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(Show) Business As Usual won’t be in 2002

Jan 1, 2002 12:50 AM

Since September 11, our world has changed. Even in Las Vegas we’re experiencing a restructuring, reassessment, a rebirth. It really is not business as usual, especially show business. Maybe that’s a good thing. We’ll see.

Over the course of the year, I saw many shows come and go. One of the great losses for Las Vegas was Bill Acosta and his Lasting Impressions. Acosta left the Luxor to go to the Flamingo to star in a topless extravaganza. But the show couldn’t find an audience. In the same venue, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, based on a John Grey book, suffered a similar fate.

To me Men Are From Mars was a smaller show, but it had character. The music was clever, the cast was talented”” it was a thinking man’s show. Las Vegas was ready for a good show, but the box office didn’t reap the benefits.

At Paris, another disaster was Hunchback of Notre Dame. Despite a strong performance from a capable cast, the original musical never flew. Who wants to see a show about a hunchback? The show sank like the Titanic.

At the Rio, we had De La Guarda, which was aptly billed as an interactive experience. It was a show that was going to make us all realize that we’re ready for something different, something other than the time-worn formula of half-baked dance numbers, canned music, recycled stars, variety acts and special effects. Yet the show closed quickly. It wasn’t for the lack of a talented cast. They sang, they hopped, they fell from the sky and everyone got wet. Although it sounds like someone’s wedding night, it never caught on.

Also at the Rio we had the wonderful David Cassidy and Sheena Easton starring in At the Copa. Here was a production with great talent and terrific music. I loved it. But they couldn’t find an audience that would endure.

Downtown at the Golden Nugget, David Brenner, the consummate comedian and storyteller, performed his well-prepared schtick. I saw the show four or five times but understand from sources there was trouble in paradise with the property.

At The Venetian, Robert Goulet and Paige O’Hara performed under the proscenium arches. Robert can still sing and he proved it. And Paige is still an angel without wings. Was the price of the ticket too high, or marketing off base? Regardless of the reasons, the show closed.

Storm is still reigning at Mandalay Bay, bad reviews and all, with rumors flying about the show closing, re-casting, or re-vamping. How much longer before the fickle axe falls?

Another show that has so far made it is Crazy Horse’s La Femme at the MGM. To me, this is a fabulous show with beautiful women, novelty acts, special effects and beautiful women. I’m behind this show a thousand percent. It’s what Las Vegas has been and should be.

Siegfried and Roy continue to do well, as does the talented Rita Rudner at New York-New York. Lord of the Dance at New York-New York after all their performances are still an incredible ticket.

Other mainstays include Frank Marino starring in An Evening at La Cage at the Riviera. Plus Blue Man Group keeps packing them in at the Luxor.

It will be interesting to see what the new year brings. We’ve already been treated to the Stirling Club, and the Sky Bar at Green Valley Ranch. Throw in the nightclubs at the Palms and we’re off to a good start. I’m optimistic for 2002. Let’s all have a prosperous and healthy year, filled with joy, hope and peace.