Notes from the VegasVille scene, where we track a Beatle on the Strip, an Academy Award-winning actor at a famed downtown hotel, and a Broadway star at The Space:
The ‘Love’ you make
Paul McCartney checked into “Love” at The Mirage on Sunday night. McCartney has been instrumental (yesterday and today) in upgrades to the show, working with Giles Martin on a new sound system in the theater and with Domenick Champagne on many of the updated production elements (such as projections on the stage, and adding more images and video of the Beatles themselves). The overhaul was finished about a year ago.
Next, Cirque and Apple Corp. (The Beatles licensing company and partner in “Love”) are mapping out a plan to celebrate the 50th anniversary of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Those talks will include Apple and Beatles’ reps McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and George Harrison’s widow, Olivia Harrison.
New releases of the “Sgt. Pepper” album and unreleased material, including a deluxe box set of CDs, vinyl recordings, Blue-ray and DVD footage, are set to be issued May 26. Expect “Love” to embrace the anniversary, similar to how the show was marketed in 2007 during the 40th anniversary of “The Summer of Love.”
Thornton, Moreno summit
Billy Bob Thornton was spotted at The Showroom at Golden Nugget on Sunday night. This was uncommon for a couple of reasons: Thornton doesn’t often hang around the Golden Nugget, and there was no show Sunday night at the Showroom. Golden Nugget headliner Frankie Moreno’s schedule is Thursdays and Saturdays.
But Thornton had met Moreno earlier that night, when Moreno attended Thornton’s show with his backing band, The Boxmasters, at Cabaret Jazz at the Smith Center.
Moreno and Thornton’s band are connected by bassist Dave Fowler, who performed and recorded with Moreno during Moreno’s days as songwriter in Nashville. Moreno returned to Golden Nugget after Thornton’s show, then texted asking if the three-time Academy Award winner and his band wanted to check out Moreno’s setup at Golden Nugget. Frank Sinatra was among the many Vegas legends to play that venue.
Thornton and his crew did show up, at about 11:30 p.m., and hung in the dressing room for a couple of hours, sipping Bud Light while talking of music and old Las Vegas. “This is where Frank Sinatra played, huh?” Thornton asked Moreno, saying he wanted to bring some of his fellow Hollywood stars (he’s tight with Matt Damon) back to the hotel. I’m feeling a return visit is in the offing, when Moreno is actually onstage, with the requisite jam session ensuing.
Balancing act at The Space
The first Tony Award-winner to headline The Space, Alice Ripley, is set for her two-show engagement at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Ripley won the Tony Award for Best Actress as Diana in the rock opera “Next to Normal,” and also received a Tony nomination for her portrayal of conjoined twin Violet Hilton in “Side Show.”
In “Ripley Reflects,” the stage star samples from her Broadway career and also her work as a solo recording artist. Her stage credits include numbers from “The Rocky Horror Show,” “James Joyce’s The Dead,” “Sunset Boulevard,” “The Who’s Tommy,” “King David,” and “Les Miserables.” She is also Kathleen in the new Netflix comedy “Girlboss.”
Elsewhere, Space founder Mark Shunock has been busy as the host of “Magic Mike Live,” performing in the show’s opening segment, and auditioning for TV work in L.A. The biggest challenge in operating the 4-month-old venue? In a word, he says, “Balance.”
Las Vegas’ favorite tight end, Rob Gronkowski of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, hit the set by DJ 3LAU at Rehab Beach Club at Hard Rock Hotel on Sunday. The event was the College Bikini Invitational (no wagering on this competition, as it turns out). Characteristically, Gronk was in the middle of the fray, grooving it up at a friend’s bachelor party. Also in the mix were professional wrestler Mojo Rawley, hip-hop artist, DJ Whoo Kid and E! series “Wags” star and former pro wrestler Barbie Blank Souray.
We do hope the Raiders make a trade for Gronk, a great civic spokesman, as they move to Las Vegas …