Claire Voyant's Las Vegas Gossip Column



Displaying keen perception and great insight.  
She's a little bit naughty. She’s a little bit nice.  
She calls ‘em like she sees (and hears) ‘em.  
She’s...

Claire Voyant  

Note: This is a past column from August 26, 2011
You can find the current column HERE


Las Vegas - August 26, 2011


Mark Kalin & Jinger Leigh

Jeff Hobson

Busy week. We were out and about on four nights, seeing as many shows (what we won't do for our readers), which is why we are running late. Here is some of what we were up to...

Last Friday night, we were at the Eastside Cannery to see the fabulous Society of Seven. What can we say about this band of Merry Men (plus American Idol finalist, JasmineTrias), that hasn't already been said before. They are musically gifted, both instrumentally and vocally, and, when called for (which is frequently), oh so funny. As many times as we have seen Society of Seven, we still laugh out loud at the hysterical visuals. The crowd who were at the Eastside Cannery, celebrating their third anniversary, enjoyed the show as much as we did. When they come back to Las Vegas, which we hope will be soon, for a day or night brightener, check them out.

Sunday night, we were at The Orleans for Carnival of Wonders, a most entertaining magic and comedy revue, directed by Joanie Spina, written by Jim Steinmeyer, with choreography by Peggy Hickey and lighting design by Don Guy, and starring Mark Kalin, Jinger Leigh and Jeff Hobson, with support by performers Adam Cates, Kevin Gallagher, Casey Muha, Amber Williams and Robert Coupe. Kalin and Jinger produce some very good, large illusions. We were most impressed with the small, billiard balls segment. As for Jeff Hobson, he has got to be one of the funniest men on the planet. This guy gets more laughs per minute than just about anyone else we can think of. The word that comes to mind is, brilliant.


Joanie Spina

Dangerous Curves with Billy Stritch & Jim Caruso

Among those who attended the weekend performances of Carnival of Wonders (many from the magic community) were singer/impressionist Bill Acosta (looking real good after some health issues), Jeanne Bavaro and daughter, Angela Acosta; Tony Arias and Lloyd Ziel; Denise Clemente; John Stuart; Stephane Vanel, Mark Kornhauser and Anthony Rais, all from The Magic of Paris; Magic magazines' Stan Allen and wife Rhonda Sokulski; agent Ted Files; the Golden Nugget's Ron O'Neal; Joe Leone (Golden Nugget, Wynn Las Vegas); Mike Michaels; Ariann Black; Tim Kole; Penny Wiggins (Amazing Johnathan); Joaquin Ayala; Drew DiCostanzo; Johnny Thompson (The Great Tomsoni); Tanya Popovich; James Dimmare; Earl Chaney and Jason Andrews, among others. This was a thoroughly enjoyable production. Carnival of Wonders has been the recipient of a number of awards. We think it deserves a permanent room in Las Vegas.

Wednesday, it was Oh What a Night! A Musical Tribute to Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons in the upstairs Starlite Theatre at the Riviera. Oh What a FUN Night! The cast (one of eight performing companies) was very strong - Rob Hyatt, Todd Honeycutt (in his Las Vegas debut), Christian Nielsen and Seth Bazacas - and the audience had a good time with the fellows. This isn't Jersey Boys. There is no storyline. The high energy revue features the music of the popular ensemble, choreography, and some fun schtick tossed in between familiar songs, such as "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Walk Like a Man," "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" and many more. We spotted the Rio's Rat Pack Is Back! producer, Dick Feeney, in the crowd, as well as Tom and Joni Illi. They were all obviously having a good time. It turns out that entertainer, Joni, worked with Todd Honeycutt in Atlantic City when they were both barely legal. Oh What a Night! winds up its two week gig on Sunday night. Shows are at 7:30. Tickets range from $39.95 t0 $59.95, plus taxes and fees. For reservations, call (702) 794-9433.

