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 December 02, 2011
You can find the current column HERE


Las Vegas - December 2, 2011


John Meren by Mary Millard

Marty Allen

A Celebration of Life, in honor of the late John Meren, will be held tomorrow, Saturday, December 3rd, at 2 p.m., in the Clark County Library Theater, 1401 E. Flamingo Blvd. Meren passed away on October 5th at the age of 72, following a massive stroke. He and Thomas J. Gallagher were the co-founders of the Performing Arts Society of Nevada. John, one of eight children, was born on February 4th, 1939, in New York City. His professional career began on Wall Street at the law firm of Thacher, Proffitt & Wood, where he worked as a clerk and accountant. His work in the accounting field continued for many years in New York City, Pine Bush, N.Y., and Lexington, Ohio. In 1989, John moved to Las Vegas with Tom, a retired music teacher and accomplished opera singer and John's life partner. Together they founded Brown Bag Concerts, a non-profit organization that benefited the performing arts. They later established a second entity, the Performing Arts Society of Nevada. These organizations, managed by John and Tom for more than 20 years, produced approximately 1,600 events and live performances. They published over 100 issues of the performing arts publication, Smart Talk. John was an accomplished artist in his own right, skilled in both cross-stitch and painting. He approached life with both optimism and vigor, enjoying many interests, including cooking and travel. John will be remembered by all for his helpfulness, enthusiasm, and ever constant smile. John is survived by his seven sisters, Amelia Allen, Katherine Mancione, Clara Staiti, Frances Richiwich, Anna Crispino, Helen Portell, and Antoinette Van Varden; and loving nieces and nephews. Doors at the Flamingo Library Theatre will open at 1:15 p.m. Included in the musical program are, Tony Arias (hosting); Gary Oakes and Lou Garcia with Lillian D'Honau; Keith Thompson; Marilyn O'Leary; Maurice Crutcher; Lenny Talarico; Dolly Coulter, Randy Hendrickson, Bert Anderson, and Laurie Caceres; Kellie Wright; Harold Meeker; Paul Stubblefield; Lee Hughes, with Bing Young; Philip Fortenberry; Joan Sobel; Wes Winters; Rebecca Spencer; Lloyd Ziel, and Greg Bosler. Friends of John Meren, and supporters of the Brown Bag Concerts and Performing Arts Society of Nevada, are invited to attend tomorrow‘s get-together.

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It takes a lot more than hip replacement surgery to keep an entertainment veteran like Marty Allen down for long. Following total hip replacement surgery just two weeks ago (which caused him to miss his two Las Vegas November shows), Allen, and his musical bride, Karon Kate Blackwell, return to the stage in the Louie Anderson theater at the Palace Station on Saturday, December 10th, for one performance at 4 p.m. The following Monday, the Allens are back on the road again, for a working tour. Oh, and did we mention that Marty is 89-years-young?

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Julie, Ben Stone & Tyler Make Magic

Harvey, Frank Marino & Ann

While we were taking a little Thanksgiving break, we took in some shows, both with and without our visiting friends and family members. We played tourist last weekend, joining visiting relatives and friends at three shows over as many nights. On Friday night, we attended Paul Stone's Vegas Magic Theatre at the Gold Coast. With 10 people, ranging in age from 17 to seniors, as it turned out, we couldn't have made a better choice than Vegas Magic Theatre, launched at the Gold Coast on November 5th. This is not just a show, it is an experience! With a ticket price of only $14.95, plus tax and fees, Vegas Magic Theatre would be a bargain at twice the price. Why? Not only do you get a stage show in the newly configured Gold Coast theater space, in addition, for an hour before, an attached, curtained off cocktail lounge area offers comfortable seating and a number of magicians working the room performing close-up magic (the night we went, Jon Armstrong, Jeff Corn and Adam Flowers, were featured). At show time, the ticket buyers move from the lounge into the theater, where they are entertained by some of the best in the business. In addition to illusions, the performers offer comedy and music as well. Thanksgiving weekend featured James Dimmare, Jon Armstrong, and Adam Flowers. Ben Stone serves as MC, offering a couple of songs and also some magic. The acts change weekly, with shows presented on Sundays, Thursdays and Fridays at 7 p.m., and Saturdays at 5 and 7:30 p.m. (get there an hour early for the pre-show fun). We think producer Paul Stone has a hit on his hands with Vegas Magic Theatre, an all-age, more than reasonably priced presentation. The Gold Coast is located at 4000 W. Flamingo. Show tickets are available in the hotel gift shop. Call (702) 367-7111.

