Shows get new titles, same song and dance

Shows open, shows close. But seldom does one show morph into another, let alone having it happen twice in the same month.

One instance is no surprise. “Spirit of the Dance” turning into “Broadway Celebration” this week was an option producer David King left open all along.

“I’ve got 28 chances to get this right,” the British producer said in May of his deep well of titles, which can be performed in repertory at New York-New York. “We’ll put in what sells, and what doesn’t, we’ll take out.”

It may be self-fulfilling prophecy that the dated “Riverdance” knockoff has been replaced by show tunes, with “Phantom of the Opera” conveniently among the titles represented (now that the Vegas “Phantom” has closed) alongside “Cabaret,” “Chicago,” “Grease” and more.

The new title will share the venue with King’s Abba tribute, “Dancing Queen,” in the venue he operates in partnership with MGM Resorts International.

More radical is the plan at the V Theater to close “Awesome ’80s Prom” Sept. 16 and replace it Sept. 20 with a new show, with the working title of “LegWarmers ­- An ’80s Musical,” that leaves only an eye blink of continuity loss with ticket vendors.

“Prom” was tightly controlled by creator Ken Davenport, who licensed it to other cities in a McDonald’s franchising-like arrangement; things had to be done exactly to his specifications.

Theater operator David Saxe and local, hands-on producer Sirc Michaels say the long-distance control led to disagreements over how to advertise the interactive prom spoof, and a dispute over Davenport’s desire for the audience to be on its feet the entire time.

“We’re transferring that theme to a more Vegas-friendly product,” Michaels says of the more traditional “jukebox musical” of ’80s hits he cobbled together with a speed worthy of the late John Hughes himself. “And, it’s a real story. I grew up with those (Hughes) movies, with that music.”

The new venture will retain some cast members, but will move from a restaurant space into a more formal venue inside the V Theater at the Miracle Mile Shops in Planet Hollywood. The small showroom has a video wall that inspired Michaels to incorporate singalongs.

Plus, it has chairs. “After a day of strolling on the Strip, people can actually sit,” Michaels says. …

The Stratosphere plans to drive a stake into its topless vampire hoot fest “Bite” on Halloween night. Producer Tim Molyneux showed a true independent spirit keeping the campy dance revue open since August 2004 in the landlocked casino.

But the Stratosphere threw its marketing resources behind singer-songwriter Frankie Moreno, the rare Las Vegas entertainer to draw a salary guarantee from the hotel, rather than leasing his show space as Molyneux and most producers do.

“The Stratosphere likes the ‘Bite’ show because it makes money for them,” Molyneux said in January. However, “they were not crazy about having a topless vampire show be the face of the Stratosphere.”

A hotel spokeswoman says there are “no firm plans for a new show.” …

As covered elsewhere last week, Holly Madison’s pregnancy news will likely accelerate her departure from “Peepshow” and mean she won’t perform until New Year’s Eve as first planned.

I posted on Twitter last week that Coco Austin of “Ice Loves Coco” fame was among the names rumored to be Madison’s successor. Austin designated my Tweet a “favorite.” Is that the modern-day equivalent of the old journalism/movie cliche “I can neither confirm nor deny”? …

Friends of Opportunity Village can be friends of Terry Fator, too. Those who see the ventriloquist Saturday at The Mirage are due to see him present a check and explain why he supports the organization serving those with intellectual disabilities. …

Serious jazz fans welcome the occasional teaming of alto sax ace Richie Cole with Las Vegas’ own sax maniac, Jimmy Mulidore. The two reunite at 7 p.m. Friday at the Roma Garden, 5171 S. Pecos Road.

Friends of the late Las Vegas comedy favorite Ron Shock, who died in May, will gather for a belated memorial celebration at 1 p.m. Monday at Big Al’s Comedy Club in The Orleans.

All friends and fans are invited to the gathering of comedians that’s sure to be a comic journey in its own right, as the man surely would have wanted it to be.

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

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