On the Scene with Brock Radke: Barry Manilow, 'Zumanity' and more
Grammy-, Tony- and Emmy-winning singer, songwriter, arranger and producer Barry Manilow marked a monumental Las Vegas milestone last month. His April 18 performance at the Westgate International Theater—part of his wildly popular new residency Manilow Las Vegas: The Hits Come Home!—was his 500th show at the iconic venue, stretching back to the property’s days as the Las Vegas Hilton. His first show at the International Theater was on Jan. 12, 1988.
Considering the Westgate is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019, it’s the perfect place and time for Manilow to continue to build on his Vegas legacy. He’s back May 9-11 and has also extended the residency gig into September and October. Yep—looks like he made it.
Like its fellow Cirque du Soleil productions, Zumanity reveals additional thrills, humor and audaciousness upon repeat viewings, but unlike many current shows on the Las Vegas Strip, this one actually exceeds expectations when it comes to being edgy and provocative. Zumanity has been evolving its own brand of erotic artistry in its cozy New York-New York theater for more than 15 years.
There are astounding, dangerous aerial acts, a seductive take on the traditional two-person hand-balancing act and plenty of jokes and jabs from your host Edie. It’s rare that a show with so many different kinds of performances maintains such consistency from act to act, and it’s all bolstered by an incredible group of musicians and singers that helps give Zumanity a spirit all its own.
Around the Strip
When the Backstreet Boys pulled a fan onstage to serenade with “Shape of My Heart” during one of their final performances at Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort, it turned out to be Aimee Preston, girlfriend of Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler. It wasn’t long before Tyler bounded onstage to present her with a rose and thank the boy band for the song.
Aerosmith’s members have been making the Vegas rounds since opening their own Strip residency at Park Theater. Tyler also hit The Mirage for an exclusive behind-the-scenes experience at Cirque du Soleil’s beloved The Beatles LOVE, visiting the show’s backstage audio room where he listened to a few isolated tracks from the 120 Beatles songs used in the show’s iconic soundtrack before spending some time posing for pics with the cast. And Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer was also out and about, taking in Absinthe at Caesars Palace.
Multitalented singer and entertainer Usher partied at XS Nightclub recently, enjoying a set from hitmakers The Chainsmokers and posing for photos with the Wynn nightlife resident DJ duo.
It’s probably no surprise that the “queen of burlesque” stopped in to see one of the sexiest shows in Las Vegas. Dita Von Teese hit the Hard Rock to catch Magic Mike Live and strolled backstage for a private meet-and-greet with the cast. A few nights later, it was Glee actor Kevin McHale’s turn to check out the Channing Tatum-created show.
Brock Radke is an award-winning entertainment reporter who has been covering the city since 2000, and interviews key movers and shakers on his All The Vegas podcast, available at allthevegas.com