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August 24, 2019

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‘Baz’ and ‘Puppets’ shack up at Venetian; Skye Dee Miles ready for some ‘53X’

Opening Night of ‘Baz’

Denise Truscello / WireImage /

Constantine Rousouli performs during opening night of “For the Record: Baz” at Light on Friday, June 26, 2015, in Mandalay Bay.

Opening Night of ‘Baz’

Olivia Harris and James Byous perform during opening night of “For the Record: Baz” at Light on Friday, June 26, 2015, in Mandalay Bay. Launch slideshow »

The Kats Report Bureau this morning wound through T-Mobile Arena for early TV action with Kim Wagner of “Wake Up With the Wagners” on Channel 3. The arena was still undergoing final prep work for The Killers/Wayne Newton/Shamir show to open the venue tonight.

The arena and opening of The Park leading into the venue have devoured most of our attention this week, but there is a lot more happening in the streets. Let’s make a sweep:

• Two shows at the Venetian/Palazzo have formally informed us of the previously reported.

“Baz: Star Crossed Love” is indeed opening at the renovated Palazzo Theater on June 25. This is the updated “For the Record: Baz,” which test drove the production-show-in-a-nightclub format last summer at Light in Mandalay Bay.

Show times are Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. (tickets start at $59.59 and are available at the hotel box office and website). The Palazzo Theater is being redesigned for a 360-degree experience, its capacity more than halved to about 700.

As before, the musical invokes the music and storylines of films by Australian director Baz Luhrmann, including selections from “Romeo + Juliet,” “Moulin Rouge,” The Great Gatsby” and “Strictly Ballroom.”

Producers have been scouting and reviewing Las Vegas talent for this show. Expect local cast members and band members to be in “Star Crossed Love.”

“The arrival of ‘Baz’ is the continuation of our commitment to develop new and distinct experiences for our guests,” George Markantonis, president and COO of the Venetian, Palazzo and Sands Expo, said in a news release.

“As the entertainment landscape in Las Vegas continues to evolve, productions like ‘Baz’ appeal to audiences who are looking for something unique. This is not a show staged within the confines of traditional theater.”

‘Puppet Up! Uncensored’

Brian Henson, center and son of the late Jim Henson, with characters from his “Puppet Up! Uncensored” at Jim Henson Co. headquarters Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016, in Los Angeles. Launch slideshow »

Across the way, “Puppet Up! Uncensored” has set its updated date at July 21 for its premiere at Sands Showroom. The show is the creation of Brian Henson and the Henson Alternative Division of Los-Angeles-based Jim Henson Co. The primary producer is Base Entertainment, as well as Norton Herrick, with co-producer credit going to SPI Entertainment of Las Vegas.

“Puppet Up!” was originally planned for a spring opening but needed extra months to ensure that its funding was in order. The show is set for 9 p.m., following Human Nature’s “Jukebox” performances at 7 p.m. I caught a performance of “Puppet Up” at the 300-seat Kirk Douglas Theater in Culver City, Calif., in January and was impressed by the comedic dexterity of host Patrick Bristow and the six comics/puppeteers.

The show is to be more “produced” in Las Vegas.

“We have a designed set, which is beautiful instead of being the minimalistic set in Culver City,” said show co-creator Brian Henson, son of Jim, in a recent phone interview. “But we still celebrate that behind-the-scenes feel of how the puppets are used. We now have a strong level of sound and lighting.”

Which, reportedly, has pleased the balance of the 60 puppets relocating to Las Vegas …

• The first Cirque du Soleil artist to headline his own show on the Strip might not be a familiar name, but he might be soon: Magician Xavier Mortimer of “MJ One” will be performing at Sin City Theater at Planet Hollywood in the 7 p.m. slot. The dates are to be announced, and some shuffling of the schedule is needed (Sin City Comedy is currently in the 7 p.m. slot at the theater), but Mortimer is moving across the Strip for his own show.

What does this mean to magician Murray Sawchuck and his 4 p.m. show? Murray is to remain an afternoon headliner. He’s not planning to move anywhere, meaning Sin City will host two magic shows — ta-da! — at the same time.

Also open at the mezzanine level is the Crazy Girls Cabaret club just off the Sin City Theater entrance. This, and X.M., are worth a look-see.

• We have more information about the suites being built into MGM Grand Garden Arena, the first modification of the arena since it opened in 1993. Those boxes will begin construction this summer and finished in about a year, and those who book the luxury suites at T-Mobile Arena will have first shot of reserving space at MGM Grand.

In all, there will be about 800 fewer seats at the Grand Garden Arena for regular ticket holders, but revenue from the boxes — which will number about 12 and seat 16 apiece — will grow from the purchases from both arenas.

• The working title of the under-development theater at Monte Carlo is The Park Theater. That matches what I have heard, and what my colleague Ubiquitous Robin Leach is reporting, that the name of the new Monte Carlo will have “Park” in the title — like Park Place or The Park at MGM Grand. That announcement is expected this summer, likely as early as June.

‘53X’ Rehearsal at Chateau

Cast member Alejandro Granados tries on his Freddy Krueger gloves as stylist and costume Designer Jeffrey Debarathy works during rehearsal for the new Chippendales show “53X” at Chateau on Thursday, March 10, 2016, at Paris Las Vegas.
Launch slideshow »

• Skye Dee Miles is never one to pass up “53X.”

The popular Las Vegas vocalist and show host, who continues to perform at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. in the Cosmopolitan, is subbing for Shangela as MC of “53X” at Chateau at Paris Las Vegas through Sunday night. I have no idea what Miles has planned in this booking, though if the show’s producers from Chippendales like her, it could lead to a regular … affair.

The show plays at 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, and afterward, the crowd is directed to Beer Park at Paris Las Vegas. Good date-night show, this one, and Skye Dee is a great date — any time.

• Zowie Bowie’s decision to shed his dance format at Station Casinos has led to increased business — in his dance-band format.

Similar to being stuck in the Mafia, Z.B. has pulled back into his hip-hop/Top 40 model with an additional night on Fremont Street each Saturday. So vocalist Nieve Malandra and he front the act Thursdays and Saturdays on the 3rd Street Stage. Meantime, Chris Phillips — who is Zowie Bowie — is testing a new talk show, titled “ShowVegas,” being recorded at Linde Studios in Las Vegas.

And he is still working out his Vintage Vegas-style show, with horns backing his established rhythm section. This week, that lineup played a corporate gig at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. About 1,000 partygoers turned out, and Phillips said it was one of the rowdiest shows of his career. Not a small statement, that …

• Wassa Coulibaly, who is my hero, is hosting another of her burlesque shows Friday night at Baobab Stage at Town Square. The show is filled with Las Vegas burlesque artists, always a distinctively entertaining experience. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Go to or call (702) 369-6649 for info.

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