Saturday night, without the teens, it was a visit to the Imperial Palace to see Frank Marino and the boys in Divas Las Vegas. Our group was very entertained by Marino, Derrick Barry, as Britney Spears and Lady Gaga; Larry Edwards, as Tina Turner and a "most unique" Beyonce; Sammy Gonzales, as Liza Minnelli and Mariah Carey; Chris Woods, as Diana Ross and Whitney Houston; Joseph Santellana, as Bette Midler; Steven Wayne, as Cher and Celine Dion; Martin Cooper, as Rihanna; and Kenneth Blake, as Madonna and Dolly Parton. Blakes' turn at getting out of his makeup and drag, to Charles Aznavour's "What Makes a Man a Man," is a show highlight. The talented, hard-working boy dancers - Daniel Thomson (line captain), Donnie Everett, Nathanael Nussa, Jeremiah Hughes, and Nicolas Foote - add much to Divas Las Vegas. (We missed seeing Paul Pratt on stage. Pratt, who serves as the Divas choreographer, but is not currently dancing in the show.). Show times are Saturdays through Thursdays at 10 p.m. Tickets are $39, $69 and $79, plus taxes and fees. Call (888) 777-7664 for reservations.

And Sunday night, The Mentalist, Gerry McCambridge, astounded the visitors with his magic and mind reading. One of the audience members, many who surprisingly (to them) become part of the show, described McCambridge as, "a very nice guy doing some remarkable feats of mind over mind." The Mentalist performs at the V Theater in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood, Thursdays through Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $54.99 to $65.99. Call (702) 260-7200, or (702) 932-1818, for reservations. Prepare to be amazed.


Ann, Gerry McCambridge & Harvey

Ernest Borgnine & Joni Illi

A number of Las Vegas shows go dark for a spell around the December holidays. We suggest calling ahead before making your plans.

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The week before our break, we did some interesting, and different (for us) things. On Saturday, the 19th on November, thanks to Karen Cadle and her helper Toni Andrews, we attended out very first celebrity autograph show. We can only assume that the reason there weren't hundreds more ticket buyers there to meet and greet stars and supporting actors from their favorite TV shows and movies, was because of lack of local promotion. Held in Harrah's second-floor convention area, we saw no signage in the casino to indicate what was going on upstairs. Also, we never saw a mention in the Review-Journal's Friday Neon (not even under the FREE Diversions listings, and this event certainly was a most interesting diversion). This event gave people the chance to get up close and personal with celebrities who they knew from the big and small screen. Among the nice folks that we met and had a chance to talk to were Ernest Borgnine, Carol Lynley, Cynthia Pepper, Richard Hatch, Tippi Hedren, Susan Olsen, Bruce Dern, Charlene Tilton, and Vitina Marcus. We also had the chance to visit with some people that we know, or had met before, including Beverly Washburn (and her helper, actor Bart Williams), Howie Maurer and Dyanne Thorne, Susan Anton, Denny Miller, Tempest Storm and Felix Silla. We hope that the lower than expected turnout doesn't keep the autograph people from returning next year...at another property, perhaps.


Carol Lynley

Denny Miller with Juliet Prowse

And speaking of nostalgia and vintage television, we recently made an interesting discovery. It's called MeTV, something that has been airing around the country for less than one year. In Las Vegas, 24-hour programming launched on September 27th. MeTV (Memorable Entertainment Television), can be seen locally on non-cable channel 8.2. The new digital classic network features a wide range of some of the best programming written for television. MeTV's library includes series from Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution and CBS Television Distribution, as well as independent series owners and producers. Among MeTV's programs are some of the best television ever produced, including M*A*S*H, Perry Mason, Mary Tyler Moore Show, Dick Van Dyke Show, Bob Newhart Show, Brady Bunch, Beverly Hillbillies, Route 66, Cannon, Cheers, Columbo, Star Trek, Hawaii Five-O and more. You never know who might turn up on one of these vintage favorites. For example, last Sunday, we spotted music man, Bobby Rozario, on an episode of Bosom Buddies (starring a pre-Oscar Tom Hanks), and while watching The Rifleman, there on the tube was handsome Denny Miller, portraying "Reuben Miles" in a 1966 episode. Miller, who went on to play Tarzan - The Ape Man, was a regular on Wagon Train, and the husband of Juliet Prowse in the Mona McCluskey TV series, as well as the Groton Fisherman spokesperson, lives in Las Vegas. These days, he spends more time writing than acting.

