Curtain Up: Xavier Mortimer, iLuminate and more Vegas show news


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Xavier Mortimer keeps dreaming at Bally’s.

Multi-talented magician Xavier Mortimer celebrated 1,000 shows as a Las Vegas headliner last week, with a special performance at the Magic Attic at Bally’s Las Vegas attended by fellow local performers Tape Face, Melody Sweets, Adam London and cast members from “Friends! The Musical Parody,” “Marriage Can Be Murder,” Chippendales, “Potted Potter” and more.

That’s a major milestone for any show or artist, but Mortimer’s done it before. Twice. He first performed in Las Vegas as one of the stars of Cirque du Soleil’s “Michael Jackson ONE” at Mandalay Bay and took to the stage more than 1,200 times, and he also passed the 1K mark with his “Shadow Orchestra” solo production in France.

Still, this is a big deal. “This is a great feeling because I’m part of this community now,” Mortimer says. “I started this show three and a half years ago and had no idea if I would make a certain amount of months or shows. There was no expectation. So this is amazing.”

“Xavier Mortimer’s Magical Dream” first opened at the slightly smaller Sin City Theater at Planet Hollywood before moving to Bally’s one year ago. It plays at 6 p.m. Saturday through Thursday, one of three magic-based shows in the former Windows Showroom, which seats about 250. It was recently renamed the Magic Attic because the other shows there are “Paranormal” with mentalist Frederic Da Silva and “Potted Potter,” the Harry Potter parody.

Mortimer is a charming and whimsical Frenchman whose personality sets the tone for his show. It moves fast and makes use of video and music, co-stars the bubbly Allie Sparks as Belle, and makes great use of the bigger room with some stunning and sizable illusions.

“I kind of went back and looked at what was in the show that I didn’t like but couldn’t change because it was too much work, and thought, this is the time. I took the opportunity to revamp the show,” he says. “I moved stuff around so the pace of the show would be better and improved it a lot.”

There’s no shortage of magic on the Strip these days but Mortimer’s show stands out thanks to its friendly storyline and all-ages accessibility. And now that he’s found his footing in Vegas, he’s working on the next big step—touring the U.S. in 2021.

More show news this week:

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iLuminate is coming to Planet Hollywood this spring.

Maybe you saw the amazingly lit dance performances on “America’s Got Talent” or maybe you got a taste for what iLuminate can do while watching a performance by Chris Brown, David Guetta or the Black Eyed Peas. The tech-heavy performance group will launch its new show “iLuminate Presents: Happy Hour” at the Sin City Theater at the Planet Hollywood Resort on March 26, with a schedule set for 6 p.m. Thursdays through Mondays. This could be the next big all-ages show on the Strip, combining music, dance, comedy, technology in art. It’s a little bit Blue Man Group, a little bit Jabbawockeez and a whole lot of shiny neon fun. Founded by dancer and software engineer Miral Kotb, iLuminate’s show team includes co-director West Hyler and musical director Kevin Teasley.

Penn & Teller first played Las Vegas 27 years ago this week, bringing their magical comedy (comedic magic?) to the Strip at Bally’s. In recent weeks and continuing this weekend, the duo’s resident show at the Rio has become “Penn & Friends,” featuring Penn Jillette with Harrah’s resident Mac King and comedian-magician-actor-writer-podcaster Matt Donnelly, as Teller recovers from back surgery. The quiet half of the legendary team is expected to return to the show on February 1.

The most recent winner of “So You Think You Can Dance” is back at his regular Vegas gig. Bailey “Bailrok” Munoz rejoined the cast at the Cosmopolitan’s Rose. Rabbit. Lie. over the holiday season after completing the national “SYTYCD Live” tour and will be doing his thing Fridays and Saturdays.

Steve Judkins has performed in Las Vegas before his new gig at Mayfair Supper Club, having taking a turn in “Mamma Mia!” on the Strip. He’s teaming with fellow Australian expats Sasha Judkins and Jessica Lane to produce “Show Up for Down Under,” a benefit concert for Australia bushfire relief set for January 28 at The Space. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. and includes performances from Human Nature, the “Australian Bee Gees Show,” “Aussie Heat,” “Tenors of Rock,” John Di Domenico, Anne Martinez, Valerie Witherspoon Knecht, Kelly Anne Williams, Justin Rodriguez and more, plus door prizes, wine tasting, auctions and raffles and a “good old Aussie sausage sizzle.” Find ticket info at thespacelv.com.

Those Australian Bee Gees are all over the place. Their Thunderland Showroom production plays at 5 p.m. Saturday through Thursday at Excalibur and the group will be starring in this year’s Spread the Word Nevada Storybook Gala on February 29 at Bellagio’s Grand Ballroom. That event benefits the local organization that advances early childhood literacy in at-risk households and communities, so get your tickets at spreadthewordnevada.org.

Arizona Charlie’s on Decatur has introduced a new monthly comedy series from Bonkerz Comedy Productions at the Naughty Ladies Saloon. Alex “Koolaid” Ansel kicked it off on January 11 and James “Bigfoot” Scott picks it up next on February 8. Tommy Lama will perform on March 14. There’s no cover and more info can be found at arizonacharliesdecatur.com.





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