Aren’t there any good advertising firms in this town?
The a capella group Toxic Audio closed Wednesday at the V Theater, and the Second City comedy troupe brings down the curtain Friday at the Flamingo Las Vegas. The timing is coincidental. But the two had similar elements, so those who dug one probably would have liked the other.
The real similarity is that both enterprises had a tough time explaining what they are. The price of originality, I suppose.
Second City traded on word of mouth and reputation; its legacy as a Chicago comedy institution. But smart, raunchy sketch comedy is a tough idea to convey in two-dimensional posters and print ads.
Whenever I would walk in from the Flamingo’s garage and see the troupe’s illuminated poster box (casino people use the trade name, Durotrans) I usually wondered how many people glanced at the classy black-and-white photo of the happy quintet and had absolutely no idea what the show was about. I suppose it would have been even worse to put them in wacky hats and whatnot, but it illustrated that the more original the format, the harder it is to explain.
Same with Toxic Audio, which threw enough comic curves to make their vocal harmonies not come off like a Christian youth concert. But the poster art always reminded me of the avant-garde performance artists The Residents, with microphones instead of big eyeball heads perched on the shoulders of people in suits. Made you want to run out and see it, huh?
Theater operator David Saxe opted not to renew the six-month contract for the Orlando-based troupe. “We’re not the kind of show that can be summed up easily,” says Toxic founder Rene Ruiz. The group also hasn’t had a big national TV appearance that would more quickly spread the word.
But it’s very telling to see what was chosen as Toxic Audio’s replacement: “Scarlett — Princess of Magic.” I’m sure she’s, um, wonderful. Still, the change implies that it’s easier for ticket venders or a sexy poster to explain “magic” (or “hypnotist,” “topless show,” etc.) than for anything that blends genres or breaks new ground. …
The “Mamma Mia!” movie is a hit, but not such a sensation that it has changed anyone’s mind about a standing decision to close the Mandalay Bay stage version Jan. 4.
The movie beat “Hairspray” as the best opening weekend for a musical, grossing $27.8 million and raising that total to $62.5 million its second week. But the second weekend also saw a 36 percent drop, and the movie fell to No. 3 behind “The Dark Knight” and “Step Brothers.”
Publicity surrounding the movie opening on July 18 pushed that week’s Broadway “Mamma Mia!” above a million-dollar gross. Locally, producers say that business over the past few weeks at the Mandalay Bay has been up compared to the same time last year.
But unless the film reverses trajectory to show an unexpected staying power, even a second bump in advertising from an October DVD release would still fade by year’s end. …
Broadway musicals have a traditional transparency in reporting their box office figures, while Las Vegas numbers are notoriously guarded. (That is, at least, until the producers of “Young Frankenstein” opted to go the Vegas route of not reporting grosses.)
The reporting carries to other cities, leading to the recent factoid that Cleveland loves “Jersey Boys” more than Las Vegas does. The musical had a $1.8 million opening week there recently, besting records in New York, Las Vegas and other tour cities, according to a press release. So, we don’t know how “Jersey Boys” does at The Palazzo, but we know it doesn’t do $1.8 million in a single week. …
Creative promotions give producers a shot at stirring local interest during a slow summer for tourism. Bally’s “Jubilee!” offers a $27 ticket to Nevada residents through Aug. 15. And a single performance of “Defending the Caveman” on Aug. 8 (8/8/08, surely a big day for wedding chapels) will offer $8.88 tickets for locals. …
Finally, Tony Bennett fans can now pose for photos on Tony Bennett Way, though the street sign honoring the singer is still a road to nowhere. Fellow staffer Andrew Taylor spotted the sign (north of Flamingo, east of Paradise Roads) he first alerted us to in February. But for now, it only connects construction vehicles to the new Paradise Place office and retail complex.
Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at email@example.com or 702-383-0288.