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Penn & Teller invite Michael Carbonaro to theater-sit at Rio

Updated April 11, 2022 - 9:47 am

It’s called the Penn & Teller Theater for a reason. Penn and Teller are the dedicated headliners and have been for 21 years. They don’t often, or ever, cede the stage to a long-running production.

That changes May 26, with the opening of “Penn & Teller Present Michael Carbonaro: Lies on Stage.”This is the first show to perform at the Rio theater since P&T opened there in in 2001.

Tickets start at $55 (not including fees) and are onsale 10 a.m. Monday. The show runs 8 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays, through July 10. Penn and Teller are filling postponed tour dates in Australia in May and June. Carbonaro, a friend of the duo, is happy to step in.

The host of the prank show “The Carbonaro Effect,” was asked how he worked a deal to star in the Penn & Teller Theater.

“Well, I threatened them,” the 45-year-old Carbonaro said in a phone chat. “It was a blackmail situation. I’ve got some real dirt on these guys.” Hey, don’t rule that out …

Actually, Carbonaro has been friends with the magic duo for several years. He has even managed to reach an elusive demographic: Zolten and Moxie CrimeFighter, better known as the Penn and Emily Jillette’s kids.

“I think when his kids started watching my show is when Penn started looking at me a little differently,” Carbonaro said. “And he said, ‘My kids love your show. You’re on all the time.’ I think that had a lot to do with it.”

In a statement, Jillette said he was happy to turn the keys over to Carbonaro. “He is one of our favorite magicians and we are so happy to be able to present him in his first extended Las Vegas run.” Teller said, “His magic is mind-blowing because he’s such a madly great writer/actor. I see him about midway between Disney and The Rocky Horror Show.”

“The Carbonaro Effect” is a playful, practical-joke series in which the beguiling Carbonaro pranks folks caught on hidden camera. He is shown creating a tea candle from a glass of iced tea, and digging up a skeleton that seems to spring to life at a construction site.

Carbonaro likens himself to a trickster in a Bugs Bunny, human-character form.

“I tend to draw families, and it’s good, clean family fun for everyone,” Carbonaro said. “It’s a funny kind of wit, I think, a good cheekiness that people like. Teller called me ‘a smart-ass with a heart of gold,’ which I think describes it really well.”

Wynn show

The production show replacing “Le Reve” at Wynn Las Vegas, headed up by Baz Halpin’s Silent House Project, is expected to open in September. There is to be a pre-show, walk-in experience, too. That’s why you see all the construction boards at the front of that theater, and also Encore Theater.

‘Faaab’ concept

The “Faaabulous Drag Brunch” held its friends-and-family show Sunday. Very cool experience in the new Chandelier Room at Notoriety Live. We remember that space as the lobby of the old Galaxy Neonopolis 11 Theaters multiplex. We also remember an absence of air conditioning. Those days are in the deep past.

The new weekly brunch show opens formally at 12:30 p.m. Easter Sunday. Christopher Kenney’s Edie character from “Zumanity” is in full flourish, powering out “These Boots Are Made For Walking.” All the cast members sing, unique among drag-brunch shows (or any drag shows, actually). The space is beautifully appointed with chandeliers and dining tables if you want to sit, the bar is open if you want to hang there. Delicious noshes from Chef Dominic Depatta, including little pancakes, shrimp cocktail, muffins and fried quail eggs, delivered in decorative racks. So easy.

“Faaabulous” is also expanding to 8 p.m. Thursdays, along with its Friday performance. The brunch concept is another hit for Ken Henderson’s Notoriety Live entertainment fortress, which also features mentalist Vinny Grosso, country-rocker Chase Brown (and his Disco Ladder), “Viral Live” with comic musician Sarah Hester Ross, and the “Laughter After Dark” series. Also, from April 26-28, the “World Series of Comedy” festival rolls into the venue, featuring some 40 comics.

Henderson’s space was a pandemic-shutdown success story. It’s living well today, too.

Great Moments in Social Media

Fans of “Raiding The Rock Vault” can be encouraged by the show’s Twitter feed, which promises, “Big news coming very soon!” As they say in Rio, “Let’s conga!”

Cool Hang Alert

The Delta Bombers, a rock band not for the meek, enlivens The Space at 8 p.m. Wednesday. The hard-rocking band plays a mix of ’50s rock, southern blues and rockabilly. The roster of Chris Moinichen on vocals, Gregorio Garcia on bass and P.J. Franco on drums has toured extensively with such like acts as Reverend Horton Heat, The Blasters and Legendary Shack Shakers. Tickets start at $20, not including fees, at thespacelv.com.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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