If you’ve been at all following the Tropicana’s revitalization efforts, you know the mob has a lot to do with it. Not the actual mob, per se, but the history of the mob in Las Vegas—as in, Mob Attraction Las Vegas (“Wise Ways”), an interactive exhibit-meets-museum dedicated to chronicling organized crime in Sin City.
It’s at once a nod to the city’s past—one which the Tropicana, celebrating its 55th anniversary this year, is proud to be a part of—and an example of its evolution, as the attraction incorporates elements of technology not previously found in exhibits of this kind. The names Siegel, Rosenthal, Lansky and Spilotro read like a who’s who of Vegas’ heyday, when those sorts of underworld characters played a very specific role in shaping the reputation of the gambling mecca. Today, with films such as The Godfather, Casino and Goodfellas
now established classics, the time is right for Mob Attraction to tell its own story of some of the city’s most controversial figures.
As the Tropicana celebrates 55 years in 2012, another American institution celebrates an equally impressive milestone. Yes, we’re talking about the Beach Boys, who embarked on an unlikely reunion tour this year, performing 50-song sets to fans who never thought they’d see Brian Wilson and Mike Love on the same stage again. Call it kismet then that simultaneously, Surf the Musical (“Endless Summer”), a production based on the music of California’s most famous surf rockers, makes its Las Vegas debut at Planet Hollywood Resort.
Sun-kissed classics like “Fun, Fun, Fun,” “Surfer Girl” and “California Girls” form the framework of a story about young love that sparks instant nostalgia, even if you were born long after Pet Sounds first hit the charts. Director Kristin Hanggi brings her considerable talent to the production—she was Tony-nominated for Rock of Ages on Broadway—and the set boasts some special effects that have to be seen to believed. So, y’know, see it already.