Big Cat Magic Show Closes Before It Opens Downtown

Recently, it was reported former Las Vegas headliner Dirk Arthur would return with a big cat magic show at downtown’s Notoriety venue inside Neonopolis.

We’ve now learned that news was premature, which is something we’re very familiar with. Reporting something that changes, we mean, not prematurity. Probably.

Plans for the show have officially been nixed.

Las Vegas might not have a lot of water, but it has never experienced a kerfuffle shortage.

The CEO of Notoriety, Ken Henderson, says no deal with Dirk Arthur was ever in place (despite initially confirming the show was happening to the Las Vegas Review-Journal), and the venue will not be moving forward with the show.

News of the show being yanked was first shared by Las Vegas writer Sam Novak.

Word of Arthur’s possible return to a Las Vegas stage raised the hackles of animal rights advocates, as well as those of us who think the era of wild animals as entertainment has rightly come to an end.

In his letter to concerned animal lovers, Henderson slyly says, “It is imperative that all performers have a choice to perform…and the performers in the proposed show do not.”

That, friends, is a badass way of taking a stand for animals.

Arthur’s new paper-thin schtick was that the show would “focus on more education about preserving wildlife.” Yeah, the other era that’s ended in Las Vegas is people blindly swallowing spin.

That said, we know Dirk Arthur and have visited his home and compound (they’re the same place), and we found Arthur to be good-natured and he appeared to be genuinely concerned about the welfare of the animals in his care.

Dirk Arthur with a tiger cub in 2011. It was certifiably adorbs.

We feel for Dirk Arthur, as keeping wild cats is extraordinarily expensive.

Still, public sentiment isn’t going to change course anytime soon, or ever, truthfully.

Siegfried & Roy-style shows are a thing of the past, which is where they belong.

On a related note, given the recent sale of Mirage to Hard Rock International, expect the animals in Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat to be moved to places where they can live out their days in sanctuaries.

As good as his stated intentions might be, Dirk Arthur is unlikely to find a Las Vegas venue where his seed will find purchase. You know what we mean.

Another magician, Jay Owenhouse, has been trying to get a big cat show up and running on The Strip for some time, but his show has yet to materialize.

We love big cats. Lots of people do. If you didn’t watch “Tiger King” on Netflix, you’re a certified weirdo.

But wild animals in shows is done, and kudos to Notoriety for listening to the voices of animal rights supporters. They are legion, and vocal, and we consider ourself among their numbers.

We will never forget when Dirk Arthur introduced us to one of his white tigers (in his kitchen, no less). We shook the paw of another big cat, and it was one of the most awe-inspiring moments in our entire life. This was 10 years ago, but here’s the tiger.

Dirk Arthur treats his animals like family. These family members just happen to eat 20 pounds of meat a day.

That said, seeing wild animals appearing and disappearing onstage seems wildly inappropriate now. It’s been years since Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus bailed on using animals in its acts. “The Greatest Show On Earth” will be back, without animals, starting Sept. 28, 2023.

This whole debate (if you can consider such a one-sided issue a debate) may be moot soon.

Private ownership of big cats may be coming to an end. A bill restricting ownership of big cats is likely to be signed into law soon.

While Las Vegas is still grappling with the issue of using animals for entertainment, at least there’s no production show featuring big cats. Let’s keep it that way.

The shows at Notoriety are a hoot, and the venue dodged a bullet with its decision to curtail the prospect of a big cat magic show.