seemed destined for a headlining gig at Tropicana, as officials with Red Mercury Entertainment caught one of his final shows at Golden Nugget and began talks to return Brown to the Strip. That deal eventually fell out, but Brown quickly turned to the 7 p.m. opening at The Cabaret.

It’s a comparatively cozy venue for a performer used to a 600-seat room (the Golden Nugget Showroom capacity), and in this draw-down, Brown will surrender his backing band and perform exclusively to tracks.

“This is an intimate show that will feel a lot like a stand-up comedy show,” Brown says. “It reminds me of years ago, playing at the Improv Comedy Club in L.A. It takes me back to those days.”

Brown is working on new subjects to add to his 85 impressions (by his own updted count), including Bruno Mars, John Mayer and Gavin DeGraw. Routines evoking such artists as Three Doors Down, Green Day, Passenger and Linkin Park are also being readied for the stage. Such popular figures as Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Bennett, Jack Nicholson and Paul Simon will remain.

“I’m focusing on the age group we’ll be bringing in, or want to be bringing in, and it’s a younger age group,” says Brown, who has performed more than 2,000 shows in Las Vegas. “But I’m doing it for me, too. I want to keep as much relevancy as I can.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section, and Fridays in Neon. He also hosts “Kats! On The Radio” Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on KUNV 91.5-FM and appears Wednesdays at 11 a.m. with Dayna Roselli on KTNV Channel 13. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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