Terry Fator has made quite six year impression

Apr 28, 2015 3:00 AM

Singing impressionist/ventriloquist Terry Fator recently celebrated his sixth year headlining at the Mirage following a million dollar win on season 2 of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”

Before our interview on LVBST, I went to see his new updated show in which he introduced a new character, Rusty the Robot. I had not seen Fator’s show since he first performed in Las Vegas at the Hilton, and was pleased to see many positive changes had been made since then. But his updated material was punchier and more geared toward adults, and I let Terry know this.

His response was, “Actually no, if anything my show is tamer now than when I first became a Vegas Headliner. I like to keep the show very family friendly and my criteria is this: If I do a joke that’s more on the adult side there must always be another clean explanation for the kids…that’s very important to me.

“I am not, nor have I ever been a kids’ show but I want to make sure kids can come to the show and there’s never any swearing.”

Having been taken to court by two previous managers, I wanted to know what advice he could share with other entertainers to avoid that kind of pit-fall.

“Always do your due diligence,” he said, “and check their credentials! Make sure they have done what they claim to have done, and have the track record as well. Bill Cosby, before his scandal broke out, gave me the best advice when he said ‘always sign your own checks. No one else does that but you.’

“After all this happened to me, when my brother Jeb was managing me, I wouldn’t even let him sign (nothing against him). Money changes people. I’ve seen it. They say you’ve changed but money changes the way people treat you.”

The Lettermen

Last month, after our interview, Tony Butala, founding member of The Lettermen, invited me to their show and after-party at the South Point. I hadn’t seen The Lettermen in over 20 years, when I opened for them at the Mount Airy Lodge in the Pocono Mountains. They sold the house out then…and apparently keep selling it out now as well!

Not only do they still sound great and sing an endless amount of hits but, more importantly, they know how to entertain and work a crowd. Catch them if you get the chance. It was fun sharing old show-biz stories and watching Tony Butala “hold court” at the after-party.

Good-bye, Riv

May 4, is the last day before the doors at the Riviera will close for good and be another Vegas memory. I keep dreaming the governor will call “a stay of execution,” sparing the doomed iconic property on the Vegas Strip but so far…no such luck.

The Riviera opened in April 1955, has been in and out bankruptcy three times over 50 years, and has been chosen for many on-location shoots for the big screen including “Casino,” directed by Martin Scorsese.

Almost every headline entertainer I know has a great show-biz story to tell about their first engagement at the Riviera, and yours truly is no exception! My first Las Vegas offer wasn’t to fly me in from New York to headline the Riviera Comedy Club, it was to host Crazy Girls, a topless revue – for which they paid me extra to keep my top on!

Mariah at Colosseum

Mariah Carey, the iconic diva and best-selling female artist of all time with over 200 million records sold, starts her residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace on May 6. For the first time ever, she will perform all 18 of her timeless and beloved Number One Hits together in one concert.

Designed exclusively for the Colosseum, the production will also feature fan-favorite album cuts, never-before-performed selections and many more musical surprises.

“I have so many ideas for the show that I’m currently working on and am excited to perform all of my No. 1 singles together for the first time and others that are very close to my heart,” said Mariah.

House of Blues

Legendary musician Carlos Santana brings his “An Intimate Evening with Santana: Greatest Hits Live – Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow” show to the specially reconfigured House of Blues stage. Forty years and many albums later, Santana has sold more than 90 million records and reached more than 100 million fans at concerts worldwide.

To date, Santana has won 10 Grammy Awards, including a record-tying nine for a single project for 1999’s “Supernatural,” including Album of the Year and Record of the Year for “Smooth.” Santana returns May 22-24; 27; 29-31; then won’t be back until September.

May Picks

Jo Koy, Treasure Island, May 1; Joe Bonnamassa, Palms, May 1-2; Cedric the Entertainer, Mike Epps, DL Hughley, George Lopez, Caesars Palace, May 2; Iliza Shlesinger, Sarah Colonna, Venetian, May 2; Moody Blues, Palms, May 3; R. Kelly & Lil’ Kim, Mandalay Bay, May 3;

Mariah Carey, Caesars Palace, May 6-24; Weird Al Yankovic, Planet Hollywood, May 12-16; Boz Scaggs, Smith Center, May 13; Christopher Cross, Golden Nugget, May 15; Courtney Love, Hard Rock, May 15; Jay Leno, Mirage, May 15; Jeff Ross, Dave Attell, Mandalay Bay, May 15;

Bryan Adams, Mandalay Bay, May 16; Neil Diamond, Mandalay Bay, May 17; Santana, Mandalay Bay, May 20-31; Bette Midler, MGM Grand, May 22; Blood Sweat & Tears, Golden Nugget, May 22; Martin Short, Mirage, May 22; Whitney Cummings, Venetian, May 22-23;

Craig Ferguson, Cosmopolitan, May 23; Gabriel Iglesias, Mirage, May 22-23; Kevin Hart, Mandalay Bay, May 23-24; Eagles, MGM Grand, May 24; Olivia Newton-John, Flamingo, May 26-June 13;

Gipsy Kings, Hard Rock, May 28; Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters with JD McPherson, Linq, May 28; Deana Martin and Big-Band Swing, South Point, May 29-31; James Torme, Smith Center, May 29-30; Night Ranger, Golden Nugget, May 29; Ray Romano, David Spade, Mirage, May 29-30.

Visit Michele's webiste at LasVegasBackStageTalk.comContact Michele at [email protected].