97°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

Steve Aoki, new ‘Cockroach’ musical highlight downtown Las Vegas

Updated June 14, 2019 - 4:38 pm

The Kats! Bureau at this writing is on the cusp — cusp, I tell you! — of the Fremont Street Experience, where the fragrance is telling me, “It’s legal.”

Specifically, I am set up at the Starbucks outside Golden Nugget facing the Whiskey Licker Up Saloon (that is the official title, yes) at Binion’s, which should be open by the end of the summer. I love the idea of the second-level bar with the view of Vegas Vic, and also the new showroom planned for the casino.

Elsewhere downtown, on Thursday night Steve Aoki will be on hand as FSE Viva Vision light show is premiering the first completed section in its $32 million overhaul. A six-minute Aoki medley — or, rather, “musical montage” — of “Delirious,” “Azukita” and “Waste It On Me” will premiere, and Aoki himself will perform a set at 3rd Street Stage at 9 p.m.

If you think Aoki is opening for Zowie Bowie, who usually performs Thursdays at 3rd Street Stage, not so. ZB gets the night off. But I will use this opportunity to endorse a Zowie Bowie-themed musical montage on the new Viva Vision screens. A man can dream, right?

Dance with the devil

A pair of Vegas favorites and a stellar production team are currently delivering the U.S. premiere of the original musical “Satango,” Cockroach Theatre Company’s 2018-19 season finale at Art Square Theatre, 1025 First St. The production runs 10 p.m. Fridays, 2 p.m. Saturdays, and 2 and 8 p.m. Sundays, through June 23 (tickets are $20 and $35, available at cockroachtheatre.com).

Carrying the show onstage are Toby Allen, known in VegasVille as the bass voice of Human Nature; and the extensively talented Savannah Smith of “Vegas! The Show” at V Theater at Miracle Mile Shops, and also the Prohibition-styled swing band The Moonshiners.

Keith Thompson (co-founder of The Composers Showcase of Las Vegas and a music director of many Strip productions, including “Jersey Boys”) is music director; and Wayne Harrison, an original writer and director of “Absinthe” and the late “Vegas Nocturne,” among many other stage credits, directs.

Though we know Allen from his role with Human Nature, which has spent a decade on the Strip (currently at Sands Showroom at the Venetian), he’s also an celebrated musical-theater actor. Among his long list of achievements, he won the Helpmann Award (Australia’s equivalent of the Tony Award) for his role as The Emcee in “Cabaret” in 2002-03.

Thompson actually worked on that show, and the two reconnected after moving to Vegas. He leads the show’s five-piece band.

“Satango” is loaded with original music, written by veteran Australian musical-theater vets Stewart D’Arrietta and Justin Fleming. The staging is advanced, featuring some set pieces from Human Nature tours (including screens showing a trio of slot machines). It is rare, in Las Vegas or anywhere, that a production with this much talent and stage experience is staged in a small-scale venue (Cockroach seats about 85 per performance).

The story, not incidentally, pairs Allen as the devil (Luciano Satani) with force of good named Sofia Satango (Smith), who accidentally meanders into hell. These counter forces meet on the dance floor, where Sofia teaches Luciano how to tango for the upcoming, once-in-a-millennium All Souls Ball (which sounds like different kind of ball if you say it fast).

The two develop a mutual attraction, as Sofia cuts a deal to teach Luciano the dance steps. Further details are being kept quiet, justifiably, not to spoil plot twists. The show is rife with Vegas references, including a pizza delivery from Evel Pie, and extensive singing and dancing from Allen and Smith, who are onstage pretty much the entire 1 hour, 20 minutes. Alejandro Domingo (the show’s choreographer), Cat Farrow and Socorro Jones fill out the ensemble.

Commitment to Osmond

Raiders owner Mark Davis met a famous, and maybe unlikely, fan of his team at Tuesday night’s NFL/Caesars Entertainment party at Caesars Palace: Marie Osmond. It turns out Marie and her son, Steven, are Raiders fans. As Davis said, “Marie looked absolutely stunning in her silver-and-black outfit.” He’s biased, of course, but not wrong.

