Las Vegas Sun

November 17, 2017

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Strip Scribbles: ‘Illusionists,’ with Jeff McBride, Kevin James, heads to L.V.


Richard Faverty

Jeff McBride.

One of the most successful magic shows ever has been garnering rave reviews and big box office success on an amazing world tour, yet so far it hasn’t been seen in Las Vegas. That’s about to change, and the stars of “The Illusionists” couldn’t be happier because most of them live here.

Jeff McBride and Kevin James are just two of the mind-blowing magicians who headline in “The Illusionists” for producer Simon Painter. In Australia and South America, the princes of prestidigitation arrived as unknowns and left as stars.

I’ve also learned that Simon has begun rehearsals here for a new circus show, “Le Noir,” which also is destined for the Strip. Magic is alive and well here! In addition to being the fine dining, shopping and entertainment capitals of the world, we are now the magic center of the universe.

The Illusionists

Tonight, Jeff presents his new fall series of Wonderground shows at the Olive in Henderson with more than three hours of magic and fantasy attractions performed by 20 artists.

LOST MAGIC FOUND: If you’re staying home tonight and are a magic aficionado, watch my friend Steve Cohen’s unique two-hour TV special “Lost Magic Decoded” premiering on the History Channel.

Steve, a truly incredible illusionist, is based in New York with his weekly boggling and up close “Chamber Magic” at the Waldorf Astoria. He traveled to Europe and India to hunt down legendary tricks, some lost but now miraculously re-created by Steve. Click on for behind-the-scenes photos.

Steve has turned down several Las Vegas opportunities to present his magic because of his long-running show in Manhattan. He tells me, though, that he’s hoping to take a break to appear on the Strip next year.

Cirque du Soleil's Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour

Cirque du Soleil's Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour. The world premiere of Immortal was in Montreal, the location of Cirque headquarters, on Oct. 2, 2011. Launch slideshow »

MANDALAY’S NEW VENUES: We are now less than two months away from new restaurants from the Light Group at Mandalay Bay. By the end of December, there will be three new restaurants -- chef Brian Massie’s Citizens Kitchen & Bar, a casual American bistro that will replace Red, White and Blue, chef Akira Back of Yellowtail at the Bellagio with his new Japanese hotspot taking over China Grill, plus, a revamped vision Red Square.

“We are confident that our culinary team will create award-winning concepts that will be favorites for all who visit,” says Andy Masi, CEO of the Light Group. Chuck Bowling, Mandalay Bay president, added: “Mandalay Bay is poised for a major transformation in 2013. Everything from our entertainment to dining and nightlife to accommodations will be re-imagined.”

The Light Group -- as we have reported -- is transforming the Hotel into the Delano with a South Beach feel and adding a pool and dayclub stretching out into the convention center parking space.

Still to come in spring is the Light Group nightclub venture with Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte in the old Rumjungle. Finally, the new Michael Jackson show from Cirque opens in mid-April.

'Donny & Marie' Welcome Susan Boyle

Donny Osmond welcomes Susan Boyle to Launch slideshow »

BACKSTAGE SECRETS: British singer Susan Boyle presented a blanket with her image emblazoned on it as a gift to Donny Osmond backstage after their duet Wednesday night at the Flamingo. “ I’ll have trouble explaining to my wife that I’m sleeping with Susan,” he quipped. Donny also revealed that Susan will join sister Marie Osmond and him Jan. 20 when they open their English tour at London’s O2 Arena and will join them for several U.K. concerts.

Check out Senior Editor Don Chareunsy’s report and contributing photographer Tom Donoghue’s photo gallery of Susan’s Strip debut last night. After his fan meet-and-greet, Donny videotaped promo spots for the new Las Vegas Food University and admitted on camera that he needs to enroll because his kitchen cooking skills are so bad he even burns water! “Ask my family,” he laughed. “They say I’m the world’s worst cook. They won’t even let me in the kitchen to help.”

Click to enlarge photo

Caesars Palace chefs, entertainment producer Richard Gore, Caesars Palace President Gary Selesner, Food Network co-founder Robin Leach and Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health Chairman Dr. Jeffrey L. Cummings announce the inaugural Food University Las Vegas at Caesars Palace on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2012.


Marquee in the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas hosts a benefit for Noah’s Animal House, celebrating its fifth anniversary, and Shade Tree.

Accordion-playing comedienne Judy Tenuta headlines at Louie Anderson’s comedy theater in Palace Station through Sunday.

The Word Alive, Norma Jean and Born of Osiris are at Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip.

And weekend fun gets underway early with Big Sean at Haze in Aria.


Our weekly Weekend Celebrity Preview includes Heidi Montag, Jimmy Buffet, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Sacramento Kings and more.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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