Longest-Running Las Vegas Strip Show Closing Unexpectedly

This iconic production has run on the Strip for 40 years and it’s closing on Dec. 30 (but hope remains).

Very few shows have a 10-year run, let alone get to play for 40 years on the Las Vegas Strip. Wayne Newton has been around as a Las Vegas headline act for roughly 60 years, but he has topped many shows across the city.

Donnie and Marie Osmond had an impressive run before Marie left her brother to become a solo act while Siegfried and Roy had a 13-year run at Mirage before Roy Horn was attacked by one of the duo’s tigers, injuring him and ending the act.

Barry Manilow has been a Vegas headliner for decades and Penn and Teller have played off the Strip at Caesars Entertainment’s (CZR) – Get Free Report Rio since 2001. That’s an incredibly impressive run, Carrot Top, who headlines at MGM Resorts International’s (MGM) – Get Free Report Luxor would have to play for five years longer than the magic duo to catch up, but surviving for 40 years is unprecedented.

That’s what’s happening, however, as “Legends In Concert” ends its run at Tropicana  after a performance of its “Back in the Building” Elvis show on Dec. 30.

Image source: Shutterstock

The Tropicana Faces an Uncertain Future

Tropicana changed hands this year, purchased by Bally’s Corp. (BALY) – Get Free Report , which plans a major remodel perhaps as soon as 2024. If that happens, the property would take on the Bally’s name and become the company’s western flagship.

At the time the deal closed in late September, Bally’s President George Papanier said that changes were coming, but they weren’t imminent. He made a statement that the company planned to operate the property for 18-24 months before making any decision on its future.

It’s also possible that Tropicana gets demolished and becomes the site of a new domed stadium for the Oakland Athletics. That’s a very uncertain operating environment and it was not an inviting one for the producers of “Legends in Concert.”

“We did have an option to return to the Trop, and it was great to be invited back, but in the ever-evolving landscape of Las Vegas entertainment, the Trop is not the best option for us,” Legends COO Brian Brigne told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “We have a couple of alternatives, which we will announce very soon.”

The show, it should be noted, does not have a new home lined up, but the company is confident that it will find one. 

One Las Vegas Legend Ends, But Could Be Reborn

“Legends in Concert,” isn’t really one show, it’s sort of a series of shows built around impersonators. It has included Las Vegas Legends like Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, and Sammy Davis Jr. as well as what would now be considered classic acts including Madonna and Michael Jackson. In recent years, the show has added Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Adele (among others) while also producing special shows like the Elvis one that will close its run in Las Vegas.

It’s a long-running formula that has worked, but which has also struggled in recent years as the Las Vegas Strip has gone from kitschy acts like Newton and Carrot Top to attracting A-list talent. When Adele and Lady Gaga are actually playing on the Strip, it becomes harder to get people to pay to see their impersonators.

“Legends in Concert,’ however, has generally drawn well enough that it should have options. The production has a long history with Caesars, since it previously played at both Harrah’s and Flamingo (and it began life at the Imperial Palace, which is now the Caesars-owned Linq.

With “Bat Out of Hell,” the musical based on the classic Meat Loaf album closing, Caesars has an open theater at Paris Las Vegas. The company also needs a headline production for the Jubilee Theater at its newly renamed “Horseshoe.”

“We have a previous relationship with Caesars, and we have been exploring options with them,” Brigner told the newspaper, adding there is one option to move the show downtown.

“Legends” might be a good fit at Horseshoe as Caesars is branding the former Bally’s as a gambler-friendly casino designed to have a classic Las Vegas vibe.     

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