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The day after the autograph show, Sunday the 20th, we were at the Captain's Cove on Lake East Drive, overlooking a man-made body of water, for a CD release party. About 90 people turned out to hear Kristen Hertzenberg ("Christine" in Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular) and Philip Fortenberry (assistant musical director at Jersey Boys) perform selections from their new, Holidays from the Heart, recording. Holidays from the Heart is a collection of primarily non-traditional Christmas songs encompassing pop, Broadway, jazz, gospel, and folk styles. The album centers on a theme of giving and the idea that the spirit of Christmas is especially powerful when we embrace it year-round. The artists each brought unique song ideas to the table and in the end produced a musical journey, including Harry Connick Jr.'s "I Pray On Christmas," Melissa Manchester's "There's Still My Joy," Annie Lennox's "Universal Child," and "Christmas Time is Here" from the beloved "A Charlie Brown Christmas."

Among the familiar faces we spotted were Travis Cloer, Richard Oberacker, Wayne Green, Scott Watanabe (who has a cabaret event coming up), Tina Walsh, Briane Morgan, Ian Jon Borg, Sarah Elizabeth Combs, Jay Alger, Courtney Combs, Evan and Sandi Davis, JoAnn Toranto, Keith Thompson, Lee Richey, and Kristen's hubby, Dana Satterwhite and their adorable and well-behaved daughter, Shea (who turned three on November 29th). Incidentally, Travis, who plays Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys, and his wife, Jennifer, are expecting their first baby in May (Jen is on maternity leave from Jerry Mitchell's Peepshow, currently playing at Planet Hollywood Hotel).


Kristen Hertzenberg & Philip Fortenberry

Erich Bergen

And speaking of Jersey Boys, here are some additional items with connections to the popular production. Keith Thompson, the musical director for the show based on the life and career of the Four Seasons, tells us that this month's Composer's Showcase, presented by PK Music and Outlaw Brothers Entertainment, will offer a special holiday edition. It takes place Thursday, December 8th at 10:30 p.m. (after theater). Doors open at 9:30. This is expected to be the last time the showcase is held at Garfield's, 2620 Regatta Drive (on the Lake at Desert Shores). By March, the Composers Showcase should have a new home at the almost finished Smith Center in downtown Las Vegas. Thursday's show will feature the songs of a number of local composers and songwriters, including Vita Corimbi, Wayne Green, Clint Holmes, Michelle Johnson, Christopher Lash, S. Frank Stringham, Keith Thompson, Tymara, and Mark Wherry, sung by Jordan Bondurant, Kristen Hertzenberg, Christine Hudman, Sarah Lowe, Renata Renee Micatrotto, Tim Searcy, and Melody Wilson, with instrumentation by Philip Fortenberry, Jeff Neiman, Dan Philippus, and The Firenze Sextet - Tianna Heppner-Harjo, Rebecca Ramsey, Lindsey Springer, Hanna Suk, Geri Thompson, Moonlight Tran, and others. Sound is by Mary McFadden. Proceeds from the $10 donation at the door go to benefit the non-profit Creative Studios LV. Open seating. Cash bar. Garfield's Late Night Menu available.

On a personal note...We suggest that, if you can't be a polite and attentive audience member during the approximately 90-minutes of musical entertainment, you stay home or go to a neighborhood bar. Some of the rudeness of a few attendees at the last Composers Showcase spoiled it for those who were there to listen to the talented participants.

Erich Bergen, who portrayed Bob Gaudio in Jersey Boys at Palazzo, is back in Los Angeles after five months on the East Coast. Erich will be ringing in the season with A Holiday Party, at The Coterie at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel, 1755 N. Highland Ave., on Monday, December 5th at 8 p.m. Featuring music direction by American Idol's Michael Orland, A Holiday Party will include many old favorites, new tunes, and plenty of joy and laughter. This one night only event will also include a special guest appearance by television's Lindsay Pearce. Bergen's Holiday Party will benefit Toys for Tots. Patrons bringing a new, unwrapped toy to The Coterie on December 5th will gain admission to the showroom with no cover charge. If you don't bring a toy, tickets are $10. For additional information, call The Coterie at (530) 426-8374. Also, through December 18th, Erich will be appearing as the Prince in A Snow White Christmas, at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. This production will be an updated version of the classic tale, presented in the style of the traditional British family Panto, a modern musical play based on fairytale stories. A panto is known for bringing together families with its interactive style and humor that appeals to fairytale fans of all ages. In addition to Erich, the cast includes the above mentioned Lindsay Pearce as Snow White, Marina Sirtis (Star Trek), David Figoli, Jonathan Meza, and a special appearance by Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother). Tickets range from $34 to $54, with a special Family Four-Pack for $99. For reservations, call the El Portal box office at (818) 508-4200.


