Hotel changing more than its name

The LVH-Las Vegas Hotel is losing more than the Hilton name. Singer Rick Faugno and headline comedians such as Hal Sparks and Gilbert Gottfried are moving out of the hotel’s Shimmer Cabaret.

Faugno is moving to the Lounge at the Palms for a weekly berth starting Tuesday, but says he is leaving the door open for a possible return to the Shimmer, where he performed once a week since August.

Promoter Mike Tricarichi will continue with his “Icons of Comedy” at Shimmer, but the stand-up series will become even more of a misnomer, helmed by fewer marquee names. Andrew Dice Clay will perform across Paradise Road at the Riviera starting today.

Clay’s two weeks each month in the Starlite Theatre will be rounded out by other comedy names such as Gottfried, Sparks and Amy Schumer. Tricarichi explains these headliners need to be booked well in advance with contract guarantees. But Goldman Sachs is expected to take control of the former Hilton through foreclosure this month, and Tricarichi says the new owners may not honor contracts more than 30 days out.

“They can cancel the whole show. If the new owner wants to go a different direction, we’re out,” he says.

Comedian Mark Curry will continue to anchor the “Icons” lineup at Shimmer because he works without a formal contract. Four other shows still share the crowded Shimmer; impressionist Greg London is off this month, but returns Feb. 4.

Tricarichi also is in talks with the Riviera to take over its long-running comedy club. He would run a joint operation, with the headline names in the larger Starlite and the lesser-known acts in the club.

The Riviera comedy room “needs some updating,” he says. “A little work just to make it nice.”

Tricarichi has produced all but one of The Diceman’s Las Vegas engagements since 2005. “We’re kind of family. We fight a lot, but always make up at the end,” he says.

Clay was able to pack as many as 500 fans into the Starlite last fall, far more than any other musical or variety headliner that played there last year. “He’s still got his name and he sells tickets,” Tricarichi says of the comedian with homes in both Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, Faugno hopes his old-school Vegas lounge act will inherit some of the momentum from Frankie Moreno’s like-minded Tuesdays in the Palms lounge.

“He had a really great thing going there, and it catapulted him to his deal at the Stratosphere,” Faugno says of his predecessor. The singer plans to make his new showcase “a little looser” than it was at Shimmer. “It won’t be quite as thematic, I guess you could say.

“You have to do what the room is asking you to do,” Faugno adds. “That room is not asking for a dramatic presentation. It’s asking for you to get up there and sing some great music, do some great dancing and give people something to have fun with.”

(It doesn’t seem to be related to Faugno, but the Palms will no longer host Playboy Comedy on weekends in the lounge.)

Faugno self-produced his Hilton show and paid for the space and the union crew. The Palms isn’t asking him to foot the bill, which “takes a little bit of the pressure off me, since I don’t have any financial backing or anything. This is all me. It’s a load off my shoulders.”

And once things settle at the LVH, he might go back. “(Entertainment executive) Rick White and all those people there are really class-act people. I’m really grateful to them,” he says. …

Celine Dion is back at Caesars Palace for a three-week stretch, continuing a lucrative one-city tour. The singer ranked 10th on Pollstar’s “Top 25 North American Tours” list last year, with the highest average ticket price on the list, $166.71, compensating for the fewest number of shows, 57.

The Colosseum at Caesars Palace production posted an average gross of $722,807 for 247,135 tickets.

Roommate performer Elton John ranked higher on the list at No. 6; his schedule last year included 40 cities in larger arenas beyond Las Vegas, but only one more show. His average ticket price was $111.

Cirque du Soleil made the list with three of its touring titles. “Drailon” ranked higher at No. 12 than the Michael Jackson tribute, “The Immortal,” at No. 16. “Alegria” was 24th. …

Each spring, Las Vegas locals prepare for a desert road trip to the big Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival near Palm Springs, Calif. And each year some Coachella acts play separate concerts in Las Vegas on their way to and fro. So it could be good news for Las Vegas that the festival expands to two weekends this year, duplicating its lineups for Friday (April 13 and 20), Saturday (April 14 and 21) and Sunday (April 15 and 22).

What else are the bands and DJs going to do that week in between? Two acts, Justice and the Shins, already are booked for The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. …

Finally, Friday’s Neon includes a review of “Vegas Magic Theatre” at the Gold Coast. Two magic greats came out to watch: Siegfried Fischbacher and Lance Burton. Though the two are about 20 years apart in age, Burton made it quite clear in calling himself “retired” and enjoying it, rather than joining Rick Thomas and Dirk Arthur in the “have show, need room” hunt.

The latter is far from retirement. “Unfortunately, I’m going to have to look for a new gig” at some point later this year, Arthur says, when his small theater at O’Sheas gets folded into construction for the new adjacent entertainment plaza known as The Linq.

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at
mweatherford@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.

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