Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Broadway's Gamble on Vegas No Sure Bet

Broadway's Gamble on Vegas No Sure Bet

Days after Avenue Q's producers proved victorious in snagging the Tony Award for Best Musical a couple years ago, they stunned the theatrical world by announcing that they were eschewing a national tour in favor of what appeared to be a quick Vegas cash-in at the Wynn Las Vegas. Despite a much-ballyhooed opening only last September, the shortened show has already come and gone.

Now comes word from another major Vegas venue -- the Luxor -- that its direct-from-Broadway hit Hairspray will close this Sunday. Hairspray had only opened this past February.

What went wrong? My contention is that in the effort to make a quick buck, the casinos pressured the productions to shrink their shows into 90-minute performances that could easily move audiences in and out. By selling out, producers of these two bona fide Broadway hits gutted the hearts out of what made them so successful in the first place.

I find it somewhat amusing that the only show left standing for the moment is the full-length, unretouched Mamma Mia! that continues to pack them in at the Mandalay Bay. But woe to the upcoming Phantom — The Las Vegas Spectacular that begins performances at the Venetian this coming Monday, June 12 in a dramatically shortened 95-minute version.

Perhaps audiences realize that shorter isn't necessarily better. What's going on in Vegas proves that abbreviated shows shouldn't count on staying in Vegas.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for Hairspray (Las Vegas) tickets.

Click here for Mamma Mia! (Las Vegas) tickets.

Click here for Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular tickets.

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