Las Vegas Sun

December 3, 2021

Currently: 75° — Complete forecast

The Las Vegas Strip show comebacks we’re still waiting on

Boyz II Men

Boyz II Men’s Shawn Stockman performing at the Mirage.

On November 24, “KÀ” will return to the stage at MGM Grand, making Cirque du Soleil’s portfolio of Las Vegas Strip production shows whole again. In just over a week, Lady Gaga will bring back her “Jazz & Piano” residency shows to Park MGM on October 14, the return of another one of the Strip’s biggest live entertainment draws.

Last year at this time, smaller shows were making plans to reopen despite strict pandemic regulations limiting crowd sizes and requiring social distancing, masks and other safety rules. After fighting through a difficult fall and winter and thriving in the spring and summer, Las Vegas entertainment has effectively ramped back up, with most major shows returning to regular performances.

Among the most recent reopenings are “Opium” at the Cosmopolitan, Barry Manilow and the Bronx Wanderers (separately) at Westgate, “The Terry Bradshaw Show” at Luxor, “Magic Mike Live” at Sahara, “The Beatles LOVE” at the Mirage and Carlos Santana’s residency at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay. Rock legends Rod Stewart (at Caesars Palace) and John Fogerty (at Wynn) return to their Strip residency shows this week for the first time since early last year, and Gwen Stefani (at Planet Hollywood) and Wayne Newton (at Flamingo) will do the same later this month.

Click to enlarge photo

Crews work to remove the Crazy Girls "No Ifs, Ands, or Butts" statue from Planet Hollywood Casino Tuesday, June 15, 2021. The statue, created by Michael Conine in 1997, was installed at the Riviera. The semi-nude showgirl revue that ran at the Riviera Casino from 1988 to 2015 and at Planet Hollywood from 2015 until it closed for the pandemic will remain closed until it finds a new venue. The statue will be in storage until then.

But there are still a handful of established production shows and headliners that have not been able to return to performances on the Strip and have not yet announced show dates. Each has different circumstances dictating a possible comeback, and some smaller shows have been displaced during the pandemic and are looking for a different Vegas venue for their return.

That’s the situation for “Crazy Girls,” the longest-running topless revue on the Strip before the pandemic after launching at the Riviera in 1987. In 2015 it moved to the Sin City Theater at Planet Hollywood, and in May of this year Caesars Entertainment confirmed it would not be reopening that venue, booting “Crazy Girls” and other shows. A spokesperson recently told the Sun that “Crazy Girls” producer Norbert Aleman is still looking for a perfect-fit theater.

Another sexy burlesque presentation still hunting for a new room is “X Rocks,” formerly at Bally’s. Producers Matt and Angela Stabile — Angela performed in “Crazy Girls” for years before creating her own shows — have vowed to bring back the hard-edged revue, and their company maintains a solid relationship with Caesars since sister shows “X Burlesque” and “X Country” are still going strong at the Flamingo and Harrah’s, respectively.

As for big-room residencies, pop singer Kelly Clarkson announced one for Zappos Theater (the same room where Stefani performs) in 2019 that never got to open in April 2020. It was originally postponed until this year but is not currently listed on the Planet Hollywood website. Clarkson took the stage Saturday night at MGM Grand Garden Arena as one of the headliners for The Event benefitting the Shaquille O’Neal Foundation, but there’s been no sign of restarting her residency this year.

Down the street at Park Theater where Gaga will be back and Bruno Mars has been performing since July, Aerosmith is expected to return to its residency next year. The Boston-born band was forced to cancel spring and summer shows last year but the MGM Resorts website states that Steven Tyler and company will make up those dates and add more with an announcement coming soon. Cher also was forced to cancel performances at Park Theater last year but there’s no indication she’ll return for more headlining shows.

And the future of the long-running residency show from Boyz II Men at the Mirage Theater is up in the air. The hitmaking R&B group began its run there in 2012 when Terry Fator was still headlining in the same space, but the Boyz show is no longer listed on the Mirage website. SPI Entertainment founder Adam Steck, the Las Vegas producer of the show, recently noted that the theater’s turn to spotlight magician Shin Lim could affect the venue’s availability, but that the vocal trio “definitely loves Las Vegas and wants to get back onstage.”