Jay Owenhouse Magic Show Pulls Up Stakes

The Jay Owenhouse magic show, performed in a tent across from Mandalay Bay, has discreetly closed. Or, as people used to say, “pulled up stakes.”

Jay Owenhouse is known for his big cats, but that element of the show didn’t sit well with the Clark County Board of Commissioners, so the short-lived tent production was catless.

The show opened on Thanksgiving 2023, as quietly as it closed. The whole Owenhouse saga has been, well, odd.

This is the “Celestia” tent, not the Jay Owenhouse tent. Close enough for a “blog,” though.

There has been no official announcement of the closure of the show, nor has it been confirmed.

However, if you follow the “Buy Tickets” link on the Jay Owenhouse site, you get this.

Yes, clicking on a link is, technically, investigative journalism. We have made some room on our mantle for the journalism awards, please send them along at your leisure.

Other outlets where tickets are normally sold (if tickets were, in fact, sold) show no tickets available for any upcoming dates.

The Owenhouse tent sat on the site of the former Skyvue observation wheel. At one point, the site was being cleared and the rumor was the long-abandoned pillars would be removed. You know the ones. The pillars endure, sadly.

So, what’s odd about this whole saga? A lot.

Jay Owenhouse’s story is intertwined with that of another Las Vegas magician, Dirk Arthur.

We wrote about their Venn diagrams overlapping when Dirk Arthur passed away. Rumors swirled about Arthur’s death and some of the financial dealings between Owenhouse and Arthur.

Owenhouse was one of the last people to see Dirk Arthur alive, and moved into Dirk Arthur’s home almost immediately after Arthur’s death, we were told.

The deed for the sale of Arthur’s home was filed one day before his death. The home was sold to Clair W. Daines, trustee of the Daines Family Living Trust. Clair Daines is Jay Owenhouse’s father-in-law.

There has rarely been more “Nothing to see here!” in Las Vegas entertainment than this whole shady mishegoss. We didn’t want to use the word “saga” again.

And don’t get us started about what happened with Dirk Arthur’s 10 exotic cats. It’s all just part of the WTF brushed under the carpet because Las Vegas doesn’t have entertainment journalism.

Jay Owenhouse’s show was doomed form the start, but to its credit, it lasted six months longer than anyone anticipated. Hemorrhaging money the entire time, we assume.

Using a tent probably lowered overhead, but promoting a show in a crowded entertainment market takes deep pockets. Without exotic cats, there was nothing to distinguish Owenhouse’s show, and it got zero buzz, good or bad.

The biggest selling point was probably his very attractive kids, but from what we’ve seen, Jay Owenhouse has all the charisma of cheese curd. Enjoy this brainless advertorial segment on the local news (“Largest touring illusion show in America!”). Fun fact: “The Morning Blend” gets about 10,000 viewers, or about as many as can fit into one of the in-room whirlpool tubs at Bellagio.

Same old hacky props we’ve seen endlessly, but Owenhouse’s show did have 4.6 stars on Yelp. With 26 reviews. Did we mention he has a big family? Just saying.

We got no response to questions about what’s next for the Owenhouse tent, or the show, but we’ll share them if we get them.

Big thanks to Sam Novak at Vegas411.com for the heads up about this show closing.

Jay Owenhouse probably deserves props for making a go of a show outside a casino. It was an uphill battle from day one, especially when one relies on big cats as a draw. Shows featuring animals are disappearing, thankfully, but that leaves people like Owenhouse with no marketing hook and lots of hungry mouths to feed.

It seems lots of entertainers are still living on a prayer, but the Las Vegas entertainment landscape has changed dramatically. Even good production shows with money for advertising are experiencing declining ticket sales due to sports, bigtime headliner residencies and The Sphere.

Cheesy magic shows in Las Vegas are fading faster than buffets, free parking, coin slots, 3-to-2 blackjack and tipping. Long story.

Update (5/11/24): We heard back from the Owenhouse camp. The rep stated, “We completed our six month residency in the tent and are looking at doing another  international tour this fall. We are also exploring offers into a permanent building on The Strip.”