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Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme

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By Esther Lynn

When Caesars Palace shuttered their history-making Circus Maximus showroom in September of 2000, they bid the theater farewell in style, with music legends Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme in the spotlight. The twosome had been Caesars' headliners for 10 years, following lengthy runs at the Sands and Desert Inn hotels. Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence had not performed in Las Vegas for almost four years before returning to the stage in the Stardust's Wayne Newton Theatre at the end of April 2004.

They're very popular demand. A video montage of Steve and Eydie's television history and concert appearances opens the evening. Accompanied by a 27-piece orchestra led by Vince Falcone, the Lawrences will once again honor the Great American Songbook when they interpret the music of Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin, Sammy Cahn, George Gershwin, Oscar Hammerstein, Lorenz Hart, Jerome Kern, Johnny Mercer, Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, Jule Styne, Jimmy Van Heusen and others. Audience members can expect to hear familiar Don Costa, Quincy Jones, and Nelson Riddle arrangements, as the male half of this talented duo performs tunes from his latest album, "Steve Lawrence Sings Sinatra," produced by son David Lawrence (the couple's youngest son, Michael, died in 1986 at the age of 23). Incidentally, for those who don't know, Falcone served as Old Blue Eyes' conductor for many years.

Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme started working together more than 50 years ago on the original "Tonight Show" when Steve Allen was host. They married at the El Rancho hotel in Las Vegas in 1957 and have been a full-time show business team since 1960.

A onetime big band singer, Turkish-Spanish Gorme, born Edith Gormezano in the Bronx section of New York, is known primarily for dramatic, romantic ballads, including "What Did I Have That I Don't Have" and the Grammy Award-winning "If He Walked Into My Life," as well as her Spanish-language recordings and Latin-sounds, such as "Blame It On The Bossa Nova." Brooklyn-born Lawrence (real name, Sidney Liebowitz), the son of a cantor, is described as a "saloon singer" or "swinger," with chart-topping hits that include "Go Away Little Girl" and "Portrait of My Love." To make access to their music easier, approximately two dozen CDs of the couple's best recordings have been reissued recently. How lucky for us.

In 1995, at a Beverly Hills gala, Steve and Eydie were presented with the Society of Singers' prestigious Ella Lifetime Achievement Award. Past recipients include Ella Fitzgerald (for whom the award is named), Frank Sinatra, Tony Martin and Peggy Lee. The SOS is a non-profit organization that helps professional singers in need of financial assistance. The Lawrences also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York, share a Grammy for their "We Got Us" album, and have won multiple Emmys for their TV specials that include "Steve and Eydie Celebrate Irving Berlin;" their tribute to George and Ira Gershwin, "Our Love Is Here To Stay;" and "From This Moment On," their musical salute to Cole Porter.

In his Broadway debut, Steve earned a Tony nomination and the New York Drama Critic's award as the star of "What Makes Sammy Run." Steve and Eydie shared the Broadway stage in the musical comedy/drama, "Golden Rainbow." One of the highlights of their half-century career was the "Diamond Jubilee World Tour" with Frank Sinatra. Earning rave reviews, the year long, SRO tour culminated at New York's Madison Square Garden.

Not only do these two sing some of the best music ever written (they describe their repertoire as "no punk, no funk, no rock, no schlock"), they are funny! The dialogue exchanged between the couple is more humorous than that delivered by most professional comics. Their show is much more than a concert; it is a variety show of the first order. "If Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme don't entertain you, then no one can entertain you!" says talk show host Larry King. These two multi-talented entertainers should be required viewing by any up-and-coming wannabe performers.

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