The Mirage has returned, minus its famous entertainment array

The Mirage
Illustration: Wade Vandervort

When the Mirage reopens this week after more than five months of COVID-caused closure, it will do so without the feature that has set the iconic resort apart from other Strip casinos in recent years—a truly eclectic portfolio of live entertainment options.

After reopening eight properties on the Strip in June and July, MGM Resorts announced on August 14 that the Mirage would come back to life on August 27, leaving only Park MGM still shuttered among the company’s Las Vegas resorts.

Labor Day weekend is expected to bring a significant bump for Vegas visitation, but the Mirage will be the only Strip spot to take advantage; the Tropicana pushed back its planned reopening from September 1 to September 17, and OYO Las Vegas and the Four Seasons hotel at Mandalay Bay have also delayed their plans. The Cromwell, the Palms, Planet Hollywood and the Rio also remain closed with no indication of a reopening date. Virgin Las Vegas was aiming for a November grand opening date at the renovating site of the former Hard Rock Hotel but announced last week that arrival could be delayed.

Several restaurants and retail stores, along with the pool, spa, salon and Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat, are set to resume operations at the Mirage, but its many shows aren’t. Ticketed live entertainment in arenas, showrooms and theaters is still not allowed under state mandate, though restaurant, bar and lounge venues such as Rose. Rabbit. Lie. at the Cosmopolitan and Mayfair Supper Club at Bellagio have been able to offer live music and scaled-down stage shows.

Big entertainment has been part of Mirage lore since Steve Wynn created the tropically themed property in 1989, when it opened as the largest hotel in the world and created the blueprint for the modern Vegas megaresort. It’s best known for the erupting volcano that greets guests along Las Vegas Boulevard and as the home of one of the most influential shows in Vegas history, the Siegfried & Roy magic spectacular that ran from 1990 through 2003.

When the coronavirus shuttered the Strip in March, the Mirage offered a seemingly unparalleled multitude of shows: The Beatles Love, arguably the most popular Cirque du Soleil production in Las Vegas; the 12-year-old music, comedy and ventriloquism show from America’s Got Talent champion Terry Fator; Boyz II Men’s concert residency, one of the longest-running music residencies on the Strip; rising-star magician Shin Lim’s new show co-starring mentalist Colin Cloud; stalwart singer Matt Goss’ throwback, lounge-style show at 1 Oak nightclub; and the all-star Aces of Comedy stand-up series featuring names like George Lopez, Jay Leno, Tim Allen and Ray Romano.

Two of those shows will not return in the same way. MGM and Fator confirmed that his show was looking for a new room in the spring. If he brings a new show to the Strip soon, it could be at a different, non-MGM property in a room smaller than the 1,300-seat theater he was sharing with Boyz II Men, Lim and the comedy series.

The Goss show continued to extend its run at the Mirage thanks to the singer’s strong following, but it won’t be back at 1 Oak, which was already set to shutter for good in late March. Previously operated by the Hakkasan Group, the club had come under MGM control and was expected to be renovated into a different type of entertainment venue, falling in line with Strip nightlife trends.

With no sign of the return of big-room entertainment on the horizon and the producers of smaller shows on the Strip applying more pressure in the hopes of getting back to business as soon as possible, it remains to be seen when any of the Strip’s stages will be activated again. But there will be a definite void evident when the Mirage returns.

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An award-winning writer who has been documenting life in Las Vegas for more than 20 years, Brock Radke covers entertainment ...

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