Luxe Life Blog
Impressionist Greg London makes a risky move from Reno to The Strip
Master musical impressionist Greg London has traded a nearly three-year run at Harrah’s in Reno, where he won Nevada Magazine’s Entertainer of the Year Award, to launch an ambitious theatrical show here on The Strip.
Icons was supposed to open at Palace Station, but Greg switched to the larger Mardi Gras Showroom at the Riviera. The opening was set for last night but now opens 24 hours later tonight because the soundboards blew up in flames during rehearsals this week.
“It’s the same kind of terror and challenges I faced when I tried to get my show into London’s West End originally,” Greg said. “I’d waited so long to make it to Las Vegas because this is a one of a kind in the world place I always dreamed to be.
“But when I came back to the States from England, the Strip was overwhelmed with great impressionists. I literally had to sit it out for three years upstate until there was an opportune moment. The dream wasn’t just to play Las Vegas but more how to pull it off here.”
Greg, whose mother was English, was born in America but lived from age 3 in England. He returns all the time because his grandfather there raised him. Greg went to school in East Palo Alto, Calif., and got into a fight the first day because he wore his proper English schoolboy uniform.
Said Greg: “The kid who started the fight with me eventually became my first real friend, and I copied his accent and mimics, and he said I sounded like him. It was a natural talent all the way back then, so I started work at that point on what I wanted as a career. It’s been an incredible journey, and now I’m looking forward to the next and most important stage: Vegas.”
Growing up in the shadows of Queen Elizabeth’s Windsor Castle where the Rolling Stones originally played at the Skindles Pub, Greg dreamed first of London’s West End and then eventually Las Vegas. He performed in London for the first four months of 2007 and then shattered records with the 2 1/2 years in Reno. Now he has six months at the Riviera to succeed.
“Las Vegas is the Broadway of entertainment. I had to create a show that was totally different from anything else on the Strip, and we have. It’s going to be a challenge to make our mark. It’s going to be an adventure. This is very theatrical with a story created from different characters. It’s the hero’s journey. You’ll get impressions of Ozzy Osbourne with Kermit the Frog, or Rod Stewart with Tony Bennett, but it’s presented differently than you’ve ever seen. We have dancers, a big rocking sound band and quick-change costumes to make it all work.”
Greg was once selected to audition for the role of James Bond, and you’re going to see a salute to the spy even though he lost out to Timothy Dalton. One of Greg’s biggest fans is Clint Eastwood, who said when he heard the Dirty Harry impressions, “That’s truly great. You will leave everybody emotionally charged.”
Greg will include Las Vegas greats Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Smokey Robinson in his repertoire, along with Elton John, Barry Manilow, Tina Turner and Macy Gray. The buzz about the new boy on the block begins tonight at the Riviera, and we’ll have a report just before next month’s VIP grand opening.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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