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December 22, 2014

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Looking back at the hits and misses of Broadway-to-Vegas productions

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Steve Marcus

Musical chairs: Broadway productions like Avenue Q haven not fared well here, but Vegas keeps trying.

With Phantom – The Las Vegas Spectacular closing after a successful six-year Venetian run, let’s look back at the Broadway-to-Vegas productions that worked ... and those that didn’t:

Jersey Boys This one felt like a hit, too. The giveaway: When the show announced its early 2012 closure at Palazzo, it also announced that Paris Las Vegas snapped it right up. The show might be leaving, but it’s not going far.

The Producers A musical about a producer who can make more money with a flop than with a hit. Pure fiction, turns out. And if you don’t believe me, ask Paris Las Vegas.

Mamma Mia Another six-year run, another success. Mandalay Bay replaced the show with The Lion King. Hard to say whether that one was a success. The cast put on 1,000 performances from 2009 through 2011. That’s not bad, except that there weren’t as many people in the audience as there needed to be. If ticket sales had been stronger, obviously, the show wouldn’t be closing.

Hairspray and Avenue Q No beating around the bush here: These shows were total disasters. Closed after a year. They weren’t cheap to put on, either. Hairspray cost $12 million. Avenue Q was cut, supposedly so Wynn could make room for Spamalot, but, well, that show closed right away, too.

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