Claire Voyant's Las Vegas Gossip Column



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

Note: This is a past column from March 02, 2007
You can find the current column HERE


Las Vegas - March 2, 2007

Martin Nievera The Siameze Twins Trent Carlini

As they say (whoever THEY are), when one door closes, another one opens. In this case, the open door came first. Just weeks after The Producers premiered at Paris Las Vegas, the very successful New York production announced that they would be closing on April 22 following a six-year run at the St. James Theater. The Mel Brooks musical romp, based on his 1968 film, broke Tony Award records in 2001 after earning 15 nominations and taking home 12 statuettes. Don't feel too sorry for Mel, though. He has the musical version of Young Frankenstein warming up to take over the stage at the St. James. If the Broadway version of Brooks' 1974 movie does anywhere near the business The Producers has done, as far as popularity and ticket sales, our Mel will be busy for a long time to come. Can a musical Blazing Saddles be far behind? Will the Big Apple closing of The Producers have a negative affect on the Paris Las Vegas production? We think not. After mid-April, Las Vegas will be the only permanent home where the public can see and enjoy The Producers.

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All good things come to those who wait. After months of false starts and stops, come Monday, popular Filipino recording artist Martin Nievera will finally be up and running at the brand new Steve Wyrick Entertainment Complex in the Aladdin's Desert Passage mall. It is no secret that the 440-seat theater was way behind schedule. Slated to open late last year, the Wyrick complex (there's a lounge and gift shop connected to this venture) delays have kept Nievera and comic ventriloquist Ronn Lucas on hold for months. Nievera's legion of worldwide fans have been waiting not too patiently for his return to Las Vegas since his Golden Nugget engagement ended in 2004. Well folks, the time has finally arrived. Show times for the personable and talented Nievera are 5 p.m., Saturdays through Thursdays. Ticket prices range from $59.95 to $79.95, plus taxes. Call (702) 777-9974 for reservations

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Changes going on at the popular Magianno's Little Italy in the Fashion Show mall. New management has decided that late night musical entertainment was too costly and, as of a week ago, has let both the talented Darcus and Paul Xavier go. Too bad. The Strip could have used a classy, non-casino venue hang out.

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Elvis Presley was known as The King of Rock & Roll. How appropriate, then, that Elvis,' the new Las Vegas hot spot, would be the first club to book singer/dancer, Siameze, called The Godson of Rock & Soul. Because of the energy and buzz created by this 21-year-old during his showcase at the above mentioned Elvis' two weeks ago, beginning on Saturday, March 10th, Siameze, the son of impresario and showman Eric Floyd and international, multi-platinum Pop/Dance recording artist Wanda Dee, is going to be spending more time on stage at the establishment. Throughout the month of March, the dynamic young entertainer will be headlining at the non-smoking dinner theater/cabaret/disco on Wednesdays from 8 p.m. to midnight, and Saturdays from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. A $20 charge will include two drinks. Siameze will be backed by the equally hot, five-piece T.C. Chandler directed Alley Cats, and two sizzling singer/ dancers calling themselves The Sweet Infiltrations. A pair of beautiful, blonde look-alike go-go dancers, known as The Siameze Twins, will also be a part of this exciting revue. Expect Siameze and company to put a whole new spin on the 545 E. Sahara restaurant and lounge. In his showcase performance at Elvis' on February 17th, among those cheering for the vibrating, pulsating bundle of energy and sexuality were musician King Errisson (Neil Diamond's three-decades long percussion player) and actor Antonio Fargas (best remembered for his role as Huggy Bear in the original Starsky & Hutch TV series). Look out Michael Jackson and Prince, Siameze is in Elvis' house...and this cute Teddy Bear is going to leave the audiences All Shook Up. Call (702) 262-0001 for reservations.

He calls his place Elvis' and, if you saw owner Elvis (yep, that's his name) Nargi, you would know why. THIS Elvis took over the restaurant, previously known as Steven David's, a couple of months ago. It's worth a trip over there, just to see the interesting décor and fun collectibles, but stay for the food, the entertainment and the good time had by the eclectic crowd.

And speaking of the above mentioned Prince, it looks like The Artist has changed directions and will soon be leaving the Rio. It seems the Purple One has a knack for change, whether it's his name (or symbol) or his mind.

Also going through the change, Clint Holmes now has a third name for the musical show he is working on. Originally titled Breathe and then renamed Jam, it is now being called Just Another Man. (Is this the same show that was once called Comfortable Shoes?) In May, Holmes will use a theater at UNLV to preview his latest project, whatever it's called. Two months from now, we may be dealing with a fourth or fifth show name. We will keep you posted.

And speaking of Elvis, we have to wonder if the reason Elvis tribute artist Trent Carlini is padding the Sahara showroom with Las Vegas Seat Fillers this weekend is to put on an impressive front and stir up enthusiasm for some special invited guests. We hear that representatives from a hotel/casino down the boulevard will be checking things out in the theater at the Sahara. Is the popular Carlini, who actually performed his show on the very same Hilton stage where Presley entertained for many years, looking to take his Musical History of the King production to another Strip property? Enquiring minds want to know.

