Las Vegas Sun

September 22, 2019

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Curtain Up: Hans Klok, Donny & Marie, the return of the showgirl and more

Vegas PBS

Courtesy Vegas PBS

Costumes and fashions are modeled for the Vegas PBS documentary “The Showgirl: A Las Vegas Icon.”

I made my first trip to the impressive new Thunder Land showroom at Excalibur this week to catch a magical new show from Dutch illusionist Hans Klok, headlining on the Strip once again after more than a decade away from Las Vegas. When I spoke to Klok in July, I asked if any of the tricks in his rapid-fire, aptly named production “The World’s Fastest Magician” might be pulled from his recent European touring show, “House of Horror.” After seeing him onstage this week, it’s clear he sandbagged me just a little bit, briefly explaining there would be a bit of a nightmare segment but nothing too scary for a family show. The second half of his incredibly fast-paced production was pretty thick with spooky stuff. Klok gets impaled by a witch then arises from a chained coffin, Dracula-style. He also inspired some major creepy feelings with a series of illusions nodding to the popular “Annabelle” horror film series. This is the perfect Vegas show to see around Halloween, but don’t wait until October to catch Klok in action. He’s truly a master of his craft with an appreciation for the history of magic, and there’s an old-school feel to his show that’s unlike any current magic-based show on the Strip. It goes down at 7:30 p.m. nightly except Friday with additional 4 p.m. shows Saturday and Sunday at Excalibur.

Donny and Marie Osmond are set to receive their own Keys to the Las Vegas Strip during a publicity event this Friday, August 23, at the Linq Promenade entrance to the Flamingo and really, who deserves it more? The singing sibs are set to wrap up their residency at the Flamingo on November 16 when it will have run for more than 11 years. If you haven’t seen this powerhouse musical performance, make your plans ASAP. It plays at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Cirque du Soleil and the estate of Michael Jackson are collaborating for an exclusive celebration to mark Jackson’s birthday at the Michael Jackson ONE Theatre at Mandalay Bay on August 29, free and open to the public with entry allowed on a first-come, first-serve basis. An inside look at “Michael Jackson ONE” will include a freestyle performance by the cast, discussions about the pop star’s impact on dance and music, a look at the rehearsal process and acrobatic training, a choreography session with creative directors and choreographers Rich and Tone Talauega and more. Also expected to attend are Jamie King, writer and director of the show, and Joe Vogel and Michael Bush, authors of books on Michael Jackson.

Earlier this week, Vegas PBS hosted a group of showgirls and showboys in full costumes and headdresses for a day of filming “The Showgirl: A Las Vegas Icon,” a documentary focusing on the history of the showgirl in Las Vegas. Some of the authentic costumes worn by the 15 performers are archived pieces from “Lido de Paris,” “Enter the Night” and “Jubilee!” and some of the showgirl models were former cast members from those and other shows. The documentary will also feature historic videos from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority’s News Bureau and UNLV’s Special Collections and is set to premiere in early 2020.

“The Oakey Family Supper Club” is a new immersive theater experience created by Noah Bremer, an artist from Cirque du Soleil’s “The Beatles LOVE,” and Joanna Harmon, a member of national arts think tank the Interactive Deep Dive. It’s planning a limited run at a private residence in the historic Huntridge neighborhood on September 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23 and tickets are free with a suggested donation of $100, available at liveactionset.org. Audience members participate in the story but there are no lines to memorize, no costumes worn, no murders to solve and no rooms to escape. “It’s like a movie. But you’re not watching the movie, you’re in the movie,” said Harmon in a statement. “The line between audience and performer is not simply blurred but broken.” Performers from Cirque and Spiegelworld shows are expected to be among the cast.

Vicki’s back on the Strip next month and she’s planning to stay a while. “America’s Got Talent” finalist and comedy favorite Vicki Barbolak is opening a residency of sorts called Trailer Park Tuesdays at Jimmy Kimmel’s Comedy Club at the Linq Promenade on September 24 and continuing every Tuesday at 8 p.m. through November 12. It’s the second longer-term gig at the new club as Luenell continues her Sunday engagement at 10 p.m. through September 29. In other comedy club happenings, New York City-based stand-up Gary Vider (another “AGT” alum) is set to record his debut comedy album at the Comedy Cellar at the Rio when he performs there September 2-8.

Just announced: Cirque du Soleil and Nevada Ballet Theater will present their 12th annual dance collaboration “Beyond the Stage: A Choreographers’ Showcase” on October 6, 12 and 13 at the Mystére Theater at Treasure Island. Sixteen local choreographers from both entities and more than 60 artists will participate under the mentorship of Taras Shevchenko and Gianni Howell from Cirque du Soleil and NBT Artistic Director Roy Kaiser. Tickets start at $29 and can be purchased by calling 702-894-7722 or at nevadaballet.org.

Cure 4 The Kids Foundation will honor Zappos Theater resident headliner Gwen Stefani at its “Circus Couture: Metamorphose” fundraiser on October 10 at the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel. Now in its 10th year, the event showcases the talents of local artists and performers and raises money and awareness for Cure 4 The Kids, the state’s only nonprofit childhood cancer treatment center. Stefani, who returns to her “Just A Girl” show at Planet Hollywood on October 11, will receive the Philanthropist of the Year Award as she has teamed with Live Nation and Caesars Entertainment to donate $1 of every ticket purchase to Cure 4 The Kids. The funds are being used to expand clinic operations into a new wing the One Breakthrough Way location.