Terry Fator summons Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson for 9th anniversary

Terry Fator is a lot like a regular Joe who has obtained superpowers. Maybe as a kid, he was bitten by a radioactive insect (or a turtle) to give him the power to perfectly perform the ventriloquial arts.

A superhero who uses these powers only for the purpose of good, that’s Fator. We know what it would be like if he were sinister. Deep into his show at his eponymous theater at The Mirage, Fator tells his audience to imagine what it would be like to be him as he walks through airport security screening. He throws his voice as his original character, Winston the Impersonating Turtle, calling from inside a carry-on bag, “Let me out! Let me out!”

Fator could wreak havoc, in life and onstage, with his undeniably stunning ability to speak and sing wonderfully without moving his lips. But he’s too congenial for such behavior, and too congenial a guy to get really randy in his show at Mirage. He’s never the bad guy in this family matinee.

Fator chalked up his ninth anniversary on Monday night at The Mirage, celebrating the event with two new characters who need NO introduction: Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney. Sir Paul is an upgraded version of Fator’s Beatle puppet, who already sounded a lot like McCartney. Those additions bring Fator’s cast of puppets to 16, all developed by Fator since he opened at Las Vegas Hilton in 2007, just after he won Season 2 of “America’s Got Talent.”

The arrival of Jackson, especially, freezes the bit in another era. Fator and Little Jacko joke about the puppet’s light skin pigmentation, which of course would be far funnier if Jackson hadn’t died nine years ago. But the ensuing duet, “The Girl is Mine,” as sung solely and spot-on by a stoic Fator, is a further example of the entertainer’s astonishing stage skills.

For his anniversary, Fator summoned such faves as Maynard Tompkins (an Elvis impressionist who is reluctant to actually sing as Elvis), Vicki the Cougar (a well-worn, 42-year-old gossip columnist whose age has dropped from 49 over the years), Walter T. Airdale (a country singer who still looks like the cowboy guy in the Village People) and Duggie Scott Walker (a cannabis entrepreneur whose pot references give the show some edge).

Winston ends, as always, in duet with Fator (as Louis Armstrong) on “Unforgettable.” Fator is such an accomplished ventriloquist and singer — he has outlasted even fellow “AGT” champ Paul Zerdin on the Strip — that fans simply dismiss some of the show’s shortfalls. Fator opens by saying that as a kid, he was inspired by Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show,” and his puppets are like Johnny’s guests on the show.

Fator even has a desk resembling Carson’s at the side of the stage. But he never sits there, the production doesn’t follow the talk-show template, and after a brief exchange with “my Ed McMahon,” pianist Bill Zappia, that theme is simply dropped. But the audience couldn’t care less — just bring on Maynard!

The mention of Zappia, incidentally, reminds that Fator employs a top-level band of guitarist Jim Buck, sax player Steve Dawson, trumpeter Tom DeLibero, trombonist Dan Trinter, bassist Donnie Castleman, and drummer/bandleader John Wackerman. Fator has invested wisely in this lineup, which brings his myriad musical numbers to life.

Fator has also ditched the audience-participation bit (which ate up several valuable minutes, to mixed results), but is keeping President Trump in the act. Fator maintains that the puppet can be universally appealing; I maintain that if you don’t like Trump, you’re not going to like the little Trump, either. But he remains, mostly as a vehicle to jab at Hillary Clinton.

Prior to Monday’s performance, I spoke with Fator about his longevity and recalled a similar party to open the show in 2009. “We have something REALLY special planned for the 10th anniversary,” he said, smiling.

A decade at The Mirage seems a certainty for the master puppeteer, for whom there seems no kryptonite.

They call him ‘High Note’

Paul Johnson, a Las Vegas Academy grad and a favorite singer among singers in VegasVille, has joined “Baz — A Musical Mashup” at Palazzo as the show’s full-time swing. That means he performs all the guy characters.

Johnson is best-known for his performances in “Rock of Ages” at the Rio and “The World’s Greatest Rock Show” at Stratosphere. He was also a swing for Josh Strickland in “Vegas! The Show” at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood.

Johnson stepped into the cast Saturday, a night before Ruby Lewis, who co-starred as Daisy, departed the show. Look for Lewis as the resident Marilyn Monroe in “Marilyn: A New Musical” at Paris Las Vegas.

Who Was Where

Siegfried & Roy, Matt Goss, Criss Angel, Carrot Top, Piff the Magic Dragon, Murray Sawchuck and Robert Hatcher (the singer eliminated in the final eight of “AGT” the year Fator won), all at Fator’s pre-party at Stack at The Mirage … UNLV Runnin’ Rebels coach Marvin Menzies, at Pia Zadora’s Pia’s Place performance Friday night at Piero’s Italian Restaurant … members of Tower of Power at Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns’ show at Copa Room at Bootlegger on Monday … Steve Arnell, the Green Arrow in “Arrow” on CW, at a friend’s bachelor party Friday at Hyde Bellagio’s Friday Night Social …

