Look for more, in ‘04’

Dec 30, 2003 1:25 AM

Happy New Year! What a year 2004 is going to be for Las Vegas. I’m not sure what the Chinese New Year animal will be, but I do know that in Las Vegas it will be the Year of the Cirque.

Cirque’s newest evolution ”” probably the most extravagant, and costly, production in show business history ”” makes a summer debut at the MGM Grand. Rumors are speculating about the show cost, tickets prices and even the amount of seats in the theater. My crystal ball tells me $200 million, $200-plus and 1,200 to 1,500, respectively. I’ve also learned that there will be three stages (high!), which will cut down the seating and increase ticket costs. One thing is for sure: it’ll be the toughest ticket buy in town and will post a "real" sold-out sign every night.

Throughout 2004 all those associated with the 2005 Las Vegas centennial celebration will be bringing their plans to reality. Then there will be the entrepreneurs not linked to the official plans, but figuring out a way to make a quick buck.

There will be plenty of events utilizing different aspects of the city and I can’t wait to be invited to them all. If you know someone at Clear Channel, you have a leg up, as I hear its among the biggest players and planners.

New room construction in 2004 will be at full blast, now all we have to do is figure out how to get more people here.

Sometime ”” hopefully before the stockholders start a rebellion ”” The Mirage will announce plans for what was the Siegfried & Roy Theatre. I’ve been in the wonderful hotel a few times the past couple of weeks and all I can say is that it’s worse than Deserted Passage.

Roy Horn is home for the holidays, and, hopefully, he won’t have to go back to UCLA. I can, however, tell you one thing that I’m sure is upsetting my dear friend, and that’s being called an animal trainer in the media. He’s told me so many times that he doesn’t "train" his animals; he "conditions" them. My spies told me that Siegfried took one of Roy’s UCLA medics on a tour of the Secret Garden.

Believe me when I say that Danny Gans has not been approached to do a TV show. And, if he does, it’ll mean that his days at the Mirage will be over as his voice can’t take that much usage.

As reported , George Wallace will replace Amazing Jonathan at the Flamingo.

It was a Las Vegas reunion recently at the Colors of Christmas concert at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts in California. Bill Medley was a last-minute replacement for Irene Cara and joined Sheena Easton on the bill. Medley also recently did Vegas Live! with co-host Clint Holmes. I hear that he agreed to do it only because the other co-host ”” Easton ”” was on the Christmas concert tour. Isn’t showbiz a small world!

I can’t thank enough Paige O’Hara, Karen Hamilton and the English Garden (David and Diane Filter) for the wonderful Christmas bash at Whimsy Blue Gallery. Paige leaves for a Japan tour soon and then will star in the Starbright Theater production of "Edwin Drood."

While on my trek to all the other holiday parties, I learned that Cindy and Frank Doumani are building a new hotel on the site of their old La Concha motel property

Isn’t it true that the relationship between producers David Saxe and Jon Stewart is headed for divorce court?

I still have to see some movies to consider for my year’s best list ”” parties do take preference ”” but I saw one that everyone living here should catch. It’s called "The Cooler" and stars William H. Macy, Maria Bello and Alec Baldwin. Macy is the unluckiest man in Las Vegas, so unlucky it is contagious. One of the last mob-run casinos in town hires him as the "cooler" to defuse their lucky streaks. It works perfect until he finds his "lucky lady." The film is captivating with great cinematography and phenomenal acting. It may be fiction but it sure seems like an inside view of Las Vegas’ becoming the Epcot of the West.

Harrah’s will add a new twist to local entertainment when its "World’s Tallest Observation Wheel" ”” a 600-foot structure ”” opens at the Rio in July 2005. I just can’t wait to be in one of the "Orbitor" cabins when the winds starting whipping across the Valley. An airplane barf bag might be a necessary addition.