Showroom Entertainer Johnny Ray Knows What a Jungle and Sanctuary Las Vegas Can Be
January 16, 2014 by VegasNews.com
You never know when “America’s favorite nightclub singer” Johnny Ray is in town since here in Vegas he’s more recognizable as “The Cougar King”.
After being labeled with that nickname by a female fan a few years back he hit the ground running developing ideas and acquiring the trademarks for what would become his “Cougar Brands”. Those now include a Las Vegas musical game show called, “Miss Cougar Las Vegas”, a clothing line called “Cougar King Club Wear” and of course the Classic Rock & R&B band he fronts called “The Cougar Kings”. He administrates these brands with his Las Vegas based corporation appropriately named Cougar King Entertainment.
After being discovered by an entertainment buyer during his residency as a singer on a Boston Harbor Cruise Line Johnny began playing the casino circuit on the strip. Like his nickname describes he’s still swinging through the vines of the entertainment jungle “marking his territory”, as he likes to call it, a decade later.
“It’s funny”, says Johnny, “By the time the agent saw me performing on the ship in Boston I had already been playing crazy gigs with my band all over the country with the exception of Las Vegas which was one place I hadn’t even visited yet. The band had been crowned ,“The best cover band in Boston” by one of the most popular radio personalities in the city and I was about to go back to writing and performing all originals. You see, on the east coast the opinion was widely accepted that Las Vegas had become a sad place where “has-beens” finished out what was left of their waning careers. Gone were the glory days of The Rat Pack. So I had no impetus to perform here. I credit Steve Wynn for changing all of that. I believe he was the catalyst that made Vegas sheek again and building The Bellagio was the beginning of a new era for Las Vegas. Mr. Wynn ushered in a new generation of ambition and enthusiasm for the city that attracted fresh young minds and talented new managers. Once again Vegas began leading the country in architectural design, restaurant and hospitality, and of course, entertainment. I came into town for the first time in the early 2000’s riding that wave and fell in love with the city immediately. Since then the rapidity of growth on the strip has been staggering. Actual cities within cities have been developed by the MGM group. Aria, The Cosmopolitan, Wynn Las Vegas, Encore, The Palazzo, Planet Hollywood, The Fashion Mall, etc.etc. I watched them all go up while the old properties were imploded or re-branded. In fact, in spite of the great recession the downtown area also continues to develop some fantastic new casino properties and it simply amazes me that this has all happened in such a relatively short period of time! ”
While traveling the country as a performer Johnny remains a constant promoter of everything Las Vegas at live shows and with his radio blog. Johnny is in town this month for pitch meetings to find a permanent home for his “Miss Cougar Las Vegas” comedy show. The show features live music with audience participation and nominal production. “I had to wait for the national trademarks to come in before I started shopping the show around because as “The Cougar King” I know it can be a real jungle out there. It’s just a matter of time before I meet with the right property and the right entertainment director.” The show has been test marketed in other cities and Johnny believes the concept and the content of the show are perfectly suited for Las Vegas. “I have no doubt it will be very successful here. There are also too many opportunities for ancillary profits for the right partner to ignore. I’m looking for an independent operator like myself that’s not afraid to roll the dice. Vegas has been very good for my career and I feel very lucky to have my connection with the city and that’s why I chose to incorporate here. She’s like that great girlfriend you never want to let go of.”
In the mean time Johnny Ray has also become an affiliate of The V Theater at Planet Hollywood and by using his special code: COUGAR50 he’s able to offer some great discounts to his fans visiting Vegas from around the country. For more information call: 800.920.COUGAR (2684)
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