Friday, Dec. 4, 2015 | 1:59 a.m.
Seconds before he was due to leave backstage to start his annual Christmas show, Mirage headliner entertainer Terry Fator told me to expect some surprises. He sure lived up to his dressing room promise.
Clearly delighted and still on an emotional high, Terry told the audience of his marriage last Saturday to Angie Fiore, a Dallas catering events chef. Our report was posted Monday along with wedding photos.
Terry said that he wrote her into the show so she’d be home for Christmas and not flying between Dallas and Las Vegas for work. The couple grab a quick post-wedding break this Sunday and Monday at Disneyland but are hoping to go for their honeymoon in Cabo San Lucas, one of their wedding gifts, in January.
Although his opening-act dance DJ Ben Harris now handles onstage arrivals and departures of Terry’s ventriloquist dolls, Angie does help out and has zingy comedy patter of her own.
She even changes from her black floor-length evening gown into a costume as “Mom” to Winston the Impersonating Turtle. Annoying neighbor doll Duggie Scott Walker puts her cooking skills to the test once he’s explained his Merry Juana holiday, and even the band bites into the snacks.
Our thanks to contributing photographer Tom Donoghue for his photo gallery of the show, especially that onstage kiss under the mistletoe. They don’t need that anymore!
The second surprise was Terry’s storyline for the new show hoping to find the true meaning of Christmas, and in an incredible impersonation of Charlie Brown, the lights are dimmed as Winston does a scripture reading of the Nativity from the New Testament’s Book of Luke.
It may be the first time that any biblical story has ever been told on a Las Vegas stage, but Terry made it work beautifully with his cast of crazy characters: Vikki the Cougar, country legend Walter T. Airedale, R&B singer Julius, Liberace lookalike Berry Fabulous and Elvis impersonator Maynard Tomkins.
Terry even has a new Bing Crosby doll to sing “White Christmas.” Terry’s jokes come fast and furious, and his banter with Angie adds to the family show that he’s always wanted to create for Christmas.
But it’s his duets between Kermit the Frog and Louie Armstrong, Garth Brooks, Eartha Kitt and Aaron Neville that are spot-on amazing. His lips don’t move as he re-creates their songs and lyrics. Totally remarkable, especially when Julius does his version of Cher’s “Jingle Bells.”
His seven-piece band moves the Christmas production along at a speedy pace as guests keep ringing the doorbell for a party reminiscent of a long-ago Christmas TV special with Andy Williams and The Osmonds. Terry’s medley to videos of such stars as Judy Garland and Ethel Merman is another winner.
An audience member is dragged onstage to be fitted with a mask with ventriloquist controls and dressed as Dolly Parton. Even the curvy shape expands to 48DD. The guest “sings” as Dolly while Terry duets as Rod Stewart.
It’s laugh-out-loud humor, and the audience loved it with cheers, especially when the guest nodded his head vigorously against a Las Vegas runaway marriage to his girlfriend celebrating her 21st birthday. Even Terry lost himself for a moment in the hysterics.
Terry is the amazing man of a thousand voices able to perform more than 100 perfect impersonations using 16 puppets. After winning Season 2 of “America’s Got Talent” in 2007, Terry appeared at the then Las Vegas Hilton before his May 2008 five-year, $100 million contract began at the Mirage.
It is one of the largest entertainment deals in Las Vegas history. He celebrated his 1,000th show on May 30, 2013. Now two years later, he’s still going strong and is as fresh, fun and unique as when he started out.
Audiences are still selling out at the box office. His energy and enthusiasm are infectious, and adding new wife Angie into the winter wonderland Christmas production adds a genuine feeling of family warmth.
Terry has managed to mix humor and Christmas carols, and it is a truly welcome and pleasant concoction for this time of the year. He pays tribute to our veterans and sings one of his own songs to them.
But among the jokes of Santa’s sleigh reindeer chilling on the roof, he also has successfully managed to weave in his story of the true meaning of Christmas to the delight of the audience, including a large number of early arrival cowboys for Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
His updated annual tradition is in safe hands (and voices), and the dolls have fallen in love with the new Mrs. Fator as much as he has! “The Very Terry Christmas” shows run Mondays through Thursdays until Christmas Eve at the Mirage, with select Saturday shows added this weekend and next.
Robin Leach of “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” fame has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past 15 years giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Las Vegas Sun Entertainment + Luxury Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.