Published Monday, Jan. 4, 2016 | 4:36 p.m.
Updated Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016 | 4:40 p.m.
One thing about magicians: Keeping track of them away from the stage is like trying to follow some serious misdirection: My show is canceled? Hey, over here! Britney Spears is in the audience!
Thus, The Kats Report begins the year abuzz with a great reappearing act from a magician with a penchant for pulling media coverage (if not a rabbit) out of a hat.
Capping a series of events over the past five days, we’ll start with the big “reveal”: The esteemed and indestructible Murray Sawchuck, who has held the 4 p.m. time slot at Sin City Theater at Planet Hollywood for a little more than a year, is moving to the 10:30 p.m. slot at that theater in February.
Sawchuck is currently offstage until Jan. 20 and still performing select afternoon dates at least until the new production is together. Sawchuck’s late-late show is to be a more adult tenor, “edgier,” as is promised, with maybe a dance number spotlighting his new assistant, April Leopardi.
His sidekick, Lefty (as performed by the jumpsuit-fashioned Doug Leferovich), is still in the mix. The new show’s full schedule is to be worked out, but Sawchuck announced from the stage Sunday that he’d just signed a new yearlong contract.
Amid this percolation, none other than Spears showed up — great timing there, Brit — on New Year’s Eve with her two sons Sean Preston and Jayden James. Front-row seats, too.
Working through this entire stretch was some kinda slalom for Team Sawchuck and requires a bit of a rewind: On New Year’s Eve afternoon, the magician was informed of a change in his show. Expressly, that it had been canceled.
The reason given by room manager Pete Housley was that Sawchuck, who leases the space, had been spending an inordinate amount of time performing away from Sin City Theater. The landlord in such a business partnership needs the tenant to perform regularly to turn a profit (though Sawchuck had not missed any of his financial obligations).
The initial plan was for Sawchuck to close his show and haul out after Sunday afternoon’s performance. But sometime between New Year’s Day and Sunday morning, Housley and he worked out a new plan, with Housley texting that they were both “very excited and optimistic” about the new 10:30 p.m. production.
Also announced in this confluence of events is a new Crazy Girls cabaret club at the spot on the P.H. mezzanine level where Pussycat Dolls Lounge once stood. That club, connected to Sin City Theater anchor production “Crazy Girls,” is set to open Jan. 18. (The schedule for the “Crazy Girls” show, nightly at 9, is unchanged.)
This all happened with such velocity, and so unexpectedly, that I actually dialed Housley directly to make sure his initial text to me was not some sort of a prank (magicians are notoriously fond of practical jokes). But it was real, and so is Sawchuck’s new schedule.
Murray had a heck of a wild year, with changes in his personal life and stage lineup when his now ex-wife, Chloe Crawford, left to join the Empire of the Criss (Angel).
As he wades into 2016, Sawchuck continues to record his Facebook and YouTube videos with viral whippersnapper Seth Leach, having just announced a series of 100 more clips to be recorded this year. So, on one hand, he has about 100 million hits on those platforms with the videos already recorded over the past three months. On the other, he has a 225-seat Strip room to fill on a regular basis.
Meeting that second goal is far more challenging than cutting a video clip. Believe it.
Catering to the young and modern crowd, Planet Hollywood is a one-stop shop for entertainment with its massive shopping mall, slew of restaurants, spacious casino and clubs.
The ambiance of the casino is retro-chic meets high-tech with black granite floors throughout and colorful LED lights throughout the space. The theme carries into the 100,000 square-foot casino with 250 flat screens topping off slot machines. The casino is also home to 87 tables, a sports book and a poker room.
There's also the Miracle Mile Shops, one Vegas' largest malls, with 140 stores including BCBG Max Azaria, bebe, Urban Outfitters and The Discovery Channel Store.
Following an afternoon of shopping, guests can satisfy their appetites at one of the gourmet restaurants in Planet Hollywood, like the non-traditional approach to steakhouses at Strip House or check out the exotic Far East motif at KOI restaurant and lounge. And if guests are still looking for more, they can spend the after hours at Privé, Triq or Krave nightclubs.
Perhaps one of the resorts biggest attractions came in March with the addition of "Peepshow." The naughty twist on the story of Little Bo Peep is modern-day spin on the run-of-the-mill Vegas topless review. The "Peepshow" stage has seen visiting celebs like Scary Spice Mel B, "Dancing with the Stars" Kelly Monaco and Playboy's Holly Madison.