Strip Scribbles: Cirque plans another fan week, changes at ‘Ka’

Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity at New York-New York.
Photo: Tom Donoghue/DonoghuePhotography.com

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December 2010: ‘Zumanity’

Rick Faugno in Jersey Boys and Virgin Alexander

Gordon Ramsay at Serendipity 3

Eva Longoria at Buca di Beppo

NBA Players Play Poker at Cosmopolitan

Rupert Grint and Victor Ortiz at Sugar Factory in the Paris.

Rupert Grint and Victor Ortiz at Sugar Factory in the Paris.

For the second consecutive year, Cirque du Soleil is offering fans all-access, behind-the-scenes backstage looks at its Las Vegas productions. For the first 10 days of December, secrets are revealed and rigorous rehearsals are opened up to Cirque enthusiasts.

The first 100 guests signed up for Cirque Week will spend their final night in Las Vegas with Magician of the Century Criss Angel at his Believe at the Luxor. He’ll host a farewell meet-and-greet before show time and then invite the 100 backstage for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Last year’s debut Cirque Week was such a success that it’s now being reprised with even more attractions. At O in the Bellagio, characters will teach visitors how to mime, dance and clown onstage. Recording engineers will treat visitors to secrets of The Beatles’ Love and its theater sound system of 6,300 speakers at the Mirage. At Zumanity, guests will sit through a rehearsal at New York-New York, while back at the Mirage, they’ll join artists who take flight 10 times a week on the bungee act.

Cirque President Daniel Lamarre and his key executives plan for the first time a business seminar where fans get an in-depth insider’s look at the financial strengths of what has made the company an international business success.

Over at MGM Grand, visitors will see a major change to the gravity-defying battle finale of Ka. New characters are being prepared for the good vs. evil fight, and Cirque Week guests will meet the cast and technical team to learn the secrets of the huge transformation after six years of 3,000 performances.

*Rick Faugno, the original Las Vegas Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys, is moving on from his five-year role at the Palazzo but has decided to remain here. Rick moved to Las Vegas from New York to join the original cast of Jersey Boys in 2006. Now he and new wife dancer Joyce Chittick have decided to make it home.

“We knew we wanted to stay in town even once I leave Jersey Boys,” Rick said. “I knew I wanted to spread my wings and collaborate with some of the most amazing performers I’ve met and create a one-man show here. I wanted Las Vegas to be the place.” Rick, who began in showbiz at age 12, stars in his own one-man show Body & Soul at the Las Vegas Hilton on Monday nights.

Counter Intelligence

Hot off the grill! Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria took a night away from her restaurant Beso in Crystals at MGM’s CityCenter for dinner at Buca di Beppo off the Strip, but still wound up in the kitchen adding her magic touch to the restaurant’s specialties. Photographer Jacob Andrzejczak was on hand to capture the star behind the grill.

Controversial and fiery Chef Gordon Ramsay has revealed why nobody KO’s him in the kitchen after he loses his temper and screams everything -- including obscenities -- at the chefs competing for the big prize on Hell’s Kitchen and Master Chef: He has a black belt in karate and also is a certified boxer. He said only one female chef has taken a swing at him.

In the October issue of Playboy, he said that he doesn’t realize how angry he gets in the kitchen because he never watches the TV shows. “I’d rather go out for dinner or watch Deadliest Catch than see myself on TV,” he said. Gordon said his supposed feud with our Venetian and Palazzo Chef Mario Batali was fueled by foodies because they want an Iron Chef showdown between the two kitchen kings -- and Gordon said he’d win.

Chef Jose Andres from the Cosmopolitan and confectionery king Francois Payard from Caesars Palace have been picked as two of the 12 super chefs for Eric Ripert’s fourth annual Cayman Cookout in the Caribbean.

Star Surveillance

Six NBA players joined forces for a celebrity tournament: Greg Odom (Portland Trailblazers), Richard Jefferson (San Antonio Spurs), Chase Budinger (Houston Rockets), Hasheem Thabeet (Houston Rockets), Jason Terry (Dallas Mavericks) and free agent Damon Jones battled it out at the Cosmopolitan’s tables, and photographer Tom Donoghue was on hand for the action. … Harry Potter star Rupert Grint playfully practiced his right hook on boxer Victor Ortiz at Sugar Factory in the Paris.

Tonight’s Tips

It’s all about Sir Elton John and his Million-Dollar Piano when he premieres his run of shows at Caesars Palace juggling dates between Celine Dion and Rod Stewart. The piano took longer to make than his two-year contract -- four years, in fact.

Tomorrow’s Teases

We’ll have coverage from Elton’s premiere and play catch-up with Louie Anderson as he celebrates the first anniversary of his comedy club at Palace Station. Plus, Extra host Mario Lopez gets ready to celebrate his birthday on The Strip.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

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