There were a couple of big entertainment stories in Las Vegas this week...Veteran rocker Rod Stewart's opening at Caesars Palace, and the Las Vegas debut of Jim Caruso's Cast Party at the Alexis Park All Suite Resort. Cast Party is a New York favorite. With Caruso as MC and Billy Stritch at the piano, the Party has been taking place at Birdland, every Monday night for the past eight years. Everyone who's anyone, and wants to see and be seen, knows where they should be on a Monday night in Manhattan.


Jim Caruso & Moya Angela

Rod Stewart

Since we were at the Riviera seeing Oh What a Night! on Wednesday, we weren't at the opening night of Cast Party. We are very lucky to have some friends who were there and took notes so we could pass the information of Who and What went on to our readers. Here is what we missed. The show, starting at 10 p.m. to catch the performers around the city, launched with Stritch at the piano, singing "Simple Life" to duet with Jim "When I Get My Name In Lights." Wednesday night's Cast Party included singer/pianist Frankie Moreno doing an original song; Kelly Clinton Holmes with Jeff Neiman on piano, doing her original "PMS Blues," followed by (at Jim Caruso's request) a bit of Cher; Philip Officer performing the Sergio Mendes and Alan and Marilyn Bergman tune, "So Many Stars;" Dangerous Curves (Lisa Smith, Karen Merstik Michaels and Margaret Menzies), "Cloudburst" and "I'm A Woman;" Bill Fayne, "I Sing," written by Bill and Clint Holmes for a Broadway show; Tonia Bern- Campbell, "If We Only Have Love;" Dezmond Meeks (America's Got Talent 2011 and American Idol Season 4), playing and singing Mariah Carey's "Vision of Love;" Kara von Aschwege (Venetian singing gondolier), "Orange Colored Sky" and an a cappella rendition of "O Sole Mio," with Billy Stritch joining in; Dennis Michaels, who blew the audience away with "The Morning After;" Elena D'Arte (not sure of spelling) from Boston, "All of Me" and a quick Marilyn impression; Dana Rogers Martin, the Bergman's and Michel Legrand's "On My Way To You;" Clint Holmes with Jeff Neiman at the piano, "It Never Entered My Mind/Losing My Mind;" Chris Russell (unsure of spelling) "Honeysuckle Rose;" Savannah Smith (Vegas! The Show); Dre Whitt (Don't Tell Mama, Las Vegas) "Take Me or Leave Me" from Rent; and Eric Jordan Young (Vegas! The Show) "Yes, I Can." Jim and Billy closed the show, first with Jim singing a comedy song, "Tone Deaf," and then with the twosome doing "Shine On Your Shoes." A great big thanks to our stringers, who took on a tough and dangerous assignment when asked to document the night's activities.

