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October 18, 2017

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Strip Scribbles: ‘Michael Jackson One’ ticket sales exceed expectations at Mandalay Bay


Tom Donoghue/

A sneak peek of Cirque du Soleil’s “Michael Jackson One” at Mandalay Bay on Tuesday, May 7, 2013.

'Michael Jackson One' Sneak Peek at Mandalay Bay

A sneak peek of Cirque du Soleil's Launch slideshow »

2013 Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational at Shadow Creek

The 2013 Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational at Shadow Creek in North Las Vegas. Launch slideshow »
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Robin Leach is flanked by beer cicerones Samuel Merritt and Russell Gardner.

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"Curvy Girls" stars Rosie Mercado, who is a Las Vegas resident, and Ivory Kalber flank "Peepshow" at Planet Hollywood" star Coco Austin.

Tickets for “Michael Jackson One” at Mandalay Bay are moving so well that Cirque du Soleil execs have decided to advance the on-sale date for the balance of the year — even before its official gala opening June 29. Traditionally, the summer box office slows, but not at “MJ1.”

“We’re pretty well sold out with the current block we put on sale to Aug. 31. The demand is incredible. Our best-ever opening sale, and people are here nightly from all over the world. For the premiere, we will officially announce ticket sales through to Dec. 31,” I was reliably told. “The demand is there, and it will help people plan their travel and hotel plans further out.”

Even more extraordinary is that “MJ1” while in previews has been just one show a night. With the spectacular premiere and $1 million-plus Mandalay Bay Beach after-party, the production will start a two-shows-a-night schedule — 7 and 10 p.m., and the ticket demand still exceeds the seating.

I’m also hearing that because of all the new technology used in “MJ1” that Cirque will review all existing Strip spectaculars to update and upgrade them. Cirque and MGM Resorts officials plan to review “Zarkana” at Aria next week to add technologies there first.

MANSION SWITCH: Entertainment legend and Las Vegas resident Wayne Newton confirmed Tuesday that he’s the man we reported in our Monday edition of Wicked Whispers & Racy Rumors: “Which entertainer has sold his sprawling estate and closed on a new home that despite less square footage still has amazing gardens with waterfall and pool features?”

He told TV reporter Alicia Jacobs that he sold his estate Casa Shenandoah and wants to re-create its magical outdoor feel at the new property once owned by Las Vegas producer Norbert Aleman (“An Evening at La Cage,” “Crazy Girls”). I learned of the sale last week from real estate sources but at the request of the parties involved left identities anonymous until news reports elsewhere today.

MICHAEL LOVES GOLF: Two months after his pre-wedding golf tournament here at Shadow Creek, NBA legend Michael Jordan returns this weekend with a group of athletes for a private golfing weekend at ultra-private Shadow Creek. His 12th annual Celebrity Golf Tournament in April was open to fans and media, but this visit is wrapped in secrecy to give the sports stars maximum privacy.

Michael’s team will play against as many as 16 of MGM’s biggest high rollers, and Tropic Beauty Model Pageant contestants will be on hand to add sizzle to the game. His April 3-10 tournament, which raised more than $500,000 for charity, earned Michael the titles of “Baron of Blackjack” and “Golf Great” because he did so well at the tables and on the greens, respectively.

‘THE SOMM’: The new documentary film “The Somm” has created a huge buzz in the Las Vegas F&B industry after its selected release to rave reviews in other U.S. cities. It starts screenings here June 21 and reveals the trials, tribulations and challenges facing anybody who sets out to become a master sommelier. Plans are being finalized for an industry screening that would raise money for the Keep Memory Alive fundraising arm of our downtown Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.

Become a beer cicerone also is very challenging. Demand for craft beers has exploded in recent months so much so that our Southern Wine and Spirits here is the first to add two cicerones: Russell Gardner and Samuel Merritt. They amazed me with the fact that Las Vegas now has eight local brewers, with two more to open this month. “The beer culture is really growing here,” Russell said.

COCO ON NUVOTV: “Peepshow” at Planet Hollywood and “Ice Loves Coco” star Coco Austin is on television next Tuesday — twice — and one of the stars of the NUVOtv series is a Las Vegas resident. Coco makes a guest appearance on the two-episode Season 2 premiere of “Curvy Girls” airing at 10 and 10:30 p.m. “Curvy Girls” stars Las Vegas resident Rosie Mercado and Ivory Kalber, who recently went backstage at “Peepshow” and posed for a photograph with blonde bombshell Coco.

NBA SUMMER LEAGUE: For the ninth year, the NBA Summer League will tip off here July 12 and conclude with a championship game July 22, all to be televised from the Thomas & Mack Center. There will be 21 NBA teams and a NBA D-League Select team competing, including squads featuring eight of the Top 10 NBA draft selections. This year’s field includes 11 of this season’s NBA playoff teams, plus, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards, who have played in every NBA Summer League here since its inception in 2004. The Cavs and Wizards select first and third, respectively, in the draft June 27. Tickets went on sale over the weekend at UNLV ticket outlets.


The Oxygen Network star Sabina Kelley of “Best Ink” Season 2 hosts a viewing party for its finale at Lady Silvia for Sailor Jerry Spiced Rums. Finale contestants and Las Vegas residents Derek Rubright and D.J. Tambe also will attend, and Sara Bryan from Kelly Cardenas Salon will have pin-up hair demos for ladies who want to look like Sabina.

Comic Andrew Dice Clay resumes four more nights at Vinyl in The Hard Rock Hotel.

The Psychedelic Furs are at Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip.

Congratulations to Surrender Nightclub in Steve Wynn’s Encore on its third anniversary celebrating with hit-making duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. The party also will include a performance by cast members of “Le Reve — the Dream.”

Life Is Beautiful Festival presents its fifth showcase of monthly Las Vegas music events with Kid Meets Cougar, Twin Brother, XNY, Cinemetric, Trevor and the Jones and The Pax Trend at Beauty Bar.

And the 2013 Miss USA Pageant contestants relax with an Italian family-style welcome dinner at Buca di Beppo on East Flamingo.


Stunning Julie Hayek was crowned Miss USA in 1983 and still goes on assignments to model swimwear. She’s about to release a book of her health and fitness tips. Plus, our Q+A with actor Ian Ziering of “Beverly Hills, 90210” fame ahead of his debut Thursday as celebrity guest host of Chippendales at The Rio through June 30, and continuing coverage of the Miss USA Pageant.

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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