Darrin Bush/Las Vegas New Bureau
Friday, Feb. 22, 2013 | 1:43 p.m.
A hotel chain steeped in entertainment is doing a bit of deck shuffling.
In the midst of an uncommonly busy stretch of show openings this month and leading into next (“Million Dollar Quartet” at Harrah’s, the new Human Nature production at Venetian, “Pin Up” at Stratosphere, CeeLo Green’s “Loberace” show at Planet Hollywood and the return of “America’s Got Talent Live” at Palazzo among them) are reports of more entertainment venues closing at Stations Casinos.
The locals-leaning resort chain has already bolted the locks on the old Ovation lounge/showroom at Green Valley Ranch, as its final show was country artist Sam Riddle’s performance Nov. 24. But what hardly anyone could have foreseen at the time was that the company’s largest venue, Red Rock Amphitheater, also might have staged its final show more than a month earlier, with the Oct. 7 appearance by Jason Mraz. The Amphitheater, with a capacity of as much as 9,000, has no shows scheduled for this year, and the bleacher seats — which were rented by the hotel — have been hauled away.
Also, comic Louie Anderson and his “Big Baby Boomer” comedy show is leaving his eponymous (that means, self-named, kids) theater at Palace Station by April. His last listed show is March 30, and there is strong indication that room will close, too, as nothing is scheduled there in April or beyond. Anderson opened at Palace Station in July 2010. In an e-mail, Anderson spokesman Glenn Schwartz said the comic has been training in Los Angeles for his appearance on the ABC celebrity diving competition “Splash,” which premieres March 19.
After finishing the show (and, we expect, drying off), Anderson is hitting the road. He has a May 11 date at Lucky Eagle Casino in Rochester, Wash. There have been quite believable reports that Anderson is looking for a new room in Vegas, specifically showing interest in Shimmer Cabaret at LVH, but nothing has been verified. Schwartz said Anderson would have an announcement about his plans soon after his post-“Splash” tour wraps.
As for plans for Red Rock Amphitheater, Station Casinos spokeswoman Lori Nelson said via e-mail that the resort is focusing on its back-patio pool area for its outdoor concert lineup. An announcement of that schedule should be out soon, certainly before the summer. An announcement is forthcoming on plans for Ovation, too.
Meantime, Station still maintains a busy schedule of shows across its properties. Highlights are the Friday night “Nashville Unplugged” shows followed by Zowie Bowie at Red Rock’s Rocks Lounge. On Saturdays at Rocks Lounge, it’s Michael Grimm, followed by a singularly cool cover/dance band, The Peelers, out of San Francisco. Brody Dolyniuk’s ZUSA Led Zeppelin tribute band is performing March 1 at Boulder Station. The Lon Bronson All-Star Band is back in a regular Friday rotation at Boulder Station beginning March 22.
On a larger scale, Foreigner has been booked at the indoor Sunset Amphitheater at Sunset Station on May 11. And Red Rock has been nominated for an Academy of Country Music Award for Best Casino, which will be announced April 7 (the show is to be broadcast from MGM Grand Garden Arena).
Stations has won four of these ACM Awards (Boulder Station in 1999, 2001 and 2003 and Green Valley Ranch in 2009). The chain’s entertainment reputation, if not its lineup of entertainment venues, remains intact.