Bally’s “Jubilee!” show marked 29 years on the Strip this weekend. If you don’t think that’s something, head up the street to the Riviera.
Those who have been in town for a while will be bombarded with alternating waves of sadness and nostalgia as they pass the ’70s-era chandeliers and the “Beauty Shop” sign. The main showroom is shuttered, but keep going to the upper floors, where four productions still fight for whatever audience remains.
One of them is “Crazy Girls,” which opened in 1987. That makes it the third-oldest show in town, behind “Jubilee!” and “Legends in Concert.” Once a mere sideshow to the big-budget “Splash,” it’s now one of the Riv’s last links to better days.
And if you really want to get a feel for the grander days of a bygone era, you could get a real estate agent to show you the mansions of the original producers of both those shows.
“Crazy Girls” producer Norbert Aleman’s house is still on the market after several months, not yet finding a $5.4 million taker for the six-bedroom casa in Southeast Las Vegas.
To comparison shop, head over to John Stuart’s “Legends Ranch,” a bit southeast of the Las Vegas Outlet Center. Stuart’s house with adjacent stable is on the market for $2.6 million.
He’s probably more willing to talk turkey than Aleman, because Stuart also faces a Monday hearing related to his bankruptcy filing last May.
“Legends” was Stuart’s one great career home run, but he hasn’t been associated with the show in years. His last production was the short-lived “Rock n’ Roll 2 Soul” at Palace Station. If you heard of it, it’s probably because you drove by the sign during the two months it was open.
John Stuart Productions previously filed for bankruptcy protection as a company. But that filing was dismissed early last year, after the hearing officer questioned the bookkeeping and whether Stuart had moved assets to other companies. This time it’s a personal bankruptcy, citing an unsecured debt of $1.7 million to a Phoenix mortgage equity firm headed by Mitchel Medigovich.
Both Aleman and Stuart remember a Las Vegas where the playing field was one of two dozen shows, not 100. Independent producers were upstarts taking on house productions such as “Jubilee!,” where the showgirls are casino employees just like the dealers. That’s unheard of now.
The “For Sale” signs on the producers’ lawns now stand as monuments to another era. It’s hard to say what will happen to “Jubilee!,” but I’ll have a fresh review on how it’s holding up in Friday’s Neon.
If you go see it, too, smile at the sexist Titanic scene and laugh at the crazy “Samson & Delilah” song. And remember, some things you don’t miss until they’re gone.
Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0288.