My sixth sense, though there are some who will tell you that I have no sense, is in high gear. As predicted on these pages, your entertainment guru’s information that Steve Wyrick and Wayne Newton would depart their respective properties has become reality.
Newton’s reign at the Stardust ends April 20 after five-plus years. His contract, signed in October 1999, was touted as the richest deal in local history, up to 40 weeks a year for 10 years with his take a potential $25 million a year. However, an out clause after five years that was never mentioned took effect with a release from the singer stating "the time had come to move on to new challenges."
Rumors began in October when Newton’s induction into the Las Vegas Walk of Stars was held at the Frontier and really heated up when his E! Television show, The Entertainer, was taped at the Hilton.
Does this mean retirement for the just turned 63 year-old Newton? I doubt it as his touring dates still do great business, though his local counts were not that great. I doubt the word retire is in his vocabulary. I’m predicting that Newton will do limited dates at the Hilton (with The Entertainer winner as part of his show) and then move to the Frontier when Phil Ruffin’s new hotel opens.
Management informing Wyrick that they are severing relations with him as of April 30 didn’t surprise the veteran magician as he has been anticipating it for months. "I knew that the hotel’s new regime would eventually make changes," says Wyrick, who insists an announcement of a new venue that’s "bigger and better for me" is forthcoming. "I got to stay much longer than anticipated and I made some great money for them," he notes.
In another move, the Aussie Angels’ partially topless revue at the Hilton’s Shimmer Cabaret has been given its walking papers and also will be gone by the end of the month.
The show got horrendous reviews and was never able to find an audience. The producers are shopping it around to other venues and I do hope it finds a new home as the girls from Down Under are sweethearts. In good news, comedian David Brenner’s Shimmer Cabaret engagement has been extended, reportedly for another year.
With its just announced Latino theme, it also comes as no surprise to me that the Plaza has dumped the long-discussed Dick Clark/John Stuart oldies revue from its refurbished showroom plans. The room is ready, so look for an announcement of a headliner/show any day now.
Downtown is also a buzz about the new male revue, "Candyman — From Russia With Love," at Fitzgeralds. I got a sneak peak and ladies it is hot, hot and hotter. Fitzgeralds is also the new afternoon home for hypnotist Justin Tranz, who suddenly departed the Sahara last week. Finally, still no word if Downtown Gordie Brown is remaining at the Golden Nugget, but news should be forthcoming next week.
With no obvious appreciation or respect of exotic cats, and despite Rick Thomas’ long run at the hotel, a Tropicana news release invites patrons of Dirk Arthur’s magic act to "experience monstrous" cats. I’m sure it wasn’t language selected by PR manager Lisa Keim as I know she shares wonderful feelings and thoughts about these types of animals as I do (leopards are my favorite), so I’m figuring it had to have come from some brainless "upstairs" wonder. With Roy Horn’s white tiger confrontation still in the forefront around the city, it’s bound to scare off some people with children”¦ and that’s pathetic because Arthur’s cats are sensational.
Elvis-A-Rama Museum owner Chris Davidson has acquired 50 percent rights to a song written by Elvis, which was never released by Elvis. In conjunction with the find, Davidson is planning a worldwide contest to find the best Elvis impersonator to record the song. Doesn’t he know they’re already in town? "If I’d Only Bought Her Roses," registered in 1973 with BMI, appears to have been inspired by his then pending divorce. Final selection will take place locally, where the winner will have an engagement at the Elvis-A-Rama Experience, which boasts an intimate, dreary and tacky showroom. Impersonators will be judged in three categories: vocal talent, appearance and stage presence.
Movie Benefit: The independent film "The Third Wish" will premiere at the Brenden Theatres in the Palms Friday as part of a fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation. Robin Leach will host the evening with Amanda Bynes granting a special wish at 7 p.m. on the red carpet. VIP tickets are $50 and include the red carpet event, movie refreshments, screening and a celebrity after-party. Admission is $25, but doesn’t include the VIP party. A portion of the ticket sales goes to Make-A-Wish Foundation.