Britney could learn a lot about showmanship from this guy. Piano Man Extraordinaire Liberace was already pulling down a $50,000 a week salary in Vegas back in the 1950s. In many ways, he was the perfect Vegas performer - combining extraordinary talent with a love of glitz, glamour and excess. Lots of excess. Too bad the piano tunes kept getting in the way of all that wonderful excess.
I believe there was a time early in his career when Newton wasn't associated with Las Vegas, but few can remember it. He's been a Vegas Strip institution for more than five decades now. And he's that rare performer who actually got famous in Vegas, then the rest of the world. Much-maligned by critics, all Wayne does is keep selling tickets. I think he has to - he also continues to have much-publicized money problems.
The Rat Pack
A loosely-defined name for a group of guys who liked to perform and hang out in Vegas. They were the ultimate in Vegas cool. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Junior were the main guys, though you could also include Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop as rat packers. They mostly performed individually in Vegas, but tended to show up at each other's gigs and do impromptu songs and gags. Most famously, the group got together in 1960 to film the movie Ocean's Eleven in Vegas and perform together at night. The movie turned out mediocre, but the Rat Pack shows are legendary.
Penn & Teller
Are these crazy magician guys workaholics or what? They've had books, TV specials, and a TV series (Bullsh*t), all the while performing six nights a week for the last 13 years at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino six nights a week? Gosh. That's a lot of shows. Their appeal has always been twofold - they do magic tricks (impressive ones), but they do them with a sense of humour and cynicism - very often revealing how the trick is done.
A straight-forward magician (unlike Penn & Teller) with a lot of Vegas glitz and glam, Copperfield makes the bold claim that he has sold more tickets than any other individual performer in Vegas. The guy who made the Statue of Liberty disappear is also famous worldwide, but if you gotta see magic, you best see him live in Vegas, where money tends to disappear into thin air...
Many see Elvis' seven-year stint in Vegas as a sad chapter in his career. Gone was the rebel rocker - replaced by a fat, sequined shadow of himself performing for middle-aged housewives. He did bring a new audience to the desert. And few walked away from his 837 performances feeling they didn't get their money's worth. Yet, Vegas seemed to suck the life out of The King, who succumbed to his excesses in 1977.
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Elton has had a couple of long, successful runs on the Vegas Strip. His 'Million Dollar Piano' show at Caesar's Palace ran for five years, and was followed by another long run of tickling the ivories. When I heard my 78-year-old mom saw Elton in Vegas, I was a little shocked. But Elton's penchant for stage flamboyance seems well-suited to the desert. Guess he's sort of the new Liberace, but with more hits!
Well, you can't argue with success. Celine had a five-year run of sold-out shows at Caesars. So what's a performer to do? Well, another world tour. Then yet another go-round as Las Vegas' resident Queen of Song. Her show is Vegas-style huge - much like that voice of hers.
You wouldn't expect Prince to be a big Vegas guy, but he's actually been performing there for years. He had an extended gig at the Aladdin back at the turn of the millennium and set up camp at his own intimate nightclub in 2006, where he performed twice a week. He's currently headlining at the Hard Rock, where he's got a new band and, apparently, a better attitude on stage. Translation - he seems happy in Vegas.
Cher seems tailor-made for Vegas. She has the glitz, glamour and all those costume changes. And, indeed, she has had a number of big Vegas stints, including a hugely successful three-year run from 2008-11. She's currently on another one of those 'final' farewell world tours but is sure to arrive back in the desert very soon.
Don't laugh! This annoying little prop comic has been selling out in Vegas consistently since 2004! His fast-paced show has wide-appeal for the whole family - assuming your family isn't put off by his freaky plastic surgery. Really now, Carrot Top? People don't go to see you for your looks.
After a lengthy absence from performing, Shania decided to take her act to Vegas last year at Caesars Palace. Gutzy move. But why not? Shania was always about the visual as much as the music. And you don't get more 'visual' than the Vegas stage. The country crooner will be performing there through 2014....and maybe longer if the ticket sales hold up.
Siegfried & Roy
You can't mention Vegas without mentioning Siegfried and Roy, the illusionists with all those big white kitties. They performed their huge act from 1990 till 2003 at the Mirage, and were once ranked as the ninth highest paid performers in America. It all came to an abrupt end in 2003, when Roy was attacked by his own white tiger and severly injured.