Broadway plays, Cirque du Soleil flourish in Sin City

Payday or mayday? | It’s reigning men in Las Vegas | Chi’s broadway bandwagon

f you want to succeed in Las Vegas, it helps to be one of the boys.

The top-selling entries in each of the three major entertainment genres that Sin City offers — headliners, Broadway shows and Cirque du Soleil — are all driven by the guys they showcase.

Ever since Garth Brooks opened at Wynn Las Vegas in December, he has never played to an empty seat. Granted, he’s not there all the time, and Wynn management is helping things along by subsidizing the country legend to keep ticket prices lower than usual (top $146.60). But Brooks, alone onstage with just a guitar, is proving a more potent seat-filler than most other entries.

On the legit front, “Jersey Boys” at the Palazzo just celebrated its 1,000th performance.

And when it comes to Cirque du Soleil, the Montreal-based group currently has seven shows running in Las Vegas, but the most popular are those driven by rock legends: “The Beatles Love” and “Viva Elvis!”

This boys club will grow in 2011 when Cirque starts performances of its announced Michael Jackson show, most likely at Mandalay Bay, where “The Lion King” has proven to be big on weekends (when families show up) and during the summer but doesn’t fill the house the rest of the time.

One gentleman whose power is reportedly starting to wane is “The Phantom of the Opera.” Management had been looking to run it in rep with the sequel “Love Never Dies,” but since that show has faltered in London, it’s a doubtful entry for Vegas.

Meanwhile, Barry Manilow holds his own nicely at the Paris, but with only 75 shows a year and a strong fan base, he’s in for the long haul.

The long-running “O” and “Mystere” continue to do well for Cirque, but others in the franchise are making do with deep discounts and, in the case of the troubled “Criss Angel Believe,” a total facelift. The goth illusionist’s epic has been in a constant state of readjustment since it opened to poisonous reviews two years ago, and a whole “new” version is slated for unveiling at the end of October.

And where are the women in this male mix?

A heavily touted rumor that Madonna would begin a show on the Strip was quickly dashed once financial calculations revealed it would cost an average ticket price of $335 to subsidize her $120 million-a-year fee.

Which means that Celine Dion remains the leading lady of Vegas. She returns to Caesars Palace, where she held sway from 2003-2007, starting in March for 210 shows over a three-year run.

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