Saturday, Aug. 18, 2012 | 5:48 p.m.
Plans for South America’s wild nightclub party playground Pink Elephant to move into an expanded “Crazy Horse Paris” venue space at MGM Grand have fallen through, and now the gorgeous topless dancers will be moving out Oct. 1.
But they’re not saying a final farewell to Las Vegas. “There are definite plans for a surprise new joint venture on the Strip along with a new U.S. tour,” executives at the French company told me today on a transatlantic call from Paris, France, headquarters.
The Las Vegas cast was notified of the moves late Friday night, and the Paris team was informed of the Strip changes today. Nothing has been finalized yet for the “Crazy Horse Paris” beauties to pop up elsewhere on the Strip, although I am reliably told that there have been several positive overtures in recent weeks.
“MGM Grand has been a wonderful partner to us for so many years. However, we both agreed it was time for a change,” said President and CEO Philippe Lhomme. “Our cabaret group also is working on several new projects, including the ever-evolving show at its historical cabaret home in Paris and two worldwide touring productions, one of which will open next month in London.”
Over the past 11 years, the “CHP” cast has performed more than 6,000 shows at MGM Grand and has featured guest stars including Dita Von Teese, Carmen Electra and Playboy’s 2011 Playmate of the Year Claire Sinclair, who also is the spokesmodel for the Bettie Page pinup fashion line.
An MGM Grand insider confirmed: “No decision has yet been made for who will take over the ‘Crazy Horse’ space after Oct. 1’s final performance. It is all part of the major entertainment and restaurant changes underway for the resort.”
That includes the 2013 arrival of restaurant and nightclub complex Hakkasan under construction and a Melrose Avenue area retail boulevard -- from L.A. and with new valet parking -- on either side of Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club there.
In their first interview about the changes, Philippe and Andree Deissenberg, who run the company in Paris, told me on a transatlantic call today: “There is a grand future for ‘Crazy Horse’ in Las Vegas, and we are committed to reopening a new show. Discussions are already underway, although it is too early yet to mention names.
“We were exclusive to MGM, so since we have now regained our freedom and independence in this divorce, we are very positive we can now turn the informal discussions into something more formal. We had to turn down opportunities in New York and Miami because of the exclusivity, and now we can cement those.
“There will be more excitement, more fun and more dynamics to the new show. We will go really crazy but keep the basics and values of what Alain Bernardin created. Our new show is a huge success in Paris and with our touring companies, we knew that we had to renovate the Vegas show like we did with the Paris show two years ago.
“We can now do that in Vegas and elsewhere in America. We honestly believe we can now go much farther than what we had in Vegas. There will be more craziness. We will be resolutely crazy with fashion designer concepts, which are very important to us with more American pizzazz.
“We can explore more of that now that our relationship has ended. It is a very exciting time for us as we expand our future. What we created the past two years in Paris can now go into effect in Vegas and other American cities. We are a great team and are already up to speed.
“It’s a divorce on the very best of terms. There is no fighting. There is no disagreement; it’s a good, positive separation. We are renewing, renovating and continuing.
“It was the right time for a change. We will keep what made ‘Crazy Horse’ such a success. We are back to the core of the original but with a 21st century spin. We will take more risks and have more fun. We have respect for what was, but we have courage to do the new, needed things artistically and technically but add in the newest theatrical techniques.
“We are not closing the door in Las Vegas -- we are opening a new door.”
I learned that although the deal to merge the MGM theater with Pink Elephant was discussed fully, it was only at the end both came to the conclusion that they’d be better as separate entities with their own pure concepts rather than partnering.
“Crazy Horse” in Paris opened its doors in 1951 with stunning dancers and celebrating fabulous femininity. Over the years, it has hosted royalty, global politicians and showbiz stars. Until the final farewell MGM performance at 10:30 p.m. on Oct. 1, “Crazy Horse” will offer a 2-for-1 locals special in appreciation of Las Vegas’ support over the past decade.
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.
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