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‘The Voice — Neon Dreams’ falls silent in Las Vegas

Updated October 31, 2018 - 9:39 pm

Well, the roadies can stop unloading those amps. The plug has been yanked on an innovative live-music concept planned for Las Vegas.

“The Voice — Neon Dreams,” conceived as a spirited adaptation of the NBC contest show, will not perform on the Strip or anywhere else in Las Vegas. We can confidently report that plans for the show are not moving forward.

The show seemed on the cusp of a deal at Palazzo Theater, as a replacement for “Baz,” but the production was never announced or signed a deal with the hotel.

An expected announcement of the show’s new home this month, obviously, was unrealized.

“The Voice,” as its title emphasizes, is a study in unrealized dreams. The concept was for a lineup of singers from the TV show to set up a live production originally for the Hard Rock Hotel. That roster featured Season 10 winner Alisan Porter, along with finalists Chris Mann (Season 2), Mary Sarah (season 10), Matthew Schuler (season five), and Matt McAndrew (season seven).

Those singers were to be joined by future champions of the show and backed by a versatile band led by Michael Sanchez (season 11) and filled by top Vegas musicians. A lavish, 700-seat, in-the-round theater was being built for the show at Hard Rock — and you can still gaze at that frame near the corner of Harmon Avenue and Paradise Road.

But the planned construction of the property next year under the Virgin Hotels brand prompted Base Entertainment to pull the show and seek a new home. Initially, the show was to open for previews this June, then was bumped back to September.

But Base Entertainment announced on June 19 the show would not perform at Hard Rock/Virgin Hotel, and was looking for a new venue. And the legal matters connected to that remain unresolved (Hard Rock officials and Base reps have declined to comment about the legal back-and-forth).

Base Entertainment is still partners in “Magic Mike Live” at Hard Rock Hotel, which opens an outpost in London on Nov. 10; Mat Franco at Linq Hotel; “Criss Angel Mindfreak” opening in December at Planet Hollywood; and “Nitro Circus Las Vegas” motor-sports extravaganza opening next year at Bally’s.

Ripples at the ‘Lake’

During the celebration of Michael Jackson Diamond Birthday Celebration in August at Mandalay Bay, renowned director and choreographer Kenny Ortega hinted at a creative partnership at Wynn Las Vegas. Wynn Entertainment Director Rick Gray has specified those plans: An overhaul and upgrade to the “Lake of Dreams” multimedia production at the water attraction of the same name at the Wynn. The ongoing project will take hold next year.

Ortega worked on “Funhouse,” Steve Wynn’s multimillion-dollar production that never made it to the stage, in 2013. He is also known for the “High School Musical” franchise, and had been enlisted in Jackson’s “This Is It” concert series at London’s O2 Arena, in development when Jackson died in 2009.

Ortega also directed the accompanying documentary, “Michael Jackson’s This is It” about the ill-fated concerts.

During a red-carpet appearance at the Jackson Diamond Birthday event, Ortega said, “I’m developing a wonderful project at the Wynn hotel, a new show I can’t speak about. Hopefully it will be next year, and we’re in the early developmental phase.”

A brush with Manilow

My buddy Mark OToole is back with “The Music of Manilow” at 4 p.m. Sunday at Italian American Club. OToole is a veteran of the live-entertainment scene who performers a Barry Manilow tribute any “Fanilow” and would enjoy. Non-“Fanilows,” too, are welcome to the $25-per-ticket experience.

OToole has met the real Manilow, currently back at Westgate’s International Theater, a few times over the years. Manilow actually wanted OToole to perform in Manilow’s “Copacabana” Broadway show in the mid-late 1980s.

OToole’s voice was great for the role — his singing voice, specifically.

But his speaking voice? Not so much.

“My Boston accent killed that chance,” OToole says. Manilow, as he reminds throughout his stage show, is from Brooklyn.

Cool Hang Alert

We must give props, formally, to column fave Lannie Counts for a double-header this weekend. He’s delivering “The Greatest R&B Songs Ever Written” to Casablanca in Mesquite at 8:30 p.m. Saturday (and if you want that bonafide old-Vegas vibe, high-tail it to Casablanca).

Counts is also at West Las Vegas Library Theater at 951 W Lake Mead Blvd at 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets for the Casablanca show are $15 general admission, $30 VIP. The cost at the West Las Vegas Library gig is $25, general admission, a mere pittance, I tell you!

Counts is well-known as a vocalist for Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns at Copa Room at Bootlegger Bistro, and also during the Lon Bronson Band’s dates at Myron’s Cabaret Jazz. Counts can sing like any R&B superstar (I met him when he portrayed Stevie Wonder as a Dealeartainer at Imperial Palace in 2005), and even such rockers as David Bowie and Steve Perry of Journey. He’s a special talent, a special man, and worth the trip.

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

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