You think it’s nutty that Las Vegas has two Rat Pack shows? There will be days in late July when a Beatles fan will be able to choose among four tributes on the Strip.
“Just Imagine,” subtitled “A Musical Tribute to John Lennon,” launches a three-month run — with hopes of a longer stay — at Planet Hollywood on June 30.
Cheap Trick’s orchestral “Sgt. Pepper Live” will have select dates in July in its second local run, this one at Paris Las Vegas.
And those are on top of “Love” — the Cirque du Soleil show in official partnership with Apple Corps Limited, the Beatles’ business entity — and “B — BeatleShow Tribute” (formerly “Fab Four Live”) at the V Theater.
The unauthorized “Just Imagine” stars Tim Piper, a veteran Lennon impersonator in various bands and shows. He debuted this long-form tribute last year in successful runs at two small theaters (capacity of about 100) in North Hollywood and Studio City, Calif.
That leaves another 1,400 or so seats to fill in the Chi Showroom at Planet Hollywood. Producers Mary Card and Nick LaTrenta, who brought Broadway musicals to the Strip via BACI Management before the company went bankrupt, will rent from the Planet Hollywood theater’s operator, Base Entertainment.
“We really think we can do it. We still have people trying to book tickets (in Los Angeles),” says show publicist Francine Marseille. Ads won’t position the title as a limited run. “We want to be around for a while,” Marseille says.
“It is a little different,” she says of the slightly theatrical revue. It doesn’t have additional actors, but does offer “a story in a music setting,” with Piper telling stories in front of a band and rear-screen visuals.
“We don’t sugarcoat,” she says. “It touches on the political, the emotional and the personal.”
“Just Imagine” runs the risk of heavy policing by Apple Corps, but the company didn’t challenge “Sgt. Pepper Live.”
“We fall within all of our guidelines to be respectful to all the powers that be,” Marseilles says.
“Pepper” has more direct sentimental ties to the Beatles through Cheap Trick and musical director Geoff Emerick. Producer Bill Edwards suggests the only real rule is that unauthorized shows not compete with “Love” at another MGM Mirage property: “A very large chain of hotels out there wanted the (“Pepper”) show, but they couldn’t do it for competitive reasons.”
Edwards also explained his move to Paris from the Las Vegas Hilton by saying he wanted to be on the Strip. The show will be different this time around, with no special guest stars and more Cheap Trick, doing a few of their own hits along with the Beatles covers.
Edwards says VIP ticket pricing skews the perception of a major price increase since the Hilton run in October. Three-fourths of the tickets are $100 or less, he says, with an average price of $107.23. The October average was $92. …
At this writing, Tropicana management says it’s still in negotiations with comedian Brad Garrett to lend his name to a comedy club. But Garrett and MGM Mirage seem to think it’s a done deal.
Philip Recchia, program director for BlogTalk Radio, passed along an interview in which the comedian told “Night Views Radio” he is “opening up my own comedy club” on June 28.
This apparently would be in the small Tropicana venue that long hosted The Comedy Stop. The hotel may not be ready to commit, but The Mirage canceled a Garrett booking June 25 and 26 once word of the Tropicana club emerged.
Mirage officials say they had “a great relationship” with the comedian, who performed at least twice a year on his own or with Ray Romano. But MGM Mirage decided to part company “once he made an announcement” about the club. …
“America’s Got Talent” is back for another summer on NBC, and continues its national exposure for Las Vegas entertainers. Tuesday’s debut had viewers falling for soulful Michael Grimm, who played his bluesy roots rock at Green Valley Ranch in 2008 and 2009. Somehow the sleek Ovation club and upscale Hank’s steakhouse translated into “little restaurants and bars, whatever place will take me” on the TV show. He currently is working with Bill Medley in Branson, Mo., but will be back in Ovation for at least one night on July 1.
You also can expect to see Antonio Restivo, producer and star of last year’s “Ignite,” and Andrew S. of last year’s “Freaks” in the TV competition. …
“Country Superstars Tribute” will try to make its way back into town next month, after it wraps a year at Whiskey Pete’s at Primm on July 3, says producer Leonard Quenneville. Management there told him the 700-seat showroom will close altogether because of the larger financial problems of Herbst Gaming. …
Las Vegas comedian Cork Proctor, 77, will take a break from a busy schedule of being on various Vegas-nostalgia panel discussions with Mike Weatherford to work a real, live comedy club again. He will be at the Sahara’s Comedy Stop for a week starting Monday.
Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.