We made it over to Alexis Park on Thursday night to enjoy the party for ourselves. It was quite a lineup of extraordinary performers. Billy Stritch opened with "The Best Is Yet To Come" (and the best was yet to come), joined by Jim Caruso singing "When I Get My Name In Lights." Travis Cloer (Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys) did a great version of Irving Berlin's "Steppin' Out With My Baby," followed by Ms. Chris Russell (?) singing "I'm Beginning To See The Light." The rest of the amazing lineup included George DeMott (Voce Vegas, Poperazzi) who sang Lucio Dalla's "Caruso;" Joelle Righetti-Jenson (Vegas! The Show), doing "Adelaide's Lament" from Guys and Dolls; young Los Angeles magician, Joel Ward, with beautiful Angela Acosta assisting, displaying some very impressive illusions; Douglas Crawford (Jersey Boys) performing Jason Robert Brown's "Moving Too Fast;" Artie Schroeck and Linda November, with their always crowd-pleasing "I Love a Piano;" Traci Reynolds, "What a Feeling" and "I Will Survive;" vocal group Fifth Avenue (Rob Hyatt, Jerry Jones, Bryce Robinson and Jeff Celentano), who will perform in Freedom Hall, Sun City Anthem, on Sunday, "How High the Moon" and "My Sugar Is So Refined;" Conrad Korsch (Rod Stewart's bass player); Moya Angela (US tour of Dreamgirls, The Lion King) who brought the house down with "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going;" Stritch and Caruso had some fun taking on Sonny and Cher for their version of "All I Ever Need Is You;" Cortes Alexander (singer/dancer with Liza Minnelli), "Don't Go To Strangers;" Jay Joseph, Cy Coleman's "Use What You Got (To Get What You Want);" Deven May (Jersey Boys) "Sensitive Song" (which is anything but); Reva Rice (Vegas! The Show), Cole Porter's "I've Got You Under My Skin;" Todd Honeycutt (Oh What a Night!), Chick Corea's "Spain;" Bill Fayne, "Being Alive" from Company (a teaser for Bill's upcoming October Sondheim concert); Tonia Bern-Campbell (who recently wowed them at New York's Metropolitan Room), "If You Go Away;" Kellie Wright, "As We Stumble Along" from Drowsy Chaperone; and Sandra Huntsman (The Who's Tommy in Concert at Green Valley Ranch), "Part of Your World," from Disney's Little Mermaid. A big highlight of the evening was 78-year-old, entertainment legend, Mimi Hines (veteran comedy and music team, Phil Ford and Mimi Hines, and Broadway's Funny Girl) who earned a standing ovation with "People" and "If I Love Again" from Funny Lady. Pianist Ryan Ahern apparently got tired of waiting for his turn on stage. When his name was called, much like Elvis, he had already left the building. The show ended with a closing tune (that we didn't get the name of) by Jim Caruso. We apologize for the people we missed (or misspelled), as everyone deserved glowing and correct accolades.

If, after reading this, you are wishing you had been at Alexis Park on Wednesday or Thursday night, here is the good news. Jim Caruso and Billy Stritch are bringing Cast Party, produced by Dennis Ritz, back to Las Vegas in September, on the 21st and 22nd to be exact. We will have more details in upcoming columns.

As for Rod Stewart, mentioned above, the 66-year-old performer launched the start of his two-year run at Caesars Palace on Wednesday night. Rod is the latest addition to the hotel's lineup of resident headliners, joining past and present stars, Cher and Bette Midler in long-term engagements, and folks such as Diana Ross, Jerry Seinfeld, Luis Miguel, Kathy Griffin, Janet Jackson, and Ellen DeGeneres in occasional shows. Stewart will share his time in the 4,100-seat Colosseum with Celine Dion and Elton John. Shania Twain is scheduled to join the mix late next year. For the rest of 2011, Rod Stewart will do 18 shows, performing now through September 11th, then taking a break before returning from November 3rd through the 20th. There has been some talk that Neil Diamond might also be interested in a permanent residency at Caesars.

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In next Friday's column (September 2nd), some of the late Donna Taylor's friends and work associates will share some thoughts about this unique and special lady. If you knew Donna, and would like to eulogize her in print, we encourage you to send your thoughts to us for inclusion in this tribute.

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Linq Las Vegas

 

The Linq, a $550 million outdoor retail, dining and entertainment district patterned after The Grove in Los Angeles and anchored by the world's tallest observation wheel, is the next big Strip project. Construction is scheduled to begin momentarily on the development linking the Flamingo and Imperial Palace and featuring a 550-foot observation wheel with cabins that will accommodate up to 30 people. The mammoth project will employ 3,000 construction workers and create 1,500 jobs. The Imperial Palace will be renamed, renovated and rethemed as part of the development. The tiny O'Sheas casino will be demolished and become part of the reconfigured Imperial Palace.

