R.I.P. Pawn Shop Live, Celine’s Hiatus, and Other Strip Odds and Ends

Combing through this, that and the other on the entertainment scene


Celine Dion

Sweeping up odds and ends—including odd endings, the endings of oddities and a curiosity or two in between:

• Iron your leisure suit—the Australian Bee Gees show has been extended through 2018 at Excalibur. In conveying such news, one should never squander the chance to say that this tribute show is stayin’ alive. Or that it’s got a night fever that just won’t break. Or that I made a couple of jokes that got the whole world cryin’. … I’ll stop now.

• In Judaism, when there is a death, we say “Kaddish,” which is a prayer for the dead. With the merciful expiration of the unfortunate being that was terminally ill from the day it first drew breath, I will say Kaddish for Pawn Shop Live! Born January 2014 at the Golden Nugget. Died August 2014 at the Riviera. May it (forever) rest in peace.

• Beginning this month, comedian Matt Kazam brings his Defending the Caveman-ish show, called 40 Is Not the New 20, to the Riviera. Suggested subtitle: No Shit.

• Aussie-themed Sydney After Dark, featuring ladies from Down Under shucking their tops, briefly strutted and shimmied before shuttering at Planet Hollywood’s PH Showroom. Producers are searching for a more intimate venue they apparently feel better suits the sensual revue. There’s a counterintuitive joke here about hot women believing smaller is better. But I won’t make it.

• Speaking of counterintuitive … a production of Mamma Mia that isn’t a hit? Holy Rainbow Spandex, Batman! Worldwide, this candy-flavored musical is rarely less than a sugar rush for audiences—nearly every version, whether a tour or standing production, has succeeded, including a healthy previous Vegas run at Mandalay Bay. This time around, the show, revived at the Tropicana, was tentative and unfocused, at a venue long off the main loop for big-league shows. Does that make the Trop Mamma Mia’s … Waterloo? Nope—just a not-so-cool production that got an appropriately lukewarm response.

• Lower on the show-failure radar was Magia, Latino illusionist Reynold Alexander’s prematurely clipped Vegas debut that arrived at the Clarion Hotel in May for a run through July, only to vanish mid-run. Though Magia (Spanish for “magic”) was underwhelming in its execution and destined to be little noticed at the off-Strip Clarion, the suave Alexander is an accomplished magician and culturally unique among Vegas’ plethora of prestidigitators. Despite his disappearance—and with a bigger budget and better positioning—he’s worth a reappearance.

• Finally, in news that reverberated around the planet, Celine Dion announced she’s put performing on hold, canceling Caesars Palace shows through next March, as well as an Asian tour in the fall. Though an illness causing inflammation of her throat muscles was part of the explanation, helping her husband, René Angélil, battle cancer while raising their three kids was the driving motivation. Caesars will reshuffle its schedule and go on.

But anyone who prioritizes family over career—you, me, a global superstar—earns a Great Big Standing O.

Got an entertainment tip? Email Steve.Bornfeld@VegasSeven.com.