Terry Fator leaving Mirage on Las Vegas Strip
Terry Fator says of leaving the Mirage, “The Vegas entertainment landscape is always evolving and I understand there’s often a need to transform the show model.”
The room has gotten too big for Terry Fator and his cast of characters.
The 11-year Las Vegas Strip headliner is on a venue hunt, confirming Wednesday he is leaving his eponymous theater at The Mirage this summer for parts uncharted.
Fator opened at The Mirage in March 2009. The master of the ventriloquial arts said the city’s “evolving” entertainment climate is the reason his show needs to move.
“I have enjoyed an extremely successful and historic run at The Mirage for more than 10 years, having performed thousands of shows for millions of fans,” Fator said in a statement. “The Vegas entertainment landscape is always evolving and I understand there’s often a need to transform the show model.
“This is a fantastic time to work with our great partners at MGM Resorts as we explore the future.”
Fator has not responded to repeated requests for an interview about his future. In his statement, he expressed he plans to stay in Las Vegas, certainly in a venue of reduced capacity — one happens to be right down the hall at the Mirage at 1 Oak Nightclub, which is set to close this month and is expected to be renovated as a performance space.
MGM Resorts is also home to several venues at half the capacity, or less, then Fator’s current theater. All of them happen to be occupied, however. Left open are Fator’s options, as he mentions only MGM Resorts but hasn’t specified whether he plans to seek a venue outside the company.
Neither he and MGM Resorts have pinpointed a closing date, but it will be before August. On Jan. 30, the hotel issued a letter to Fator that he was to vacate the theater within six months, enacting an option to close the show if its average occupancy dipped below 900 paid tickets in the 1,200-seat venue (or, 75 percent). Fator’s management has confirmed it received that letter, which was first reported in the Vital Vegas blog.
Magician Shin Lim, who also headlines the Fator theater with co-star Colin Cloud, said Tuesday he has also not been informed of any structural changes in the lineup at the venue. Lim’s show is booked through June 7, but is expected to extend. Lim is also a former “America’s Got Talent” champ, having won Season 13 in 2018 and also the 2019 “Champions” spin-off.
The venue is also host to the Aces of Comedy series, filled with such national headliners as Boyz II Men, Bill Maher, Jay Leno, Daniel Tosh, Ron White, Whitney Cummings and David Spade with Ray Romano.
Over the past several months, Fator had scaled back his show in an apparent move to offset sluggish sales. In August, he cut most of the backing band he’d worked with during his Mirage residency, retaining bandleader Bill Zappia and multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Jim Buck.
Fator said the move was initiated at the suggestion of his latest manager, Ron West of Beverly Hills, Calif., to draw a tighter focus on Fator’s ventriloquism. Even so, cutting the cost of live musicians is an indication a stage show is struggling financially. Another indicator is Fator’s tickets had been listed on such ticket sites as Fillaseat and House Seats, which offer tickets at no cost for select shows in return for an annual subscription fee.
Fator made news during his holiday show in December, as he removed his Donald Trump figure from the show. Fator first said he acted on a suggestion from MGM Resorts officials to remove the polarizing puppet during a torrid presidential campaign. The headliner swiftly clarified that version, explaining the conversation was a “miscommunication,” and that he alone pulled the puppet.
And, late last month, Fator had also cut ties with his office staff at the theater. The headliner posted a cryptic message on his personal Facebook page at the time, asking for prayers as, “I am being attacked from every direction spiritually, financially and physically. Please pray for me and my family. Thank you all in advance.”
He explained in text that he was in financial dispute with members of his family who were trying to “sabotage” his show, that two members of his family were battling cancer, and that he was suffering from laryngitis. He said he had visited the doctor for treatment so he could be fit to perform.
Fator did emphasize that he and his wife, Angie, are fine. His statement reflected a man in good spirits, as he closed with, “Just so you know, I’m not leaving town. I am thrilled about what’s to come so stand by for more news soon!”
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats! podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.
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