Wave of show closings a blow to the Las Vegas entertainment community

Everyone knows the Las Vegas entertainment landscape has peaks and valleys.

But this summer? “I feel like this is the abyss,” says Travis Cloer.

In his eight years of playing Franki Valli in “Jersey Boys,” Cloer doesn’t recall such “a mass closing of live musical performances.”

He’s not just talking about the Broadway hit bowing out of Paris Las Vegas on Sept. 18, putting 25 actors and musicians “back in the talent pool,” as Cloer puts it. “ShowStoppers” at Wynn Las Vegas also closes Sept. 30, dropping the curtain on 34 singers and dancers and a 30-piece orchestra.

The Jubilee Theatre at adjacent Bally’s is marking time with “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” tapings in lieu of a replacement for the theater’s namesake “Jubilee!”

Smaller-scale shows affect fewer performers, but aren’t exempt. Singer Frankie Moreno closed at Planet Hollywood and Matt Goss leaves Caesars Palace Sept. 24.

“Raiding the Rock Vault” planned to go out in style at the Tropicana on Saturday night, filming the show for a prospective PBS special. Producer Harry Cowell wants to reopen elsewhere in the fall, and it looks like he could have several rooms to choose from — perhaps even the Westgate Las Vegas where it once played, now dormant after the closing of “Twisted Vegas.”

But the “Rock Vault” budget depended on sharing the Tropicana’s stagehand costs with a roommate production, and there hasn’t been one since magician Jan Rouven was arrested for alleged possession of child pornography in March.

The Tropicana promised a new show by May, Cowell says, but “Cherry Boom Boom Live” isn’t due until fall. Management has turned over as well. “Over the last year we’ve lost all our friends there,” Cowell says. “It’s time to move on.”

Granted, shows come and go all the time. The summer has seen three new ones open at The Venetian/Palazzo alone: Clint Holmes, “Baz” and “Puppet Up!”

But the Las Vegas Musicians Union is down to just two ongoing shows: “Million Dollar Quartet” and Donny & Marie Osmond. The latter renew their Flamingo contract one year at a time, and always seem to hem and haw before they sign up again. Throw in the Circus Circus midway, and that’s only about 16 union jobs on the Strip unless Celine Dion is in town.

Steady casino-show employment comes with fringe benefits, such as the monthly Composer’s Showcase helmed by “Jersey Boys” bandleader Keith Thompson. Or the Mondays Dark benefits, in which cast members of various shows stage a variety show for a different charity each month.

“I’ve had a lot of people express their anxiety about it: ‘Please don’t leave,’” Thompson says of the Composer’s Showcase.

“The fact the community has embraced it in such a beautiful way, I’ll do everything I can to stay here and to continue that,” he adds, “but I do have to eat and pay my mortgage. … In the same way Vegas became ‘what’s next’ for me, maybe something else will become ‘what’s next’ for me at some point.”

Cloer, however, plans on sticking around. He and his show-business spouse Jen have children ready for preschool. A cabaret show Cloer staged at South Point last week was initially just to “stretch my creative wings a little bit,” but now may be something he has to get serious about.

“I think we’ve maybe been lulled into a false sense of security,” Thompson says. “But the reality in our business is it’s volatile and anything can happen, your show can close tomorrow. It’s always that way. It’s not for the weak of heart, if you will.” …

We all know the sequel is almost never as good. Brett Daniels, the Milwaukee-based magician who challenged Criss Angel to a charity MMA cage match, posted a second YouTube video taunting the Luxor headliner.

This one’s six-and-a-half minutes and lacks the laugh-out-loud shock value of the first one. But it still shows you how magicians go medieval: “You wouldn’t win a junior competition at the Houdini Magic Club kids contest,” Daniels declares at one point.

Less visceral, but more important on the Strip, are the bragging rights as to which Las Vegas magician makes the most money and a (cage-free) face-off between two business publications, Forbes and Bloomberg.

David Copperfield scored the No. 20 spot on the annual Forbes Celebrity 100 list, with annual earnings calculated at $64 million. The only other Las Vegas-dwelling entertainers to make the list were fellow magicians Penn & Teller, at No. 94, with $31.5 million.

(Several headliners who aren’t Las Vegas residents also made the list: Elton John, No. 61 with $42 million; Jennifer Lopez, No. 68 with $39.5 million; Tiesto, No. 70 at $38 million; and Britney Spears, No. 99 at $30.5 million.)

