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January 30, 2015

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New music, magic acts give Vegas taste of something different

Two dynamic shows have opened in Vegas — one is music, the other magic.

“Hitzville” is a Motown revue loaded with talent led by Jin-Jin Reeves.

“Magic at the Edge” stars Jeff McBride, an extraordinary entertainer who mixes magic and Kabuki theater in a no-frills production that will amaze you.

‘Hitzville — The Show’

This production at the Harmon Theater (inside Krave, next to Planet Hollywood) features covers of some of Motown’s most popular recording artists from years past.

The show may be leading the pack because several parties have indicated an interest in bringing Motown to Vegas, including Sidney Barnes, who recently moved to town and has a lot of connections with Motown alumni.

But “Hitzville” is here and seems ready for a long run at Krave. You may have seen the production at the Hilton this year, when it had a limited run before going on tour.

It’s a flawless production with Reeves as the centerpiece. Reeves, a Detroit native who lives in Henderson, covers such superstars as Gladys Knight (“Midnight Train to Georgia”), Aretha Franklin (“Natural Woman”) and Tina Turner (“Proud Mary,” a show stopper).

But she doesn’t overpower the group Fair Play, which performs the Four Tops (“Bernadette,” “I Can’t Help Myself”), the Drifters (“Up on the Roof,” “Under the Boardwalk”) and the Temptations (“My Girl”). The group includes Daniel Mitchell, Larry “Red” Williams, Freddie Eckstine and Ron Stevenson.

The scenes flow smoothly, alternating between Reeves and her backup singers and Fair Play. With a five-piece band backing up the singing, this is a big show in a comfortable showroom where the energy is high and the fun nonstop.

You can enjoy a Southern-themed buffet at the same time — fried chicken, collard greens and pulled pork, among other items prepared by chef Jon Landry.

When you leave the theater your heart — and stomach — will be full.

Details: “Hitzville — The Show”; 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, buffet seating at 6:30 p.m.; Harmon Theater in Krave, Planet Hollywood; $30 general admission; $54.95 and $65.95 with buffet; 836-0836

McBride’s ‘Magic’

Las Vegas magician Jeff McBride offers a magic show with a twist — after each performance Friday and Saturday night at Palace Station, the 150-seat showroom turns into a bit of a circus scene.

If you attend the show, you can get into the circus scene for free, otherwise you pay $10 ($5 if you wear a costume to add to the circus atmosphere).

The “after show,” billed as McBride’s Wonderground, features celebrity guest magicians, performance artists, uncommon variety acts, a psychic sideshow, celebrity interaction — and a dance featuring DJ Leo Diaz.

But you’ll be satisfied even if you skip the party and just attend one of the magic shows. McBride is one of the most creative magicians around.

When he toured Japan at age 16, he became fascinated with Kabuki Theater and has blended it into the show. He creates some amazing routines with fast-paced mask changes, which become a form of magic in his hands — said to be among the fastest in the business.

McBride’s specialty is sleight of hand, and his show does not disappoint. The production is more than magic, it’s art and interaction. He seems to have as much fun as the fans.

The show is far too short, a little more than an hour crammed full of humor and tricks that will have you shaking your head in disbelief.

Its three-month run may not have been long enough for fans.

Details: Jeff McBride in “Magic at the Edge”; 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Mondays; following Friday and Saturday performances there’s an interactive magic show and dancing; Sound Trax, Palace Station; $49; 574-5300,

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