• Categories


    First big change: Ice T is now a regular cast member. (Photos by Cashman Photo)

    March is the month of show makeovers, apparently.

    Starting March 3, Zarkana is debuting a new soundtrack and aerial straps act as part of a refresh for the Aria Cirque show. Which is fairly par for the course for Cirque. Viva Elvis went through this kind of process, as did Believe.

    On March 17, the long-running Jubilee! returns after a total overhaul with new music, choreography and the like. (As long as they didn’t ditch the boobs, everything else is just gravy. For the love of God, please tell us they kept the boobs.)


    Clowns, from left: Horrified, Mildly Surprised, Fierce, Mostly Confused.

    Speaking of people in town filming movies, Romany Malco was back at Aria where he’d filmed some of Last Vegas. He never had time to catch Zarkana while he was here, so he doubled back while in town Saturday filming for Think Like a Man Too.

    Paula Abdul and boyfriend John Caprio were there as well, with Abdul saying she wanted to come train with the banquine team. Which seems like a terrible idea if you’ve just taken like 40 Xanax, but what do we know?

    Speaking of bad ideas, we’ve all seen the Last Vegas trailer by now, right?

    It’s like the word “Ugh” came to life, developed a fondness for film, but was trapped in an oppressively conservative small town, finally moved to L.A. when it turned 19, worked its way up through the studio system and made a movie with Robert De Niro because it once saw Raging Bull during a high school History of Cinema class.

    At least Michael Douglas follows “I’ve got news” with “I’m getting married” and not “I got cancer from cunnilingus.


    We assume he’s still wearing his purity ring. (Photo by Cashman Photo)

    Joe Jonas went to see Zarkana last night after taking the inaugural Virgin Atlantic LAX-to-LAS flight, bringing along girlfriend Blanda Eggenschwiler. The last time Richard Branson was connected to that theater, he was driving a Viva Elvis Cadillac. Now he’s just sending out Jonas Brothers to do his bidding? Man, being a billionaire has to be so much fun.


    Aw, so close to being see-through. If only there were some way, any way, to see Coco’s breasts. (Photos by Cashman Photo)

    Ice-T was out and about for his birthday on Saturday night. And how does he spend his birthday? Kind of like your mom would, actually. He and Coco went to see the early show of Zarkana along with two friends. That’s either strangely endearing or kind of sad, and we really can’t make up our mind which.

    On Friday, the two of them hit up Chateau around 1 a.m. after Peepshow wrapped, which is a little closer to how we’d imagine Ice-T would rock his birthday weekend. Roseanne Barr, meanwhile, took her turn at Zarkana on Friday with her mother, who loved the sand painting. We rest our case.


    When reached for comment on his opinion of the show, Ice responded it was “too cold, too cold.” (Photos by Cashman Photography)

    A show just isn’t a show until you’ve had a flash-in-the-pan ’90s rapper come by. So congratulations, Zarkana, you just made your bones.

    Vanilla Ice, along with Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe were at the Aria Cirque–Rowe last night and Vanilla on Monday. He was there with his assistant. Why in the hell does Vanilla Ice have an assistant in 2013? There can’t possibly be that much work to do in the Ice camp, can there?

    Attached photos are courtesy of Cashman Photo.


    Would she have been more impressed by O?

    Professional not-impressed person and silver medal Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney brought her parents, brother and sister to see Zarkana Friday night before judging the Miss America pageant. Though apparently she has some stiff competition in the not-impressed department from Tommy Lee Jones. You know what could settle this once and for all? A spirited round of “Who’s More Grizzled?”


    Cirque du Soleil, brought to you by American Beauty.

    There’s a moment early on in Zarkana where there’s a lady balancing on a ladder balancing on a guy balancing on another ladder balancing on a piano and all we could think was “Good god, we hope they fall.”

    Into a big fluffy mattress or something. We didn’t want anyone to get hurt. It’s just that we wanted something, anything, to break up the sterile monotony of Cirque’s relentless professionalism. Because if there’s anything Zarkana is, it’s a distillation of that ethos.

    Wait, did we say distillation? We meant “straight up recycling of everything they’ve already done.”

    Zark is a Frankenstinian amalgam of Cirque’s previous efforts, wrapped up in a vaguely magic-themed rock opera — if you’re the type who finds your average Trans-Siberian Orchestra show a little too raw and rocking for your delicate tastes.

    There’s the two-man clambering over wheels routine (Ka), the trapeze guys (Mystere), the creepy-ass baby (Immortal), the clowns, the clowns, the endless goddamn interstitial clowns (every fucking Cirque show ever). At the end of the day we can’t even be all that mad because this is now the eighth show of theirs in Vegas with a ninth on the way and asses keep on filling seats.

    This particular iteration of “incredibly talented acrobats flipping around a surreal landscape” features the main character, Zark, wandering from tableau to tableau singing in the company’s Cirquish. While this doesn’t necessarily make the show more intriguing or mysterious, it does ensure that we’re going to care 1,000 percent less about what’s going on.

    Like, if you could take a Pottery Barn and make it into a musical, you’d get Zarkana. Cirque is what it is. The theatrical equivalent of NPR and room-temperature, moderately priced chablis. It’s stage direction for beige. And if we could figure out what it is about that particular combination that sucks so many people off the casino floors and dumps them into giant theaters filled with Seussian-looking organs in stage-side vestibules, maybe we could afford to be shot into space, too.


    So … Zarky.

    Cirque’s latest offering, the replacement-Elvis, Zarkana makes its big bow this evening with all the attendant star-studded hoopla that entails. One of these days we need to really put it all together and have Guy Laliberte pull a Felix Baumgartner and space-jump into a show premiere. Really whip the crowd into a frenzy. And also make Le Reve feel just awful about itself. (more…)


    Zarkana looks really surprised and concerned here.

    Zarkana is giving away free tickets by way of treasure hunt — the way all great free things are acquired — through Nov. 2. There are 50 of those blue eyeball stickers hiding in Aria, Town Square, Tivoli Village and The District. Find them and redeem for two tickets to the upcoming show Nov. 9.

    Find one of the five golden eyeballs and you, sadly, don’t get to tour the Wonka factory. You do, however, get entered to win a package deal complete with one-night stay for two at Aria, party passes, and dinner.


    And you thought Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark couldn’t work here.

    With Viva Elvis on its way out at Aria, Cirque is bringing in current Radio City/touring production Zarkana to fill the pompadour-shaped hole in its schedule.

    The final Elvis performance is set for Aug. 18 — two days after the 35th anniversary of the King’s death — and Zarkana will take over in November. There won’t be any remodel to the theater (except, we assume, taking off those TCB door handles), and the production will be scaled down to 90 minutes from its current Radio City length. First dibs on roles will go to performers already in the touring production, which is bad luck for anyone who spent a long time memorizing all the lyrics to “Bossa Nova Baby.” Tickets go on sale in April. Scope the Vegas Seven review to the new Cirque in town during its New York run.