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Always striving to bring unique and affordable entertainment to Las Vegas, Linda Leos at Charleston Heights Arts Center does it again, this time with comic actor Robert Dubac. On Sunday, March 11th, at 3 p.m., Mr. Dubac will present The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron? The show asks the question, "What do women want?" Entertainer Dubac ransacks his brain to answer that question in his one-man, multi-character, hilarious comedy. The San Francisco Chronicle reports, "Intellect evokes 90 anxiously crowd pleasing minutes." It is "fold-up and fall-down funny," states the Cleveland Plain Dealer, while the Miami Herald writes, "the kind of indisputably riotous show that sets off regular explosions of laughter." "It is adeptly conceived, refreshingly and comically stated and Dubac has no trouble keeping it up for 90 minutes," says the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Dubac's wit, writing and acting makes this a don't miss night at the theatre," claims the Denver Post, while the LA Times writes, "(The show) "elicits big laughs from both sexes in waves of treble and bass." A writer for the Boston Globe said, "Robert Dubac is talented, entertaining and very funny!" and the Toronto Star gives The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron? "Four stars!!" If you can use some afternoon laughs (and who can't), call (702) 229-6383 for reservations. Tickets are only $10 in advance and $15 at the door. As Cousin Claire always advises regarding these shows, he or she who hesitates is usually out of luck, as the 300-seat theater sells out quickly.

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So where did Dame Elizabeth Taylor choose to celebrate her 75th birthday on February 27th? Not in Beverly Hills or some romantic or exotic European city, but right here in Las Vegas. With friends like Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn, along with Debbie Reynolds and her actress/author daughter Carrie Fisher in attendance (but where, oh where, was her dear friend, new Las Vegas resident Michael Jackson?), the much-married Ms. Taylor Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Burton Warner Fortensky was radiant and bejeweled during her Ritz-Carlton party at Lake Las Vegas. Half a century ago, both Taylor and Reynolds shared the affection of '50s pop singer Eddie Fisher (at the same time) and were married to him (at different times) making for juicy worldwide buzz. The two ladies seem to have buried the old hatchet and today have an amicable relationship as well as much in common...including their dislike and disdain for Mr. Fisher.

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There has been a change in times and venues for the film The Ultimate Gift, mentioned in last week's column. Instead of two showings at UNLV's Moyer Student Union Theater, due to a scheduling conflict, there will be only one showing there, taking place today at 5:30 p.m. One of the movie's stars, former Miss America Lee Meriwether, will be present. There is no charge at UNLV. On Sunday, there will be three more showings of the inspirational, award-winning film at the Tropicana Cinemas, located on the northwest corner of East Tropicana and Pecos. Show times are 3:00, 5:15 and 7:30 p.m. There will be a $5 charge, with all proceeds donated to the Media Fellowship of Las Vegas. For more details, call (702) 480-3989.

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We have it on good authority that Freddie House, or Freddie Eckstine (his paid for name change now may be a legal and done deal), who claims to be the son of singing legend Billy Eckstine (he isn't), is threatening to sue the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas because his months-ago anticipated March dates in the casino's Casbar Lounge were given to another act. Now, let's see if we have this correct...a man who created a web of lies regarding his relationship to the late Mr. B, is going to sue a hotel because HE didn't sign and return his contract in time? Hmmm. Not only did Freddie try to defraud the Sahara and its guests by claiming to be someone he's not, he also tried to bypass his onetime manager, Eric Floyd, by going behind his back and cutting him out of the deal and his small commission. The Sahara would have none of it. In our opinion, Freddie the Fraud is lucky that he hasn't been prosecuted by the real Eckstine family. If he had been, he might be calling a cell his home (or House) and wearing an orange jumpsuit or stripes instead of a Bernini suit. Talk about balls!


Robert Dubac Liz Taylor at 75 Forbidden Broadway

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Las Vegas-based singer/songwriter/performer and former Miss Nevada, Sandy Kastel, will be interviewed on Las Vegas radio station KLAV, March 6th at 9 p.m. Sandy will discuss her upcoming album, Luck Be a Lady, and the debut of the album's first single, Beyond The Sea, scheduled for radio airing in early March. Interested listeners can tune in via the station's Internet Stream on www.klav1230am.com or via live Podcast on Kastel's Web site at www.sandykastel.com.


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Joey Zarzecki, who was one of the male dancers in the Flamingo's Great Radio City Music Hall Spectacular starring The Rockettes and Maurice Hines Jr. some years ago, is now living in Arizona where he manages a successful ballroom dance studio. Thanks to television shows like So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing With the Stars and Ballroom Bootcamp, as well as films like Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, Shall We Dance, Take The Lead and Burn the Floor, ballroom is now more popular than ever. As a result, Joey is looking for a few great teachers to add to his Scottsdale faculty. If you, or anyone you know, would like to teach dance, and you either live in Arizona or would be willing to relocate, Zarzecki would like to hear from you. Although they train their staff, needless to say, you should have some dance experience. Joey says that successful teachers can make a really good living while doing something fun. If interested, please e-mail Cousin Claire at [email protected]. She will make sure the mail gets to Mr. Z.

