Terry Fator at The Mirage. If Las Vegas has anything, it’s got talent. Terry Fator: a puppeteer, ventriloquist and celebrity impersonator who won the big one on America’s Got Talent says in his own words, “It only took me 32 years to become an overnight sensation.” A true student of the voice-throwing greats, Fator takes the gifts of Edgar Bergen, Buffalo Bob Smith, Shari Lewis, Wayland Flowers and Jim Henson and mixes in the pipes of Garth Brooks, Rod Stewart, Etta James, Louie Armstrong, Axl Rose, Michael Jackson, even Ozzie Osbourne and, of course, Elvis. The show is star-packed even though numbers such as Fator’s legendary version of “At Last”—might be coming from a two-foot seductress named “Vicki the Cougar.” www.terryfator.com
Gordie Brown at the Golden Nugget. Watching this steroidal talent morph through five-dozen celebrity personas in 80 minutes makes you break a sweat in your seat. Mentored by such comedy impersonation greats as Rich Little and the late Danny Gans, Brown practically leaves their shadows in the dust while he moves through staccato flashes of Ted Koppel, Elton John, Mike Tyson and Garth Brooks … you’ll see Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias in there and lightening fast glimpse of Dustin Hoffman followed by Ossie Osborn, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, a drunken Billy Joel and a sensational Louis Armstrong. Blink and you’ll miss something in this packed 90-minutes of pure entertainment. www.gordiebrown.com
Frank Marino in Divas Las Vegas, The Quad. It’s not easy going from He to She, but Frank Marino does it better than anyone else in Las Vegas in his 75-minute comedy and song-filled show. Marino has been doing Diva acts in Las Vegas for so long the mayor named a day after him. He’s most famous for channeling the spirit of Joan Rivers, gowns, face-lifts and all, and running hilarious monologues in her voice. After 25 years at La Cage at the Riviera, however, Marino went solo, with his ladies in tow, and has not looked back: Britney Spears to Cher, to Diana Ross to Beyonce, and not forgetting Madonna, Dolly Parton and, of course, the pop chart’s newest sensation Lady Gaga. www.frankmarino.com.
Legends in Concert at The Flamingo. Next to Jubilee! it does not get more seasoned than this show in Las Vegas – quite an accomplishment, where hotels are projected to have a 20-year lifeline. Legends started at the Imperial Palace in 1983 with Elvis, Marilyn, Buddy Holly, Diana Ross, Cher among others and expanded through the years with the likes of Michael Jackson, Britney Spears and now Lady Gaga. The pace is fast, the music infectious. It’s a Las Vegas legend now as much a part of the city fabric as gaming and buffets. www.legendsinconcert.com.
Impersonation shows, whether comedy, crooning or crowded tributes make a comely complement in a city that usually has or has had the real thing playing right down the street. And for moments that call for times gone by find Beatles (Saxe Theater at Miracle Mile, and Love at The Mirage) and Rat Pack (The Rio) performances in aplenty in lounges where great entertainment, faux or bone fide, can be seen and savored for the price of a whiskey sour.