Danke schoen: Wayne Newton to perform at Corn Palace FridayMr. Las Vegas is bringing the glitz and glamour of Sin City to Mitchell. Wayne Newton will perform a show at 7 p.m. Friday at the Corn Palace.
By: Jennifer Jungwirth, The Daily Republic
Mr. Las Vegas is bringing the glitz and glamour of Sin City to Mitchell.
Wayne Newton will perform a show at 7 p.m. Friday at the Corn Palace. As of Wednesday afternoon, 1,100 tickets had been sold. Corn Palace Director Mark Schilling said the Palace can hold 2,750 people for the show, so there are a number of good seats left. To purchase tickets, visit the Corn Palace Box Office, call 1-800-289-7469 or visit www.cornpalace.com. Tickets are $40.
Iconic in the entertainment industry, especially on the Las Vegas strip, Newton has recorded and released 165 albums and appeared in 34 motion pictures — and don’t even ask how many singles the star has recorded. He’s lost count.
But Newton, 69, knows his success wasn’t easily accomplished.
“It was very hard work as I reflect on it now in retrospect. I don’t know how the heck I even did it,” Newton said in an interview with The Daily Republic. “And to think about it now, it would be impossibility.”
He has been involved with music since he was 4.
“I didn’t know much about Las Vegas. My parents were primarily country music fans. I was playing music in church and country music,” he said. “I had no idea really what Vegas meant other than that once you played Vegas, you supposedly achieved a modicum of success.”
His Vegas career began after his brother and he went on a TV show in Phoenix. It was then he decided to branch out music-wise.
“When I came to Las Vegas when I was 15, it was the big band music they wanted to hear,” Newton said.
He began playing for the Vegas crowds six nights a week for five years.
He first headlined at The Flamingo Hotel in 1963. He stayed there for four years before signing with the Frontier Hotel, which is no longer open. He also performed at The Sands and The Desert Inn, which both closed.
In 1980, Newton bought The Aladdin, which is now Planet Hollywood. He’s also performed at Vegas hot spots Caesars Palace, the Hilton and the MGM.
“I have played most of the hotels in this town,” Newton said.
Although accustomed to the glitz and glam of the Vegas nightlife, Newton said he anticipates enjoying his performance at the Corn Palace.
“The building is phenomenal when thinking of how old it is. It’s that kind of thing I wish Vegas had more of,” he said. “When Las Vegas finishes with a hotel they tend to implode it. So it’s really nice for me, as a performer, to see places like the Corn Palace. Those are the kind of places I enjoy the most.”
His performances — and he said he has never played the same show twice — have been a huge success. His stage presence and voice drew the masses and got him labeled him “Mr. Las Vegas” and “The Midnight Idol.”
“The biggest compliment I’ve ever been paid was when the press started to refer to me as ‘Mr. Las Vegas,’”
Newton said, adding that fans’ continual desire to see him play in Las Vegas has kept him there.
As his career escalated, he broke into television and film.
His first television show was with Jackie Gleason in 1962. That appearance opened the door to record his hit song “Danke Schoen,” which led to numerous appearances on “The Lucy Show,” “Here’s Lucy” and “The Ed Sullivan Show.”
In 1965, Newton twice appeared on the popular western show “Bonanza.” He has since appeared in numerous TV shows and movies, including “Vegas Vacation,” “The Hangover” and “Smokin’ Aces.”
“It’s been keeping me busy enough to not get into too much trouble,” Newton said of all his projects over the past 50 years.
Newton has witnessed the ups and downs and transformations across the Vegas scene.
“There’s tremendous change in some ways, but really the more it’s changed, the more it’s stayed the same,” he said.
In Newton’s early years, Vegas was a city of about 79,000.
“As the world found out about Vegas, it became a city of 2.5 million. From that standpoint it changed,” he said. “It went from entertainment and gambling to a convention town.”
That transformation drew in a much earlier crowd. Instead of heading to midnight shows, people were in bed.
That meant Newton went from two shows a night to one 8 p.m. performance.
Entertainment attractions also strayed from musicians to what Newton called “star policy.”
“Siegfried and Roy broke out a show. That became a success,” Newton said. “The town went to a 10-year period with magicians up and down the strip. Then there was a 10-year span of impressionists. And the last 10 years it’s been the Cirque du Soleil shows.”
The demand for changes in entertainment came with changing crowds visiting Vegas each year, he said.
“People come to the shows more casual,” Newton said. “In the ’60s and ’70s, people would dress up more and take a date to the show.”
But despite a change in the industry, Newton has kept going. And he admits he never thought he’d achieve the success and status he has.
“I never based what I was doing on whether I was going to be a success at it,” he said. “I performed because that’s what I love to do.”
And he doesn’t see an end to his career anytime soon.
“I’ll keep performing as long as I have something to give,” Newton said. “I don’t see any end to it. I love what I do.”