It's 'folly' to see legendary Bergere end

Mar 31, 2009 5:03 PM
The Full Monti by Monti Rock III |

It was the end of a glorious era as the curtain came down for the final time on the Folies Bergere at the Tropicana on Saturday night.

Director Jerry Jackson personally called to let me know there were no tickets available for the finale. The Folies alumni, former showgirls and specialty acts (about 400) had been invited to this special event which fast became SRO (standing room only).

The show had been attracting approximately 40,000 people per month, worldwide. Even though it’s the end of yet another Las Vegas mainstay, I can’t help but look at the other side of the picture. Where do the cast, crew and stagehands go? And, I do need some new "rags."

No Folies is a big loss for our town! As the Tropicana turns this page in its history, everyone is hopeful the future holds smooth sailing for all involved and any internal differences can be resolved.

Bobby Slayton called me from his gig in Boston to say a contract with the Trop hasn’t been signed yet, but he expects to open in the room vacant by the exit of the Comedy Spot. Bobby, along with Vinnie Favorito, at The Flamingo, help keep our great town laughing until it hurts. That’s most important during these hard times.

Hopefully all the readers of GamingToday will make a point of seeing Don Arden’s show "Jubilee" at Bally’s. The fine production has with variety, lots of beautiful women and is a true reminder of entertainment in Vegas. If you saw it many years ago, just give yourself a treat and take another look.

There was a large afternoon celebration at Caesars this week to celebrate the sixth anniversary of the Colosseum. Executives of Caesars and AEG said the Colosseum had been profitable and allowed them to ride out the economic downturn. There was even talk about Celine Dion returning to that venue. There’s also a rumor about Michael Jackson coming here after his 50 European concerts.

"Final" tour, right?

Six years ago when Celine’s show opened the Colosseum, I was the only columnist who went on record stating that she was raising the bar for Las Vegas. After all, filling a theater with more than 4,000 seats every night can’t be all that easy. But that’s exactly what she did.

After seeing her show more than 20 times, I was still amazed by her international celebrity, professional demeanor and that voice. Plus she had an amazing ability to connect to the audience. Not every entertainer is suited to that large venue.

Elton John’s Red Piano will end his successful Colosseum appearance in April and both Bette Midler and Cher have kept the trend going there.

Last week potential investors were treated to a bus tour of downtown Las Vegas. As hard as they try, those powers that be for downtown Vegas just can’t seem to create the interest needed. The last successful effort was Fremont Street Experience.

And, the downtown condos aren’t selling as expected. What happened to the Performing Arts Center? Did I hear someone say Mob Museum?

It’s true some of the tourists still like downtown when it comes to the gambling dollars, but tend to return to the Strip to enjoy the beautiful hotels and entertainment.

The one exception is the Golden Nugget, which still draws visitors. With Gordie Brown returning to his original venue, it’s an added feature. I went to the opening of Gordie’s latest show, which has been well oiled and somewhat re-tooled. We wish Gordie luck and welcome him back to the Nugget after his tour with Celine.

A walk through the Miracle Mile at Planet Hollywood features sale after sale on merchandise. Businesses are moving in and out to stimulate business. The Luxor is offering a great special all-inclusive package including room, spa, show tickets, and all-day, not to mention unlimited visits to that wonderful buffet.

Jerry Mitchell’s "PeepShow" is scheduled to open this week at Planet Hollywood. David Saxe and the V Theater seem to be doing well, as is Trent Carlini at the Steve Wyrick Theater. There’s also a drag show at the former Krave nightclub at Planet Hollywood. You can’t say they aren’t offering up variety.

"Menopause the Musical" at the Hilton will be leaving in a few weeks. It’s really a great show and relevant in today’s world.

The Orleans resort had two great entertainers last week that I had a chance to catch. First was my friend Neil Sedaka, celebrating his 70th birthday. Neil is actually part of the Monti Rock legacy, performing and sounding as he did more than 40 years ago. Amazing!

Before Neil we went over to the Don Rickles show. I’ve seen Don many times, but I continue to be amazed at his stamina and continued sense of timing. The audience was full of stars and included Sonny Turner and Lorraine Hunt. Another packed house for the really incredible "Mr. Warmth."

It was a shock to hear one of my favorite charities, AFAN (Aid for AIDS Nevada) will have to cease treating hundreds of people due to lack of funds. I have been a long time supporter of AFAN and even did a charity party on its behalf a few years ago. Let’s hope there’s a way to fund this important effort.

Veterans Stand Down, an alliance of organizations that assists homeless military veterans, (about 4,000 in Clark County) had its 5th annual Stand Down this week. The group is looking for more sponsorships and donations. For info contact Shalimar Cabrera at 702-429-7294 or email [email protected].

CineVegas will hold its 11th Annual Film Festival beginning June 10 at the Palms Casino Resort. This year will premier nine new movies and as usual draw stars from all parts of the world.

Here’s the week’s television fix. Denise Richards was eliminated on "Dancing With The Stars." She may be a lot of things, but a dancer she’s not.

"American Idol" is getting better and I’m beginning to like the new fourth judge. Ryan Seacrest keeps the whole thing rolling and Paula dear, I love the hair.

Finally, I can start talking about my 70th birthday bash. It will be a true gala lasting three days starting May 29 and hosted by Lance and Eva Posner. Another spring, another white party that will be spectacular with music, food and fun.

OOPS. I GOOFED! I really want to get this right. Don Marandino is Regional President at The Flamingo. Absolutely wanted to get it right.