Michael Orland

Angela Chan

And, from Angela Chan (keyboard player at Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, The Lion King and Jersey Boys) comes this information. Angela and her writing partner, Michael Manley (French horn player at Lion King), have written a new one act musical called Legacy of the Tiger Mother that will be playing at Theatre7 in the Las Vegas Arts District, tomorrow and Sunday, December 3rd and 4th at 1 p.m. Legacy of the Tiger Mother is "a slightly exaggerated story" by Angela and Michael. Got mommy issues? Take a musical journey with Lily, a first generation Chinese immigrant, and her daughter Mei, as they endure the trials and tribulations of old school parenting in a new country. Like many Chinese, Mei and her mom consider the piano the gateway to success, pushing her child to the limit, striving for perfection at every opportunity. But at her daughter's piano recital, Mei clashes with Lily over how much is too much parenting. Mei must decide for herself what is the perfect balance of mixing the old with the new and still meet her mother's approval. East meets west in this funny, irreverent and moving story about a mother, a daughter, a piano, and tough love, Asian style.

We might mention, that Jersey Boys will be off during the month of January, as they prepare for their move from The Palazzo, to the showroom at Paris Las Vegas.

And still speaking of Jersey Boys, they will be holding auditions in Las Vegas at the Fern Adair Conservatory for the Arts, 3265 East Patrick Lane, Tuesday, December 6th, at 9 a.m. (sign in begins at 8:30). Call Type: Equity Chorus. Chorus rules are in effect. A monitor will be provided. Seeking male and female singers who dance extremely well for future replacements in the ensemble of various Jersey Boys companies. The ensemble will understudy the principals. Singers of all races and ethnic backgrounds are encouraged to attend this call. Please prepare a Rock'N'Roll song and bring your book of music. An accompanist will be provided. Please bring a picture and resume stapled together. Always bring your Equity Membership Card to auditions. *Note for Male Singers: Bring your guitar if you play well.
Artistic team attending: Musical Director, Keith Thompson; Dance Captain, Sarah Lowe; Casting Director, Merri Sugarman, and Accompanist, Phil Fortenberry.

If one (or two) of the new cast members needs a reasonably-priced, conveniently located place to live, have we got a deal for you. A two-bedroom, two bath upstairs condo near the Strip, walking distance to Boulevard Mall and Von's market. Clean, with vaulted ceilings; gas fireplace in living room (see accompanying photo); appliances, including washer and dryer (no dishwasher); wood-like floors; window shutters; private patio; mature landscaping; pool/spa. A small, well-behaved pet is welcome. Non-smoker preferred. Only $750 a month (first and last month to move in). Show kids welcome. To see, call Mary at (702) 682-8577.


Condo for Rent

Neil Berg

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The next F.I.O.R.E. (Fun Italians Organizing Ridiculous Events) meeting (this one for Men Only) will take place on Thursday, December 8th. Join the fellows at 11:30 a.m. for a joyous lunch at the Italian American Club, located at 2333 E. Sahara. Bring cash for fun, etc. Someone will entertain you or you will be expected to entertain the presidents (all the boys are presidents, as it is the politically correct way to do these things). Let them know how many of you and your group will be coming...so there will be enough to eat and drink for everyone. Tell Gene Vitale, the Food Man, at babyeue@aol.com. For any mistakes in the above, tell Conrad Villella. As Nelson Sardelli, who usually puts the notices together (in his own unique style) is currently "Computerless in Las Vegas," this announcement is a substitute for the real thing.