A three-‘Pack’

Producer Dick Feeney reports thatThe Rat Pack Is Back” turns 20 in July, and I sort of murkily recall the days it opened at Desert Inn, when then-co-producer and occasional guest star David Cassidy dropped in to sing “Mac the Knife” as Bobby Darin. We were both a little tipsy in those days, but it was a great hang.

The “Rat Pack” show today is charging along under the stewardship of Feeney, and this week signed a three-year deal to continue at Tuscany Suites’ Copa Room. The new deal goes in to effect July 3; the show’s actually 20-year mark is July 18. It’s still a unique trip through time, filled with shtick and the powerhouse band led by column fave Lon Bronson.

What Works In Vegas

Andrew Dice Clay’s weekends at Laugh Factory at the Tropicana. On Saturday, Clay’s performance anchored a three-show lineup of Bruce Bruce and Murray Sawchuck, all of which brushed against sold-out rooms. A total of 700 tickets sold in the theater. Afterward at room operator Harry Basil’s vaunted late-night “Harryoke” sing-along party, Clay lit up the place with soaring rendition of “Big John” and an Elvis medley. He’s back at the Factory on Aug. 31-Sept. 1, just booked.

Cool Hang Alert

Popular Vegas singer Chadwick Johnson is debuting the video for his single “Gone” at Rocks Lounge at Red Rock Resort at 8p.m. Saturday. Johnson is a flawless singer, the cover charge, like the song title, is “Gone.” See him.

ShowBuzz

Sad to see “Little Miss Nasty” close at Night Owl Showroom at Hooters last weekend, with no venue in Vegas booked. The rocking adult dance revue does solid business on the road … Talks are in progress to bring new column fave Brian Newman’s “After Dark” show back to NoMad Restaurant, and not just during Lady Gaga’s runs at Park Theater. We (especially, “I”) applaud the effort. In any case, expect the show to return in October, when Gaga is also back. I’d suggest boosting the cocktail-serving staff and possibly adding food options to that gig … No formal word on the future for the cast of “Ester Goldberg’s Totally Outrageous Brunch,” but it’s safe to say the title character is the quintessential mess in a dress. She won’t be back at SLS Las Vegas, regardless of what happens to the other performers … “Magic Mike Live” is expected to go dark for three months as Hard Rock Hotel continues its renovation to Virgin Hotel Las Vegas. The show is not selling tickets past Nov. 3. All of this leads to the show bugging out of hotel, and all signs lead to a new facility at SLS Las Vegas, but we emphasize all that is official here is the box-office info … Significant announcement on the male revue front (ahem) coming Friday, so look for that.

