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Lions, monkeys, and other exotic animals on the Las Vegas Strip are hardly a novelty any more. But get those animals to sing and dance, and you’re bound to turn a couple of heads. After 12 successful years on Broadway and tours around the world, “The Lion King” roars into Sin City on Friday, May 15.
Sure, it looks like Terry Fator is the closest thing to an overnight success that anyone can be in Las Vegas—especially a ventriloquist. But Fator has performed in Nevada for years. You can be forgiven for not remembering he once played a steakhouse in the Excalibur—or even the Clark County Fair in Logandale.
More than 25 years ago, in Baie-Saint-Paul, Canada, a colorful band of 20 street performers spent their days roaming the streets on stilts, juggling, dancing, breathing fire, and playing music. In 1984, to celebrate the 450th anniversary of Jaques Cartier’s discovery of Canada, the troupe was selected to perform a show, and Cirque du Soleil has not stopped since.
Believers and the curious will fill the Flamingo Las Vegas showroom on December 6 to hear from psychic medium John Edward, hoping they will be chosen to receive messages from those who have “crossed over to the other side.” For more than 20 years, Edward has used his books, television shows, and live appearances to—as he contends—help connect people with spirits, cope with unresolved issues, and offer assurances that life continues after death.
Las Vegas and Cher have both changed over the years, but neither so much that the two old friends aren’t on the same page. Subtlety was never their strong suit, understatement not an option. “Las Vegas is way over the top, and the show that I do is way over the top. I feel that it just has to be,” the ageless (but really 62-year-old) star noted in February, when she first spoke of her three-year deal to play about 200 shows at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace.
The rollercoaster story of the personal and professional lives of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons makes for great drama. The Four Seasons’ ‘60s-era music in the Tony Award-winning “Jersey Boys” at The Palazzo wraps effectively around their struggles to overcome tragedy, disappointment, brushes with the law, and more than a few bad decisions. Through it all, the doo-wop group sold more than 100 million records.
The first thought that entered my mind after seeing Eldorado’s latest show, “FloorPlay,” was: “How does the cast keep dancing, spinning, twirling, flipping, and sweating for so long?” “The excitement of doing the dances we love is enough to bring the energy out of us,” says dancer Robin Windsor. Bringing some of that energy to the audience, the dancers frequently and spontaneously belt out “Hey!”
Entertainer Terry Fator is one of the newest, and most unusual, showroom headliners in the Silver State. Last fall the Las Vegas Hilton valued the singer-impressionist-ventriloquist’s worth at $1.5 million by signing him to a contract that runs through May 18. That paycheck followed his $1 million win on the NBC reality show, America’s Got Talent.
Bette Midler’s theatrical trunks will be filled with her bawdy humor, outrageous characters, and her “kiss my brass” musicians when she becomes the resident headliner February 20 at Caesars Palace. Midler replaces Celine Dion, whose last performance on December 15 ended her nearly five-year run on the Strip.
When “Mamma Mia!” concludes its nearly six-year Las Vegas run on January 4, 2009, the breezy musical, based on the music of Abba, will have been the longest-lasting Broadway production in the city—longer than Strip heavyweights “Hairspray,” “Chicago,” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” The show will celebrate its fifth anniversary on February 13, 2008.
Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and Yoko Ono-Lennon and Olivia Harrison, widows of John Lennon and George Harrison, gathered this summer to celebrate the first anniversary of “Love.” The big-budget production at the Mirage in Las Vegas is the result of a marriage between the British musical phenomenon and the Canadian Cirque du Soleil.
“Spamalot” at Wynn Las Vegas is a feast for comedy and Monty Python fans—it’s outrageously silly and wonderfully mad. The musical is 90 minutes of pure nonsense from the dancing and singing corpses to the Drive-Up Love Chapel, a take-off on Las Vegas’ drive-through wedding chapel.