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The UNLV Performing Arts Center celebrates the season with composer and lyricist Neil Berg's critically acclaimed musical revue, Broadway Holiday, in the Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall, starting at 8 p.m. tomorrow, December 3rd, as part of the New York Stage & Beyond Series. The concert presents hits from classics like My Fair Lady, groundbreakers like Chicago, and blockbusters like Wicked, with holiday tunes to start the season right. Five of Broadway's brightest stars – Ron Bohmer, Sandra Joseph, Ted Levy, Natalie Toro, and Chuck Wagner – take audiences on a journey through Broadway history with the music of Kander & Ebb, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Lerner & Loewe, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and many more. Broadway Holiday features Berg on piano, Roger Cohen on drums, and Dallas Kruse on keyboards. Founded in 1976, the Performing Arts Center at UNLV continues to be Southern Nevada's premier performing arts venue. Located on the north end of the UNLV campus, the PAC hosts a variety of performances each year in three distinct series – the Charles Vanda Master Series, the New York Stage & Beyond Series, and the UNLV Classical Guitar Series. Ticket prices for reserved seating are $75, $50 and $35. Discounts are available for seniors, military, persons with disabilities, UNLV faculty and staff, students and alumni. Student rush tickets, if available, may be purchased at the box office one hour prior to the performance for $14.25, (including facilities fee). To purchase tickets by phone, call the UNLV Performing Arts Center Box Office at (702) 895-2787 (ARTS) or you may purchase tickets online through the UNLV Performing Arts Center website, located at pac.unlv.edu. The box office is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Information about all of the season's performances can be found on the Performing Arts Center website.

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Irving and Lillian Benson recently celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary (perhaps Kim Kardashian, whose marriage lasted a mere 72 days, should have sought marital advice from the Bensons before her made-for-TV wedding), with a family gathering at The Meadow Club in Port Jefferson Station, New York. Forty-five friends and family members (children, grand-children, great-grandchildren and cousins) gathered for the happy occasion. Irving, born January 31st, 1914, is an American actor and comedian, and one of the last survivors of the vaudeville era. Benson enjoyed a long and successful run on the East Coast American Burlesque circuit. In 1957, he traveled west to play Las Vegas for the first time in the Minsky Follies. He gained national exposure during the 1960s, when fellow vaudevillian, Milton Berle, hired him to play a faux-heckler named "Sidney Spritzer." The character would turn up in the balcony overlooking the stage of Berle's variety show, where the studio audience could see him, and banter with Berle about the host's alleged lack of talent and originality. In the '80s, Benson appeared in Las Vegas at the Union Plaza, in the Maynard Sloate's productions of Top Banana and A Funny Thing Happened On the Way To the Forum. Irving and Lillian Benson were married in New York City on November 19th, 1936. They have two daughters: Cookie, who is 70-years-old, and Vicki, 66, who says she is 24 at heart; five grandchildren, Mary, David, Susan, Marc and Alison; and seven great grandchildren, Ashley, Zachary, Matthew, Madison, Sean, Harrison Miles and Lucas. Irving was the inspiration for the John C. Brown, Bart Williams, Davyd Daniels, Tyler St. Mark documentary, The Last First Comic.


Irving & Lillian Benson Celebrate

Irving & Lillian Benson Still In Love

Benson headlines a cast of fellow Burlesque and Vaudeville veterans, many of whom have known and worked with Irv on-stage. Together, with a team of theatre historians, they uncover the roots of American comedy and take us inside the colorful world of the Burlesque show. The Last First Comic spotlights the final film appearance of legendary straight man, Ed McMahon, and interviews Las Vegan, Dixie Evans. Partially filmed on location in New York's historic Palace Theatre, The Last First Comic explores a dynamic chapter in the history of our country and its popular entertainment. It's a humorous and heartfelt story of a bygone era; a celebration of a life well lived - both onstage and off. Most recently, the film was honored for Best Documentary at the 2011 Backlot Film Festival, and at the Friars Club Film Festival.

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Impressionist Tony Pace's final Las Vegas performances for this year are on Monday, December 5th, and Tuesday, December 6th, at the Clarion Hotel and Casino, 305 Convention Center Drive, between the Las Vegas Strip and Paradise Road. The show, where energy, music and comedy collide, features the talented Mr. Pace, backed by a live band, entertains audiences with his outstanding vocal talents (he has a four octave range), smart comedic wit and a keen sense of comedy spoofs. Tickets start at $49.95, plus taxes and fees, for the fast-paced 7 p.m. show. For reservations, call (702) 467-1054.


