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August 1, 2014

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On the Strip:

Frank Marino to play himself  for a change

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Leila Navidi

Frank Marino, who for years played Joan Rivers at “La Cage,” serves as grand marshal during the gay pride parade Friday in downtown Las Vegas.

If You Go

  • What: “Tony ’n’ Tina’s Wedding,” with guest star Frank Marino
  • When: 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays
  • Where: Planet Hollywood
  • Tickets: $86.69 and up; 949-6459

Frank Marino

Frank Marino as Joan Rivers delivers his monologue during Launch slideshow »

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Beyond the Sun

Frank Marino’s resume is rather thin.

The only job the 44-year-old entertainer has ever had, he says, was starring in “La Cage,” which abruptly closed in February after a 24-year run at the Riviera.

The Joan Rivers impersonator will fatten his curriculum vitae Friday when he joins the cast of “Tony ’n’ Tina’s Wedding” at Planet Hollywood, stepping into the role of “celebrity guest” — currently being played by Kato Kaelin.

Marino is scheduled to perform through May 21, but says it could be longer.

“Since my show closed, I’ve been weighing my options,” he says.

While he is weighing, he decided to accept the producer’s offer to attend the wedding.

“I’m very excited,” Marino says. “It reminds me of when ‘La Cage’ producer Lou Pacicco first hired me. It was so exciting and different.”

He says he’s been a fan of “Wedding” for years, thanks to his friend Larry Atello, who portrays wedding singer Donny Dulce in the comedy.

“I’ve seen the show many times because of Larry, who recommended me to the producers,” Marino says.

Marino will play himself, attending the wedding as a friend of the bride.

“I may be doing a toast and a monologue, which is my forte, using my cutting-edge humor,” he says.

Never one to dream small, the flamboyant performer envisions the possibility of performing in other “Wedding” productions — the show is in eight other cities from New York to San Francisco.

Meanwhile, he has an even bigger dream — producing and starring in the biggest drag show in the world.

“In the more than 10 weeks I’ve been off I’ve had costume designers working on costumes, music people doing the music. I have a cast on hold, getting all the pieces in place,” he says. “To be honest with you I didn’t realize how much was involved in being a producer until I actually had it fall in my lap. I had no desire to be a producer until I was forced into it.”

Marino says the show he is creating will take elements of “La Cage” and turn it into an MTV-type production. He says he will use some of the cast members of “La Cage” and others.

He will call it “Frank Marino’s Diva Las Vegas.”

“We’ll be impersonating celebrities like Rihanna, Pink and Beyonce but we’ll be keeping the staples, like Cher, Madonna and Britney Spears.”

Marino decided not to rush into a new production when “La Cage” closed without notice.

“With the economy being the way it is, I don’t want to open a show just to open a show,” he says. “Right now I think it’s best to be a guest star in a show and work my way up into doing what is my ultimate dream of having my own drag show again.”

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