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Usher, Bruno Mars will play to masked fans

Updated July 28, 2021 - 11:08 pm

Neither Bruno Mars nor Usher will be performing in face covers on the Las Vegas Strip this weekend. But their audiences will need to be masked.

The two superstars who led the relaunch of theater residencies will perform as scheduled this weekend. But for the first time at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace and Park Theater at Park MGM, audience members will be required to wear face covers during a show.

Performers are an exception to the latest directive from Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, which requires all individuals, vaccinated or not, to wear face covers indoors in counties with high COVID transmission rates. Clark County qualifies. But entertainers are permitted to perform as they have before this latest directive, which goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday.

Usher and Mars both perform Friday night. So mask up, music fans.

The governor’s directive specifies that even vaccinated people “cover their nose and mouth with a mask or face covering in a manner consistent with the guidance issued by the CDC, and any subsequent guidance issued by the CDC.” But the directive goes on to allow, “This Section does not apply to participants in certain activities or events, including but not limited to: athletes, performers, or musicians, to the extent other directives set forth less restrictive face covering requirements for those participants.”

That provision covers all stage shows in Las Vegas and Clark County, including Cirque’s “O” and “Mystere,” Shin Lim at Mirage, Terry Fator at New York-New York, “Menopause the Musical” at Harrah’s and the city’s several adult revues.

Nightclub DJs at such clubs as Hakkasan at MGM Grand and Omnia at Caesars Palace are not required to mask, either. However, in another Las Vegas Strip first, guests are required to comply with the masking directives.

Papa’s premiere

Veteran comic Tom Papa is headlining Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas for the first time Friday night, kicking off his “Family Reunion Tour.” But it’s not his first time performing in a Vegas theater. Papa opened for his friend Jerry Seinfeld in 2009, early in Seinfeld’s run at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace.

“I remember the first time we played there, it seemed everyone I knew and everyone who knew me was at this show,” Papa said. “Everyone from L.A. was at this show. It opened my eyes to the fact that a comic could sit onstage in a theater in Las Vegas and have everyone come to this one room.”

Papa has played several clubs during the pandemic, including Wise Guys in Salt Lake City (which still plans to open an outpost in the Arts District in September), the Waiting Room in Omaha, Neb.; Helium in Portland and Stand Up Live in Phoenix.

Asked if he found demand was uncommonly high at those relatively scarce club gigs, Papa said, “I don’t think of it as demand being high. I think of it as me, being in high demand.”

The comic’s hit podcast, “Breaking Bread With Papa,” has helped make it so.

Papa recalls working in Vegas about 25 years ago, debuting at The Comedy Stop at the Tropicana.

“I’d do two shows a night and those shows were hard, relentless,” he said. “I’d eat in the employee dining room, and people were smoking all the time. There was not much money in it, but I was so happy I was in Vegas.”

Papa experienced a different sort of performance at the Colosseum.

“I thought, ‘This is how you imagine Las Vegas, this is a real show,’” Papa said. “It was a whole new opportunity. Leave it to Jerry to make that happen.”

Stones’ sales

Word out of Allegiant Stadium is the robust pre-sales for the Rolling Stones show Nov. 6 indicate the concert is well on its way to being sold out. The show is onsale to the general public at 10 a.m. Friday. The Stones play Allegiant Stadium during a busy weekend on the Strip, with Celine Dion opening Nov. 5 at the Theater at Resorts World.

What Works In Vegas

Pauly Shore in a comedy club. Shore filled Laugh Factory’s 10:30 show on Monday night. He followed Jon Lovitz’s show, which also packed the room. Shore is due back Sept. 27 and Aug. 4. Lovitz continues this weekend through Aug. 4, back Aug. 30-Sept. 1.

Shore told Lovitz the two should do a movie together, “You should play my dad, Bro.” I sense Oscar buzz for both.

Also in the Laugh Factory ecosystem, resident headliner Rich Little is set to appear in the off-Broadway play “Trial On The Potomac, The Impeachment of Richard Nixon” from Aug. 6-Sept. 4.

Little is starring as Nixon (natch) in a project Vegas entertainer George Bugatti has adapted for the stage. The play is based on the book, “The Real Watergate Scandal,” by Geoff Shepard, a lawyer who worked in Nixon’s White House during the Watergate scandal.

Wednesdays at Piero’s

Iconic Vegas restaurant and frequent Mark Davis hang Piero’s Italian Restaurant has expanded to Wednesday nights. Owner Freddie Glusman says get there Wednesdays, and also Thursdays, and every other night the place is open through Sundays. Keep that in mind when you turn your keys over to valet.

Not so many pounds

Picking up more fallen noodles from the coverage of Adele’s not-residency at Resorts World. An overseas pub reported she would make £100,000 per night. That’s about $140,000 in U.S. currency.

Um, no. Not when Lady Gaga signed for earned a reported $1 million per show when her original Park Theater residency was announced in 2017. That £100,000-per-show figure would make Adele the lowest-paid superstar headliner on the Strip.

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 Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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