The most prevalent topic of conversation around VegasVille for the past several months is an easy call: The volume of shows that have closed this year. With the numbers mounting, including Thursday’s news that “Cherry Boom Boom” at Tropicana was shutting down after a six-week run, I’ve assembled a list of show openings and closings over the last 10 months.
First, a qualifier: This list is for ticketed, extended engagement acts, headliners or productions. No one-offs or limited engagements. It might well be incomplete simply because some shows can open, and close, with no notice announcement whatsoever.
Thus, this listing is fluid, the reasons for closing varied and open for discussion in future analysis. But it does give an clear idea of how challenging it is to do business in town.
■ Shows open last January that have closed: “Jubilee” at Bally’s; “Zarkana” at Aria; Matt Goss at Caesars Palace; “Raiding the Rock Vault” at Tropicana; “Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding” at Windows Showroom at Bally’s; “Jersey Boys” at Paris Las Vegas; Jan Rouven’s “Illusions” at Tropicana; Dirk Arthur’s “Wild Magic” at Westgate Las Vegas; Michael Monge at Encore Las Vegas; Gordie Brown at Golden Nugget (closes Nov. 27); “Steve Wynn’s Showstoppers” at Wynn Las Vegas (closes Dec. 31); “Million Dollar Quartet” at Harrah’s (closes Dec. 4); “Rock of Ages” at Rio (closes Jan. 1).
■ Shows that opened, then closed, this year: “One Epic Night” at the Plaza; “Yes, You Can’t” at El Cortez; “Spoofical the Musical” at V Theater at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood; Frankie Moreno’s “Under The Influence” at Planet Hollywood Showroom; “Puppet Up! Uncensored” at Sands Showroom at Venetian; Paul Zerdin’s “Mouthing Off” at Planet Hollywood Showroom; “Twisted Vegas” at Westgate Las Vegas; “”Cherry Boom Boom” at Tropicana; “Men of Steele” at Tommy Wind Theater; and “Everybody” boy-band revue, Sin City Theater.
■ Shows that closed, then reopened, this year: Vinnie Favorito, closed at Tommy Wind Theater, then opened and closed at Hooters, re-opened at Westgate Las Vegas; Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns, closed at South Point Showroom, reopening at the Lounge at the Palms on Nov. 14; and “Country Superstars,” closed at Windows Showroom at Bally’s, reopened at Hooters.
■ Shows that have opened this year: “Baz — Star Crossed Love” and Clint Holmes’ “Between The Lines” at Palazzo Theater; Criss Angel’s “Mindfreak Live” (supplanting “Believe”) at Luxor; Bronx Wanderers, Windows Showroom; Xavier Mortimer at Sin City Theater at Planet Hollywood; “Shotspeare” at The Cabaret at Planet Hollywood; Trent Carlini’s “The King” at Hooters; “Solid Gold Soul,” Windows Showroom; “Daredevils of Comedy,” Hooters; “We Got Jokes” comedy show and “at the Cabaret at Planet Hollywood; “The Stool” comedy show, Stratosphere; and “Vegas The Story” at Windows Showroom.
■ Shows set to arrive before the end of the year: “Revive,” a circus-styled production from Base Entertainment at the Palazzo and “Beautiful,” the Carole King musical at the Venetian Theater. Expect new productions to be hauled into Jubilee Theater at Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas.
There’s also a new Jon Lovitz/Dana Carvey comedy production set for 20 dates at the Foundry at SLS Las Vegas beginning in January. And Jeff Timmons’ “Men of the Strip” is reportedly headed for the Stratosphere sometime this spring (to be followed by a98 Degrees residency, likely at Flamingo), and Channing Tatum’s “Magic Mike Live” is being prepped for Hard Rock Hotel by the end of March. Just last week I toured the Park Theater, where Stevie Nicks and the Pretenders (Dec. 17) and Bruno Mars (Dec. 30-31) are scheduled to perform by the end of December. Cher opens there in February. That adds superstar acts to an already brimming lineup at Axis theater (Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Lionel Richie and, next spring, Backstreet Boys) and, as always, the Colosseum (Celine Dion, Rod Stewart, Elton John and Reba and Brooks & Dunn).
Expanding even further, to answer those who bemoan the sudden dearth of Broadway titles in the city: Reynolds Hall, not even an option as recently as five years ago, has it covered. The Smith Center also offers regular programming at Cabaret Jazz — which is not mentioned by those who fear Vegas has lost its grip on small-venue entertainment. Such outcroppings as Grandview Lounge at South Point, busy with topflight, no-admission acts that hint toward old Vegas lounges, and Mark Shunock’s The Space, opening with Travis Cloer’s Christmas show on Dec. 9, offer hope, too.
And this is not even mentioning the opening of T-Mobile Arena last April, further adding to our heavy complement of touring superstars — last weekend the Rolling Stones; Saturday a sold-out show by Kanye West. It’s a specific type of show — productions designed for mid-level showrooms and theaters — struggling to find an audience in the face of all these options.
But a look at the full complement of what is offered here shows more ticketed performances than ever in Las Vegas, with many more in development. In fact, a couple of days ago I heard about a “Sharknado” musical planned for a Caesars Entertainment venue. Fantastic. All I can say is, I hope it works.
John Katsilometes’ column runs Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday 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 email@example.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.