“Jersey Boys” and David Cooperfield in Las Vegas

This review aired on KBAQ June 17, 2013


Paris Hotel
Las Vegas, NV


MGM Grand Hotel
Las Vegas, NV

A recent three day Las Vegas trip netted the chance to see four diverse shows – the Broadway musical, “Jersey Boys,” a Cirque du Soleil classic, “Mystere,” the famed Las Vegas illusionist, David Cooperfield, and a Las Vegas musical tribute to the Great White Way, “Broadway Celebration.”  In order to critique these shows, this week’s review will look at “Jersey Boys” and Cooperfield’s magic show.  Next week I’ll review “Mystere” and “Broadway Celebration.”

“Jersey Boys,” at the Paris, is the best Las Vegas show, followed closely by David Cooperfield’s illusions at the MGM Grand that, even when sitting close, doesn’t allow anyone to figure out the intriguing magical feats.

Before reviewing the shows, though, a few general comments about Las Vegas.  Why go is the first one?  As a person who doesn’t gamble, there is nothing in sleazy Vegas that can draw people who love the theater or want a classy experience.  Restaurants, once a Las Vegas lure with cheap and abundant good food, no longer exists.  Restaurants are expensive and they aren’t great.  A taxi driver said that soaring food prices are because people aren’t gambling as much.  Casinos, once so smoky you could hardly breathe, are improved.  Cheap drinks remain plentiful so many drunks gamble.

Vegas remains loud and garish, never beautiful, and always lacking in sophistication.  Pushing and shoving are obnoxious and the outrageous show prices are worse than Broadway musicals and yet the shows lack Broadway production values.

Not only are show prices high, ticket lines creep slowly and, with only one exception, “Mystere,” free house programs are non-existent or must be requested at some hidden lobby location before entering the theater.  Expensive souvenir programs are, of course, readily available.

Enough about Las Vegas.  It’s not a favorite place of mine.  What about the shows?  “Jersey Boys” is a sharp production with solid actors who create the various parts as if they are in the Broadway production.  The only difference in the show is the nearly 40 minutes cut.  The show still makes sense and the characters have believable depth.  Most of the musical numbers are left, but big sections of the show’s book are eliminated.  “Jersey Boys” is clearly the best Vegas theater experience and is comparable to both the Broadway and the touring production that’s played the Valley.  For tickets to “Jersey Boys,” contact the Paris Hotel box office at 702-946-7000 or 888-266-5687.

David Cooperfield has been doing his magic show for years but his tricks keep getting bigger, better, and grander.  Animals disappear and reappear and things come and go.  The show never gets boring and Cooperfield is a dazzling showman so you sit entranced as magic feats prove better than anything you’ve ever seen.  Cooperfield presents a great family show which appeals to all ages.  For tickets to David Cooperfield, contact the MGM Grand Hotel box office at 702-891-1111 or 800-929-1111.