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Penn & Teller wrap is a disappearing act at the Rio

Updated September 7, 2023 - 7:05 am

I mentioned to a friend at lunch Wednesday that the Penn & Teller building wrap was being peeled off the Rio. He said, “Wasn’t that holding the place together?”

Not actually. But in a manner of speaking, yes. Recently the Penn & Teller production has given the Rio a pulse as it undergoes an ownership change. Dreamscape Cos. is coming in, flush with cash (and apparently new paint), upgrading the hotel while taking down the famed magic duo’s giant portrait. The guys are peering to the southeast, from the Masquerade Tower.

Reps for the ownership company have yet to formally explain why this is happening, and what is the vision for the east side of the tower, post-P&T.

But we know the wrap covers the metal mullions between the windows, which are being restored and painted. But there is no forecast of what will go up, post-mullions revival. We are assured there will be ample exposure opportunities for the duo as they continue their residency.

Penn & Teller have graced the side of the Rio for the past 15 years. They opened at the hotel in January 2001. This is their eighth such wrap. It was installed about a year and a half ago.

The duo’s manager Glenn Alai says the guys have not been told what is planned for the building. But the hotel’s new paint job discussed last month during taping of the 10th season of “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” on The CW.

The pulling of the portraits is not related to Penn & Teller’s current commitment at the hotel. The duo just signed a contract extension to keep performing at their eponymous theater through 2026. They had dismissed offers to move the show to Paris Theater (which is again “between shows”) and the old Jubilee Theater at Horseshoe Las Vegas (where Dita Von Teese is opening her “Dita Las Vegas” burlesque production next month).

On Wednesday, Jillette visited a Starbucks on Flamingo and 215. The barista, who grew up in Vegas, says the Penn & Teller wrap has been his own icon to the city. As Jillette said, “It was Vegas to him.”

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 X, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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