Insight USA Insight Fator keeps audiences engaged By Sarah Feldberg / March 20, 2017 Share 1 Terry Fator celebrated his eighth anniversary performing at the Mirage on March 13. His contract has been extended through December 2021 Photo Credit: Denise Truscello -- It seems that every week a new headliner or residency is announced for the Las Vegas Strip. One week '90s heartthrobs the Backstreet Boys are bringing their harmonies and synchronized dancing to Planet Hollywood. The next, veteran rockers the Who are signing on for a limited run at Caesars Palace. With fewer Broadway-style musicals and elaborate production shows filling the casino theaters for lengthy runs, the pace of change for entertainment on Las Vegas Boule-vard has hit hyperdrive. So what does it take to make it long term in Las Vegas? What's the key to creating a show that lasts?Terry Fator knows. The singing ventriloquist and impressionist celebrated his eighth anniversary at the Mirage on March 13, and last year he extended his contract for another five years, through Dec. 31, 2021. When that pact comes to an end, he'll have played the Mirage for 13 straight years, an impressive tenure in a place where tastes have a tendency to change fast. "I do something that you really can't see anywhere else," Fator said. "There are a lot of ventriloquists and a lot of impressionists. But I believe I'm the only one doing what I do and that is doing impressions of singers through puppets."Fator's show is a mashup of classic entertainment concepts. It's a little bit ventriloquism, a little bit impressionism, a little bit comedy and a little bit cover band. The star, who first gained wide-spread attention by winning "America's Got Talent," attributes some of his success to that origi-nality, doing an act that hasn't been replicated by a hundred other hopefuls. But, he said, he didn't just hit the Strip and rest on his laurels. He's actively evolved his show over the years."I have people who've seen me 11, 12, 13 times, and they tell me that they see different stuff in every show," he said. "That's because I'm always adding characters and writing new routines and putting new impressions in and doing new stuff."Fator did that at his anniversary performance last week where he introduced an Elton John puppet as well as a new format for his act based on late-night talk shows. "That really does help to keep that freshness and to keep a show going," Fator said of the con-stant tweaks and additions. "I've gotten so much better at what I do, and it's because I'm always pushing myself and challenging myself and trying to be better and create new and interesting things." While he continues to grow and adapt his Strip show, Fator also tours regularly with a different, more intimate act that tells the story of his transition from janitor to Vegas headliner. It not only introduces the performer to audiences across the country but also serves as marketing for his Mirage gig."It's very common for people to come and see my show on the road and then come right after and see my Vegas show," Fator said.Taking stock of the ever-changing entertainment scene around him, the singing ventriloquist said he hopes Las Vegas moves to focus less on flash and more on simply showcasing artists doing their best work. "People don't care about spectacle. They want good entertainment, they want talent, they want to see their acts perform," he said. "At the end of the day, you go see my show and I don't have a lot of background vocals and girls in bikinis. It's me and a puppet. I do have a band, but it's me and a puppet. That's what it's all about."