Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016 | 7:30 a.m.
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Johnny Kats and Dish McCrone chat up Human Nature, who give details about their upcoming Christmas show at the Venetian which co-stars Ruby Lewis of the upcoming Cirque Broadway production “Paramour.” The guys also say that a return to the stage at Sands Showroom is a possibility as they review offers for a home in 2016.
Human Nature has been performing the song “Reach Out” throughout its six-year headlining run on the Strip. It’s come time for the four affable mates from Australia to really reach out.
Sidestepping the Motown theme that has proven so successful at two Las Vegas hotels, Human Nature is launching “Jukebox,” set to open March 29 at their home theater, Sands Showroom at the Venetian.
“Jukebox” will run Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7 p.m. (dark Sundays and Mondays). Tickets start at $49.50 (not including fees) and are on sale Jan. 29 by calling the Venetian or Palazzo box offices at (702) 414-9000 and (866) 641-7469. Find tickets online at HumanNatureLive.com and Venetian.com.
“Jukebox” extends beyond the expressly Motown setlist Human Nature has employed since opening at the then-Imperial Palace in May 2009. The four-man group of brothers Andrew and Mike Tierney, Toby Allen and Phil Burton has locked into an energetic, precision production ever since, especially after moving into the dazzling Sands Showroom in 2013.
But over the past several months, the band members had become eager to perform songs outside the Motown catalog, and the looks of relief on their faces after their final Motown show at Sands Showroom in November made it clear that they were ready to move on.
As Burton said in a subsequent interview, “That showed? We were really ready to move on to something else. We’ve never done a ‘themed’ show before we came to Las Vegas, and it did feel as if it had run its course.”
That feeling among all members of Human Nature has been reinforced by the fact that Smokey Robinson, who lent his name and support to the original Human Nature production, is no longer a presenter of the act. Human Nature is now a co-production of SPI Entertainment and the Venetian.
Robinson remains a fan, though, quoted in a news release announcing the new show as saying, “The members of Human Nature are extraordinary vocalists who truly know how to entertain. If you haven’t seen them perform, you need to. It’s a real treat.”
Also in that release, Venetian and Palazzo President and COO George Markantonis said: “Over the past three years, Andrew, Mike, Toby and Phil have become wonderful additions to the Venetian family. We couldn’t be more thrilled about Human Nature ‘Jukebox.’ Their talents extend further than simply Motown, and we can’t wait for guests to experience this new show.”
Anyone who follows entertainment in Las Vegas knows the act has been the focus of kinetic conversation in town for many months, as SPI Entertainment founder and CEO Adam Steck shopped the production to a few eager suitors. Harrah’s, especially, was hot to sign the act, and it seemed for a time that the Venetian was fine with allowing them to leave (an executive memo reportedly informed hotel staff that the act was leaving the hotel).
But, in the end, the hierarchy liked the “Jukebox” concept and booked the act back into the 740-seat Sands Showroom, where it will toggle times with “Puppet Up! Uncensored,” a Base Entertainment production co-produced by SPI Entertainment that opens this spring. That show’s start time is 9 p.m., making for a pretty swift turnaround in that theater.
In a statement, Steck offered: “We have been proud to be partners with Human Nature since we first brought them to the U.S. over six years ago. They are the embodiment of what it means to be entertainers, and we cannot wait for Las Vegas audiences to experience our new show with them. Human Nature never disappoints.”
A tight-knit act employing tight harmonies and intricate, throwback choreography, Human Nature that has been together for 26 years. The four Aussies are not new to the “Jukebox” theme, having issued an album under that title in Australia in November 2014.
During three appearances last weekend with Phoenix Symphony, H.N. sampled some of the songs it will perform in Sands Showroom, including “Under the Boardwalk,” “Stand By Me” and a medley of The Beatles classics punctuated by “Got to Get You Into My Life,” “Earth Angel” and “Runaround Sue.”
Also expect a further complement of classics mixed with contemporary songs, among them “Dancing in the Street,” “Gimme Some Lovin’,” “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” and “Twist And Shout” sharing the setlist with “All About That Bass” and “Shake It Off.”
“We are excited to be doing something new, and we’ve done so much in our career and cut our teeth on so much material, it’s great to be bringing something new to the stage,” Andrew Tierney said before Saturday night’s performance at Phoenix Symphony Hall. “We can enjoy and own this new show, and I think people will really like it.”
In the spirit of Venice, The Venetian is a little piece of romantic Italy right here in Las Vegas. The Venetian is an "all-suite" hotel, with rooms accented with plush linens and Italian marble. The 4,027 suites are divided into two towers: The 36-story Venetian Tower that offers guests a taste of luxurious Las Vegas and the Venezia suites, which guarantee 12 floors of high-end elegance. The top five floors are the hotel's highest level of luxury with its private access, concierge lounge, upgraded features and even a dedicated staff.
The flagship of Venetian nightlife is TAO, an ultra-hip nightclub located inside of TAO Asian Bistro. V Bar is The Venetian's super smooth ultra lounge, made by the owners of New York City's club Lotus and Los Angeles' super swank Sunset Room.
The Venetian features 19 restaurants including Thomas Keller's award-winning French restaurant Bouchon, Mario Batali's B&B Ristorante, Aquaknox for fresh seafood and the 42,000 square foot TAO Asian Bistro. There's also the food court inside the Canal Shoppes for those looking for a quick bite.
Guests can float along The Grand Canal Shops in an authentic Italian gondola ride and pass stores like Burberry and Kenneth Cole along the way. And if you haven't caught a real celeb, on the street in Vegas, you can head over to Madame Tussauds to check out a wax version.