It's The Norm
January 3-9, 2002 ARCHIVES
"It's The Norm" - Recent Entertainment Events in Las Vegas

A Look At 2002 Shows

by Norm Johnson
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Another year and another dollar earned. That's an old saying my Mother used to say. Anyhow, a lot did happen last year in our little village. A number of great entertainers opened and closed without any fanfare. Some like our friend Bill Acosta just never got the right break with the hotel until it was to late. Robert Goulet, who has (in my opinion) one of the great voices of any singer today, gave it a whirl at the Venetian Hotel, but here again the four-wall killed him. I am not a fan of four-walls, nor even a two-wall.

But enough about that. Let's talk about some entertainers and shows that have lasted another year in Las Vegas. Dirk Arthur, the fantastic magician who headlined in "Jubilee" at Bally's Las Vegas, has given his notice that he wants to move on. So now Jubilee is out looking for three acts to replace him. And, the "Folies" at the Tropicana continues to add up the years along with necessary changes to the show, including new singers and novelty acts. These are two of the longest running shows in Las Vegas.

We took in "The Tournament of Kings" at the Excalibur again this year. For the price, including a very nice chicken dinner, it's got to be the best show in town. What is neat is you can take the kids and not worry about them hearing a nasty word or seeing something they shouldn't. This is in the true sense a family show.

Of course the MGM has its EFX and the Bellagio has "O" which are two very well produced shows. Then you have the ultimate magic show at the Mirage, Siegfried & Roy. These two men and their famous white tigers and lions have brought magic to the highest level possible. Their showroom never has an empty seat. Another attraction at the Mirage, one that does not get all the publicity that the two above mentioned performers receive, is the Dolphin habitat and the Secret Garden. I could spend a week there and never get bored. But that's me!

"Skintight" at Harrah's is another show that has worn well with tourist and locals. It has outlasted a lot of other shows and just keeps on ticking. And what can one say about "Legends in Concert" at the Imperial Palace that hasn't already been said. John Stuart never believed, when he signed a deal back in the 70's with the hotel, that his concept of tributes to some of the great entertainers of our day would still be running today. But it is and will probably be running at the I.P., long after we're gone.

Clint Holmes has proven his staying power at Harrah's also. This is a fine singer and entertainer who gives 110 percent every time he steps out on stage. Not a better act in town. Our buddy Wayne Newton, who last year took on the task of heading up the USO tours, continues to pull in the crowds at the Stardust. Here is another entertainer who only knows one speed. Danny Gans, another magical entertainer and one of the top impressionists around, continues to shine in his showroom at the Mirage Hotel. We really like this guy, as we do Rich Little who has a deal now with the Suncoast Hotel. If you like to laugh you must see Rich. His act changes every time he's in town. Another worthwhile entertainer in the impressionist line of work is Bob Anderson. Bob is without question one of the best and will be working this year in the exclusive Sterling Room. Jeff Kutash, who originally produced "Splash" at he Riviera (incidentally this show continues to fill its rafters every night) has a fabulous show starring Anderson ready to hit the boards. But September 11th killed the chance and it looks like mid 2002 for it to land a showroom. The Scinta finally made it to the bigtime with a long-term contract at the Rio. These are really nice people who worked their butts off to get to the top. They earned it!

And you cannot be talking about shows that lasted without mentioning "Blue Man Group" at the Luxor or "Storm" at Mandalay Bay. Both of these shows were predicted not to last out their original contract. Guess what, their still here! Ha! And, gang, please do not forget the comedy clubs that continue to help everyone laugh away their troubles. There is the Comedy Stop at the Tropicana, the Improv at Harrah's and the Comedy Club at the Riviera and Comedy Trax at Station Casino and Rita Rudner at New York.

Well, it was a heck of a year and it looks like 2002 will be just as good if not better - entertainment wise. I'm outa here!

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