Summer heat taking its toll on shows

Aug 7, 2001 1:04 AM

As we swelter through the dog days of August, some of the city’s production shows are wilting on the vine. The most recent ones to dry up and blow away are De La Guarda at the Rio and Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus at the Flamingo.

In the case of the latter, the handwriting was on the wall for months. Losing a star like Janien Masse (who left to join Clint Holmes at Harrah’s) was difficult to overcome, especially in a musical based on a trendy psycho-babble cookbook.

De La Guarda will close on Sunday, and if you crave something different, check it out. The Argentine musical/circus troupe took Las Vegas entertainment in a new direction, but unfortunately not enough people were willing to tag along. The show has been successful in New York and other markets, but it couldn’t find a a gaming environment niche here. Maybe all that Generation X hype doesn’t work well here.

Also at the Rio, Earl Turner, who was hailed as the premier heir apparent to a number of show biz icons, will close his show and go back to a free lounge deal. I hope he continues because Earl is one of the better lounge acts in town.

Over at New York-New York, the word is that Martha Reeves is leaving the Doo Wop show and she’s not too happy about it. She will be replaced by the Drifters, who will join the Platters and the Coasters.

Also at the Neon Apple, Michael Flatley is headed to town to visit Lord of the Dance. He won’t be staying long, however. Although Lord has a contract through December, there’s a rumor that Cirque du Soleil and MGM Mirage is working on a new show. Stay tuned.

As shows wither and die, look for new ones to sprout in their place. There’s a possibility that Ann-Margaret could return to town and star in a production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. What a marvelous vehicle this would be for her.

There’s also a possibility that Michael Crawford will reprise his Tony Award-winning role in The Phantom of the Opera.

At The Venetian, sources tell me that C2K may soon host a production of Saturday Night Fever. Since Robert Goulet closed, Beats of Passion has been pulsating in its place. As previously pointed out in this column, Chicago the musical will return, and it is currently auditioning for extra performers for principal roles.

Congratulations and happy 20th anniversary to Jubilee at Bally’s. This is vintage Vegas entertainment, and the show is timeless.

Also, Steve Wyrick at the Sahara is celebrating his first anniversary. Although “one” may not be the loneliest number, it’s a milestone in today’s entertainment environment. Many said he wouldn’t make it for a year after the millions that were invested in the new showroom. Yet, Steve continues to do brisk business.

Rick Springfield continues to recuperate from his fall that broke his arm. In Rick’s role is Sal Salangsang, who has been with the show from the beginning of its run. You may recall that Sal did the warm-ups. There’s no truth to the rumor that Donny Osmond nudged Rick off his perch. And yet, his name continues to pop up as the new lead when Rick leaves EFX. Whether the rumors are true or not, Donny would be superb in the role.

Also recuperating is the wonderful Mariah Carey, who was recently hospitalized. The stories are running wild about her admittance, from suicide attempts to an emotional and physical breakdown. She just signed a $200 million deal with Virgin records, so her woes weren’t money related! Seriously, she needs to get better. She’s just a kid trying to fit into a distorted VH-1 world.