La Cage turns a sad page in Las Vegas

Feb 17, 2009 5:06 PM
The Full Monti by Monti Rock III |

Shocking news! It was several weeks ago when I announced a major Las Vegas show would be closing so it was no real surprise to me when La Cage at the Riviera closed.

Norbert Aleman the producer of La Cage told me that after more than 20 successful years it was decided to close while the show was still on top. Makes one question if this is a sign of the times and will other Las Vegas mainstays follow this path?

Of course all the local columnists jumped on the story, but I decided to get to the bottom of it by talking with the major players of this fiasco. I spoke directly to Frank Marino, star of the show, and feel he may have known the end was in sight. I understand Frank is already searching for a venue for a "Frank Marino Show."

Meanwhile, Aleman is working on another production, reportedly a TV reality show, and hopes to return to the Riviera.

All the performers in La Cage were devastated. Jimmy Emerson, who portrayed Dolly Parton and Roseanne Barr, was furious. He was yelling and screaming about no severance pay or health insurance.

Benefits in show business for the entertainers? Show business has always been a pay check to pay check career, I should know!

My friend Ira David Sternberg called from the Las Vegas Hilton to let me know "Laugh Out Loud With The Scintas" final performance will be March 14. The Scintas will be on tour following the closing of their Las Vegas show and then will concentrate on an upcoming syndicated television show.

The Hilton is one of the first in town to join Earth Hour 2009. This is sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund and scheduled for Saturday, Mar. 28 at 8:30 p.m. when all non-essential lighting will go dark to acknowledge action for climate change. Las Vegas is one of more than 400 cities across 70 countries to play a part in the event. Don’t be surprised if Al Gore doesn’t pop up somewhere, but surly not in lights.

Other Hilton news is that Queen Emily has joined the cast of "Menopause The Musical." Emily was one of the five finalists on last season’s "America’s Got Talent." Long live the Queen!

Danny Gans’ benefit at the Wynn/Encore was fabulous. Danny is a Las Vegas good guy, a great talent and in a magnificent theater. Television host Bonnie Hunt was one of many attending the benefit and Bonnie kept asking everyone who I was. Bonnie darling, I’m a television star you may soon see back on the screen discussing the Las Vegas landscape.

My good friend, Bob Anderson had a great return to the Vegas scene this past weekend with a highly successful gig at The Cannery. It is rumored he is looking for a long term venue in town. Anderson is truly old time Las Vegas, who can perform with symphony orchestras as well as trios. He does it all.

Rumors are rampant about that naughty Chris Brown hiding out at the Hard Rock. Why would anyone under the age of 21 be hiding in Las Vegas? Is he here to ride the roller coasters?

Brown’s attempt to hide out is the result of the battery charge he’s facing after the reported assault of his sweet girl friend Rihanna. I hear that Jay-Z, Beyonce’s husband, came to Rihanna’s rescue. No excuses young Chris, grow up. We don’t need another "bad-boy" Brown.

"X-Burlesque" is celebrating its second anniversary at the Flamingo. This is definitely an adult show filled with comedy and fantasy. It’s billed as provocative yet artful. Hmmmm.... Sounds like the type of show Las Vegas introduced to the world back in the day. Check out Bugsy’s Cabaret at the Flamingo and the 10 p.m. show. Again, for adults only.

For several years Jaki Baskow hosted an invitation-only Academy Awards event, similar to a meet and greet affair. The show continues as usual this year, but Jaki has moved on and is busy with her new business venture.

There’s as much anticipation about Hugh Jackman hosting this year’s Oscars as there is about any of the possible winners. Jackman became well known in the movies, but his real claim to fame has been Broadway. He’s a true song and dance man. With him leading the show, this should be an outstanding and fun television event.

With Elton John announcing his final performance for The Red Piano at the Colisseum at Caesars Palace, maybe he’ll have a chance to catch "The Lion King" when it opens at Mandalay Bay.

The "King" is on the marquee and everyone is counting on the long awaited show to create some much needed excitement in town.

We all need to acknowledge the continuous efforts Mayor Oscar Goodman extends for our community. Okay, it wasn’t the greatest when he requested bailout money from Congress for the Mob Museum. Like all the other mayors and governors he wanted a piece of the action.

Nice try.

Still it’s great to have a mayor looking out for the best interests of this one of a kind, flamboyant, high energy, exciting city that can be called the entertainment capital. When newly elected President Obama chastised business people for coming to Las Vegas, Goodman quickly demanded a legitimate rebuttal. Way to go, Oscar! The convention dollars that come to Las Vegas are important to all of us.

"KA," Cirque du Soleil’s MGM spectacular, celebrates its 2,000th performance this Wednesday. Cast members will meet and greet the audience after the special anniversary finale.
ND’s "Fuego-The Evolution of Nightlife" previewed this weekend at the Rio with special performances by Gilberto Santa Rosa and Victor Manuelle.

This is a Latin-themed club combining state of the art technology with hi-energy talented dancers and singers, many from the great Havana Nights show.

A very happy birthday to one of Las Vegas’ own legends, Phyllis McGuire. The lead singer of the McGuire Sisters celebrated her 78th birthday on Valentine’s Day.

Phyllis is recognized as one of the most charitable celebrities of our time, having donated millions to various organizations.

OOPS: A big apology to Donald Braswell, who debuted Sunday in his own show at the Las Vegas Hilton. It’s Donald’s show – not connected with TV’s "America’s Got Talent," which launched his singing career.