Tony Pace

Jordin Sparks

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Grammy-nominated, platinum recording artist, and season six American Idol winner, Jordin Sparks, helped kick off the inaugural celebration of Winter in Venice at The Venetian and The Palazzo Las Vegas, with a performance on the Las Vegas Strip's only outdoor ice skating rink . The star of the upcoming feature film, Sparkle, entertained the massive crowd with a musical selection that included her hits "Tattoo" and "No Air," and the holiday classics "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and "The Christmas Song." Surrounded by candy cane stilt walkers, snow angels, jesters and toy soldiers, the front of the plaza, and the outdoor gondolas of The Venetian, were transformed into a winter palace. The debut of the holiday spectacular drew gasps and applause from the overflowing audience, as the entire front of the building lit up in flashing lights, lasers and larger-than-life snowflakes. As their attention was drawn to the Rialto Bridge, three tenors and a hip hop violin duo performed holiday hits and classics, before a majestic angel lit the 65-foot LED holiday tree. Winter in Venice runs through January 8th. Who says you can't ice skate in the desert?

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Lucky Las Vegan, Hector Hernandez, used his Black Friday to turn 40 cents into a little more than $100,000. Hernandez won a progressive video keno jackpot at Palace Station, pocketing $100,076.25 after hitting the winning combination while betting the game's maximum of 40 cents. Hernandez said he plans to buy a house with his winnings.

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The Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Educational Campus recently honored Professor Alan Dershowtiz at the annual In Pursuit of Excellence Gala at The Venetian Las Vegas. Dershowitz was presented the award for his longstanding defense to civil and individual rights. A Harvard Law School professor, Dershowitz has written more than 27 non-fiction works and two novels. He has been an advisor to presidents, United Nations officials, prime ministers, governors, senators, and members of congress. He is also credited as one of Israel's most ardent legal defenders. The In Pursuit of Excellence Gala was held to raise funds to benefit Adelson Educational Campus' scholarship program for students in need. It is the campus' mission to never turn a student away due to financial hardship. The night featured a silent auction and cocktail reception, followed by a gourmet dinner, program and dancing. The mission of The Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Educational Campus is to instruct and inspire new generations of students who will draw strength from a rich Jewish heritage, use their knowledge, values and vision to fulfill their own potential, and build a better world. Adelson Educational Campus was originally founded in 1980 and now educates children from 18-months through 12th grade. The campus accepts students of all faiths and affiliations, and offers a drug-free commitment to its students and faculty. Adelson Educational Campus is located at 9700 West Hillpointe Road in Summerlin. For more information please call (702) 255-4500, or visit www.adelsoncampus.org.


Alan Dershowitz

Wendy Edmead

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Wendy Edmead will host and be one of the performers at the Thursday, December 8th edition of Ed Mathews' Hit Parade at the Suncoast. Also appearing will be Sammy Shore, Vita Corimbi, Domenick Allen, and Freddie B. The Hit Parade shows, which are free to all B Connected Club Members, start at 2 p.m. Tickets are distributed on Mondays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (get there early, as the tickets go very quickly), through the Suncoast's Promotional Kiosks, which are conveniently located throughout the casino. You must be a B Connected Member to attend the afternoon shows. Membership is free, simply sign up at the B Connected Club. One redemption per member allowed.

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Back at The Onyx Theatre, by popular demand, it‘s The Santaland Diaries! Jamie Morris returns to the role of "Crumpet," the jaded Christmas Elf in David Sedaris' hilarious one-man comedy, with shows at 8 p.m., Thursdays through Sundays. Show runs through December 11th at the Onyx Theatre. Adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello, and directed by City Life Magazine's "Best of the Valley" Best Local Theater Director, Christopher Kenney, The Santaland Diaries is Sedaris' send-up of his brief, misguided career as a Macy's elf. The show skewers our sentimental love of all things Christmas - the happy children, the spritely elves, the gifts, the good cheer. Sedaris' character, Crumpet the Elf, shows us the other side of what it's like to work at Santaland, and the result is bawdy and irreverent. 'Santaland" played last year at Onyx to sold-out houses and to glowing reviews. Most notably, Anthony Del Valle, theater critic for the Review-Journal gave the production an "A," saying, "This is great theater. Morris has done well in Vegas before, but this suggests the man has a depth of talent yet to be tapped." The Onyx Theatre is located inside The Rack, at 953 E. Sahara #16, in the Commercial Center. Tickets are $20. To purchase, or for additional info, call (702) 732-7225, or please visit: http://www.onyxtheatre.com/boxoffice/index.php?event_id=587.

