You know what you’re going to get when you buy a ticket to see the musical tribute show Legends in Concert. But you might not know who you’re going to get. The longest running production on the Las Vegas Strip—having clocked 36 years at the Imperial Palace, Harrah’s and the Flamingo—has routinely rotated the legends being portrayed, often incorporating more modern and hot-right-now artists into the mix. That’s how you keep a familiar favorite fresh.
When Legends opens at the Tropicana on February 11, the stars will be Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Whitney Houston and—wait for it—Lady Gaga.
“One thing we’ve really done well over the years is to listen to our customers and actually survey our guests every night in every location we have, and the most important question is, who would you like to see on your next visit,” says Brian Brigner, COO of the Legends production, which is headquartered in Las Vegas and produces shows in two dozen locations across the country. “Unlike most of the shows on the Strip, we change the lineup three times a year, and we get a lot of people coming back more than once a year. So that rotation of characters and constantly changing the show is one of the secrets to our success.”
The Tropicana appears to be an ideal stylistic fit for Legends in Concert. They share similar demographics and a classic Vegas vibe, though they’ve both been modernized over the years. The popular show is a score for the Trop, which hasn’t had a well-known, signature entertainment offering since Folies Bergere closed almost 10 years ago.
“The opportunity to move down the street to a very historic location at that famed four corners and use all the nostalgia that goes along with that property was one of the keys for us, as well as being the resident entertainment attraction there and getting those prime-time showtimes,” Brigner says. “The other exciting thing was the enthusiasm from Penn Gaming and the Tropicana team to bring us there. That’s exciting for our team to have somebody court you a little bit, especially when a lot of shows have come and gone in recent years.”
Legends has experimented recently with more impersonation performances of real-life residents on the Strip, including Bruno Mars in the fall at the Flamingo. Brigner said show planners like to have one current pop star on the roster at all times, and there’s “nobody bigger” than Gaga at the moment. The white-hot Park Theater resident will be portrayed by Tierney Allen, who’s been portraying Gaga for almost a decade and performing with Legends for about four years.
“She’s not just in Las Vegas; she is Las Vegas right now,” Allen says. “She’s Elvis, Liberace and Sinatra all in one. I saw her Jazz & Piano show and I was crying the whole time, every note she hit.”
LEGENDS IN CONCERT Opening February 11. Monday-Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.; Thursday & Saturday, 4 & 7:30 p.m.; Friday, 7:30 p.m.; $50-$80. Tropicana, 800-829-9034.