Shuffling shows on the Strip

Jun 28, 2005 1:41 AM

With the Fourth of July approaching, I’m willing to bet there can’t be more happenings and fireworks than the past week. It was continual openings, revamped shows, rumors, more rumors, talk of hotels that might be imploded, shows that are doing well and shows that are just barely surviving.

At the Riviera, the revamped Splash debuted with original producer Jeff Kutash back trying to resurrect the show’s once glory. The rework of this show, its young cast, in particular — 17- and 18-year old Australian brothers and two other brothers — steal this show. With the motorcycles, the sets, the films, it’s a Las Vegas-style variety show, but it is not Cirque. Enough said.

At the Stardust, I went to the afternoon show of Rick Thomas. You have got to take your hat off to him because the production value of this show for $19.95 is worth 20 times that much. Not only with the tigers, the girls, the dancers, the sets, this is the value for the dollar. J.C. Graves, you are a genius at marketing, darling!

Also at the Stardust, George Carlin, packs that house every night! My readers, go see this show. It is brilliant.

The same cannot be said of "Havana Night Club." I hate to be a bad boy, but the tickets are just too high. Great show, great production, great dancers, but overpriced. Just a thought!

As I said in this column last week, the Sahara’s "Tropical Passions" is no longer a passion. In fact, the cast walked out last Thursday because they weren’t paid and the show has closed. It wasn’t doing any business! Although we have a big Latin community, what don’t they support the Latin shows?

I am sometimes shocked and appalled about what I see in the Las Vegas press corps. Do we have a local press that cares? Case in point, Wynn Resorts. I keep hearing over and over again that Brandon Cox, the new head of PR for the Wynn property, who does not return my e-mails or phone calls, feels that there is no value for Monti Rock III to be part of the press corps that Steve Wynn needs on his property. Despite the fact of me doing a documentary and having a successful Monti Rock Rent-A-Star-Tours, taking high rollers to dinners and shows.

When they see Monti Rock coming, they know it is royalty. Most of my European and movie star friends do want to stay at Wynn Las Vegas. As I have friends who are from New York and have "Avenue Q" coming to Wynn Las Vegas, maybe Cox does not know I have friends in high places that adore me. Just a point I am trying to make.

"Mama Mia" celebrates its 1,000th performance this week. The show is still doing big box-office business. We have to congratulate the cast, the show, the music.

"Le Reve" at Wynn Las Vegas is down to six or seven performances a week from 24, while Celine Dion and Elton John are doing blockbuster business.

What is the fate of the Golden Nugget? What direction are they taking? We all know that Matt Dusk is not polished enough. Gordie Brown is a bonafide hit. There is no timetable, but he is coming back to the Golden Nugget.

What is the fate of "Ovation" at the Lady Luck and Fitzgerald’s Russian show? What is the fate of downtown? We have the Fremont Experience. The just got rid of all the vendors and now we have Neonopolus doing a film festival. Do we need another one?

The lounge area, from which I came, had Keely Smith, Louis Prima and the Checkmates. But it was more than that, there were unsung heros in that era, the Treniers and Monti Rock III. We were lounge lizards. So we have to remember that we are a town that keeps going through changes, changes, changes. I love change.

This week I have been talking to Mimi Hines. She is devastated with the loss of Phil Ford, her ex-husband and partner. Hines, one of the greatest singers, entertainers, stars of our time. We love you, Mimi.