What happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas.
That's good news for Minnesotans who want to enjoy some of Sin City's most popular acts without having to put up with all the sin.
Impressionist Terry Fator dreamed of playing the Vegas Strip even before he won the 2007 season of "America's Got Talent." But he still takes time away from his regular gig at New York-New York Hotel & Casino in Vegas to hit 20 and 30 venues around the country a year. He performs Friday at Treasure Island Resort & Casino in Red Wing.
"I used to do 350 days a year on the road doing county fairs and elementary schools. It was very, very grueling," Fator said by phone earlier this month. "Now it's way more fun than it used to be. I get to see a lot of different places. I'll get e-mails and letters from across the country that say things like, 'My mom is not well, but she really wants to see you.' I'll forward those to my team and say, 'Let's get out there and do a show.'"
Fator's Vegas act is as dazzling as any David Copperfield trick.
He opened a performance this past March with a rendition of "We Are the World" in which he imitated many of the megastars who contributed vocals. That was quickly followed by a one-man rendition of "Under Pressure," with puppets representing Freddie Mercury and David Bowie. Between the pitch-perfect impressions, there was enough banter to fill a "Dad Jokes" book.
The Treasure Island crowd won't see those same bits. That strategy helps put his Vegas bosses at ease.
"My selling point to them was this: I will never do the same show on the road that I'm doing in Vegas," he said. "My pitch is that they should imagine every time I go on the road, it's an hour-and-a-half commercial to come to Vegas and see a completely different show."
Fator's Minnesota act will be slightly longer than it is in Las Vegas, where casinos really don't want visitors away from the tables for more than 70 minutes at a time. Even musicals like "The Lion King" and "Mamma Mia" have to cut more than a half-hour from the standard Broadway productions.
What local fans will miss out on is all the puppets. Fator used to bring along 12 of his cloth friends, but that became tricky. One time, the shipment didn't arrive in time and he had to borrow a puppet from the merchandise table.
Instead, Fator will be talking to some of his characters via videotape. He'll still do their voices live; they just won't be connected to his hand.
"Michael Jackson makes an appearance on video. So does Stevie Wonder," said Fator, who will still be bringing along his best mate, Winston the Turtle. "Several of my ventriloquist friends say it's one of the most brilliant things they've ever seen."
Scott Thompson, better known as Carrot Top, doesn't skimp on the accessories when he takes time away from his gig at the Luxor.
When the King of Prop Comedy comes to Treasure Island on Dec. 3, a semitruck will be hauling in fog machines, video walls and a dozen trunks filled with wacky items.
"It's always fun to get your face out there in different markets," said the veteran comedian, who does 240 shows a year on the Strip. "In Vegas, you get into a routine. On the road, there's a different energy. Maybe you change your show a little to customize for the town you're in. You have to work a little harder."
Getting acts like these can be difficult due to demand and their limited time off from the Strip. Carrot Top hasn't performed in the Twin Cities since a 2005 gig at Mystic Lake Casino.
But it's worth the effort, said Alison Fogarty, Mystic Lake's vice president of marketing.
"These are entertainers that understand the casino industry and the environment," said Fogarty, who will be welcoming Vegas staples Marie Osmond, magicians Penn & Teller and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham over the next year. Dunham's July 10 appearance, rescheduled from a previous date, is already sold out.
Like Fator, Thompson is looking forward to stretching his stage time during the five traveling shows he's squeezing in before the end of the year.
"On the road, I can do material I don't have time for in Vegas," he said. "At the Luxor, they want you in and out."
The bookers at Minnesota casinos are also eager for guests to get out and gamble. But they also want to be seen as entertainment meccas that offer a little bit of everything, including a taste of Vegas.
"Our motto is 'Destination Fun' and we think Vegas is fun," said Aaron Seehusen, public relations manager for Treasure Island. "There's nothing low-key or quiet about these kinds of shows. We can assume that some of the people who come to Treasure Island also go to Vegas, so we want to bring some of that atmosphere here."
Fogarty said her establishment is also keen on entertaining those who regularly go to Vegas. But she wants to cater to those who are wary of making the trip, too.
"You want to give those folks an opportunity to see those acts in their own backyard," she said.
Fator understands that some people are skittish about coming to Las Vegas because of the pandemic. But he hopes his show can help change minds.
"My assistant's parents are very, very traditional. They were terrified of coming," he said. "We finally convinced them. Now they can't wait to come back."
When: 8 p.m. Fri.
Where: Treasure Island Resort & Casino, 5734 Sturgeon Road, Red Wing.
Tickets: $39, ticketmaster.com
When: 8 p.m., Dec. 3.
Where: Treasure Island.
Tickets: $27. ticketmaster.com