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Popular magician ponders next act

Magician Lance Burton‘s 13-year contract at the Monte Carlo is up in a week, setting off speculation.

Is he re-signing? Looking elsewhere? Even the “R” word — retirement — has been circulating.

Asked through an intermediary to address the latter question, Burton wasn’t ready to show his cards.

“He said he doesn’t want to comment on it,” said his publicist, Wayne Bernath.

Burton, who turns 50 in March, has been a Las Vegas fixture for 27 years, the first nine at Folies Bergere and five at the Hacienda.

The popular entertainer has had lots of time to think about his next move. He’s been off his feet for five weeks after breaking a bone in his right foot while fetching “Elvis” the parakeet after it flew into the crowd at Burton’s May 7 show. The injury, which occurred as Burton climbed the stage stairs, required surgery.

He was due back June 23, but the Monte Carlo box office on Saturday indicated tickets aren’t available until July.

With the giant CityCenter project opening at year’s end, creating more foot traffic for its neighbor, the Monte Carlo, there have been rumors that the Monte Carlo is exploring a number of options to capture more business in the hotel and, more specifically, the 1,274-seat theater.

THE SCENE AND HEARD

The ambitious comeback planned for Michael Jackson is on shaky legs. So many doubts have surfaced, I hear, about Jackson’s health that you can expect to hear any day now that the 50-date London-based concert schedule will be scaled back to about 15. …

Planet Hollywood Resort is blocking out “wood” on the hotel sign Monday to create the ultimate marquee to promote Holly Madison‘s June 22 debut in “Peepshow.” It will be shot from the pool area, with Madison in the foreground. She moves into the role being vacated by Kelly Monaco. Word backstage is that Spice Girl Mel Brown and Monaco, the co-leads who are leaving, got a cool $1 million each to bring their star power to the show for the first three months. Safe to say that kind of money won’t be forthcoming any time soon in the current economic climate. …

There are rumblings Danny Gans’ family plans to move back to Southern California.

SIGHTINGS

Leah Remini, who played Carrie Heffernan on the TV sitcom “The King of Queens,” in a friend’s wedding at the Little Church of the West on Saturday. … At the opening of the First Food & Bar at The Palazzo on Friday: Kristen Hertzenberg of “Phantom: the Las Vegas Spectacular.” Hertzenberg, who has the role of Christine, and Anthony Crivello, the Phantom, recently signed one-year extensions. Also there: “Jersey Boys” stars Erich Bergen, Travis Cloer and Deven May; Dani Wylie, one of Bette Midler‘s Caesars Salad Chorus Girls, investor Corey Maggette of the Golden State Warriors, actor Mekhi Phifer, former “American Idol” contestant Ryan Starr, U.S. Sen. John Ensign and Dr. Gary Motykie of “Dr. 90210.” … Bill Rancic, winner of the first season of “The Apprentice,” and wife Giuliana, host of E! News, at The Palazzo on Saturday filming an upcoming episode of their show “Bill and Giuliana,” to premiere in August on the Style Network. … Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho, signing jerseys and soccer balls for cast members of “Love” (Mirage) after taking in the show on Friday. He was a big hit with the five Brazilian cast members. … At Lavo (Palazzo) on Friday: Scott Caan, who wrote and stars in “Mercy,” joined by the film’s director, Patrick Hoelck, co-stars Erika Christensen and Troy Garity and Scott’s father, actor James Caan. They were in town for the film’s premiere at CineVegas. On Lavo’s terrace: actors Sam Rockwell, Jeremy Renner and Ivan Martin. … At Tao (Venetian), comedienne Roseanne Barr, dining at the Asian bistro with her family. Also at Tao: actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt. In town for CineVegas, he co-stars in the upcoming summer blockbuster “G.I. Joe.” … At N9NE Steakhouse (Palms) on Friday: soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine and members of the Deftones.

THE PUNCH LINE

“Venezuela has banned the sale of Coke Zero because of unspecified health risks. And still not banned in Venezuela: actual coke.” — Jimmy Fallon

Norm Clarke can be reached at 383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com.

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