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Award-winning Broadway star Liza Minnelli, who last performed in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Hilton (soon to change its name to LVH Las Vegas Hotel & Casino) in early October, has broken her leg in three places. The injury was sustained after the 65-year-old star tripped over one of her dogs.

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Because we took a week off to celebrate Thanksgiving weekend with family and friends, we missed the chance to give a plug for Spencer Baker's recent Doctoral Recital at UNLV. This was the first of four Doctoral recitals he will give. A fulltime student now, Spencer, who was one of the pianists for Naked Boys Singing at the Onyx Theatre (he kept his clothes on, the singers did not), is about half way through the coursework. He has three semesters left after completing this one. He still needs to write his dissertation, which he says will take most of next summer. He still teaches privately and is a staff accompanist at UNLV and the Nevada School of the Arts (NSA). He also works for the Nellis Air Force Base Chapel and the accompanist for the Sun City Music Makers choir at the Starbright Theatre in Sun City Summerlin. Spencer is looking forward to playing for Ed Humphrey's Gershwin tribute show in the Spring, and being a tour pianist for the London Royal Academy of Dance (Southwest tour, Ballet). He also teaches the History of Musical Theater, part-time, at Las Vegas Academy of the Performing Arts (LVA). Busy. Busy.


Spencer Baker

Domenick Allen

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Rock and roll legend, Domenick Allen, along with 10 of Las Vegas' finest musicians – a.k.a. VINYL – will rock the Suncoast Showroom for two performances, Saturday, December 10th, at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Cadillac of Las Vegas is sponsoring both performances. The concerts will be the culminating event of a two-week Toys for Tots drive at the Suncoast. Allen, the Suncoast, and Cadillac of Las Vegas, are inviting all attendees to bring an unwrapped toy to the concert for donation to Las Vegas-area children this holiday season. Anyone donating a toy will receive a 2-for-1 buffet coupon from the Suncoast. "For decades, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve has brought joy to children across the country through Toys for Tots," Allen said. "We're thrilled to ‘Rock the ‘Coast' in support of such a great cause, and I hope everyone will join us in helping make sure that every kid in the Valley has a happy holiday." Allen brings powerhouse vocals and unique interpretations of classic rock's most popular songs with VINYL. Neither a tribute band nor a group of impressionists, this collaboration of performers and music is a celebration of classic rock utilizing video, laser lighting and effects and state-of-the-art sound design. Allen and the musicians will perform famed anthems first recorded by Foreigner; The Beatles; The Who; Jimi Hendrix; Eric Clapton; Journey; The Rolling Stones; The Allman Brothers; The Eagles; Aerosmith; Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; Bon Jovi; The Doobie Brothers; Blood, Sweat and Tears; Rush; and, of course, Ludwig van Beethoven. Allen is a former member of the multi-platinum rock group, Foreigner, known best for such hits as "I Want To Know What Love Is," "Double Vision" and "Cold As Ice." In addition to Foreigner, he recorded and performed with the legendary Buddy Rich Big Band. Allen is a professional actor, singer and musician, and toured the world for four years with the famed pianist, Liberace. In addition to appearing in several productions on London's West End, Allen co-starred with Helen Reddy in the musical Blood Brothers on Broadway. Daytime audiences will recognize Allen for his long run as the evil "Simon Prescott" on NBC's Days of Our Lives. Allen has partnered with longtime friends, Clint Holmes, Susan Anton and Martin Nievera, as Vocal Soup, a showcase of solo performances, duets and group numbers. Tickets for Domenick Allen and VINYL are available starting from $15.95, plus taxes and convenience fees, and can be purchased at any Coast Casinos box office, by calling (702) 636-7075, or by visiting www.suncoastcasino.com.

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UNLV's Nevada Conservatory Theater is presenting A Christmas Carol, through December 18th. Adapted by David H. Bell, and directed by Brad Carroll, NCT is once again offering the 2009 hit, Charles Dickens' iconic Christmas story, featuring that famous Ebenezer Scrooge (Bah Humbug!) and the three ghosts who lead him through time and show him the error of his ways. What's Christmas without A Christmas Carol? A treat for the entire family. Rated G.

