Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014 | 8:15 p.m.
In the end, Murray Sawchuck had to be more than a poser.
Not that it wasn’t a great deal of fun following Sawchuck canvas the valley mugging for photos in front of hotel-casino marquees with such self-written captions as, “Wild Wild West is a nice place!” But it had to come to an end, as Sawchuck sought to resume his stage show at a Las Vegas venue after leaving Laugh Factory at Tropicana on Oct. 30.
Sawchuck’s new venue is Sin City Theater at Planet Hollywood, where he sets up Dec. 20 for what is to be a yearlong run of shows at 2 and 4 p.m. daily (dark Fridays). Tickets are $39.45; $44.95 for up-close VIP action. The onsale date is tentatively set for 1 p.m.
One of the city’s more energetic red-carpet dwellers and a fixture in about 20 reality-TV and contest shows over the past several years (including “Pawn Stars,” “America’s Got Talent” and “Wipeout”), Sawchuck said he was left scrambling for a venue after learning that Jan Rouven was moving into Tropicana Theater. Rouven’s “New Illusions” opens Nov. 28, a little more than a month after Sawchuck’s contract at Laugh Factory timed out.
There is no use for two magicians in a single property, and Sawchuck immediately began making phone calls the morning of Sept. 24. That’s when the Trop announced that Rouven would be moving south on the Strip from Starlite Theater at the Riviera and that “Raiding the Rock Vault” was unplugging at Westgate and moving to the room made famous by “Folies Bergere.”
“I was really in shock,” Sawchuck said by phone Wednesday as he drove to Los Angeles to accept a lifetime achievement award at Avalon Theater. “Jan Rouven is a good guy and we are friends, and we had worked together on an episode of ‘Extreme Escapes’ about two weeks before the announcement was made about him coming to the Tropicana. But that is business. I understand it, I wish him well, and he has no need to apologize for anything.”
A master marketer, Sawchuck then began his wind around the valley, first posing in front of Silverton, then adding such hotels as M Resort, Palace Station, even the Casablanca in Mesquite.
“It’s funny, I’d never even pulled off the road into Mesquite before that day,” he said. “It turns out Casablanca has a really nice showroom.”
Sawchuck visited 30 resorts, total, for photo purposes. He was in serious discussions with five before deciding on Sin City Theater. Sin City is a busy place, with Eric Jordan Young’s “Shakin’ ” having opened last month and Nannette Barbera planning two new shows in the space, including “Celebrity Idols” this week and another production featuring Angelica Bridges that’s slated for a December opening.
Sawchuck says he plans more straightforward magic in Sin City Theater, which seats a little more than 300 and offers a closer look at the form of close-up magic he prefers. Much of his act at Laugh Factory was comedy shtick, but he does want to be taken seriously as an accomplished magician. Remaining onstage as his assistant is his wife, Chloe, also a cast member of “Fantasy” at Luxor. His sidekick, Lefty, played by fellow magician Doug Leferovich, is back, too.
“I want to perform more hardcore magic, not just be a comedian,” Sawchuck says. But he can’t resist a little fun with his own red-carpet night, which is Dec. 28. Why pick a night between Christmas and New Year’s Eve?
“Because nobody does that, right?” he says. “I want to have a red carpet on a wide-open night.” And that will be a red carpet that Sawchuck will truly own.