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Top Las Vegas Strip shows steering clear of F1

Updated November 13, 2023 - 7:14 pm

“O” regularly packs ‘em in at Bellagio, but the show is steering clear of all three Las Vegas Grand Prix nights.

Saturday, Cirque du Soleil’s flagship and top-selling show cancelled its Thursday performances, so not to run into the first night of race competition. “O” is instead performing matinees at noon and 2:30 p.m. Friday, and also a single matinee at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Most Cirque shows are moving to matinees during race week, with “Ka” at MGM Grand dark all three days and nights of the event. Cirque President, Resident Shows Division and Affiliate Shows Division Eric Grilly said the company is performing acrobatics — in scheduling — to meet fans’ needs.

“As this is a nighttime race, our F1-adjusted show schedule ultimately allows our guests to enjoy this historical weekend without having to compromise their desire for world-class entertainment,” Grilly said in an e-mail statement. “As an entertainment partner with F1, we look forward to the opportunities we have to showcase our shows to the F1 audience along the track throughout the weekend’s activities.”

Among headliners, Rod Stewart is moving forward with his shows at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace at 6:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday (an hour earlier than usual), and Keith Urban is running 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday (usually an 8:30 p.m. start) at Bakkt Theater at Planet Hollywood. Comic headliner Bill Burr, an auto-sports fan, is booked at Dolby Live on Friday night.

Magic legend David Copperfield has not budged from his schedule through race week at MGM Grand. Copperfield is booked for seven shows Thursday through Saturday at his eponymous theater. But his producer, Chris Kenner, who manages the performance dates, says he might shuffle show times to meet demand ahead of Thursday’s first race night.

Such prominent headliner theaters as Resorts World Theater, Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas, The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas and House of Blues at Mandalay Bay are all dark through the race.

The F1 schedule has reportedly cut into ticket sales of all shows across the Strip, forcing even shows with robust sales to shut down. “Menopause the Musical” at Harrah’s, which enjoys solid sales in November, has just called off all performances through race week. A year ago, the week of Nov. 13 was “Menopause’s” strongest sales week of the year.

“It’s such an unknown, but we decided its better to sit on the sideline and be more educated about what we are dealing with than take a risk,” producer Alan Glist said Saturday. “This is going to be an educational process for all shows.”

SPI Entertainment founder Adam Steck is keeping two of his shows, the adult revue “Rouge” at The Strat and “Thunder From Down Under” at Excalibur, open through the week.

“We basically took a gamble, and the sales are not amazing but warrant keeping open,” Steck said. “I know others went dark, and you can’t argue that. I think the race will be great for Las Vegas, great for the casinos, but the shows are suffering. Everyone else will make a lot of money even if shows don’t, but I support it because it’s good for the city.”

The 10 smaller-scale shows from David Saxe Productions at V Theater and Saxe Theater at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood are continuing to run their regular schedules, but at a risk.

“I don’t know what is going to happen, but we are keeping shows open,” Saxe said Saturday. “This has been a pain. Not just this week, but for months.”

Productions and headliners are shuffling show times as vehicular traffic will be closed on the Strip, Koval Lane, Harmon Avenue and Sands Avenue from Thursday to Saturday beginning each day at 5 p.m. with a “hard closure” at 7 and the roads reopening at around 6 a.m. the following day. The race itself is set for 10 p.m. Saturday.

With access to hotels and their venues restricted, production shows and headliners are adjusting to allow fans to see shows earlier than usual. Many shows are simply idling.

Barry Manilow at Westgate; Penn & Teller at the Rio; Wayne Newton and Piff the Magic Dragon at the Flaming; Criss Angel at Planet Hollywood; Mat Franco at Linq Hotel; Donny Osmond at Harrah’s; Shin Lim at the Mirage; and Mac King at Excalibur are all among the Strip resident headliners going dark from Thursday through Saturday.

