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Las Vegas mob musical returning to the Strip

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February 26, 2020 By John Katsilometes

“A Mob Story” is due for an alternative ending.

Details to come, but the ill-fated production from the Plaza Showroom is set to come back to Las Vegas this spring. Reformed Mafia boss Michael Franzese’s autobiographical musical is set to re-open at Mosaic on the Strip, the former Tommy Wind Theater across from Park MGM.

Producer Jeff Kutash confirmed the rough timeline and that the show would be in an open-ended residency beginning in May.

In a text, he said it would be an open-ended run, saying in a text, “The opening of ‘A Mob Story’ at Mosaic Theater will be a real ‘Splash!’”

Har. That’s a coy reference to Kutash’s enduring hit show at Riviera from 1984-2006.

“A Mob Story” had a star-crossed run at the Plaza from September 2018 through December of the same year, announcing last February it had cut ties with the hotel. The show was impressively performed and staged. It was also known to be losing money. The amibtious show was laden with expensive production effects, a lavishly appointed new stage in a refurbished showroom, beautiful costumes, two vocalists and a full dance team.

As it was about to officially close in January 2018, Franzese conceded, “I was handed a budget of $1.1 million and ended up spending over $2 million on the show, all money that came from and through my efforts. I was very disappointed with those I trusted to deliver the show on budget.”

In a peripherally related development, Franzese’s gangster father, John “Sonny” Franzese, died Tuesday while hospitalized in New York at age 103. The elder Franzese never realized a lifelong dream to visit Vegas. The feds wouldn’t allow it.

‘Kimmel Live’ at Kimmel club

At some point, an interview with Jill Kimmel ceases to be a give-and-take session. It’s more like a chat at the bar at Jimmy Kimmel’s Comedy Club. That is actually where I met Kimmel, not knowing she was Jimmy’s sister, at the club’s premiere in June.

We talk of tourists at comedy shows, especially the late show when those in the club might be heckling or snoring after a couple of days playing Vegas tourist.

“It confuses me every time I see these people walking the Strip with these yard-tall containers of fruity, sugary, alcohol — and I grew up here,” says Kimmel, hosting at her brother’s namesake club at 10 p.m. Thursday. “How in the world do they do it? To see people who can rally through a day like that and get to comedy club at 10 o’clock, they are the heroes.”

Kimmel’s showcase hits right at that 10 p.m. start time. The series is her own platform, called “Jill Kimmel Live,” playing off her brother’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” late-night show. The club lineup and runs on select Thursday nights through the end of July.

Kimmel hosts the show Thursday night. This week’s lineup is Jason Schommer, Carmen Morales and Drew Morgan, fitting Kimmel’s goal to present emerging stars at a comic-friendly club on the Strip.

“I don’t know what it is about Jimmy’s club, maybe it’s because they just like Jimmy, but there is a better audience vibe than in a lot of comedy clubs,” Kimmel says. “They seem to gel better, they are there to laugh together. Maybe there are more locals there, but it’s a good atmosphere for comics. It’s so interesting how that happens.”

Kimmel recalls her brother’s first show was Sammy Davis Jr. at Circus Maximus at Caesars Palace.

“That’s a cool story,” says Kimmel, who lives in Scottsdale, Ariz. “But I’m remembering mine was Siegfried & Roy, which is also cool. We saw those shows when we were in high school. … I remember going to the Bacchanal Room at Caesars, which was $50 a head, even in 1985. Then we’d go to the show, then the dance, and it was limos everywhere. Growing up in Vegas was a very different lifestyle.”

A version of that story would actually work well in Kimmel’s act. “I always say, I want people to feel like we just hung out at the break room at work when they leave one of my shows. I want it to be relateable. I want it to be a fun conversation between friends.”

VGK investors score

Tom Kaplan, senior managing partner for the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, has stumbled upon an ongoing statistical category for the Vegas Golden Knights. The Puck group manages The Players Locker, with Golden Knights players Alex Tuch, William Karlsson, Deryk Engelland, Shea Theodore and Reilly Smith on board as investors. The restaurant at Puck’s former location in Downtown Summerlin held its VIP opening on Tuesday night.

Kaplan is keeping track of goals scored by the VGK partners. After the Golden Knights’ 6-5, overtime win over the Anaheim Ducks, Kaplan noted that Karlsson and Theodore combined for four goals. We’re now keeping track, officially, of the total for Players Club partners the remainder of the season. The winner should receive Puck’s commemorative No. 8 VGK jersey, with his name fittingly stitched on the back.

Playing hurt

Larry Ruvo topped Tuesday’s Players Locker VIP injury report, even with several Golden Knights in the room. Last week, Ruvo broke five ribs in a fall at home. But the founder of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health will be in the starting lineup at the March 7 Power of Love Gala at MGM Grand Garden Arena honoring Neil Diamond. As he says, “I just have to be careful not to hug too hard.”

Santana, EWF on the road

Carlos Santana and Earth Wind & Fire are in town in May, separately, as Santana continues his residency at House of Blues at Mandalay Bay and EWF is playing five dates at Pearl Concert Theater at the Palms. The two bands have never toured together, but that changes this summer, with a Santana/EWF double-headlining arena tour.

Vegas is not on that series (not with Santana already in residency here). The Live Nation-produced tour launches June 19 in San Diego, with performances in such metropolises as Los Angeles, Dallas, New York, Chicago and Toronto before closing Aug. 29 in Tampa, Fla.

Characteristically spiritual, Santana says in a statement, “It is a great joy and honor to co-share music with the magnificent elements of Earth, Wind and Fire. We look forward to delight, joy and ecstasy!” He returns to HoB on May 13, then resumes his residency Sept. 19, after the U.S. tour.


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