Las Vegas Sun

July 21, 2017

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Can we talk? Marino, Aleman now say yes

It was much ado about nothing.

A tempest in a teapot.

A fuss that got out of control.

The feud between Norbert Aleman, producer of the Riviera's "An Evening at La Cage," and Frank Marino, star of the drag queen revue, has ended.

The producer and the star have buried the hatchet, and not in each other.

They have kissed and made up.

"Right now I feel like I'm on a honeymoon," the 41-year-old Marino said.

But it's separate honeymoons.

Aleman is relaxing in the resort community of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and could not be reached for comment.

But Marino said they're "getting along terrifically."

"Now we can both concentrate on the work rather than the negative issues," Marino said. "I felt like for six months I had been dealing with these issues every morning, waking up to phone calls about scandals that weren't true. I wasn't able to concentrate on the show and I felt like my performance had gone down."

It all started in January 2005, when Marino received a star on the fledgling Walk of Stars on the Strip.

"At the ceremony I thanked everyone who needed to be thanked, including the entire cast, some by name," Marino said. "One person in the show didn't think I thanked the cast enough and called up a newspaper reporter and said Frank Marino once again took all the glory for himself and did not thank the cast.

"It snowballed and for the first time in 20 years there was a major turmoil in the show. It was the best year and the worst year of my life - there was the 20th anniversary, the street in front of my house was named after me, I was in the movie 'Miss Congeniality 2,' but because of the press, one cast member got extremely jealous and was constantly trying to get in between me and the producer."

Marino wouldn't name the cast member. They still work together and maintain a cool relationship.

"He said people think it's Frank Marino's show, but I never said that," Marino said. "I found myself defending myself all the time."

He said Norbert likes the publicity Marino generates, but the producer became upset when he thought people were saying the show was Marino's.

"I thought I might be leaving and he thought he might put someone in to take my place," Marino said.

He said they "went through a producer/performer disagreement," characterizing it as a family feud.

"In 20 years of working together, there are going to be disagreements," Marino said. "Sometimes we totally agree on something, sometimes we disagree.

"In the past we always worked things out - but this time people came between us and made it impossible to deal with the situation."

He and Aleman finally solved their differences, and on Wednesday they signed a new employment agreement.

"Norbert and I came up with a mutual understanding - he is the producer of the show, as he has always been - and I am the star of the most successful drag show," Marino said.

He said they have a common goal.

"To sell tickets," he said.

Marino said ticket sales are going very well, contrary to published reports that the shows at the Riviera were "tired" and losing money.

"All I can say is, the numbers are up this year," he said. "We were sold out last night."

Marino says he will be with the show for the next five years, as determined by the contract.

"I would stay here 100 years, as long as things are going the way they are," he said.

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