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Las Vegas entertainers will gather together to perform a benefit concert of the musical, God Lives in Glass, at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, September 10th and Sunday the 11th. The event will take place at UNLV's Judy Bayley Theatre. All proceeds will benefit two Las Vegas non-profit organizations: Family Promise of Las Vegas, which gives assistance to homeless families in the Las Vegas Valley, and The Nevada Conservatory Theatre, whose mission is to elevate Theatrical Arts in Las Vegas. Some of the most exciting musical and theatrical talent from the Las Vegas entertainment community, including performers and musicians from Jersey Boys, The Lion King, Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, Love, Nunsense, and Menopause the Musical, will join their hearts, and voices together to present a special concert performance of the new musical, God Lives in Glass. The concert will commemorate the ten-year anniversary of the events of September 11th, 2001, which inspired the writing and the original production of God Lives in Glass as a way of reaching across racial, cultural and religious boundaries to promote global unity acceptance of cultural diversity. God Lives in Glass, the musical, is based on a book by the same title, written by the head of Drama Therapy at New York University, Dr. Robert J. Landy, Ph.D. The book contains drawings, stories, and reflections about God that were created and shared by children from all around the world, from different cultures, races, and religions. The insights and visions of these young spiritual thinkers are funny, moving, entertaining, and often enlightening. Shortly after the events of 9/11, Dr. Landy collaborated with Composer Keith Thompson (conductor of Jersey Boys in Las Vegas) and Director/co-conceiver Greg Ganakas, to bring musical and theatrical life to the book as a way of promoting cultural and spiritual healing and understanding. Contrary to what the title suggests, God Lives in Glass is not a religious musical, or a piece of children's theater, even though it does take a whimsical look at religion and different ideas about who or what God might be as seen through the eyes of young people from all over the planet. The Musical never attempts to instruct or promote any ideology or doctrine. It merely holds up the "glass" as a mirror that allows us a reflection of ourselves, and as a window that lets us view the world with wonder, humor, and imagination; as seen through the eyes of a child. Tickets are $25, and can be purchased by calling (702) 895-2787 or online at unlvtickets.com.

Also on September 10th, but in the evening, Rob Garrett brings Neil Diamond to the Starbright Theatre in Sun City Summerlin, Saturday, September 10th. Garrett, known as "The King of Diamonds," will present his award-winning tribute show for one performance only at 7 p.m. Backed by an eight-piece band, the tribute artist will perform Diamond favorites. Tickets are $12 for Sun City Summerlin residents and $15 for non-residents. For up-to-date information on Starbright Theatre shows, call (702) 240-1301.

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The Last First Comic

Ross Barbour & Bob Flanigan

On Sunday night, during the closing ceremony of The Backlot Film Festival at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica, California, the winners of the competition were announced. Best Feature Film was OPUS, written and directed by Micah Levin. Best Short Subject was Silent Music, directed by Woo Lovinger. The Outcast Of Camelot, directed by Shane King, won for Best Student Film. And, in its world premiere, the Best Documentary winner was (drum roll please) The Last First Comic, written and directed by John C. Brown and Bart Williams. To say that the first-time producers, are excited, would be an understatement. "It's a good start to finding it a commercial home," states Williams. Bart appeared in a number of book shows in Las Vegas, including Guys and Dolls, starring Jack Jones, Frank Gorshin and Maureen McGovern, at the, now but a fading memory, Desert Inn (the site of Wynn Las Vegas).

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Just three months after the death of Four Freshmen founding member, Bob Flanigan, Ross Barbour, the last survivor of the popular vocal group, has died. Ross, 82, passed away on August 20th. He had been suffering from lung cancer. The Four Freshmen, whose biggest hit was the sentimental 1956 ballad, "Graduation Day," were one of the most popular of the 1950s harmony groups. They were often cited by Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys as one of his prime inspirations, along with the Hi-Lo's, for the Beach Boys sound. Barbour is survived by his wife Nancy Sue and three children.