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When Mary Wilson comes into the Golden Nugget to perform on April 20th and 21st, one of her backup singers should feel very comfortable in that venue. Although the room has changed (expanding from a 400 to 600-seat theater), it will be like old home week for singer Lucy (Lucille) Shropshire. When Clint Holmes was the headliner at the Nugget, former Las Vegan Lucy, who now makes her home in New York, was an integral part of his show.

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On Saturday, February 24th, legendary entertainer Mary Ka'aihue, better known to her fans as Mary Kaye, was laid to rest in a cemetery in the northwestern part of Las Vegas. Kaye, the singing/guitar playing female of Mary Kaye Trio fame, had made her home in this city for many years before passing away on February 17th at the age of 83. It was Las Vegas where Mary, her brother Norman Kaye and friend Frankie Ross, gained fame as the innovators of the late-night lounge scene. Among those attending the Palm Mortuary services and/or the musical reception that followed at the Sahara, were Norman and his bride of one year, Barbara Kaye, Mary's daughter Donna Pursley and Donna's children, Kisha Wade, Javan Wade, Jasmine Ramirez and Rosita Rodriguez, Mary's son and daughter-in-law, Jeffrey and Annette Pursley, her nephew, John Kaye (who played guitar and sang Jesse Colin Young's Sunlight at the service), Frank Ross Jr., Barbara Ross, Betty Ross, Peter Anthony, Pete Barbutti, Michaelina Bellamy, Dennis Bono, Lee Castro, Carol Colombo, Joel Dane, Teddy Davies, Ginny Deering, Tommy Deering, Mike Eldred from the Fender Guitar Corp., "Kid" Cary DeGrosa, Marcel Forestieri, Genevieve, Arleen Gibson, Grant Griffin, Don Hill, former Lt. Governor Lorraine Hunt, Ingvar (who did a great job singing the Amazing Grace), Jeanette Jurado, Denny Jones, Teddy Kaye, James Love, Gus Mancuso, Maggie Peterson Mancuso, Carmine Mandia, Pier Marini, Marleen Marino, Larry Matzkin, Linda November, Gary Olds, Steve Rossi, Tony Sacca, Nelson Sardelli, Loretta St. John, Artie Schroeck, Susan Seagal, Larry Taylor, Lou Toomin and Mike Weatherford. Although Mary's son, Jay Kaye, who lives in Spain was unable to be in Las Vegas (he had come here to spend time with his mother during the summer), he wrote a letter that was read at the service and recorded an original song that was played for the gathering. Famed guitarist, 91-year-old Les Paul, called the family to express his sympathy. The Sahara's Director of Marketing and Entertainment, Ron Garrett (who was also present), provided the room for the reception at the north-Strip hotel, while The Bootlegger Bistro supplied the food for the guests who gathered to remember the musical pioneer. The standing ovation given to Mary Kaye at the end of the day's Celebration of Life service was a fitting farewell to this beloved lady. It pleases Cousin Claire to say that, thanks to the generosity of some terrific people, including the Las Vegas Sun's Brian Greenspun and community leader Lou Toomin, along with organizations such as The CAST Inc. and the Los Angeles-based Society of Singers, the funeral of Mary Kaye, as well as her headstone, have been paid for. The next goal is to get the trio a star on this city's Walk of Stars.

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None of the Broadway bigwigs were safe from the barbs and musical parodies of the hard-working, quick costume-changing quartet starring in Forbidden Broadway last Saturday night at UNLV. Among the personalities under fire, Cameron Mackintosh, Bebe Neuwirth, Bob Fosse, the former Mrs. Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sarah Brightman; forever Dolly, Carol Channing; Julie Andrews; Chita and Rita (Rivera and Moreno); Ethel Merman; Yoko Ono and even Las Vegas' own, Robert Goulet. Tony Award winning and losing shows - Man of La Mancha, Chicago, Phantom of the Opera, Les Miz, Annie, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Wicked, Aspects of Love, Mary Poppins, Cats, Fiddler On the Roof and Avenue Q - also took hits from the talented cast made up of Valerie Fagan, Leisa Mather, Nick Verina and Michael West (both Fagan and West appeared in the very clever Forbidden Vegas that had a too-brief run at the Westin Casuarina in 2004-2005). A 43-piece orchestra (41 UNLV students plus two faculty members), conducted by Catherine Stornetta, deftly wove their way through an amazing array of music while the performers did the same thing with costume and wig changes This presentation was a breath of fresh air and fresh entertainment for our city, and the audience ate it up. In New York, Forbidden Broadway is ever-changing, staying as current as the marquees on the Great White Way. Yes, it's irreverent, but oh so much fun. With all of the material they have to work with, Gerard Alessandrini's Forbidden Broadway is something that could be brought back to UNLV every couple of seasons without concern of getting old and tired. Heck, even the Las Vegas Review-Journal's hard-to-please theater critic, Anthony Del Valle, gave this one a well-deserved A. Bravo, all!



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