LAS VEGAS – Penn Jillette, the half of the Penn & Teller act of magic and comedy who helped define Las Vegas nightlife for decades, took the stage the other night and watched a maskless audience but socially distanced scattered across the theater at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.
“We just went 421 days without a live show,” he said, referring to the forced sabbatical that lasted until the end of April, with his silent partner Teller finally back by his side. “My boy, it’s nice to see people at the theater. “
The next morning, less than a mile away, a troop of Cirque du Soleil acrobats somersaulted in the air, all wearing masks, as they warmed up on a steel-framed ship. swinging over a 1.2 million gallon pool in preparation for reopening. O ”in July and a second show,“ Mystery, ”later this month. By the end of the year, they hope to have seven Cirque du Soleil shows at full capacity.
Fifteen months ago, this bustling desert tourist destination closed its doors almost overnight, as theaters, restaurants and casinos emptied and Las Vegas faced one of the biggest economic threats in the world. his history. The stakes could not be higher as the Strip tries to emerge from the shadows of the pandemic and the first crop of shows faces a tough reality: It’s hard to open shows without tourists, and it is difficult to attract tourists without shows.