Historically, Las Vegas has struggled to find success with Broadway
spin-offs. Several productions in recent years have come and gone
faster than the puppets can be unboxed and wigs powered.
But now, competing resorts are banking on two household names to
fill the theater seats Mel Brooks and Monty Python. The first to
hit the stage will be “The Producers”, which is scheduled to begin
preview performances at Paris Las Vegas on Jan. 31 with an opening
night gala scheduled for mid-February. And waiting in the wings:
“Spamalot.” A production, at Wynn Las Vegas, that is expected to
pull the curtain back for previews on March 8.
Mel Brooks is tightening the Tony-award winning musical to a tidy
90 minutes for Las Vegas audiences and calling on a couple veteran
performers to get the production off to the right start. The cast
includes Brad Oscar in the role of Max Bialystock and David
Hasselhoff is going to play flamboyant director, Roger DeBris.
Oscar, of course, is no stranger to the role as the theater
producer in the musical. He has played “Max” more times than anyone
else in the history of “The Producers” with some 1,100 performances
under his belt. In fact, Oscar, replaced Nathan Lane in New York
City and London, and opened the show’s national tour in Boston.
Hasselhoff, perhaps best known for “Knight Rider” and “Baywatch,”
has theater experience as well, having performed on Broadway in
“Jekyll and Hyde” and “Chicago, The Musical.”
Down the Strip, “Spamalot” will play in the newly remodeled Grail
Theater. Starring “Dancing with the Stars” alum John O’Hurley,
“Spamalot” tells the legendary tale of King Arthur and the Knights
of the Round Table searching for the Holy Grail complete with
chorus lines of dancing divas, killer rabbits and a legless
“The Producers” and “Spamalot” are hoping to buck an unsettling
trend that’s seen New York City hits fizzle in the desert heat.
“Hairspray” closed a mere four months after it opened and Steve
Wynn’s version of “Avenue Q” called it quits following a short run
in the very same theater where “Spamalot” is headed. But it’s not
all bad news. “Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular” has played well
to crowds at The Venetian. Brooks, for one, is counting on similar
“It’s going to be a tough ticket to get,” he said in an interview
to Caesars Player.
Meanwhile, the newly renovated Golden Nugget downtown Las Vegas is
jumping on America’s fascination with ballroom dance and bringing
the idea of television’s “Dancing with the Stars” and “So You Think
You Can Dance” to the stage.
The Golden Nugget’s “Simply Ballroom” christened the casino’s new
600-seat showroom. Created by Jon Conway, a prominent London
theatre producer, “Simply Ballroom” mixes a number of dance styles
including tango, salsa and the waltz set not only to traditional
music but also techno and some familiar tunes such as Cyndi
Lauper’s “Time After Time” and Santana’s hit “Smooth” featuring Rob
“Simply Ballroom” features 10 world champion ballroom dancers and
has played to audiences in South Africa, Dubai and Europe. It’s the
first time the show has been produced in the U.S., and it is
scheduled to run at the Golden Nugget through at least March.
“Audiences in London have been following this craze for several
years,” said Conway. “After experiencing ‘Simply Ballroom’, the
Golden Nugget audiences will want to learn how to do the dances
Tickets for “The Producers” can be purchased by calling Paris
Las Vegas at 877-374-7469 or visiting www.parislasvegas.com.
Preview performances begin Jan 31. Plays nightly at 8 p.m. with a
Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. Dark Wednesday.
Preview performances for “Spamalot” begin March 8. Tickets range
from $49-$99 and are available by calling 702-770-9966 or
888-320-7110 or by visiting www.wynnlasvegas.com
Showtimes for “Simply Ballroom” are Monday, WednesdayFriday at 8
p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets start at
$24.95 for matinees and $29.95 for evening shows, and are available
by calling the Golden Nugget at 702- 386-8100.