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Wayne Newton forced off the stage by back surgery

Updated April 12, 2019 - 7:18 pm

Wayne Newton’s 60th anniversary of performing in Las Vegas will be something of a comeback special.

Mr. Las Vegas is to undergo back surgery, wiping out at least two weeks of dates at Cleopatra’s Barge, along with a date at Ovations! Live at Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino in Chandler, Ariz. set for Saturday night.

“I have been informed by my doctors that I need immediate surgery on my back, and therefore have to reschedule my shows at Caesars for the next couple of weeks,” Newton said in an e-mail message Friday. “I wanted to extend my apologies and sincerest regrets to all those who have purchased tickets and have been inconvenienced, but the doctors assure me I’ll be up and running very soon!”

Newton added, “As you know, I hate to disappoint anyone, and I am anxiously looking forward to returning to my shows at Caesars and being able to give my audiences the kind of entertainment they deserve.”

Caesars Entertainment President of Entertainment Jason Gastwirth said Friday afternoon that his thoughts were first with the Newton family, and that there would be an announcement forthcoming of scheduling plans in Newton’s absence.

Newton has called off the first two weeks April, leading to the first open date May 1. He has been physically compromised by pain in his back and hips over the past several weeks.

Newton’s most recent public appearance was on the red carpet at the opening of Vanderpump Cocktail Lounge on March 30, but by then he had spiked most of his March dates at the Barge. Newton also participated in First Lady Melania Trump’s anti-opiate town hall appearance at Westgate Las Vegas on March 5.

Newton, who turned 77 on April 3, opened at the Barge on Jan. 28. His upcoming surgery will take place about four weeks before his 60th anniversary of performing in Las Vegas.

Newton and his late brother, Jerry, opened at the Fremont Hotel’s Carnival Room on May 16, 1959. Newton jokes from the stage, “I wasn’t even old enough to be in the hotel where I was performing.”

Giving Backstreet

A few stats related to the Backstreet Boys:

20: Number of shows they were originally scheduled to perform at Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood.

80: Number of shows they will have performed upon closing on April 27

1: Number of band members who live in Las Vegas (Nick Carter).

1: Number of new releases during that residency (“DNA”).

6,700: Number of seats opened during select performances to account for ticket demand, making “Larger Than Life” a record-setting production at the venue.

$180,000: The band’s donation to Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada by offering $1 of every ticket sold from November 2017 through the end of the run.

The tireless boy band — Carter, AJ McLean, Brian Littrell, Howie Dorough and Kevin Richardson — hosted a fan event Friday afternoon at the Strip-facing staircase at Planet Hollywood. They pressed their hands into cement to be honored at the hotel in perpetuity.

BSB is off to tour behind the remarkable success of “DNA,” McLean offered some news, or at least opened negotiations, by telling event host Rachel Smith of Fox 5, “If Vegas wants us back, we’ll be back.” Carter cut in with, “We’ve got to talk to Caesars and Live Nation! They’re here somewhere!”

Gastwirth and Live Nation President Kurt Melien were indeed part of the ceremony — which was a ceremony. No contracts today, fellas.

Bradlee holds court

Scott Bradlee’s Postmoderen Jukebox opened for previews at 1Oak Nightclub at on Friday night. Bradlee’s band re-purposes contemporary pop, rock and R&B songs in styles from Motown to ragtime, swing, and doo-wop. The show has been a hot topic around town, as Bradlee has auditioned Vegas performers for the Strip residency.

During a chat Thursday at the club, we talked of the city’s wealth of talent and Bradlee’s vision that some Las Vegas faves could stop in and join the fray. As we talked, Bradlee also name-checked the Vegas performers in the PMJ lineup, including dance sensation Aaron Turner, a finalist on “So You Think You Can Dance.”

I stopped and and said, “Aaron’s father is one of those performers you’re talking about, one who can drop into your show.”

We’re referring to Vegas great Earl Turner, and I can predict a father/son drop-in during PMJ’s residency. And, former “Baz” flamethrower Jaclyn McSpadden is in the lineup, with“Scintas” lead singer Janien Valentine the swing.

Cool Hang Alert

Marty Allen’s widow, Karon Kate Blackwell, is returning to the stage for the first time since the legendary comic’s death for “Karon Kate Blackwell & Friends” at 3 p.m. Sunday at Addison’s Lounge at Rampart Casino. Blackwell is joined by George Bugatti with special guest Bill Fayne in “Music That Moves You.”

Blackwell was for years Allen’s performing partner who helmed their onstage interviews and sang in an array of styles. She’s has been waiting for the right moment since Allen’s passing on Feb. 18, 2018. “I’m nervous, but I’m ready,” she says. No pressure, and no cover charge, either.


Caesars Entertainment’s official website is listing “Nitro Circus” in its lineup of shows, with the updated message it will be opening at Jubilee Theater this summer. I’ll be there when it happens (cough) … Open speculation from Fox 5 is Katy Perry will announce her upcoming Las Vegas residency during the season finale of “American Idol,” the Fox series for which Perry serves as a judge. Perry was spotted on a tour of the Colosseum at Caesars Palace on April 5; JLo announced her Zappos Theater residency during “Idol” in May 2015 … Aerosmith is a world-class rock band. Given. But the sound system has yet to match the band’s lofty standards. Audience members report mic problems and a faltering piano plagued Saturday’s show. … I loved Aerosmith’s explosive opening-night performance (which was also peppered with technical snags), but am bummed the Vegas horn section was cut from the production just before launch … Carrot Top is finally ambulatory again, ditching the scooter on Thursday that he’d been using after breaking his leg snowboarding in Park City, Utah.

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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