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 Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
Making Bread Pudding French Toast at Esther’s Kitchen in Las Vegas
James Trees, chef/owner of Esther’s Kitchen in Las Vegas, slices house-made blueberry bread pudding, coats it in egg yolks and mascarpone, fries it and tops it with spiced walnuts, Lyle’s Golden Syrup and creme fraiche. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Celine Dion closes 1,141-show residency on Las Vegas Strip - VIDEO
Hear from Celine Dion about her 16 years on the Las Vegas Strip and what the future has in store for her. (Caesars Entertainment)
Lobster grilled cheese at Big Sur Oyster Bar
The hugely popular lobster grilled cheese at Big Sur Oyster Bar at the South Point in Las Vegas is made with white cheddar and served on sourdough. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
You can dine out with your dog in Las Vegas
Lazy Dog, among Las Vegas restaurants that allow dogs, is probably the most accommodating, with free bowls of water and a doggy menu. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sparrow + Wolf at Vetri Cucina in Las Vegas
Marc Vetri will launch a new collaborative chef series June 18, with a little help from Sparrow + Wolf’s Brian Howard. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
10 best things to do at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge
10 best things to do at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run at Disneyland - VIDEO
What it's like to ride the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run At Disneyland (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ada’s opens at Tivoli Village in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Ada’s, from James Trees, owner of Esther’s Kitchen in Las Vegas’ Arts District, brings Tivoli Village a similar menu of seasonal, artisanal pastas, pizzas — and ice cream. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Nutella French Toast at Cafe Americano in Las Vegas
Harold Norris, executive chef at Cafe Americano at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, coats brioche in cinnamon and chocolate and layers it with Nutella and bananas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Heavier traffic expected from EDC festival attendees
Electric Daisy Carnival attendees began to vacate the Las Vegas Motor Speedway starting before 5 a.m., the majority heading south on Interstate 15.
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DJ Steve Aoki visits Las Vegas comic book store
DJ Steve Aoki visits Torpedo Comics in Las Vegas Friday, May 17, 2019, for a signing for his new comic book series "Neon Future." (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas Smith & Wollensky opens at The Venetian
After 18 years, the Smith & Wollensky location on Las Vegas’ south Strip closed in 2017, to be re-born two years later with a rib-cutting — instead of a ribbon-cutting — in The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Colin Cantwell, Creator Of Iconic Star Wars Ships Visits Vegas
Colin Cantwell, who created and designed such "Star Wars" ships as the X-Wing fighter, and Death Star, met fans at Rogue Toys in Las Vegas today. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Beauty & Essex in Las Vegas makes an EDC Wonder Wheel
In honor of the Electric Daisy Carnival, Beauty & Essex at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas makes its Wonder Wheel party-worthy. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Giada talks Vegas Uncork’d
Giada De Laurentiis talks during Aperitivo Hour, a Vegas Uncork'd event, at her Caesars Palace restaurant, Pronto, May 10, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Scenes from Vegas Uncork’d 2019 on the Las Vegas Strip
The 13th edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit brought four days of food, wine, celebrity chefs and parties to town, May 9-12. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three ingredients Gordon Ramsay can’t live without
Bon Appetit's Andy Baraghani interviews the "Hell's Kitchen" chef during a Vegas Uncork'd event at Caesars Palace, May 11, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Uncork’d launches wiith bubbles and a blade
Dozens of chefs representing some of the Strip’s top restaurants gathered Thursday at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas to launch the 2019 edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bunky the Clown at the clown convention
Bob "Bunky the Clown" Gretton talks about his life as a clown and the Clown Convention which was in Las Vegas at Texas Station this week. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Frying soft-shell crab at Lola’s in Las Vegas
At Lola’s: A Louisiana Kitchen in Las Vegas, soft-shell crab is breaded and fried and served either as an appetizer, po’boy or platter. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
The Stove in Henderson makes Pecan Pie Pancakes
At The Stove in Henderson, chef/partner Antonio Nunez stacks buttermilk pancakes with pecans and dulce de leche and tops them pie crust crumbs. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vinnie Paul remembered at Count's Vamp'd
The late rocker's favorite table at one of his favorite clubs in Las Vegas. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
4DX movie experience at Red Rock
4DX movie experience during a demo reel at Red Rock. (Christopher Lawrence/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What To Do On May The 4th
There are plenty of events going on May the 4th this year around Las Vegas. Celebrate Star Wars and Comic Book Day all at once. The Rogue Toys, the 501st, Rebel Legion and Millennium Fandom Bar are all hosting fun events to help celebrate your geek-dom. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Water Sports Introduces New Attraction At Lake Las Vegas
Las Vegas Water Sports will debut its new aqua park attraction at Lake Las Vegas Days this weekend. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Making the Space Invader at Greene St. Kitchen in Las Vegas
Lysa Huerta, pastry cook at Greene St. Kitchen at the Palms in Las Vegas, starts with angel food cake, Fruity Pebbles ice cream and strawberry sorbet to create a space creature engulfed in flashing lights and swirling mists. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Pools
The M, Park MGM and NoMad are just a few great pools in Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jose Andres explains Iberico pork
(Al Mancini/Las Vega Review-Journal)
Inside Life is Beautiful
Craig Asher Nyman explains how Life is Beautiful festival is booked and talks about this year's line-up. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST