Sahara shows just taking break

The Sahara will spend much of February and March without a show. But magician Rick Thomas and the producer of the topless revue “Striptease: The Show” both say they are taking a break, not closing for good.

“We’re going to do some restructuring,” producer Jim Hayek says of “Striptease,” the topless revue that opened in late September but called a timeout last week. Hayek wants to bring the show back by March 15 after what he calls “a hiatus” to address costs in both content and backstage labor costs.

“We do run lean but it can be a little better,” he says.

“Striptease” headliner Taya Parker, who brings reality-TV recognition from “Rock of Love,” is likely to remain with the production. “She’s very much part of our family,” says Hayek, who also books Parker into dancing engagements at gentlemen’s clubs across the country.

The move is coincidental to Rick Thomas taking a working vacation in Bermuda, from Feb. 11 to March 15. The magician said he doesn’t share enough backstage costs with “Striptease” to make it difficult to go on without the roommate production. But it was already announced in December he would perform at the Fairmont Southhampton Resort Feb. 25-March 5.

Thomas is one of the few acts to have held his own at the Sahara, a revolving door of titles in recent years. The magic show is one of three — and the only one remaining — named as defendants in a lawsuit by producer David Saxe, formerly the main contractor for the Sahara’s theater.

Saxe accuses the hotel and three producers of violating a “non-circumvention agreement” by negotiating new contracts with individual producers to avoid paying him a weekly fee from net ticket revenues. The fees were Saxe’s commissions for having placed the magic show, “Sandy Hackett’s Rat Pack Show” and The Comedy Stop. A hearing is set Feb. 11 to begin the discovery process. …

Fans of Liberace’s Linguini or Louis Primavera Pasta will have to cross their fingers. Tony Sacca has closed his Las Vegas Rocks Cafe and adjacent showroom, citing his landlord’s continued inability to guarantee air-conditioning for the 20,000-square-foot facility.

“Josette and I lost a lot of money,” Sacca says of the venture he opened with his restaurateur partner Josette LeBlond early last year. “The air was the issue. I couldn’t take the chance for another year.”

The longtime TV host and entertainer says he is talking to a downtown casino about a lease for the cafe. “The project’s not dead,” he says.

The closing displaces several small shows, including Sacca’s own “Vegas the Story,” Brian Hoffman’s tribute to Red Skelton and Martin Andrew’s salute to Rod Stewart. Steven and Cassandra Best, the “Superstars of Magic,” have reopened at GameWorks in the Showcase mall. …

The Blue Man Group goes to the Super Bowl, performing Sunday on the fan plaza in front of Cowboys Stadium. It’s more to promote a theater tour that skips Las Vegas for obvious reasons. The tour promises “an infusion of brand new content,” so hope springs eternal some of it might find its way to The Venetian.

Across the hall at Palazzo, the “Jersey Boys” aren’t going to Texas, but they are offering football refugees a $45 ticket for all seats to either the 3 or 7 p.m. shows Sunday. If you’re asked for a promotion code, it’s 45SUPER. …

Ricky Martin may be doing things backward enough to become a trivia question in Las Vegas history. The Latin singer is coming here in person after already producing another Vegas show.

A bomb called “Storm” at Mandalay Bay was co-produced by Martin’s management company in early 2001. The singer wisely refrained from doing hands-on promotion, and most people have forgotten it was ever here. Now the question is whether enough people still care about Martin himself to fill the Colosseum at Caesars Palace on April 30.

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

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