EXCLUSIVE: OKSANA BAIUL PLANS HEADLINING RETURN IN VEGAS SPECTACULAR
Oksana Baiul captured the world's attention after winning Gold at the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway. Now the world champion figure skater and globally famous headliner is ready to wow and entertain audiences again and bring them all to her hometown of Las Vegas... The Entertainment Capital of the World.
In a conversation with Vegas Revealed, Baiul is joined by her producer/investor husband, Carlo J. Farina. Together, the couple spoke exclusively about two major shows planned for Las Vegas audiences. One, an ice spectacular, and the other is a revitalization of the wildly popular arena tour, 'Champions on Ice.'
Listen to full podcast interview: Vegas Revealed Ep. 29
Of the ice spectacular that is in development, Farina said, "I spent about three years developing, through my production company, a muse-style full production." Farina explained that when pitching the arena project to three top casino executives he was told, 'the Strip has never seen a show like this before. This is literally going to be a game changer.'
Baiul and Farina worked together in imagining the over-the-top concept which, they say, encompasses world-class ice skating, international dance, and vocal stylings that range from pop to opera.
With her Olympic Gold medal by her side Baiul added, "What we're famous for is to make the impossible into something possible." Which was followed by a high-five from her husband and a victorious, "hallelujah" from Baiul!
Part of the production show will include a number that has become somewhat of a calling card for Baiul. An Arabian-themed performance in which Baiul wears a traditional face veil. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Baiul says she heard from her global fans base that re-visited the number from 1995 and said, 'Look! She's already skated in a mask. This is nothing new for her!'
In addition to the yet-to-be-titled muse show starring Baiul, Farina has also acquired all rights to the 'Champions on Ice Tour.'
The business move is very personal to Baiul since, her husband says, she headlined the traveling show during its most lucrative years following the Winter Games in Lillehammer.
Baiul said, "It means so much to me... the original owner, Tom Collins, passed away and he was like a father to me." The figure skater, now known to fans as 'The Empress of Ice,' says that the revival of the 'Champions' franchise will serve as a tribute to Collins. "I feel like his legacy needs to stay alive. He's done so much for the world of figure skating. So we'll make it work again!"
In the resurrected version of 'Champions,' Farina says that the shows will bring nostalgia with the world's top skaters from past and present part of a rotating guest-star roster. Baiul will be the mainstay headliner. But Farina notes that elements will be involved to modernize the shows and bridge generation gaps when it comes to name recognition of the performers.
Ideally, Farina says that Las Vegas will serve as a home-base for the revitalized 'Champions on Ice' shows. "The goal and the hope is, because this is home and this is our family's town... we do it as a sort of residency style show. A permanent anchor for one of the resort casinos," Farina said. That was Baiul's international fans would flock to Las Vegas, Farina predicts.
While talks continue and a deal is not done yet, Farina joked, "I'm open to phone calls!"
Both the ice spectacular and the 'Champions on Ice' franchise are part of Baiul's return to public performances.
"When I met Carlo I did step away from the spotlight because I wanted to navigate my life," said Baiul who now has a young daughter with Farina. "I wanted to find things that i wanted to do in my life. And when I'm ready I'm going to give some back."
That time to give back is now, Baiul says.
Farina has nothing but praise for his wife's skill and headliner qualities. "In my humble opinion nobody on the planet is better," Farina said. "Certainly no one can draw the audience like she can."
So the couple is hopeful that when tourism returns to peak numbers and production shows can once again be staged on the Las Vegas Strip, they will have tickets and options waiting for an international crowd.