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Wild-tiger show coming to downtown Las Vegas

Updated July 29, 2022 - 11:48 am

Conventional wisdom says production shows using exotic animals have no audience, in Las Vegas or anywhere else.

Dirk Arthur and Notoriety Live are taking the unconventional approach.

A headliner who has more than nine lives, Arthur is assembling “Dirk Arthur’s Wild Magic” for the Vegas stage. The comedy-magic show is to include Arthur’s collection of wild animals, and perform in Notoriety’s unoccupied 245-seat theater.

“After a crazy long break from performing due to Covid-19 canceling several jobs, I’m excited for another Vegas engagement,” Arthur said Thursday. I will focus on more on education about preserving wildlife than ever before as this has become an all encompassing passion over the years.”

Arthur added that portions of revenue will go to protect animals in the wild. He will take the stage with white and orange tigers, snow leopard, a bobcat, with various ducks, chickens and pigeons.

Club proprietor Ken Henderson confirmed plans for the show this week. No on-sale or launch date is set, but Henderson says the show will run at least four days a week.

“Wild Magic” would be the only ticketed show to use exotic cats in Las Vegas, and (by our canvassing) anywhere in the country. Large-scale circuses, including the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus (returning in 2023), have dropped animal acts.

No matter. “Wild Magic” joins such resident shows at Notoriety as “Faaabulous The Show” drag production in Robin Leach Lounge, the “Aussie Heat” male revue and Vinny Grosso’s “Totally Mental” in Renkus-Heinz Theater; and “Faaabulous Drag Brunch” in the Chandelier Lounge.

Arthur has most recently performed onstage at the Westgate for 5 1/2 months before closing in April 2018. But he held forth without the animals. Just prior to opening, he ditched plans to use a snow leopard and bobcat, along with a few birds and a white duck named Afflack (that name made sense at the time).

Arthur cited theater restrictions as the reason for dropping the animal acts, though animal-rights groups were mobilizing to protest the show’s planned use of the animals. Arthur has most recently used animals in his act in 2015, at the now-imploded Riviera.

Arthur is an experienced showman dating to his 1997 Vegas debut in “Jubilee,” continuing on to the Silverton, Plaza, Tropicana, O’Sheas, and at Harrah’s in Reno and Laughlin before returning to the Riv in 2014. His production at the Riv closed as the hotel itself announced it was closing the show.

It’s a far cry from ‘97, when Arthur dazzled audiences in “Jubilee.” He’ll get a verdict, quickly, in 2022.

Valli on sale

Frankie Valli’s shows March 10-11 at International Theater are onsale at 10 a.m. Friday. His pre-sales are already strong. Amazing, Valli’s drawing power 60 years after “Sherry” was the Four Seasons’ first No. 1 hit.

Sawchuck as pilot

This weekend, magician Murray Sawchuck will have interests in three Vegas hotel-casinos. Well, two in Vegas and one in Henderson.

Sawchuck is a Laugh Factory at the Tropicana headliner, and also the middle act in “Fantasy” at Luxor. At 8 p.m. Friday he’ll take on the new Bonkerz Comedy Club at The Pass on Water Street in Henderson with “Murray’s Misfits.” Sawchuck’s wife, showgirl emcee Dani Elizabeth, hosts.

Sawchuck’s guest stars include comic Frankie Pace (“SNL,” “Showtime At The Apollo), sideshow performer John Shaw (“Pawn Stars” and “Ghost Adventures”), magician Erica Vanlee (The CW’s “Masters of Illusion”), favorite Vegas stand-up Carla Rea, the juggler Sideshow Bert.

“The great thing with so many acts is, if you don’t like one, they’ll only be on for 10 minutes,” Sawchuck says, delivering the showbiz shtick. “But really, we think the audience will find them all really entertaining. We’re hoping this has some long-term potential.”

Dance in ‘24?

Spiegelworld founder Ross Mollison let out a sigh Thursday when I asked him for an update timeline for the opening of “DiscoShow” at the under-development Glitterloft at Linq Hotel. The show was originally intended to open in December of this year. It might not be open by December ‘23.

“I want it to be open by the end of next year, but I’ve just got a few AC issues,” Mollison said. “When I say AC, I mean air conditioning.”

Furnishing a topnotch AC system for the former Imperial Palace sports book annex takes time, and also money. Maybe $5 million. So Spiegelworld and Caesars Entertainment are working it out, but Mollison promises the place will be very cool.

“DiscoShow” is the Vegas component of Caesars’ $75 million investment in three new Spiegelworld shows. The others are planned for Atlantic City and in New Orleans. All will have restaurant components, similar in the Superfrico-“Opium” model at the Cosmopolitan.

Mollison has been excited about “DiscoShow” for about four years. The project was launched as “We Are Here,” directed by Steven Hoggett (“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” on Broadway), with music curated by legendary record producer, songwriter, and musician Nile Rodgers of Chic.

“The location on the Strip, straight opposite of Caesars Palace and leading to ‘DiscoShow,’ is great,” Mollison said. “And the restaurant we’ve got planned, incredible. The whole experience is going to be fantastic.”

Cool Hang Alert

The all-female, all-rocking club band Dollface is back at Rush Lounge at Golden Nugget from 8 p.m.-midnight Sunday. Gloria “Glo” Vivelo fronts the band, with Misai Fujita on drums, Crystal Mesina on bass and Venessa Tayler Bohman on guitar. We met the Face of the Doll about nine years ago at the Lounge at Excalibur. We hadn’t planned to say for the whole set, but we did, and also #grooving. No cover at the Rush, but you can drop some cash at the blackjack tables, just off stage left.


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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