Nick Ashford passed away in New York City on Monday, August 22nd. He was 70 and battling throat cancer. Ashford, who with Valerie Simpson, his songwriting partner and later his wife, wrote some of Motown's biggest hits, like "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing," before they remade their careers as a recording and touring duo. In addition to his wife, Mr. Ashford is survived by two daughters, Nicole and Asia; three brothers, Paul, Albert and Frank; and his mother, Alice Ashford.


Nick Ashford

Jerry Leiber

Jerry Leiber, half of one of the most celebrated and successful songwriting teams of the 1950s and '60s, died of cardiopulmonary failure following a lengthy illness. He was 78. With his partner Mike Stoller, Leiber was the author of such hits as Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog," "Jailhouse Rock," "Loving You," "Yakety Yak," "Stand by Me" (Ben E. King) and many others. Leiber wrote the lyrics, Stoller the music. The two were among the first and most successful songwriters and producers to merge rhythm and blues with pop music in the 1950s.

Before they were 20, the two had written songs for Ray Charles, Big Mama Thornton, and Charles Brown. Their other songs included the Drifters' "On Broadway," the Clovers' "Love Potion #9," Peggy Lee's "Is That All There Is," and Stealers Wheel's "Stuck in the Middle with You." They also produced the Coasters hits, "Charlie Brown," "Young Blood," "Little Egypt" and "Poison Ivy." Leiber and Stoller's catalog was used as the basis for the 1995 Broadway revue, "Smokey Joe's Cafe." Leiber and Stoller were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1985, the Producers Hall of Fame in 1986, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame two years later. In May, American Idol contestants performed the songs of Leiber and Stoller on a show in which they were mentored by Lady Gaga.

While still in his teens, friend Artie Butler ("Here's To Life," "I Don't Remember Ever Growing Up"), was discovered by the legendary songwriting and producing team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Artie was hired to replace a pianist for a recording session and, as they say... "the rest is history." Butler recently partnered with Mike Stoller on the musical, The People in the Picture, with book and lyrics by Iris Rainer Dart. Stoller and Butler's music received a 2011 Drama Desk Award nomination.

And, we have just learned that Barbara Kelly (Adcox) passed away on August 22nd. She was 71. Barbara moved to Las Vegas in 1972. She spent the next 20 years working with Walter Kane (Howard Hughes' right hand man, and head of entertainment for Summa Corporation), and then moved to Hilton Hotels and became the director of entertainment for the Las Vegas Hilton. It was there that she met Melvin Adcox, who later became her husband. In 1995, she left Hilton to work for Big Brothers-Big Sisters as the vice president of operations before retiring to spend time with her family and great-grandchildren. Although Barbara suffered through a bout of cancer at the end of 2010, she was happy and lively until she unexpectedly passed away. Barbara was preceded in death by her loving husband, Melvin; sister, Elaine; and father, John. Barbara is survived by her mother, Margaret; sister, Arlene; brothers-in-law, Dennis and Richard; children, Kathi, Janet and George; nieces, Jennifer, Rebecca, Cassandra, Alexa, Brandi and Heather; nephews, Joshua, Eric, Raymond and Shad; 10 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren. Viewing will take place in Las Vegas from 9 to 11 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, August 27th, at Palm Mortuary, 7600 S. Eastern Ave. A small service will follow.

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Reminders for this weekend...
Mozaic Presents its final performance of Bye Bye Birdie, tomorrow night at 7:30. The program, put on by the Mozaic Presents Youth Theater, takes place at the Henderson Amphitheatre, 200 South Water Street, in Henderson (of course). For additional information, please call (702) 513-4189.

Over at the Clark County Flamingo Library Theatre, 1401 E. Flamingo, the Performing Arts Society of Nevada is featuring "The Dynamic Duo," Gary Oakes and Lou Garcia, in a show at 2 p.m. show on Sunday, August 28th. The veteran entertainers offer a variety of music and dance from the world of Broadway, pops and standards. Tickets are only $15. For reservations, call (702) 658-6741. Tickets may also be purchased at the library box office, an hour before show time.

