Michael Jackson's death has had an electrifying effect on business for those in Las Vegas who make their living imitating the self-proclaimed King of Pop in all his moonwalking, crotch-grabbing glory.
One club proprietor hopes to launch a permanent Jackson show by the star's birthday in late August, and booking agents have seen surges in applications from would-be impersonators and calls for their services.
In a town in which guys made up like Elvis will marry you, serve as emcee at your business conference or sing "Viva Las Vegas" at your private party, Royal Talent, a booking agency for impersonators, said its Michael Jackson act is now the most requested.
The Stratosphere recently revamped its billboard and magazine ads for its American Superstars show to feature only Jackson, even though the show includes five performers impersonating other music celebrities. In the last few weeks, Frederick Henry's act there has become so hot that the hotel-casino had to beef up security to keep fans from swarming him after the show.
Henry, who became a full-time Jackson impersonator in 1995, said that he took the act overseas during Michael Jackson's later years. Things were tough then in the United States, Henry said, as the celebrity battled allegations of child molestation.
Everything changed when Jackson died June 25.
"Now is the time to shine again," Henry told fellow Jackson impersonators through a blog on MySpace. "It's been a long time for some of us Michaels to survive."