‘America’s Got Talent Live’ promises amazement for all ages

The NBC hit talent contest that brought Terry Fator to Sin City is returning to Vegas with a one-of-a-kind live show, opening tonight.

“America’s Got Talent Live” Director Mark Swanhart said that the production brings together all kinds of entertainment in a family-friendly atmosphere that is designed to give audiences a little bit of everything they could want to see in a Las Vegas show.

“We’ve always prided ourselves on bringing unique talent to the Strip,” Swanhart said.

“America’s Got Talent Live ” in Las Vegas will feature six permanent acts and welcome guest stars periodically throughout its run. This year’s lineup includes Season 7 winners Olate Dogs, who won a spot on the stage, and favorites from seasons past.

Executive Producer Matt Gaven said that the creators of the live show selected performers with the goal of presenting a variety of acts and a complete production that is different than anything else on the Strip.

‘To put the same old same old [on stage] doesn’t make sense,” he said.

The tail-wagging troupe of Olate Dogs will show off big top-style skills on the big stage. Led to first place and the $1 million “AGT” prize by father-and-son trainers Richard and Nicholas Olate, the dogs will be joined by some new furry friends in the Vegas extravaganza. The band of barking artists will show off new routines with more energy and agility than ever before.

Last season’s “top human finalist,” Tom Cotter — the first comedian to make it to the last round of “AGT” — will host the production.

Lightwire Theater, who brought us glow-in-the-dark dancing birds and dinosaurs in “AGT” Season 7, will showcase new characters that unite artistry and technology to create incredible scenes of music, dance and puppetry. For the live performances, Lightwire Theater will take their show all the way into the audience.

David Garabaldi and His CMYK’s will reinvent the fast-paced show of painting and dance that won cheers throughout Season 7, and March 2-7, The Silhouettes — the group of young dancers whose backlit imagery won standing ovations every night at last year’s live shows at Caesars Palace — will join the cast.

Thirteen-year-old singer/songwriter Anna Graceman will wow crowds with the soulful sound that made her an instant sensation in Season 6 beginning with her tryout rendition of Alicia Keys’ “If I Ain’t Got You.”

Gaven said that “America’s Got Talent Live” is not just for fans of the TV show and it’s a treat for all ages.

Still, Executive Producer Andy Felsher said the contest’s popularity is a sign that the live show will be a hit.

“One hundred million people can’t be wrong,” he said, referring to the number of viewers who voted in the competiton. “That’s why we’re so optimistic.”

“America’s Got Talent Live ” will put on six shows a week at 7:30 p.m. at the Palazzo Theatre. Tickets are $45 – $125.

The creators are proud of the show’s broad appeal.

“It’s not elitist,” he said, explaining that the creators are proud that tickets to “AGT Live” are priced affordably so “you can actually bring a family of four to the show.”

Swanhart added that the sense that the performers are everyday people is central to “AGT'”s spirit.

“[The performers] really are representing middle America,” he said, “and now they’re here headlining in Las Vegas.”

Cotter explained that the show’s ability to reach many different kinds of viewers is woven into its character and starts early, in the TV contest.

“When you’re trying to get votes, you want to be able to appeal to everyone,” he said.

Gaven said that the old-time variety show format of “America’s Got Talent” is a big part of what makes the TV show and the live production special.

“It’s got a soul and a heart that’s a bit old-fashioned,” he said. “[And] it’s crafted with a real careful eye and a lot of love.”