With more than 2,000 season subscribers and 18,000 attendees each year, NCT is among the most notable and best-attended performing arts organizations in Las Vegas. What makes them distinct is the way they feature professional actors, designers, and directors working alongside advanced graduate and undergraduate students recruited from around the country. NCT is a model of how to build a professional theatre while keeping expenses and ticket prices low. The conservatory is in an ideal position to make a professional theatre happen in Las Vegas, but it will not become a reality without the financial support of the community. Their mission is to entertain, but also to provoke and inspire. NCT is proud to be a part of Las Vegas and UNLV. They believe the city has a cultural destiny. The conservatory is grateful to every subscriber, every corporation, every donor, every patron, and every dollar given to them. They do not take this generosity for granted, but rather invest it in a higher caliber of work, and ask you to partner with them in their vision to give Las Vegas something of lasting cultural value.

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Broadway Bound Children's Theatre will present Jason Robert Brown in Concert, on December 8th at 9 p.m., following the preview performance of Seattle's first professional staging of his musical, 13. The concert will be Mr. Brown's first ever in Seattle. Mr. Brown will also be a special guest at the opening night performance of his musical on December 9th, and will conduct a talk back with the audience following the performance. The revival of Broadway Bound's production is a collaborative venture, between ACT and Broadway Bound, that will result in ten performances of 13 at ACT's Falls Theatre, and will mark Broadway's Bound first venture into Seattle's professional theatre scene. Tickets for this 90-minute benefit concert in the Falls Theatre are priced for the general public at $30. There is a package price at $40 for a ticket to both the December 8th preview performance of 13 at 6 p.m. and the concert at 9 p.m. The ticket package for both events is only available by phone or in person at the box office and is not available through the web. Jason Robert Brown has been hailed as "one of Broadway's smartest and most sophisticated songwriters since Stephen Sondheim" (Philadelphia Inquirer), and his "extraordinary, jubilant theater music" (Chicago Tribune) has been heard all over the world, whether in one of the hundreds of productions of his musicals every year or in his own incendiary live performances. The New York Times refers to Jason as "a leading member of a new generation of composers who embody high hopes for the American musical." His four major musicals as composer and lyricist include: 13, a musical written with Robert Horn and Dan Elish, which began its life in Los Angeles in 2007 and opened on Broadway in 2008; The Last Five Years, which was cited as one of Time magazine's 10 Best of 2001, and won Drama Desk Awards for Best Music and Best Lyrics; Parade, a musical written with Alfred Uhry and directed by Harold Prince, which premiered at Lincoln Center Theatre in 1998, and subsequently won both the Drama Desk and New York Drama Critics' Circle Awards for Best New Musical, as well as garnering Jason the Tony Award for Original Score; and Songs for a New World, a theatrical song cycle, directed by Daisy Prince, which played off-Broadway in 1995, and has since been seen in hundreds of productions around the world. Parade was also the subject of a major revival directed by Rob Ashford, first at London's Donmar Warehouse and then at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. ACT is located in Kreielsheimer Place, at 700 Union Street in downtown Seattle. To purchase tickets, call (206) 292-7676.

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Back by popular demand, Jason Graae sings Jerry Herman in Perfect Hermany. After four rollicking, melodious, touching and sold-out shows in October, Jason returns to New York City for two more performances of his Jerry Herman show, Wednesday, December 7th at 7 p.m., and Thursday, December 8th at p.m. John Boswell serves as Musical Director, and Lee Tannen directs. Perfect Hermany takes place at The Laurie Beechman Theatre, 407 West 42nd Street (at 9th Ave). There is a $20 cover plus two drink minimum. Variety had this to say about this performer, "Jason Graae raises versatility to new heights. He's a comic, a character actor and a balladeer...extraordinary range...magnificent voice." Light the candles. Get the ice out!!! For reservations, call (212) 695-6909. A live recording of Perfect Hermany has just been released on Kritzerland.

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Dangerous Curves

Las Vegas-based Dangerous Curves invite you to step out of your summer flip flops and slip on your toasty mittens, as they kick off December festivities while making their cabaret debut at the oh-so-fabulous Sterling's Upstairs at Vitello's, 4349 Tujunga Ave., in Studio City, California. The date is this Sunday, December 4th. Dinner service starts at 5 ;30 p.m., and Dangerous Curves take the stage at 7 p.m. If you are in the Southern California, enjoy the vocals of the Curves, Lisa Smith, Karen Merstik-Michaels and Margaret "Gret" Menzies, after dining at Sterling's Upstairs at Vitello's. Call the restaurant at (818) 754-8700 for reservations.



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