Robbie Howard stars in
THE BEST DARN AFTERNOON SHOW IN LAS VEGAS
By Esther Lynn
In a city that attracts hundreds of talented hopefuls seeking success, Robbie Howard, a 12-year Las Vegas resident, has found a niche for himself...and, once again, it’s at the Westward Ho located mid-Strip.
The vocal impressionist/musician/comic’s first Las Vegas show, called Stars of the Strip, ran from 1993 to 1999 at the Westward Ho. This was followed by three years at the downtown Lady Luck and two years at Jackie Gaughan’s Plaza. In February, he returned to the Westward Ho where his fun-filled revue, now called "The Best Darn Afternoon Show in Las Vegas," keeps afternoon audiences well entertained.
The Southern California native has a background in musical theater, with credits that include lead roles in "Fiddler On the Roof," "Guys and Dolls," "The Boyfriend," "South Pacific," "Bye, Bye Birdie" and "Oklahoma!" Howard has also appeared on daytime soaps (Days Of Our Lives and General Hospital) and primetime network series, including Perfect Strangers and Growing Pains, as well as in national television commercials for Jack in the Box, Carl’s Jr., Taco Bell, Toyota, and First Interstate Bank. These days, when not performing in a hotel showroom, the handsome 40-something entertainer is a much sought after corporate act for major companies such as Sony, Isuzu, Wal-Mart, Taco Bell, Toyota, McDonald’s, Kimberly-Clark, Fuji and Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Backed by a group of fine musicians - David Poe on soprano and tenor saxophone, clarinet and keyboards (with Alan Applegate filling in once a week); Pat Marlin handling lead keyboards, tenor and baritone sax; and drummer Jim Racey - who add additional lead as well as backup vocals along with comedy turns, Howard and company fill the 700-saet Crown showroom with a fast-moving hour of music and fun.
Using the voice of Johnny Carson to introduce interpretations of Tom Jones, Julio Iglesias (with Marlin as his singing partner, Willie Nelson), Jerry Lee Lewis, Randy Travis, Dean Martin, Jimmy Buffett, Engelbert Humperdinck and Elvis, Howard aims to please his all-age audience. He "works" the room, moving through the crowd, getting willing members involved in the festivities. In a clarinet solo, David Poe offers up a rousing version of When the Saints Go Marching In. A clever K-TEL album takeoff pitches the voices of Roger Whittaker, Kenny Rogers, Wayne Newton, the Bee Gees, Joe Cocker, Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, the Righteous Brothers, Eric Clapton, Fats Domino, Roy Orbison, Freddy Fender, Barry Manilow, the Eagles and Redd Foxx among others. An instrumental segment features a variety of tunes from In the Mood, Wake Up Little Susie, Deep Purple, (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear, and Take the A Train, to Bye Bye Blackbird, Rock Around the Clock and Shake, Rattle and Roll is often included in the revue. A newly added tribute offers Howard doing Ray Charles’ version of America the Beautiful. The popular segment usually earns Robbie Howard a well-deserved standing ovation. With 10 hours of material, and the ability to carbon dozens of voices, audience members never know what to expect. One thing they CAN expect is an entertaining hour at a bargain price.
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 2 p.m.
$8.15 includes one beverage