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Plans for Timmons’ ‘Men of the Strip’ halted at Tropicana

These guys are all dressed down with nowhere to go.

“Men of the Strip,” the adult revue fronted by Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees planned for the Tropicana’s Havana Room, is not opening at the hotel after all. The show was originally set to open May 26, then was moved back to July 14 to establish a marketing campaign linked to summer projects from Timmons’ reunited boy band.

Instead, the hotel announced this afternoon: “As of today, we regretfully announce that there will be no contractual relationship between Tropicana Las Vegas and ‘Men of the Strip.’ We wish their production team nothing but success moving forward. We greatly anticipate having new entertainment announcements soon.”

Asked if the hotel planned to use Havana Room, which has been closed to the public (but open for private events) for four years, a spokeswoman said the Trop “is considering every option from an entertainment standpoint.” There was no official explanation from the Trop as to why the hotel and the production cut ties, seemingly an abrupt move given the extensive renovations to the room and the show’s long development.

But Timmons said he and co-producers “Money Mike” Foland and Daniel Kouretas of Kouretas Entertainment Group of Las Vegas were hoping for, and even expecting, more support from their partners in “Men of the Strip.”

“We could come in and open a show ourselves, sure, but this was not a case of me going in and getting involved in a deal in Vegas and bankrolling a show myself,” Timmons said. “We want to be partners with someone who is committed. We don’t want to do a ‘four wall’ deal.”

Diplomatically, Timmons did not specify where he expected such support to originate, but the Tropicana has retained Red Mercury Entertainment as its entertainment partner and box-office operator. Often, that variety of partnership can lead to a co-investment in a production.

But that was not the case for Red Mercury’s relationship with “Men of the Strip” at the Tropicana. RME had arranged to sell tickets to “Men of the Strip,” but was not investing funds for payroll, promotions or any operations.

Often, Red Mercury does act as co-producer at hotels in which it runs entertainment — “The World’s Greatest Rock Show” and “MJ Live” at Stratosphere are a pair of prominent examples. But in other projects, RME simply acts as the box office, which it does for “Sexxy” and Purple Rain at Westgate Las Vegas, and that was also the partnership with “Men of the Strip.”

Having explored many resorts around town and nearly coming to terms at the Stratosphere, Team Timmons is now regrouping. The seven dancers have been rehearsing for months and are stage-ready, and Timmons had declined earlier offers of a 12-show tour of Asia. That series of performances is now being revisited, as is the show’s future in Las Vegas.

It’s a difficult haul, given the glut of glutes in town. The new “Magic Mike Live” at Hard Rock Hotel is reportedly crushing it at the box office, having recorded more than $3.5 million in ticket sales this year. “Chippendales” at the Rio and “Thunder From Down Under” are still selling strong, too.

Nonetheless, Timmons says, “I love this city. There are tons of opportunities here. I’ve been learning the business, learning about promotion and marketing. I just want whatever venue is interested to have the same excitement and passion for the project that we do.”

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section, and Fridays in Neon. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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