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Stratosphere ending Frankie Moreno residency this year

Nevada Sesquicentennial All-Star Concert

Tom Donoghue / DonoghuePhotography.com

Stratosphere headliner Frankie Moreno performs during the Nevada Sesquicentennial All-Star Concert on Monday, Sept. 22, 2014, at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Las Vegas.

Frankie Moreno Performs at Stratosphere

Frankie Moreno performs in the showroom at the Stratosphere Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 Launch slideshow »
The Kats Report Podcast

Frankie Moreno marks 100 shows at the Stratosphere

Kats and the Dish talk to Frankie Moreno and Tony Moreno.

The Kats Report Podcast

Making music with the Morenos

Kats and the Dish talk to Stratosphere headliner Frankie Moreno and his brother Tony.

As of Dec. 20, Frankie Moreno and the Stratosphere are finished.

Announced today in a news release, the hotel said Moreno would be ending his run as the headliner at Stratosphere Showroom after a little more than three years. He signed with the property in November 2011 and in June 2012 signed an extension through October 2015.

In a text message tonight, Moreno said, “I am so thankful to the Stratosphere for taking a chance on me. None of us thought my show would have turned out as successful as it has. It's been a good long run with the Stratosphere, and I really hate to say goodbye. However, the fans have been so amazing and supportive that 2015 will be the most exciting year yet.”

In the statement issued today, Stratosphere General Manager Paul Hobson said, “Frankie Moreno is a true Las Vegas success story. We wish him nothing but success on his future endeavors.”

Moreno’s show has been well-received and well-reviewed since he opened at the Strat, but the decision to cut Moreno’s contract short was that of the hotel. There is no indication yet from hotel officials on what, if anything, is to replace Moreno’s show.

At the moment, the showroom’s entertainment options are a single show: The burlesque revue “Pin Up.”

In a text tonight, Stratosphere Vice President of Entertainment Matt Mascali said, “We are open to the next opportunity but not in a hurry. We are happy with the success of ‘Pin Up’ and will remain focused on it for the time being.”

Over the years, the Strat Showroom has been home to “American Superstars” and the adult production “Bite” before its more recent lineup. David Perrico’s Pop Evolution show band also performed at the hotel before departing in May 2013, and Perrico himself announced his resignation as music director of “Pin Up” in September, in what was termed by both sides as an amicable split. “Pin Up” remains in place in its usual schedule rotation.

As for Moreno, the Strat headliner signed on for a rare partnership in which the hotel invested entirely in his show. The immediate response was positive: Moreno earned high praise in mass media and social media for shows that were loaded with originals and crowd-pleasers each time out. As Mascali said in today’s release: “Frankie and his 10-piece band put on the kind of show that made Las Vegas showrooms famous. There is no denying their talent.”

Over time, though, Moreno’s relationship with hotel officials had became strained for a variety of reasons, particularly a dispute regarding Moreno's role in the development of "Pin Up" that led him to pull away from that show entirely. Moreno also made the difficult decision to replace many members of his core band, which had been in place when he started at the Strat. In the end, the sense on both sides is that a change in the showroom and Moreno's career simply needed to be made sooner than later.

Amid all the events of the past year, Moreno has branched out of the Stratosphere more frequently of late, spending an increasing amount of time performing away from his host hotel, and outside Las Vegas, over the past several months.

Much of that work has been on junkets organized by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, including a “Live at 35” in-flight performance Tuesday on Southwest Airlines from Dallas to Las Vegas organized in part by the Las Vegas tourism board. He also has recorded a special for PBS, in February at the Strat, which has aired regionally in Sacramento, and has performed in that city as a way to promote that project. On Sunday, he is heading to Cancun for another promotional performance.

And earlier today, the Smith Center for the Performing Arts said that a version of the state song, “Home Means Nevada,” with Gilbert Magnet School, which he sang at the Nevada Sesquicentennial All-Star Concert last month, would be recorded for posterity at Studio at the Palms on Oct. 30.

Moreno is focused on a new album being recorded, in part, at Studio at the Palms with studio great Pat Thrall. He is under representation by Tamara Conniff of Roc Nation, the label founded by Jay-Z. The status of Moreno’s contract with the Stratosphere has been an oft-discussed topic in the city, and representatives of competing resorts have checked out his show at the Strat for at least the past year.

No question, there are a lot of rooms in town, and a lot of interest in Moreno after he leaves the Strat. Where he winds up is to be sorted out, but a certainty is that before the calendar turns to 2015, Frankie Moreno’s partnership with the famous Las Vegas tower will have timed out.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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