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

CES final night showcases Drake at XS Nightclub
Drake performed for CES attendees and club-goers at XS Nightclub in Encore at Wynn Las Vegas in the early morning hours of Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (John Katsilometes Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Happy Hour party at Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace
Conventioneers mingled during the Hardware Massive CES 2019 Happy Hour Bash at The Hangover Suite at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
CES 2019 Has A Cordless Hair Dryer
CES Has A Cordless Hair Dryer (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Opening Party in Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace
CES conventioneers packed Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and let loose as they danced to DJs into the night. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Print intricate designs, your pet or your face on your nails
Print intricate designs, your pet or your face on your nails (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Panel talks Impossible Burger 2.0
Panel talks Impossible Burger at CES during launch at Border Grill on Monday, Jan. 7. (Ben Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Momofuku Makes A Cocktail With Bok Choy And Beets
Momofuku Makes A Cocktail With Bok Choy And Beets (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Dream of AJ Montgomery
AJ Montgomery lost part of his leg in a vehicle accident but found his dream as a performer in “Le Reve.” (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kelly Clinton-Holmes of the Stirling Club
John Katsilometes chats with Kelly Clinton-Holmes, director of the Stirling Club's New Year's Eve entertainment.
Month-by-month entertainment coming in 2019
“True Detective” Season 3, HBO (Jan. 13) Travis Scott, T-Mobile Arena (Feb. 6) Robbie Williams, Encore Theatre at Wynn Las Vegas (March 6, 8, 9, 13, 15 and 16) “Game of Thrones” Season 8, HBO (April) Electric Daisy Carnival, Las Vegas Motor Speedway (May 17-19) “Fiddler on the Roof,” The Smith Center (June 4-9) “The Lion King” (July 19) Psycho Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay (Aug. 16-18) Life is Beautiful, downtown Las Vegas (Sept. 20-22) “Tim Burton @ the Neon Museum” (Oct. 15) “Frozen 2” (Nov. 22) “Star Wars: Episode IX” (Dec. 20)
Lacey Huszcza invites you to find something to love at the Las Vegas Philharmonic
Lacey Huszcza, executive director of the Las Vegas Philharmonic talks about the orchestra's wealth of programming. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Gina Marinelli offers La Strega preview
Gina Marinelli used a pop-up New Year’s Eve dinner at Starboard Tack to preview items she’ll feature at her new Summerlin restaurant, La Strega. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Year’s Eve at Sparrow + Wolf
Sparrow + Wolf’s New Year’s Eve party was a sort of official unveiling of its newly renovated space. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas NYE Fireworks - VIDEO
The full show: A spectacular view from the rooftop of the Trump International Hotel as 80,000 pyrotechnics illuminated the Las Vegas Strip at the stroke of midnight. Fireworks by Grucci choreographed launches from the Stratosphere, the Venetian, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Aria and MGM Grand.
Debra Kelleher Of The Stirling Club
Debra Kelleher, DK Hospitality President talks with Johnny Kats about the reopening of the Stirling Club.
Richard Ditton Of The Stirling Club
Richard Ditton, an investment partner of the Stirling Club talks with Johnny Kats about the reopening of the club.
NYE at the Stirling Club
John Katsilometes reports from the reopening of the Stirling Club on New Year's Eve 2018.
Michael Stapleton of the Stirling Club
Michael Stapleton, COO of the Stirling Club talks with Johnny Kats about the reopening of the club.
Recap the Countdown on Fremont Street — VIDEO
Nearly 40,000 people packed Fremont Street to enjoy America's Party Downtown. As the tradition stands, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman counted down the clock on the 3rd Street Stage, alongside her husband and former mayor, Oscar Goodman.
New Year's Eve live from the Las Vegas Strip Bellagio Fountains - Video
Reporter Aaron Drawhorn near the Bellagio Fountains as hundreds of thousands gather to celebrate New Year's Eve in Las Vegas
Ryan Reaves describes the flavors in Training Day beer
Ryan Reaves talks about the flavor of Training Day, the new beer from 7Five Brewing that was launched at the PKWY Tavern on West Flamingo Road. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ryan Reaves describes his new beer
Golden Knights winger Ryan Reaves talks about his new beer from 7Five Brewing at a launch party at PKWY Tavern on West Flamingo Road. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas' five biggest NYE concerts
Imagine Dragons at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Lady Gaga at The Park Theater at Park MGM, Maroon 5 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Bruno Mars at T-Mobile Arena, and Tenacious D at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
Celebrate New Years Day, Hangover Day and Bloody Mary Day at Cabo Wabo
Celebrate New Years Day, Hangover Day and Bloody Mary Day at Cabo Wabo (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Michael Symon, chef and owner of Mabel's BBQ, talks about his first Las Vegas restaurant
Michael Symon, chef and owner of Mabel's BBQ, talks about his first Las Vegas restaurant. Bizuayehu Tesfaye @bizutesfaye
New American Eagle flagship on the Las Vegas Strip lets you customize your clothing
American Eagle flagship on the Las Vegas Strip lets you customize your clothing
Bellagio Conservatory display is Majestic Holiday Magic
Majestic Holiday Magic at the Bellagio Conservatory
Las Vegas Ready for 2019 NYE Fireworks Show
The city of Las Vegas is ready to celebrate "America's Party" with a new and improved fireworks show that will pay tribute to the Golden Knights.
Sugar Factory makes a shareable Christmas cocktail
If you’re looking to share holiday cheer, this goblet is big enough to split among at least a few friends. The bubbly punch is made with cherry vodka, cranberry juice and a scoop of Christmas tree gummy candies — just in case it’s not sufficiently sweet.
New Year's Eve fireworks are ready to fly in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and Fireworks by Grucci unveil details of “America’s Party 2019” New Year's Eve fireworks and entertainment extravaganza during a news conference at the Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like