Mistinguett Productions presents the excellent vocal group, Fifth Avenue, at Sun City Anthem's Freedom Hall 3 p.m., this Sunday. Fifth Avenue is a high-energy vocal quartet with the kind of tight harmonies and blend that hasn't been heard since the days of the Hi-Lo's and the Four Freshmen. There is also a nod to more contemporary groups, such as Manhattan Transfer and Take 6. Fifth Avenue encompassing not only jazz, but pop, doo-wop, classic rock and roll, and even a little barbershop, infusing it with a sound and style all their own. The group has worked with the likes of Bob Hope, Bill Cosby, Jerry Lee Lewis, Clint Holmes and many other veteran talents, playing concert halls, clubs and college campuses all across the country. Most recently, they performed to overflow audiences at the Starbright Theatre and at the Suncoast Hit Parade in Las Vegas. Don't miss the chance to see and hear, Sing Sing Sing this weekend. Tickets are $18 and available at the Sun City Anthem Box Office at 2450 Hampton Rd. in Henderson. Call (702) 614-5864 for tickets or information.

Ronn Lucas, described by the New York Times as "The World's Best Ventriloquist," and his cast of smart dummies, perform at the Suncoast, tomorrow and Sunday, August 27th and 28th, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are from $15.95 plus taxes and fees. Call (702) 636-7075 for reservations.

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Bill Acosta

Linda November & Artie Schroeck DVD

Spotted singer/impressionist, Bill Acosta; publicist/journalist, Norm Johnson; and comic, Cork Proctor, having lunch together at Landry's on West Sahara. The trio were laughing and talking. We decided not to interrupt the boys club, so didn't bother the fellows. Acosta, has been dealing with Parkinson's, for a couple of years. It appears that his recent surgery has helped ease the tremors associated with the disease. We are most happy to see him back in the swing of things.

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Linda November and Artie Schroeck, mentioned above in the Cast Party story, have a new DVD out. An Evening of Cole Porter Music, features an eight-piece orchestra, made up of Matt Johnson, Miguel Rodriguez, Dave Stambaugh, Tom Ehlen, Joey Singer, Bob Sachs, Mark Speights and Tommy Check. Some of the songs on the DVD, recorded live during a recent concert, include "Just One Of Those Things," "Let's Do It," "It's All Right With Me," "I Concentrate On You/In the Still of the Night" medley, and "What Is This Thing Called Love?" If you missed the show, you can now see and enjoy it in the comfort of your home, as the DVD is now available. If you would like to order it, send a check $15.95 to: Cole Porter Show, ℅ Artlin Enterprises, 2877 Knoxville Court, Henderson, NV 89052-6976. Enjoy.

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Grammy Award-winner Jack Jones takes over the showroom at the South Point, tomorrow and Sunday, August 27th and 28th, with shows at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 and $40. To purchase, call (702) 797-8055, or visit SouthPointCasino.com.


Jack Jones

Dixie Evans

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The Dixie Evans Birthday Bash starts at 8 p.m. (doors at 7 p.m.) next Saturday, September 3rd, at the Royal Resort, 99 Convention Center Drive. General admission tickets are on sale now for $25 ($30 day of show) VIP tables for four are available for $400, and include goodie bags with a special gift from Evans, hors d'oeuvres and a bottle of champagne. All tickets include entrance to the show and pool party, cupcakes and a champagne toast. Must be 21 and over, please.

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Sade and John Legend perform in the MGM Grand Garden Arena, next Saturday, September 3rd. As a follow up to the platinum-selling Soldier Of Love, which spent three weeks at the top of the Billboard album chart and garnered a well-deserved Grammy, Sade is back with The Ultimate Collection. In addition to her classics, the must-have album will include new, never-before heard music from the band. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Show time at 8 p.m. Tickets are $157.50, $105.00, $79.50, $52.50. Includes LET, but there is a $7 handling fee). Tickets available through ticket master.

