Longest-Running Las Vegas Strip Show Closing Unexpectedly
Very few shows have a 10-year run, let alone 40 years on the Las Vegas Strip. Wayne Newton has been a headliner in Las Vegas for nearly 60 years, but he has headlined many shows throughout the city.
Donnie and Marie Osmond had an impressive run before Marie left her brother to become a solo act, while Siegfried and Roy had a 13-year run at Mirage before Roy Horn was attacked by one of the duo’s tigers, wounding him and ending the act.
Barry Manilow has been a Vegas headliner for decades, and Penn and Teller have played off the Strip at Caesars Entertainment’s (CZR) – Get free report Rio since 2001. This is an incredibly impressive run, Carrot Top, which heads MGM Resorts International’s (MGM) – Get free report Luxor will have to play for five years longer than the magical duo to achieve, but to survive for 40 years is unprecedented.
That’s what’s happening, though, as “Legends In Concert” wraps up its run at the Tropicana after a performance of its “Back in the Building” Elvis show on Dec. 30.
Tropicana faces an uncertain future
The Tropicana changed hands this year, bought by Bally’s Corp. (BALY) – Get free report which plans a major remodel possibly in 2024. If that happens, the property would take on Bally’s name and become the company’s western flagship.
At the time the deal closed in late September, Bally president George Papanier said changes were coming, but they weren’t imminent. He made a statement that the company planned to operate the property for 18-24 months before making any decisions about its future.
It’s also possible that the Tropicana will be torn down and become the site of a new domed stadium for the Oakland Athletics. This is a very unsafe operating environment and it was not an inviting environment for the producers of Legends in Concert.
“We had an opportunity to return to the Trop and it was great to be invited back, but in the ever-evolving entertainment landscape in Las Vegas, the Trop is not the best option for us,” said Legends CEO Brian Brigne . Las Vegas Review-Journal. “We have some alternatives, which we will announce very soon.
The show, it should be noted, doesn’t have a new home lined up, but the company is confident it will find one.
A Las Vegas legend ends, but could be reborn
“Legends in Concert” isn’t really a show, it’s a series of shows built around impersonators. It has included Las Vegas legends such as Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and Sammy Davis Jr. as well as what would now be considered classic acts including Madonna and Michael Jackson. In recent years, the show has added Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Adele (among others) while also producing special performances such as Elvis closing its Las Vegas run.
It’s a long-term formula that has worked, but which has also suffered in recent years as the Las Vegas Strip has transitioned from kitschy acts like Newton and Carrot Top to attracting A-list talent. When Adele and Lady Gaga are actually playing on the Strip, it becomes harder for people to pay to see their impersonators.
Legends in Concert, however, has generally drawn well enough that there should be options. The production has a long history with Caesars, having previously played at Harrah’s and the Flamingo (and began life at the Imperial Palace, which is now the Caesars-owned Linq.
With the closing of “Bat Out of Hell,” the musical based on Meat Loaf’s classic album, Caesars has a theater open in Paris Las Vegas. The company also needs a major production for the Jubilee Theater at the newly renamed Horseshoe.
“We have a prior relationship with Caesars, and we’ve been exploring options with them,” Brigner told the paper, adding that there is an option to move the show downtown.
“Legends” could be a good fit for the Horseshoe as Caesars is touting the former Bally’s as a gambler-friendly casino designed to have a classic Las Vegas feel.