Saturday, July 16, 2016 | 8:30 p.m.
The Las Vegas rock musical that has outlasted a series of ownership and venue changes is set to pull the plugs and pack the amps July 31.
“Raiding the Rock Vault” is ending its residency at Tropicana Theater at the end of the month. The show opened in March 2013 at the then-Las Vegas Hilton, survived when the hotel was overtaken by Goldman Sachs in renamed LVH, hung in when Westgate Las Vegas bought the hotel in July 2014, and persevered after moving to Tropicana in December of that year.
Tickets for the final performances are now on sale.
"We've had an exceptional run at the Tropicana," said producer Sir Harry Cowell, who along with the since-departed John Payne of Asia brought the concept of a rollout of classic hits of the 1960s, '70s and '80s to Las Vegas. "Since our debut in Las Vegas, the enthusiasm and dedication of our fans has been nothing short of incredible."
While popular with its fans, “Raiding the Rock Vault” was rarely self-sustaining (estimates of the show’s “break” for profitability ranged from 300-400 tickets sold per night). Penn Gaming President of Las Vegas Operations Bob Sheldon said of the show in an interview in May during the announcement of the Trop’s upcoming restaurant partnership with Robert Irvine: “We think ‘Raiding the Rock Vault’ is a great show, but it’s under-visited.”
Eric Puhl, entertainment manager at the Tropicana, said in a statement issued today: "We thank 'Raiding the Rock Vault' and their entire team for a wonderful run at the Tropicana Las Vegas. We wish them well in their future endeavors." The Tropicana Theater is welcoming the “rock ‘n’ roll a-gogo” dance show “Cherry Boom Boom” to the theater in the 10 p.m. spot on Sept. 8. A 6 p.m. production is still to be announced; unconfirmed buzz around the entertainment scene points to Justin Willman and Band of Magicians moving into that slot, though nothing has yet been announced.
What is certain is a high volume of high-volume rockers are leaving the Trop stage. "Raiding the Rock Vault" has featured Howard Leese [Lead Guitar] (Heart), Robin McAuley [Lead Vocals] (MSG, Survivor), Paul Shortino [Lead Vocals] (Rough Cutt, Quiet Riot), Jay Schellen [Drums] (Badfinger, Asia), Andrew Freeman [Lead Vocals and Guitars] (Lynch Mob, The Offspring), Michael T. Ross [Keyboards] (Lita Ford, Hardline), Hugh McDonald [Bass] (Bon Jovi), Mark Boals [Lead Vocals] (Dokken, Ted Nugent), and vocalists Stephanie Calvert (Starship) and Cian Coey (Meat Loaf).
In a text message today, Shortino, a man of great zeal on and off the stage, hinted that the show might resurface. He evoked the image of Duke Fame, the wordless role he performed in "This is Spinal Tap,” when making this point: “July 31st is our last show at the Tropicana, but not our last show. You can't keep a rocker down. And as Duke Fame would say, ‘Raiding the Rock Vault’ will continue to rock.”