When is a loss a gain and a win-win? When you’re juggling the schedule at The Mirage, it seems.
Terry Fator will substantially trim his Las Vegas schedule this year, enough for the hotel to book 78 shows by Boyz II Men, the ’90s pop stars who have been “On Bended Knee” in search of a Las Vegas sit-down.
Boyz open March 1 and will primarily perform Fridays through Sundays, while Fator will do his shows Mondays through Thursdays. The ventriloquist goes from five nights a week with one month off to four nights a week with two months off this year.
Fator says he wanted a lighter schedule both to ease the physical hardship on his voice and to work weekends outside the market to “remain relevant to the rest of the world.”
“One of my biggest worries about having a long-term Vegas deal is that I don’t want to be forgotten (outside the market),” he says.
Any perceptual blemishes in giving up prime Saturday nights could be offset by some lucrative weekend road dates. Fator is managed by the big guns at the William Morris Agency, and last month he packed the 5,000-seat Colosseum at Caesars Windsor in Windsor, Ontario.
The ventriloquist says he is writing a new show for the road dates, one that will focus more on his life story and serve as “almost an introduction – ‘Come and see us at The Mirage’ – as opposed to, ‘It’s the exact same, so now you don’t have to.’ ”
The Boyz have made Las Vegas a well-known quest since their Christmas show at the Flamingo in 2010. The Las Vegas shows will give “some kind of normalcy” to the lives of Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris and Shawn Stockman, manager Joe Mulvihill says.
The group spent considerable time and resources bidding with Donald Trump for the right to develop a casino property in their hometown of Philadelphia, but ultimately were not awarded the bid. …
Meanwhile, a similar roommate situation could unfold at the Flamingo, now that Donny and Marie Osmond have finally confirmed they will stick around for at least this year. The duo’s contract had expired – possibly as far back as mid-October – and variables such as Marie’s cable talk show may have held up negotiations.
The Osmonds committed to as many as 36 weeks this year, having gradually scaled back from the 265 shows – closer to 38 weeks – they did in 2008.
Comedian George Wallace also is back for about 36 weeks this year as the Flamingo’s late show.
The new twist is that incoming afternoon tenant “Legends in Concert” stands ready and willing to jump into the evening slots when either the Osmonds or Wallace are absent.
Sharing the cost of stage crews at the Flamingo meant that in the past, it was in everyone’s best interest to take the same nights off. Once “Legends” opens next month, the showroom has the potential to run year-round with some combination of the three residents. …
If “Legends” Elvis left the building at Harrah’s Las Vegas, a new one arrives next month with “Million Dollar Quartet.” His name is Tyler Hunter, and even though “Quartet” is touted as a legit Broadway “book” show, his website identifies him as, yes, an “Elvis tribute artist.”
The cast includes some locals: Benjamin Hale, late of The Venetian’s “Phantom,” as Johnny Cash, and Felice Garcia, last seen as an “iCandy Burlesque” singer, as the Big E’s girlfriend.
Martin Kaye is Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins is played by Robert Britton Lyons, who has been with the show since its workshop phase in 2006. …
You wouldn’t have expected the 3-D “Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away” movie to beat down “The Hobbit” in Las Vegas movie theaters, when locals can so easily visit the actual shows filmed for the movie.
But the rest of the country didn’t care much either. The movie grossed just short of $11 million in its first 15 days of release. By comparison, “Texas Chainsaw 3D” took in $21.7 million its first weekend.
Cirque folk were optimistic about a Christmas weekend release because so few of the big holiday movies were family-friendly. But “Worlds Away” was underbooked on multiplex screens, and had nary a chance of IMAX showings on screens locked up by “The Hobbit.”
Critics were middling as well – Rotten Tomatoes’ score was 55 percent – with most saying there wasn’t enough of a framing story to give forward motion to the performance footage.
The movie is still likely to turn a profit. The budget wasn’t reported, but most of it was filmed on the existing Las Vegas show sets and didn’t shut down the revenue-producing titles. “We had to film this around the normal show schedule,” producer Jacques Methe said.
The film also stands to fare better overseas. The request for an IMAX release came from Japan, Methe said. …
Finally, somebody alert “the Chinese guy” who seems to attend every performance that Don Rickles will be back this year, with weekend dates confirmed at The Orleans in April and September.
It’s said to be the 86-year-old comedian’s 54th consecutive year in Las Vegas, which would be a record for a headliner (Frank Sinatra skipped a few in his 44-year span, and young cats such as Tom Jones already have no-show years).
Although it would take formidable research to absolutely confirm Rickles never skipped a year, who is going to dispute what is now being called “an all-time Las Vegas record”?
Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.