[The Kats Report]

Showman Matt Goss bolsters his Strip presence with an expanded Caesars residency

Like a Goss: Matt Goss now plays four nights a week at Caesars.
Mario Barberio

Matt Goss is relaxing in a leather recliner at Color Salon at Caesars Palace, sitting for one of his favorite rituals–the weekly mani-pedi at Michael Boychuck’s place at the hotel’s Augustus Tower. Goss’ feet are immersed in a tub of bubbling hot water, but the setting here is very cool.

“We are six years into this,” says the headliner of the hotel’s Gossy Room, formerly known as Cleopatra’s Barge, just a short swagger from Caesars’ Nobu Hotel tower. “I knew I had to come here for more than just the weekend. I want to grow, and I want the show to grow, and I want to be here for the long term.”

So the man who wrote the song “Lovely Las Vegas” from his position as a Strip performer, but also a resident of LA, is house-hunting right here in VegasVille. The catalyst for this decision is an expanded schedule at the 165-seat Gossy Room, doubling his weekly shows from two to four and solidifying his Vegas affiliation. The new shows are Tuesdays and Sundays at 9:30 p.m., beginning June 23.

An expert boxer, Goss has been circling the ring for most of his stay in Vegas, preparing to deliver a knockout combination of venue and production. Six years ago he debuted at the Lounge at the Palms with a show centered on the theme of air travel (Goss Airlines, with Gossy flight attendants and so forth). He was soon scooped up by Caesars Entertainment, forging a solid friendship with Caesars Palace President Gary Selesner. Goss’ show opened at Caesars in March 2010.

During his five years at Caesars, many entertainment observers and officials in Las Vegas have wondered of Goss’ endgame on the Strip. He performed consistently polished and swift-selling shows at the Gossy Room, reliably filling the joint on Fridays and Saturdays while playing one-offs at Royal Albert Hall in his native London and appearing on Good Morning America to promote his latest album, Life You Imagine. But even while evoking the cocksure, composed and confident persona of Sinatra, Goss has never been fully immersed in the Vegas scene.

As he mulled his future, Goss started to accept the inevitable. “This has been in the works for a long time, and that day has arrived for me,” he says. “I’m looking at houses. I’ll keep my place in LA, but it’s a big move, a big thing to consider, but a lot of my dear friends are here, and what I’ve found about Las Vegas is people don’t have an agenda. They are not all trying to be a movie star; they work hard. And this is the place where I can reach beyond where I am right now.”

Specifically, Goss has shown he’s serious about career advancement by hiring Bernie Yuman as his manager. Known primarily for his long affiliation with Siegfried & Roy and, later, Muhammad Ali, Yuman is a genuine force of nature and one of the most powerful personalities on the Strip entertainment scene. An example of the Yuman Way: When Goss expressed a desire to expand his dates at Caesars, Yuman told him, “If you want to be the Pope, you’ve got to go to Rome.” Goss laughs and says, “That’s a very Bernie Yuman comment there, right?”

Goss and Yuman grew to know each other through Larry Ruvo, a longtime friend of Yuman and Siegfried & Roy. About seven months ago, Goss asked Yuman if he would ever consider a management partnership. “Within five seconds, we agreed that’s what we wanted to do.”

Prepping for his appearance at the Kennedy Center on September 24 in a gala fundraising show for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Goss is similarly eager to use the Gossy Room as a springboard to a more prominent venue in Las Vegas. But he’s forever particular, as his impeccable grooming reminds. “I won’t be leaving the Strip, I can tell you that. I have respect for what we’re doing right now, and I don’t run before I can walk, but I have paid my dues for six years and I think it’s time to make that move.”

Sinatra, naturally, is one of Goss’ heroes and inspirations. There is a line from Sinatra at the Sands, the 1966 recording with the Chairman of the Board throwing it down with the Count Basie Orchestra, that Goss recites regularly. “He says, ‘Hey, none of my people here, eh?’” Goss says as the manicurist runs an emery board across the tips of his fingers. “That’s the line I can relate to, when there’s nobody in the audience he knows. When that happens, it’s a little more work.”

And he’ll do the work. Don’t let the shine of those nails fool you: If it means reaching the top of the heap, Matt Goss is ready to get his hands dirty.

Matt Goss Expanded schedule (starts June 23): Tuesday, Friday-Sunday, 9:30 p.m., $60-$125. Caesars Palace, 866-733-5827.

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