Risks With No Rewards
The Perilous World of Vegas Entertainment
By STEVE FRIESS
Alrighty! Finally some real action!
After a year of surefire success stories announced for Vegas, from Bette and Cher to the Elvis-themed Cirque du Soleil show, there is finally a sign on two significant fronts that some genuine gambling is going on with Vegas showrooms.
The first piece of news, that Steve Wynn is dumping Spamalot and bringing over Mirage headliner Danny Gans, has been received by most as a sign that the granddaddy of Vegas innovation has given up on experimentation after two successive Broadway flops.
It was cause for fellow Weekly scribe Richard Abowitz to conclude on his LA Times blog that “Vegas is all about playing it safe.” A fellow on my blog commented of Wynn, “It’s like he went out on a limb, took a real risk, retreated to the same-old.” Hunter Hillegas of RateVegas.com wrote, “Wynn got burned by Broadway (and an O derivative), so he’s going back to the tried and true.”
But even if that’s how Wynn sees it, he’s actually quite wrong: The Gans move is extremely risky precisely because it is a horrible idea. And you know it’s a huge risk when you consider how likely it is to be a mammoth embarrassment.