3/5/2001 (By Doug Puppel) LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – After 40 years of disappearing, illusionists Siegfried and Roy have decided to stay put.
The Las Vegas icons announced late Monday that they would complete their career at The Mirage hotel, where they and their signature white tigers and lions have been performing since February 1990, shortly after the Strip resort opened.
A new contract, dubbed a lifetime deal, will keep Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn at The Mirage at least through December 2003 and can be extended by the pair. Terms were not released.
“Europe showed us borders,” Siegfried said at a news conference. “Las Vegas showed us the possibilities.”
During their marathon run at The Mirage, the German-born pair have performed nearly 5,000 times to more than seven million people, generating more than $1 billion in revenues, according to executives with MGM Mirage, owner of The Mirage.
Kenneth Feld, Siegfried and Roy’s producer for more than 20 years, said that the act and the resort have become identified with each other. “It was always the intent that they would become synonymous,” Feld said, describing how the show plays off The Mirage’s jungle theme, which incorporates large public displays of some of Siegfried and Roy’s animals.
While shows such as Blue Man Group at Luxor or Cirque du Soleil’s “O” at Bellagio have brought more cutting-edge entertainment to the Strip in recent years, Siegfried and Roy were revolutionary in their time, according to one longtime observer of the Las Vegas scene.
“The original show was a quantum leap from what came before,” said Anthony Curtis, publisher of Las Vegas Advisor, which tracks the city’s casino deals. “It was described as Pink Floyd meets Wagner.”
ACT KICKED OFF ERA OF SIGNATURE SHOWS
Their brand of big-set magic replete with showgirls and giant props that include a mechanical dragon also kicked off an era of resorts developing multimillion-dollar signature shows in specially designed theaters.
Today, former teen heartthrob Rick Springfield headlines “EFX” at MGM Grand and troupes of performers from Cirque du Soleil are featured at Bellagio and Treasure Island, all MGM Mirage properties. Elsewhere on the Strip, magician Steve Wyrick appears at the privately owned Sahara and Lance Burton has several years to run on a lengthy contract at Monte Carlo.
These shows work not only in driving foot traffic through the casino, but are profit centers themselves.