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Donny Osmond summons 3 careers (at least) in Harrah’s return

Updated September 23, 2022 - 7:04 am

Donny Osmond has returned to his first Vegas production residency at Harrah’s Showroom. But the man who has hit the mark with “Puppy Love,” “Crazy Horses” and a cover of Stevie Wonder’s My Cherie Amour” in a 60-year career is never alone.

“For certain generations, I’m part the Donny & Marie duo. For others, I’m one of five members of the Osmonds,” Osmond said Wednesday afternoon just after announcing new dates at Harrah’s covering January through May. “To others, I’m a solo artist. So I don’t think it’s all that important to stand as a solo artist, because if it was just all about me, I wouldn’t have the tribute to Marie, a tribute to Andy Williams, a tribute to my brothers.”

The 64-year-old Osmond has hinted of Marie Osmond taking in the show almost since he launched the series in September 2021. He and his family saw Marie perform at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah, on July 2, when she opened for Tim McGraw. Donny also surprised his sister onstage during her sold-out show at SCERA Shell Outdoor Theater in Orem, Utah on Aug. 21.

Marie has said she is bound for Harrah’s Showroom at some unspecified date. It’s all a matter of time and timing.

“Well, she’s got to be prepared to be onstage,” Donny said, laughing. “I have the whole request segment in the show, where people shout any song I’ve ever recorded. I’m going to turn that whole segment over to her and say, ‘OK, now’s your opportunity to sing any song we’ve ever done. It’ll be very interesting to see what she chooses.”

Memba the ‘Rock?’

“Rock of Ages” once seemed all but certain to play the former 1 Oak Nightclub at the Mirage as early as this year. But funny things happen to production shows when their intended resorts are sold. Hard Rock Hotel’s takeover of the Mirage has thrown the musical back into search mode. Hard Rock still might be the place, though that won’t happen until 2025.

Co-producers Scott Prisand and Matt Weaver say they would prefer to bring the show to Vegas in 2023. That, or take the show on the road before returning to Las Vegas.

“Rock of Ages” ran at The Venetian from 2012-‘16, and for about another year at the Rio before closing on Jan. 1, 2018.

The show had also seemed ready to return to the Strip at Planet Hollywood in 2021, before those plans halted as the company took down several of its small-capacity entertainment venues. A return to The Venetian and a move to Wynn/Encore don’t seem to be options. The Strat had sent execs to see the show in L.A. just before COVID, but nothing materialized. But plenty of options remain for a proven title, especially when you fold in the Bourbon Room nightclub as part of the experience.

While they are back in survey mode, Prisand and Weaver have redoubled their commitment to “RoA” by hiring Emmy Award-winning designer David Korins. The highly regarded visionary has been nominated for Tony Awards for “Hamilton,” “Beetlejuice” and “War Paint.” Korins also created for “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “Bandstand,” the latter developed by Vegas writing partners Richard Oberacker and Robert Taylor.

“David is the biggest Broadway set designer in the world,” Weaver said in a phone chat Thursday. “He is creating this immersive Sunset Strip experience. Whatever room we wind up in on in Vegas, you’re going to walk through this portal where you’re on the Sunset Strip, with tattoo parlors and record stores. You’re going feel like you’re right outside of the Whisky, or the Roxy, or the Troubadour.”

Or, some Las Vegas resort to be named later.

Those residents

A couple superstars performing at this weekend’s iHeart Radio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena know the Strip pretty well, especially Zappos Theater.

Friday’s opener, Pitbull, headlined Zappos from 2017-2019. He was back at the theater last weekend, joined by Iggy Azalea and Sean John.

And Lionel Richie was an off-and-on headliner at Zappos Theater from 2017-2019. He’s currently at Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas. But those are the only two performers in the entire field that can be defined as “resident” performers. One day, maybe, The Black Keys will make it here (a personal call).

Great Moments in Social Media

You need to click over to Lijana Wallenda’s Instagram page for a look at her latest creation: The Gazillionaire’s golden, Swarovski crystal-covered stage shoes for “Absinthe.” Unreal. They are kind of hypnotic, gleaming in a very Vegas sort of way.

Wallenda is the famous high-wire walker from the legendary Wallenda circus family (she dreams of walking across Allegiant Stadium one day). She is also the resident costume director of “Absinthe.” Wallenda also created the personalized face covers I wore for much of the pandemic, when that was required, and has designed a few crystal-covered Altoids boxes. I have one of those, too, as does 100-year-old Vegas magic icon Gloria Dea.

Legend of the Linq

John Legend filmed the video for “Nervous” on the High Roller observation wheel earlier this year. The song and video were issued this week. Legend’s team hauled a baby grand into one of the pods. Check it out on Legend’s YouTube channel.

The whole scene looks like an all-time Cool Hang Alert. Legend is back at Zappos Theater Oct. 14-21.

Cool Hang Alert

For real, Groove Culture, a kickin’ Vegas band (“groove” is right there in the title) is playing two shows starting at 9 p.m. (doors at 8 p.m.) Tuesday (Sept. 27) at The Usual Place at 100 S. Maryland Parkway in downtown Las Vegas. Famed drummer Pepe Jimenez heads up the roster, joined by bassist Keith Nelson, percussionists Gabriel Falcon and Chiqui Garcia, sax man Charles McNeal and keyboardist Bill Zappia. Caribbean flavors, jazz, funk and rock are on these artists’ “color pallet,” as Jimenez says. Music runs until about 11:30 p.m. No cover. Take a spot near the bar, to bask in the ambience of it all.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.