Tuesday, March 4, 2014 | 6 p.m.
Casting was completed Monday in New York for the final players set to perform in the ABBA musical “Mamma Mia!” headed to the Strip. It opens in May at the Tropicana.
Between now and mid-April, there will be rehearsals in New York. Then Las Vegas and New York crews, casts and musicians will start joint rehearsals at the Trop for the first performance May 8.
TALL & TASTY: I am promised that the giant Hershey chocolate bar that will be unveiled this week as the entryway to the new candy store at New York-New York will be 75 feet high.
A larger-than-life Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup also will be featured on the giant LED screen. The onslaught of promotional marquees continues unabated on the Strip and now increases with monster logo branding.
GOP CONVO? When the 2016 Republican National Convention is held for the nomination of the party’s next presidential candidate, 50,000 people will attend, and 40 million more will watch on television. It’s a golden promotional opportunity for the host city, and Washington, D.C., insiders are murmuring Las Vegas is possibly a front-runner.
RNC emailed today an appeal to donors to add their input to the city-selection committee. Las Vegas is competing against Phoenix, Dallas, Denver, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus and Kansas City. Our Las Convention and Visitors Authority makes its pitch this week in the nation’s capital. The email proclaims, “You could be part of history in helping determine where our next Republican president is nominated.”
UNIQUE DUO: Guitar guru Carlos Santana, who is a full-time Las Vegas resident and headlines atHouse of Blues in Mandalay Bay, launches his latest album, “Corazon,” on May 6 celebrating his birthplace and musical heritage. It feature collaborations with Pitbull, Ziggy Marley and Gloria Estefan, who will be honored at our Keep Memory Alive Power of Love Gala at MGM Grand on April 26.
But it’s more intriguing to me that Carlos will team up this summer with Caesars Palace headliner Rod Stewart. Two legends on one stage has to be an epic night of rock and roll. Carlos has his own Santana “Corazon Tour,” but Rod and he join together for a string of concerts on Rod’s tour.
MASTER CHEFS: The 59th General Assembly of Master Chefs of France will be held this week for the first time outside Paris right here in Las Vegas at the Venetian and Palazzo. Twelve Maitres Cuisiners will be inducted, including five of our Strip culinary masters.
They are Olivier Dubreuil (Venetian and Palazzo); Claude Le Tohic (Joel Rubochon at MGM Grand); Steven Benjamin (L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon at MGM Grand); Jean Joho (Eiffel Tower at Paris); and David Werly (Mandarin Oriental). They will all make appearances at the only event open to the public Saturday with the Master Tour de France on the Doges Palace forecourt of the Venetian.
4,000 SHOWS: When Steve Wynn celebrates the 4,000th performance of his aquatic and acrobatic spectacular “Le Reve — the Dream,” this month it will be nearly nine years since it opened. To commemorate the milestone, he wants guests to share their photos of the show for a shot at winning a package that includes a two-night stay at Wynn, two VIP tickets to the show complete with champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries, dinner for two at Allegro, lunch with cast members and a backstage tour and meet-and-greet with the cast.
Your photos can capture the high-energy ballroom dancing, death-defying high dives and synchronized swimmers. Participants must follow @lerevethedream on Instagram and post a nonflash photo of their favorite moment of the show to their personal account with the hashtag #4000dreams and tag @lerevethedream. To enter, participants must then visit VisitWynn.com/4000dreams to complete the entry form. The contest runs until March 31, with the winner chosen April 11.
JERRY’S TRIBUTE: Las Vegas entertainers who joined with producer John Simpson on Monday night in Oscar’s Beef, Booze and Broads at the first planning session of the proposed Jerry Lewis birthday tribute show unanimously agreed that it will be held at the downtown Plaza Showroom. They kicked around ideas for the comedy skits duplicating many of Jerry’s famous numbers over the years.
John told me: “Everyone loved the outline and structure, and as we went through it, they all started getting into character. We are shooting for the first creative meeting next week and hope to have 15 celebrities on hand to arrange the pieces of the show.” Supporters to date include Gordie Brown; Murray Sawchuck, his wife Chloe Crawford and sidekick Lefty; Brian Thomas; Robert De Niro lookalike Robert Nash; Lorena Peril; “X Burlesque”; Jeff Civillico; “Jersey Boys”; Dayna Roselli; Chris Phillips of Zowie Bowie; and Lydia Ansel.
SECOND SIP: Award-winning chef Wolfgang Puck and his Las Vegas culinary team will kick off the 40th anniversary of UNLVino with the chef’s fundraiser “Sip & Savor” on Wednesday, April 9, at Spago in the Forum Shops at Caesars.
Dave Perrico’s Pop Evolution celebrates Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday at Stratosphere with bassist Marcus Vann and drummer Ryan Rose from “Pin Up.”
Ghostbar at the Palms throws its Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball.
Harrah’s headliner comedy magician Mac King begins his literacy tour to celebrate Nevada Reading Week at four local elementary schools with giveaways of books he collected during February.
Daryl Wright, Rick D’Elia and Rene Garcia headline at the Improv in Harrah’s through Sunday.
Death Angel and TYR play Vinyl in the Hard Rock Hotel.
And as we get ready for NASCAR Week, World of Outlaws drivers Steve Kinser and Donny Schatz make appearances at By Rider showroom on West Sahara.
Early morning, we’ll post our construction tour of Victor Drai’s new dayclub and nightclub atop the Cromwell; Celine Dion shares why and how she brought Veronic DiCaire to Las Vegas in a rival show, plus, our Counter Intelligence roundup of the latest culinary news on and off the Strip.
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.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
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Tropicana Las Vegas sits on the south-east corner of Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard, an intersection which has the most adjacent hotel rooms in the world, also making it one of the most busy. The hotel has 1,658 rooms, three restaurants, a 62,011-square foot casino and a spa.