And Kenny Rogers, who knows when to hold 'em and knows when to fold 'em, is in the Dallas Events Center at Texas Station on the same night, Saturday, September 3rd. His show time is at 8 p.m., Saturday, September 3rd. Tickets prices are $29, $36, $43 and $55, plus tax/fees. All ages welcome with adult 21+. No exceptions. Texas Station is located at 2101 Texas Star Lane in North Las Vegas. Call (702) 638-3492.


Kenny Rogers (we think)

Chris Phillips & Marley Taylor

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The Imperial Palace, home of Frank Marino's Diva's Las Vegas and Human Nature, has added something new to the mix. A live version of the classic game show, Name That Tune, will play in the Human Nature Theatre, Wednesdays through Mondays at 3 p.m., with an added 7:30 show on Fridays. Name That Tune Live! will be hosted by Las Vegas favorites, Chris Phillips and Marley Taylor, best known as Zowie Bowie. Audience members will have the opportunity to participate and win cash and prizes. Tickets are $49.95, plus tax and applicable fees. You can't miss the Imperial Palace. It's the mid-Strip hotel casino with the many, many times larger than life building wrap promoting Frank Marino's Divas Las Vegas.

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Lots going on over Labor Day weekend.
Kenny Loggins at the Cannery Casino Hotel, East Craig Road in North Las Vegas. Showtime is September 3rd, at 8:30. Tickets are Gold $62.95, Reserved $24.95, Patio Table $99.95, plus taxes and fees, and may be purchased by calling (702) 507-5757 in Las Vegas, or toll free at (866) 999-4899.


Kenny Loggins

Air Supply

Multi-talented entertainer and showman Earl Turner returns to the Suncoast Showroom for Labor Day weekend, September 3rd and 4th, each evening at 7:30 p.m. Turner began performing at the age of 13, and by age 19, he was traveling the U.S. as a frontman with various show bands. Trying his hand as a solo artist, Turner scored a Top 40 dance hit in Europe in the mid-1980s, "Love Caught You By Surprise." Turner is a renowned Las Vegas performer, having appeared at numerous resorts and showrooms on and off the Las Vegas Strip. In 2004, Harrah's New Orleans transformed the Mansion Ballroom into The Earl Turner Theatre, where he performed for 2 years. Turner has received numerous awards, including being named "Male Vocalist of the Year" by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. In 2005, Turner was voted as one of the "People To Watch" by New Orleans Magazine and was inducted into the New Orleans Music Hall of Fame. He works closely with a number of prominent charities, including The Special Olympics, Opportunity Village of Las Vegas and The Blood Center of Louisiana. Suncoast tickets are available from $15.95, plus tax and convenience fees, and can be purchased at any Coast Casinos box office, by calling (702) 636-7075 or visiting www.suncoastcasino.com.

"Even the Nights are Better" with Air Supply at The Orleans Showroom, Labor Day Weekend, September 2nd through 4th. The Australian soft-rock group, Air Supply, quickly became a staple of early '80s radio after their first smash hit, "Lost in Love." Englishman Graham Russell, and Australian Russell Hitchcock, who have been performing together for more than 30 years, met in 1975 while in the Australian production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Later that year, the duo formed Air Supply and released their first smash hit and self-titled debut album, reaching gold in Australia. After opening for Rod Stewart's tour in the United States in the late '70s, Air Supply had an international breakthrough and signed a distribution deal with Artista Records in 1980. Their album, Lost in Love, featured three U.S. top five singles, including the title track, which was the fastest-selling single in the world; "Every Woman in the World"; and "All Out of Love," which hit No. 11 in the United Kingdom's Top 40 charts. Throughout the next three years, Air Supply produced hit after hit, including "Just Another Woman," "The One That You Love," "Here I Am," "Sweet Dreams," "Even The Nights Are Better" and "Making Love Out Of Nothing At All," which reached No. 2 on the Billboard charts in 1983. Their current album, Mumbo Jumbo, was released in May 2010. Producing 30 albums and more than 15 hit singles, Air Supply is renowned around the world, touring in Australia, Asia, India, the United States and the Caribbean. In 2008, Air Supply was named No. 83 on Billboard's top 100 musical acts of all time – the only Australian band on the list. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are available starting from $39.95, plus tax and convenience fees. Purchase at any Coast Casino Box Office, by calling (702) 365-7075, or by visiting www.orleanscasino.com.

