Wednesday, July 28, 1999 | 11:02 a.m.
In his popular performances at the Rio, Danny Gans imitates a multitude of entertainers.
David Cassidy is not one of them.
But the Rio is about to have the real thing.
Cassidy, the former Broadway performer, centerpiece of "EFX" at the MGM Grand and star of television's "The Partridge Family" in the early '70s will replace Gans as the featured performer in the 700-seat Copacabana Showroom, the hotel announced today.
"That's on the money," Rio spokeswoman Tyri Squyres said this morning, hours before Cassidy was to appear at a news conference at the Rio's VooDoo Lounge. "It will be a production show, and David will be the main focus. It will be his creative effort."
Calls to Cassidy's representatives this morning were not immediately returned. Squyres said Cassidy will debut at the Rio in mid-January. He's committed to eight shows per week (three more per week than Gans) and 44 weeks in 2000.
Meanwhile, Gans is expected to announce a deal with the Mirage hotel-casino when he leaves the Rio. Gans' contract with the Rio runs through January. However, both sides would need to negotiate a deal to terminate the contract prematurely so Gans would be free to prepare for his move to the Mirage, and Cassidy can make plans for his new show at the 700-seat Copacabana Room.
Thus, it is likely Gans will not be performing at the Rio past December (he's not scheduled to perform there on New Year's Eve).
"We will have an announcement for a deal at a Strip resort next week," Gans' spokesman Chip Lightman said today, stopping short of confirming a deal at the Mirage. "It could be as early as Tuesday."
The Mirage is building a 1,280-seat performance theater -- to be called the Danny Gans Theater -- to house Gans' show and it should be ready by April. The Mirage is also planning to move the production show "Miss Spectacular" into a new 1,500-seat theater, set to open in April 2001, and Siegfried & Roy are contractually bound at the Mirage through 2002.
The Gans-Rio split was long considered inevitable, considering the entertainer's anger over repeated increases in his ticket prices. The most recent, in May, pushed the price to $99. Gans, who complained of the repeated ticket hikes, started at the Rio in May 1997 at a ticket rate of $39.95 and has repeatedly stated his wish to become a major Strip resort headliner.
Realizing that goal has made room for Cassidy to become the Rio's new headliner. But additional details -- such as ticket prices for Cassidy's show -- were not immediately released.
"David will be doing more shows than Danny does now," Squyres said. "And it is a long-term, multiyear commitment."
Cassidy left the high-tech, $50 million "EFX" in January and was replaced by Broadway legend Tommy Tune. Most recently, Cassidy, in a producing role, unveiled "The Rat Pack is Back" at the Desert Inn and occasionally makes guest appearances, portraying Bobby Darin.