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.

Entertainment Videos
Arcade ‘speakeasy’ leads to secret door and Banksy art in Las Vegas
Arcade ‘speakeasy’ leads to secret door, Banksy art in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hazel in Las Vegas serves modern takes on traditional cocktails
Hazel serves modern takes on traditional cocktails (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas celebrates St. Patrick's Day
Tonight the city lit the Welcome sign green, McMullan's Irish Pub and the Guinness store also prepare for this weekend's St. Patrick's Day festivities. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Reuben sandwich at Served in Henderson, near Las Vegas
Matthew Meyer, chef/owner of Served, makes a Reuben sandwich with house-brined corned beef, house-made sauerkraut and gooey melted cheese at his restaurant in Henderson, outside Las Vegas. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Las Vegas day club season returns with big-name DJs
Rick Ross, March 23, at Daylight Beach Club at Mandalay Bay The Chainsmokers, March 30, at Encore Beach Club Marshmello, April 6, Kaos Dayclub at the Palms Chuckie, May 11, Marquee Dayclub at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Calvin Harris, May 11, Wet Republic at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Pizza expert Chris Bianco makes meatballs in Las Vegas
Chris Bianco, who was the keynote speaker at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, demonstrates meatball making for expo attendees. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Las Vegas pulmonologist talks about new movie dealing with cystic fibrosis
Dr. Craig Nakamura, Director of Cystic Fibrosis Center of Southern Nevada, talks about the upcoming romantic drama “Five Feet Apart” where both of the lead characters suffer from cystic fibrosis. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
World Pizza Champion crowned in Las Vegas
At the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, Italian pizzaiolo Federico De Silvestri took the top prize and more than $12,000. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Italian wins Pizza Maker of the Year at Pizza Expo
Federico De Silvestri of Verona, Italy, wins the finals in the non-traditional pizza category during the International Pizza Challenge at the International Pizza Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center Thursday, March 7, 2019. De Silvestri went on to beat winners from each of the four other categories — traditional, pan, pizza Napoletana and Roman — to win Pizza Maker of the Year. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Good Pie Coming To Arts District
Local pizzaiolo Vincent Rotolo says Good Pie is coming to the Arts District. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Local comedian says "It's ok to laugh, ...the comedy club is dark."
K-Von, a half-Persian comedian, talks about his style of comedy which keeps audiences entertained.
Pizza Dough Throwing Competition
Contestants participate in the World Pizza Games at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, Wednesday night. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
World Pizza Games showcased in Las Vegas
The World Pizza Games, part of the International Pizza Expo, drew competitors from all over the world to Las Vegas to compete in events such as dough stretching and box folding. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Pizza competitors dazzle at international expo
The International Pizza Expo at Las Vegas Convention Center included the first rounds of the World Pizza Games. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas showcases products and trends
At the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, vegan and gluten-free menu choices and compostable packaging were highlighted, as well as Detroit-style and Roman-style pizza. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Chef Dan Krohmer talks about a new restaurant
Chef Dan Krohmer talks about the construction of his new restaurant at Fremont Street’s Fergusons Downtown complex in downtown Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Neon Museum lights up the Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign
The Neon Museum in Las Vegas flipped the switch on its latest acquisition Monday night, the Hard Rock Cafe guitar sign. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
A Taste of Eataly Las Vegas
Executive Chef Nicole Brisson gives a tour around Eataly Las Vegas, located in the Park MGM. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Order a pretty purple cocktail at North Italia in Las Vegas
Order a pretty purple cocktail at North Italia in Las Vegas (Janna Karel/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Towering triple decker sandwich at Sadelle’s at Bellagio in Las Vegas
Jonah Resnick, executive chef of Sadelle’s, the newest restaurant at Bellagio in Las Vegas, serves a daunting concoction of roast beef layered with house-made cole slaw, turkey and more cole slaw, on rye bread. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Paris Las Vegas Debuts New Eiffel Tower Light Show
The Paris in Las Vegas unveiled its latest Eiffel Tower light show, Wednesday evening. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video: Las Vegas Omelet House Marks 40th anniversary
Omelet House at Charleston Boulevard and Rancho Drive in Las Vegas, which opened in 1979, is a locals’ favorite, known for fluffy six-egg omelets. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Golden Knights' Ryan Reaves readying new beer
Ryan Reaves, a forward with the Golden Knights, has plans for a second beer, a lager, through his 7Five Brewing Co. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Bellagio Adds Lady Gaga To The Fountain Playlist
Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” has been added to the rotation of classic tunes played for the dancing waters at Lake Bellagio. The song debuted at 6 p.m. Monday. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Comedian uses laughter to bring understanding about AIDS
Comedian Brandon Cox Sanford talks about how he uses his comedy sketches to bring light to his AIDS diagnosis. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
20th anniversary of the House of Blues in Las Vegas
Sasha Rincon-Camacho, regional marketing director, talks about the 20th anniversary of the House of Blues in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Meow Wolf opening an 'otherworldly' art experience in Las Vegas
Meow Wolf opening "otherworldly" art experience in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New caneles pastries served at tea at Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas
Tony Gauthier, executive pastry chef at the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas, was trained to make caneles in Bordeaux in his native France, and they’re a new feature on the hotel’s afternoon tea. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Celebrate Margarita Day With The Hot Damn Margarita
Celebrate Margarita Day With The Hot Damn Margarita (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Yard House margarita changes color in the glass
The cocktail, as made by lead bartender Taylor Cole at Town Square in Las Vegas, changes from deep blue to magenta because of a chemical reaction between its butterfly pea flowers and citrus agave. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
ad-high_impact_4
TOP NEWS
Home Front Page Footer Listing