Pre-Miss USA pageant, The Kats Report Bureau at the moment is in the pageant’s media room and “nerve center” at Planet Hollywood. The red carpet is awash in pretty, rhinestone-encrusted women, which is why I need to get back out there at once.
Remarkably, this is the first Miss USA show I’ve ever attended. I’ve been at all of the Miss America shows in Vegas, but she’s fled back to Atlantic City, leaving the city to Miss USA.
Before the parade of sashes, tiaras and … teeth, there is a goodly amount of news happening around the hotel unrelated to Miss USA. Let’s rake it up:
• Despite the sign still in place at Peepshow theater, Marshall Sylver’s hypnosis spectacle and self-help promotional show has closed after one month and 13 performances, a schedule Sylver says was cut short in part because of the recent death of his mother. Sylver also said the decision was his to yank the production from the hotel’s mezzanine showroom after just four weeks, as the lease arrangement he signed with BASE Entertainment was for recurring four-week commitments at the hotel.
In that contract, the hypnotist and motivational speaker was allowed to opt out after any four-week run, and June 15 turned out to be the first point he could exercise that option.
Clarifying the show’s canceled dates in an email, Sylver said he was not fond of the room, particularly the relatively high stage and the catwalks built high above the venue (the room has been designed in such a way since it opened five years ago). Evidently, those metal walkways limit the sort of advanced staging Sylver promised when he originally announced late last year that he was bringing the show to PH Live.
That production in the 7,000-capacity theater was to introduce production elements heretofore unseen in any hypnosis show, and Marshall’s intricate ticket-selling operation was to ensure regularly filling about 5,000 seats. A component of that plan was for Sylver to promote his series of get-rich motivational seminars, DVDs and related merchandise. That model defied logic from anyone with a calculator and access to listings of competing Vegas productions, and Sylver wound up moving to the showroom as reports of Britney Spears’ residency at PH Live intensified.
Sylver said his audience counts over those 13 shows were consistently between 600 and 1,000, and the turnout for one recent show was so strong it took 85 minutes to seat the entire audience. But Sylver’s operation was reportedly issuing comps like the “passers” on the Strip dealing escort-service cards.
Sylver says he was made two “very generous” offers by BASE to remain at Planet Hollywood (both sides say the departure was amicable). He also says he is working on a deal for a new room, and that should be announced “within days.” Meantime, the city will need to forge on with the shows already in production.
• The Sin City Theatre across the PH mezzanine from Peepshow theater is scheduled to bump up its Sin City Comedy schedule June 24, adding a nightly 7 p.m. performance ahead of its 9 p.m. shows. Club founder John Padon is trying to increase activity in that space with additional comedy and other production shows. Meantime, he is on one of the Sin City Comedy Celebrity Cruise tours, as he entered a deal with Celebrity to stage Vegas-style comedy shows on various trips around the world. Padon is committed to the Sin City Comedy brand, saying he has invested $1 million in his operation, and is taking the comedy/burlesque show on the road. Or, more fittingly, the water.
• As we await formal word on the return of CeeLo Green to Vegas, there is a sense that we have seen the last of the “Loberace” production rolled out at Peepshow theater this year. CeeLo is doubtless a great concert performer, but his production was not at all well received on the Strip. A more straightforward, concert-styled show in the spirit of Gnarls Barkley would be a welcome effort. More singing and musicianship by CeeLo and less dancing by Boy George impressionists and animatronic rodents would be an inspired move.
• Officials at Plaza were excited to see the hotel’s showroom filled Thursday night for Billy Gardell’s “Road Dogs of Comedy” Showtime special. Gardell, a cast member in the CBS sitcom “Mike & Molly,” brought up three stand-up vets with more than 15 years of experience apiece: Don Learned, Bob Zany and Earthquake.
Air dates for the special have not been announced, but the show was very funny and the room never looked better. A full house will do that. The Next Big Thing is Louie Anderson’s residency in the showroom, set to begin July 10.
• The beautifully redesigned Tropicana Theater will not serve as the home for the stage version of “Dancing With the Stars.” At one point the production was expected to set up for an extended residency beginning in August, but is instead moving its equipment out of the hotel. The chief reason for the room’s lavish redesign was to satisfy the production requirements of that show. No word, yet, as to the why of it all, or what is planned at the Trop in the absence of “DWTS,” which did brisk business last year in the old Folies showroom.
The “DWTS” live show is still being performed on Holland America cruise lines, with performances by former dance pros and contestants scheduled through the summer and again in January. And, at least one popular longtime Vegas entertainer has expressed interest in moving a show into the new Tropicana Theater, a showcase that would be a great fit for that room if it ever could come off.