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In last week's birthday list, acknowledging Leos (July 23 through August 23), we had both Nelson Sardelli and his daughter, Giovanna Sardelli, in the mix. Although Giovanna IS a Leo, her daddy is not. Pretend you didn't notice his name. It will turn up again, this time as a Virgo, where he really belongs. We apologize for the error, but know that Mr. Sardelli doesn't mind getting an extra mention.


Giovanna Sardelli

Charlie Robinson

And speaking of Giovanna Sardelli...
Actress and comedian, Nicey Nash, from ABC's Dancing With The Stars, is set to host the 21st Annual NAACP Theater Awards on Monday, August 29th, 7 p.m.., at the Director's Guild of America in Los Angeles. This year's distinguished honorees include Diahann Carroll (a Tony Award-Winner, an Emmy and Grammy Award-Nominee, a Golden Globe Award-Winner, and an Academy Award-Nominated Best Actress) who will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. Honorees also include Obba Babatunde (Tony and Emmy Award-nominated actor) and more. The NAACP Theater Awards is an annual prestigious star-studded gala produced in an effort to honor thespians among the best in the field of entertainment. The award show and two-day festival provides a platform for thespians to express their craft and share their contributions with an audience of their peers, the community and other individuals who crave live theater in Hollywood. The presentation of the annual 2011 NAACP Theatre Awards is preceded by a "festival weekend" of panels and performances at Los Angeles Theatre Center in downtown L.A. The festivities begin tonight, Friday August 26th, with a reception and a performance of Just Once in a Lifetime, starring Babatunde as Sammy Davis Jr. Panel discussions and performance of 10-minute plays will dominate the Saturday and Sunday itineraries. Then on Monday, the action moves northwest to daytime and evening awards ceremonies. Awards for directors, choreographers and designers will be announced in an event that starts at noon. The other awards will be distributed in the 7 p.m. ceremony, after a reception that starts at 5 p.m. The sponsoring organization is the Beverly Hills Hollywood branch of the NAACP. Tickets for the festival can be purchased at the LATC box office or at www.thelatc.org. Tickets for the ceremony can be purchased at the NAACP branch office, 1680 N. Vine St., Hollywood (323) 384-5303). The awards are divided into categories designated as "Equity" (mostly larger or midsize theaters with Equity contracts) and "Local" (mostly smaller theaters, most of which operate on Equity's 99-Seat Theater Plan). Here are some of the nominees for this year's awards: Best Director (Equity) - In The Heights, Thomas Kail; The Whipping Man, Giovanna Sardelli; and Take Me Out, Michael Matthews. Best Lead Female (Equity) - Dreamgirls, Moya Angela (currently appearing in The Lion King at Mandalay Bay); Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, Jennifer Shelton; and Steel Magnolias, Robin Dionne. Best Lead Male (Equity) - The Whipping Man, Charlie Robinson; Free Man of Color, Kareem Ferguson; and The Whipping Man - Avery Glymph. Needless to say (but we will say it anyway), we are rooting for anyone with a connection to Las Vegas. Good luck to Giovanna and her nominated cast members, and to Moya, who was one of the incredible performers at Thursday night's local Cast Party.



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Claire Voyant's portrait by Charlie Frye