‘Siegfried & Roy’ void is no Mirage

Finding sub for longtime magic act will be tricky

LAS VEGAS — The future of the “Siegfried & Roy” show, one of the oldest and most popular in Las Vegas, was in doubt Monday as Roy Horn continued to battle for his life.

The illusionist remained in critical condition Monday at the University Medical Center after a white Bengal tiger grabbed him by the neck and dragged him offstage during a performance Friday.

The show has been closed indefinitely and its 250-plus crew have been told to look for other jobs.

The show was a major revenue contributor to MGM Mirage, the company that owns the Mirage Casino and Resort, where “Siegfried & Roy” has been based since 1990.

MGM Mirage must decide how to handle a replacement attraction for “Siegfried & Roy,” a touchy situation as Horn’s recovery is likely to be very long and difficult and his ability to return to work may not be known for weeks or months.

Show, which was usually sold out, generated about $44 million in annual revenues and attracted nearly 400,000 people a year.

In addition to the revenue generated directly by the show, guests who came specifically for it spent money at other Mirage facilities, including the hotel, casino and restaurants.

For those reasons, the Mirage will likely want to find a replacement act as quickly as possible. Out of deference to the magicians, the hotel-casino is not likely to sign a permanent replacement act right away. Observers say the Mirage will most likely use the pair’s theater for high-profile bands and other acts that are easy to book and don’t require extensive renovation of the physical facility.

An estimated crowd of 200 cast, crew and supporters held a Sunday evening candlelight vigil in the parking lot of University Medical Center. As the throng sang “Amazing Grace,” Horn’s magic partner Siegfried Fischbacher was seen watching from one of the hospital’s fourth-story balconies.

Bellagio Resorts CEO Bobby Baldwin informed the crowd that Horn was now able to move his arms and legs. He was also able to respond to his doctor’s command for a thumbs-up.

Friends of Horn said he suffered a stroke on Friday night during surgery to close the wounds from the tiger attack that night. He went into surgery again on Saturday and Sunday for operations to relieve pressure on his brain.

Family members maintained an upbeat attitude in public. At the vigil, Horn’s brother Alfred said, “I saw him today and I can honestly say that he will make it.”

An impromptu tribute to Horn has developed at the statue of Siegfried and Roy located on the Mirage property facing the Strip; fans and friends are leaving flowers, balloons and personal messages.

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