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ENTERTAINMENT: Will TV provide Siegfried & Roy closure?

  I’ll be looking forward to this Siegfried & Roy-themed “20/20” on Friday so I can find out what I saw.
  The R-J’s Norm Clarke and other local reporters have followed up on the duo’s provocative comeback/farewell performance Saturday at the “Keep Memory Alive” benefit for the under-construction Lou Ruvo Brain Institute. Questions swirl around the cryptic, symbolic piece of masked ritual, which framed an illusion reminiscent of their Mirage show. The Siegfried person went into one cabinet and popped out of another, with a tiger taking his place in the original one.
  Was it really Siegfried and Roy onstage the whole time? Was the tiger really Montecore? The crowd filed out without a clue to the latter one way or another. I doubt that will be the case with TV viewers.
  I was there, far in the back of the room, and left feeling the way I used to when I would cover the Billboard Music Awards: Like I was basically an extra at a TV taping.
  I would be quick to say this performance — virtually blacked out to the rest of the visual media — was part of the final cash-in by their crafty manager, Bernie Yuman, if the follow-the-money trail was more clear. Unlike the 2004 NBC special “Siegfried & Roy: The Miracle,” this one was produced by the news division. It isn’t considered entertainment programming per se and “20/20” maintains it does not pay for interviews. And yet, ABC protected it as though it was proprietary entertainment content, not a news event with equal access for coverage.
  The important thing was, or should have been, Siegfried & Roy adding extra excitement to the benefit for the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute in a year when every dollar is harder to raise than it was last year.
  And they did that, at least to a degree. The entire Bellagio took on a Siegfried & Roy theme, with costumes from the old show decorating the silent-auction room and entrance to the banquet hall.
  But the performance itself? It was bold, if not altogether engaging. When Montecore came out of his cage, humbling heeling at the illusionists’ feet — old age? Or had his raw chicken been laced with kitty Benadryl? —  it felt very ceremonial. It reinforced the circle of life, but it was not necessarily alive.
  I suspect it will come off otherwise on TV, capping a carefully edited hour of interviews and recap of Roy Horn’s survival drama after Montecore bit him in October 2003. But me? I would have been more touched if the two had come out unmasked and just chatted up the audience like the good old days. Forget the magic; they could have gotten away with a quick card trick or something, the way Lance Burton packs along the trusty wine-bottles-and-canisters to various charity benefits.
  The real magic would have been hearing, just one more time, Siegfried asking, “Ees that your wife, or are you here on beez-ness trip?”
  Maybe that’s just me. The very last time I saw The Mirage show, in the summer of 2003, Siegfried denied me. As I quoted in the show review, he told the audience: "There is a line I have used for the past 30 years … and it would be perfect right now but there is someone here waiting for me to say it." 
 

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