Spiegelworld is shifting some scheduling. But its signature show and leading money-maker, “Absinthe,” is running its full schedule through the week. The company has taken “Atomic Saloon Show” at The Venetian and “OPM” at Cosmopolitan down Saturday night.

Spiegelworld is also adding a show “Lights Out!” (formerly “Box Box”) a cabaret production at the bar outside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas’ OPM theater specifically for F1. That show runs Wednesday only, it’s “Lights Out!” title — maybe intentionally — reflecting F1’s effect on shows in Las Vegas.

Following is a list, still being developed, of live-entertainment scheduling during the F1 events of Thursday through Saturday (shows not listed have reported no changes):

The Colosseum at Caesars Palace: Rod Stewart, 6:30 p.m. Nov. 16-17 (usually 7:30 p.m. start).

Bakkt Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort: Keith Urban 6:30 p.m. Nov. 16-17 (usually an 8:30 p.m. start).

Cirque du Soleil: “Mystere”: Scheduled dark Nov. 16. Matinee 2 p.m., 4:30 p.m. Nov. 17-18. “Love”: 4:30 p.m. Nov. 16, 17. Dark Nov. 18. “Michael Jackson One:” 2:30 p.m. Nov. 16-18. “O”: Noon-2:30 p.m. Nov. 16-18. “Ka”: Dark Nov. 16-18, back 7 p.m. Nov. 19. “Mad Apple”: Scheduled Dark Nov. 16, 2:30 p.m. Nov. 17-18. Blue Man Group: 1 and 4 p.m. Nov. 16-18.

Spiegelworld: “Atomic Saloon Show” at Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian; “OPM” at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, dark Nov. 18.

Luxor: Carrot Top: Dark Nov. 12-19. “Fantasy”: 7 p.m. Nov. 16-18, 8 p.m. Nov. 19. “America’s Got Talent Superstars Live”: 7 p.m. Nov. 16-17, 6 p.m. Nov. 18.

Planet Hollywood: Criss Angel, dark Nov. 16-18.

Rio: Penn & Teller; dark Nov, 16-18.

MGM Grand: Brad Garrett Comedy Club dark Nov. 17-18. MGM Grand Garden dark Nov. 16-18; Tape Face dark Nov. 16-18; Jabbawockeez single show Nov. 15-18.

Linq Promenade: Jimmy Kimmel’s Comedy Club: Farrell Dillon dark Nov. 16-18.

The Strat: “Banachek’s Mind Games,” “Illuminate,” dark Nov. 16-18. “Rouge” 9 p.m. Nov. 16-18.

Flamingo:Wayne Newton Up Close and Personal,” Piff the Magic Dragon, “Ru Paul’s Drag Race Live” dark Nov. 16-18.

Excalibur: Mac King, “Australian Bee Gees Show,” “Spice Wanna Be,” dark Nov. 16-18. “Thunder From Down Under” 9 p.m. Nov. 16-18. “Tournament of Kings” 4 and 6:30 p.m. Nov. 16, 4 p.m. Nov. 17, 4 p.m. Nov. 18.

Harrah’s: “X Country” dark Nov. 16-18. Harrah’s Showroom: Donny Osmond, “Hyprov” dark Nov. 16-18; “Menopause the Musical” dark Nov. 16-18.

The Mirage: Shin Lim “Limitless” 4 p.m. Nov. 16-17, dark Nov. 18 (rescheduled Nov. 21).

Theaters dark Nov. 16-18: Resorts World Theater, Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas, The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.

Westgate: Barry Manilow dark Nov. 16-18; “The Magic Of Jen Kramer” dark Nov. 14-17.

Cool Hang Alert

Joey Melotti’s Mojo Factory, with special guests and “The Voice” sensation Ms. Monet, plays 8 p.m. Thursday at The Dispensary Lounge at 2451 East Tropicana (corner of Trop and Eastern Avenue). Melotti plays keys, and Monet’s playing for keeps on “The Voice.” More about her, soon. Go to thedispensarylounge.com for intel.

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 X, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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