It’s been a very colorful and extremely popular 20-year run for the female impersonator show “Evening at La Cage” at the Riviera in Las Vegas. Since 1985 the show has gone on with non-stopped passion, headed up by headliner and “Mistress of Ceremonies” Frank Marino. A cast of female impersonators nightly duplicated every mannerism and nuance of Cher, Britney Spears, Madonna, Bette Midler, and Michael Jackson.
Last night, February 10, at 9 p.m. the iconic Las Vegas Strip show abruptly ended.
Only memories remain for the fourth longest running show in Las Vegas.
The cast and crew of the show were notified by owner Norbert Aleman that he regrettably was being forced to shut down the long-running production.
There were weeklong negotiations with Riviera executives and the show’s producers, but because of falling ticket sales and no sign of an immediate recovery for hotel bookings, it was decided to close the show.
Frank Marino, who played the show’s colorful Mistress of Ceremonies as Joan Rivers, held the title of Las Vegas’ longest-running headliner. He was presented with a key to the city on “Frank Marino Day” on Feb. 1, 2006. Additionally, Frank has a star on the Strip’s Walk of Stars and Frank Marino Drive in honor of him. He also appeared in “Miss Congeniality 2,” which was filmed in Las Vegas and authored the book “His Majesty the Queen.”
Marino said he was expecting the closure because of falling audience numbers. After a monthlong vacation, he says he’ll start work on his “ultimate drag show” he’s been working on for several months.
Also let go last night were actors Lane Lassiter, who played Michael Jackson; Steven Wayne, who played Cher and was at the superstar singer’s premiere last year at the Caesars Palace Coliseum at her invitation; Ryan Zink, who performed as Reba McEntire; Brent Allen as Bette Midler; and Crystal Woods as Diana Ross, along with Frank’s understudy James Henderson.
Norbert, who also produces the sexy topless adult cabaret revue “Crazy Girls” at the Riviera, says that revue will continue. “Crazy Girls” has been on extended hiatus since Christmas, and that lineup of eight topless beauties will reopen this Wednesday.
News of “La Cage” closing follows the announcement that “Folies Bergere,” the topless revue at the Tropicana, will close in March after a 49-year run.