Angel was profiled in a recent Bloomberg Businessweek feature headlined ‘Criss Angel’s Magical $70 million-a-year profit machine.” (The feature explains the total “comprises millions of dollars from television, including foreign rights; road show versions of his act; magic kits and other merchandise; and sponsorships.”)

But $70 million should have put Angel on the Forbes list, right up there by Garth Brooks at No. 15, with the same $70 million figure. Instead, Angel is not on the Forbes list at all.

Can Forbes vs. Bloomberg be the Angel-Daniels undercard?

Read more from Mike Weatherford at reviewjournal.com. Contact him at mweatherford@reviewjournal.com. Follow him @Mikeweatherford.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
The Nevada State Museum
The Nevada State Museum of Las Vegas, located at the Springs Preserve, covers all eras of the state, from prehistoric to today.
Throw a better dinner party
Cash appears at Baseball Winter Meetings
Lights FC mascot Cash plays the electronic drums at the EZ Inflatables’ booth on Tuesday at the Baseball Winter Meetings trade show at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
5 albums to soundtrack your holiday gatherings in style
1. Various Artists, “Holidays Rule," with Rufus Wainwright, The Shins, Calexico and more. 2. Various Artists, “We Wish You a Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year," with Lemmy Kilmister, Alice Cooper, Chuck Billy and others. 3. Various Artists, “Christmas on Death Row," featuring Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg to name but a few. 4. Bright Eyes, “A Christmas Album.” 5. Various Artists, "The Motown Christmas Album." (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
WinterFest
WinterFest in Henderson.
Miss Rodeo America Fashion Show
The 28 women contestants of Miss Rodeo America compete in a fashion show at the Tropicana on Dec. 7, 2018.
Tournament Of Kings Holiday Show
Wizards and warriors are ready for the holidays at Excalibur's Tournament of Kings Holiday Dinner Show.
Take a dive with the Silverton mermaids
A visit to the Silverton Casino Hotel is not complete without taking in the popular, and very unique, mermaid show.
Cowboys and western aficionados can buy virtually anything at Cowboy Christmas
Vegas Golden Knights Christmas Display
In the Las Vegas Valley, the chances of getting a white Christmas are slim. But this year, you can have a “Knight” Christmas. A Henderson resident has a Christmas lights display that is synchronized to the entrance music for the Golden Knights. GG Misa’s Knights light show is played every 30 minutes from 5 to 10 nightly. His light show consists of two songs: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and the entrance music, “Le Castle Vania,” from the movie “John Wick.” The display is located at 730 Bollons Island St. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Reivew-Journal)
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez is Just in Time For Repeal Day And Christmas
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez Is Just In Time For Repeal Day And Christmas. Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TV's LGBT superheroes
Green Valley Ranch's Winter's Village
The Mob Museum
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Quick Chat With Criss Angel
James D. Gish and Susan Anton rehearse
Susan Anton will be special guest at James D. Gish’s holiday concerts Dec. 7 at Summerlin Library and Dec. 9 at Clark County Library. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Winter Wonderland
"Majestic Holiday Magic" at the Bellagio Conservatory.
Underwater Santa At The Silverton
Santa takes a dive Sunday, December 2, at the Silverton Casino Hotel. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Cowabunga Bay Christmas Town
Las Vegas Natural History Museum
Las Vegas Natural History Museum, which opened in 1991, has exhibits of mechanical dinosaurs and taxidermied animals, along with live snakes, fish and sharks. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Magical Forest Lights
Cirque Du Soleil Performers Team Up For New Show "Kinekt"
Through dance, acrobatics and aerial arts, “Kinekt” tells a story all too familiar to modern families: how to maintain a human connection in the digital age. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ethel M Holiday Cactus Garden
The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas
The Pinball Hall of Fame was created by Tim Arnold and opened in 2006. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jump! The Ultimate Dog Show at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas
Trainer Lou “Mack” McCammon guides several rescue dogs through a series of tricks and jumps two shows a day weekends through December at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Buddy V - Sep 21 Confidante
Famous Infinity Mirror Room is open in Las Vegas
Yayoi Kusama's "Aftermath of Obliteration of Infinity" mirror room is open at the Bellagio in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Glittering Lights dazzles Las Vegas
The Glittering Lights holiday display is shining at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Mat Luschek/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like