An NFL legend is headlining where Carrot Top opts for props and “Fantasy” doffs the tops.
Former Pittsburgh Steelers great and Fox NFL Sunday broadcaster Terry Bradshaw is calling another audible in his fabled football career with “The Terry Bradshaw Show.” The musical, storytelling adaptation of Bradshaw’s life and career is set for Aug. 1-4 at Luxor’s Atrium Showroom (tickets are on sale Wednesday at $65.99, $79.99, $99.99 and a special VIP package at $199.99, not including fees).
A four-time Super Bowl champ and Pro Football Hall of Famer, Bradshaw has ventured beyond his athletic career before, as a contestant on “The Masked Singer” (he was the Deer). He was also cast with William Shatner, Henry Winkler and George Foreman on the NBC reality show “Better Late than Never.”
The famed signal-caller has previously headlined the Strip, too, in June 2013 with the multimedia musical production, “Terry Bradshaw: America’s Favorite Dumb Blonde … A Life in Four Quarters” at Terry Fator Theater at the Mirage. That production also toured the U.S. and set the stage for the just-announced production.
Both shows have been produced and directed by Anita Mann, who produces the “Fantasy” show at the Luxor.
Bradshaw proved in his Mirage show that he can spin a yarn, and set it to music.
“I’ve just been working on some songs, I’ve got a beautiful one, ‘Go Rest High on the Mountain,’ by Vince Gill, we’ll probably put that in the show,” Bradshaw says during a phone chat. “I’ve got ‘Bye Bye Love,’ by the Everly Brothers, ‘Happy Trails,’ the old Roy Rogers and Dale Evans song. We will be singing a lot of different songs, but those are some I love.”
Bradshaw is backed by a stellar lineup, with Lorena Peril and Anne Martinez bolstering the vocal performance. Peril is the lead singer in “Fantasy.” Martinez, the swing in the show, is also well-regarded for her development of the steam punk-rock production “Alice,” and co-producer of “Ester Goldberg’s Totally Outrageous Brunch” at SLS Las Vegas.
“These gals, Lorena and Anne, can flat-out sing,” Bradshaw says. “They can hook it.”
Stellar sax man “Smokin” Joe Escriba, from “Legends in Concert,” is the show’s music director. The show was written by veteran comedy writer Jon Macks, and some original songs by David Goldsmith and John Kavanaugh are also in play.
Bradshaw has adjusted the scale of the show since bringing it to the 1,250-seat Fator Theater. Atrium is 320. Bradshaw says, “A 320-seat a whole lot better for a 70-year-old guy trying to get a singing career going.”
But the legendary QB is hoping to extend beyond the production’s original four-show schedule. In his Vegas game plan, his name would be flashing as a recurring star on the hotel’s marquee.
“Ideally, I’d like to fill in on Tuesdays when Carrot Top is off, and take some dates when he’s on the road,” Bradshaw says. “I have liked going out on the road, but you really can’t make money on the road with this show — I’ve actually lost money on the road. We want to go for four days in Las Vegas then see what happens.”
Mann is crucial to those plans, having whittled the production from 90 minutes to 70 and while illuminating Bradshaw’s homey personality.
“He’s a natural performer. He has a natural showman ability,” Mann says. “It’s so in him, so it doesn’t take a lot to bring it out. You just need a stage, an audience and some musicians. He tells great stories, and he’ll be doing a lot of singing.”
Bradshaw has heard from many of his NFL contemporaries who have seen him perform in Las Vegas and across the country.
He hasn’t always been given an immaculate reception.
“Well, they’re shocked. They can’t believe I’m doing this, “Bradshaw says. “Most of my professional athlete friends say, ‘You’ve got to be kidding! How do you get up there do that? Isn’t it intimidating?’ But the excitement of the unknown experience is the driving force behind doing it.
“It’s like, ‘Is he going to hit that note?’ But if I don’t, it’s OK, and you know why? I’m not supposed to hit it!”
Bradshaw laughs. Similar to his playing days, he’s ready to go long.
“Who knows? We could flop, and when I sing, ‘Happy Trails’ at the end of the fourth show, it really will be happy trails,” Bradshaw says. “But I believe in it, and Anita believes in me. I think people will really like it.”
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.