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‘Superstars’ prepares to close at Stratosphere

The costumed-tribute show “American Superstars” is set to close March 30 after more than 14 years at the Stratosphere, where it has played since the property opened.

Producers Mark Callas and Donny Moore weren’t talkative beyond a closing announcement, and a backstage source said the decision seemed to come about suddenly.

A spokeswoman for the Stratosphere said it was mutually agreed the show had run its course, but there is no new replacement title on deck that would have expedited its walking papers.

Roommate production “Bite” is so far unaffected; it might move up to an earlier start than its current 10:30 p.m.

“Superstars” has been synonymous with the Stratosphere since the casino opened in 1996. It spent four years on the Strip at the Flamingo and Luxor, before it opened with the Stratosphere’s lounge.

When impressionist Danny Gans jumped ship to the Rio, “Superstars” moved into the casino’s main showroom at the end of 1996 and has remained there ever since. The producers have dealt with several management regimes of the property currently in the hands of American Casino & Entertainment. …

“Burlesque — The Show” also has closed at the Westin Casuarina. Brandy Lee, the performer who put the concept together, says the small, retro-themed revue is a casualty of a partnership gone south with co-producer and choreographer Kendra Alyse Phillips.

“It turned ugly,” Lee says of the back and forth over who made major decisions and who had claim to its props and costumes. “It just became very complicated.”

The show itself “was showing great progress” with attendance in its five months, and Lee says she has new investors who are “still very interested in keeping the show going.” …

Cirque du Soleil’s new Michael Jackson salute will be spending more time here in December than first announced. Twenty shows have been added to the Dec. 13-27 arena run at Mandalay Bay Events Center. This is the touring version, not the Vegas-only Jackson tribute that will later settle on the Strip, probably at Mandalay Bay as well.

Greg Phillinganes, a popular keyboard sideman who worked with Jackson, has been announced as the tribute’s musical director. …

Magician Rick Thomas reopens at the Sahara on Wednesday after performing a few weeks in Bermuda. It’s a vacation paradise, but Thomas says he worked for the locals: “More than 10 percent of the population,” he claims, during his 10-day stretch in a 700-seat theater.

Getting his tigers there and back was no paradise, though. Lining up wide-body cargo planes for the critters meant a convoluted route from Los Angeles to New York to Newark, N.J. The latter leg involved a drive in 20-degree weather and a night spent in a trailer to make sure no harm came to the tigers.

The topless “Striptease,” a Sahara roommate for Thomas, originally planned to reopen next week as well, after sidelining itself last month to restructure content and costs.

Producer Jim Hayek now says it will take a little longer, but “we’re still hanging in there.” Whenever it does reopen, it’s “definitely going to be a changed show,” he says. …

The hip-hop dance crew Jabbawockeez has released the album-length soundtrack to its “MUS.I.C.” show at the Monte Carlo. The music is credited to the Northern California DJ crew The Bangerz.

The album already is available from digital outlets, and CDs will be for sale at the shows starting Tuesday.

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

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