Wednesday, May 6, 2009 | 2 a.m.
If You Go
- What: “Ignite”
- When: 11 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. Dark Mondays.
- Where: Greek Isles
- Tickets: $35; 952-8000
“Ignite,” the fire and illusion show that premiered recently at the Greek Isles, has hints of “Bite” — the Gothic vampire musical.
It’s not surprising because “Ignite’s” creator, Antonio Restivo, starred in “Bite” at the Stratosphere for four years before striking out on his own.
“I didn’t want to delve into another vampire show,” says Restivo, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. “When I walked into ‘Bite,’ I was the character, the embodiment of that character. I brought every element of myself to that production — my props, my illusions, my costumes.
“I don’t want people mistakenly thinking I’m taking anything from ‘Bite.’ Everything I did in that was my own personal design and image.”
He describes his creation as “a fantasy, sort of like a Cirque du Soleil meets Disney fire show.”
The main differences: The women keep their tops on and there are no vampires in “Ignite.” The show centers on a mysterious king who likes playing with fire and producing beautiful women out of thin air, and his queen, who likes to steal his beautiful women.
Restivo plays the king and Stacy Jones, daughter of famed illusionist Chuck Jones, plays the evil queen.
Fire has been a big part of Restivo’s life since he accidentally set a field on fire and burned six acres of grass when he was 8 years old.
For the past 15 years, he has made a living doing fire and illusion shows, arriving in Vegas about five years ago.
“What I do is a creative and safe way to enjoy the element of fire,” Restivo says. “I feel like it’s very beautiful.”
He says he didn’t have much trouble passing fire inspection. The fire marshal required only one change in the show — moving the torches in the opening number away from the edge of the stage.
There are fire extinguishers onstage, painted black to blend in with the set. The costumes are fireproof. Many of the costumes came from the “Tournament of Kings” production at the Excalibur, where Restivo has been the show’s evil fire wizard for four years. He continues in that role, which he performs early in the evening before heading for his show at the Greek Isles.
And the cast of “Ignite” is trained in fire safety.
“Everybody on stage has a working knowledge of what to do in an emergency,” Restivo says. “I want to make sure the cast members never freak out when dealing with fire. If the cast looks afraid, that’s when the audience gets nervous. Seeing the cast work confidently with the fire makes audiences a lot more comfortable.
“Even though it looks dangerous, everything is self-contained and very controlled.”
Restivo and Mick Thompson choreographed the show. Chuck Rounds directs.
Restivo’s older brother, Joey, is co-producer. Joey Restivo was a member of the ’90s boy band Linear. He still performs but also has moved into concert production. He says he isn’t worried about jumping into a new project in the middle of a down economy.
“We were poor as children so me and my brother, we seize every opportunity we can if we think it’s going to go somewhere,” Joey Restivo says. “It’s scary, yeah, when you dump a ton of money into a new project or a new show, but if you don’t do it you’re lost right off the bat, you know what I mean?”
Antonio Restivo agrees.
“If you have an opportunity and don’t try, then you’ve already failed,” he says. “If you try and fail, at least you gave it your best shot. Life is about taking risks.”
Like playing with fire.