Rivers, Riviera and Frank Marino: Vegas’ Favorite Drag Queen Celebrates 30 Years on the Strip

As it becomes official that the Riviera Hotel will be closing its doors forever this year, one of the first entertainers to reside there is celebrating 30 years as a headline act in Vegas. Frank Marino, better known as Ms. Las Vegas, continues his/her reign as the longest running headliner on the strip.

Now headlining in “Divas Las Vegas” at the Linq, the feisty impersonator first starred in “An Evening at La Cage” at the Riviera Hotel. Playing every night at 9:30, Divas has become by far the biggest and most extravagant drag show you will ever have the pleasure of seeing.

As a performer, Marino is a shining star, taking on the personas of your favorite divas in the blink of an eye. Known primarily for his scarily accurate mimicking of the late Joan Rivers, Marino personifies the Hollywood diva with one easy sweep of his bleached blonde wig.

Unlike other drag shows, where divas like Cher, Madonna and Liza reign, “Divas Las Vegas” recognizes the diverse Vegas crowd and has honed impersonations of current divas like Rihanna, Pink and Katy Perry to keep the show fresh. In one interview, he admits that the challenge is in finding someone who can bring in Miley Cyrus because as Marino puts it: “I’m always looking for the next hot mess.”

That may be true, but as a business professional, Marino is the furthest thing from a hot mess. Now an institution on the strip, he has been given 2 Las Vegas Walk of Fame stars and has a street named for him. This, after being honored with “Frank Marino Day” in Vegas by the mayor in 2005 for his commitment to the performance world in Vegas.

Divas Las Vegas

As the emcee of the 75 minute Divas show, Marino appears on stage as Joan Rivers. Each set brings a new couture costume as she steps onto the stage to entertain the crowd and introduce the next act. The rest of the show is an always changing array of impersonations that are performed flawlessly.

Stop by this month and you may find Tina Turner teaching Beyonce some new tricks, while six months later it is Britney sharing a kiss with Madonna. This is a first rate Vegas show that is pulled off seven nights a week, yet still manages to make it fresh for every performance.

Indulge your desire for something daringly different the next time you make a pit stop in Vegas. Sadly the real Joan Rivers has left us, and the Riviera is about to do the same, but not only is Frank Marino keeping the spirit alive at the Linq, he is likely to keep doing so for another 30 years.

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