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.  

Claire Voyant  

Note: This is a past column from September 05, 2008
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - September 5, 2008

Bellagio from Mon Ami Gabi

David Kancsar

Sharon McNight as Sophie Tucker

Cousin Claire did a dumb thing. She took as gospel some MISinformation found on Wikipedia. In last Friday's column (August 29th), in the paragraph on the death of Harvey Kaye of the musical group, Spiral Starecase (I Love You More Today Than Yesterday), we stated "Formed in Sacramento, California, Spiral Starecase was a popular 1960s group, recognizable for its horns and lead singer/ guitarist Pat Upton's distinctive voice. In addition to Upton, and Harvey Kaye on organ, the group included Dick Lopes on sax, Bobby Raymond on bass guitar, and Vinny Parello on drums. (The group's original drummer was Victor M. Tejada from Mission Hills, California.)"
From Vinnie Parello in Palm Springs comes this important correction.
Mr. Parello (first name spelled "Vinnie," not Vinny, as Cousin Claire wrote) writes...My name is Vinnie Parello. I am the original drummer from the Spiral Starecase, not Michael Tejada. I do not know where you got your information. A correction would be appreciated.

And from Candy Kaye, Harvey's wife of 34 years, comes this...
Yes, the info about the "original drummer" is a fable. This guy put that info on Wikipedia himself, and none of the original guys have ever heard of him. Vinnie is the original drummer. Also, the info about Mike Caschera is outdated, even though it's from my own website. He hasn't performed corporate for about 4 years now, and Pat is the only one performing. There is actually quite a bit of info that relates to Vegas in a very personal way, that people haven't talked about. Did you know that back in the early 60's, Harvey first performed in town as "HARVEY KAYE & THE LARKS" at the Pussycat A GoGo? Then he was hired by Dick Lopes in the mid 60's in his group THE FYDALLIONS. Vinnie was the last of the five to be hired, and they became the house band at the Flamingo Sky Room, where they were discovered by Columbia. They use to try out their original music on the folks at the Sky Room, and knew if they packed the dance floor with it, it had hit potential. They changed their name to Spiral Starecase just before they signed with Columbia. So the only "originals" are Harvey, Vinnie Panariello, Pat Upton, Bobby Raymond (who passed away in 1984) and Dick Lopes. I've had plans to update my own website for quite some time now, and once I get through these next few weeks, I know I have to do it. I plan on putting a page to tribute Harvey and the guys on it, and maybe include some footage from his Celebration. I also plan on dispelling any other inaccuracies that's been floating around the internet.

And as long as we are in an apologetic mood (and mode), let us correct another OOOPS...
In our column of August 22nd, we informed readers of one of talented musician/songwriter/ singer, David Pomeranz's, latest projects. In the article, we gave credit to the wrong person when it came to the lyric writer for the new musical version of the Charles Dickens classic, A Tale of Two Cities. Mr. Pomeranz composed the music (we got that part right). The lyrics for A Tale of Two Cities were written by Emmy-winner Steven David Horwich, who also co-wrote the book with David Soames. Directed by producer/director Paul Nicholas (Grease), A Tale Of Two Cities will have a special pre-West End run at London's Gatehouse Theatre, from September 25th through November 2nd. If you happen to be in London during that time...well, you know the drill. (The one good thing about making a mistake and printing a correction is that everyone gets their names mentioned again.)

David Pomeranz also informs us that he is working on yet another musical theater piece (joining Little Tramp the Musical, Under the Bridge and Saving Aimee, co-written with Kathie Lee Gifford; the above mentioned A Tale of Two Cities). This latest venture, based on a really popular film (we ain't talking), has a book written by Joseph Stein (Fiddler on the Roof and Zorba) and Jenny Lyn Bader, and lyrics by Barry Harman (Emmy-winning writer for TV's All In the Family and The Carol Burnett Show. Harman also wrote the book and lyrics for the musical, Olympus On My Mind). When we can reveal more about this project, we will.

And from reader GP comes this comment regarding the bit on Iliza Shlesinger, the most recent winner of the NBC‘s reality competition, Last Comic Standing. GP writes...
I had to laugh when I saw this item in your column. I just happened to go to see Jubilee!, not knowing of Iliza's performance, and let me tell you, be HAPPY you missed it! She was horrible! Wearing a red t-shirt, jeans and tennis shoes, after just seeing the bedazzled Samson & Delilah, and suffering through her act, which was SOOOOOOOO bad people got up and left and many did not return! She started in panic to insult the audience, because she was dying on stage. I have never been more disappointed in any show's flow then when she came and went. Whomever thought that would be a good idea, was crazy! On our way out, my wife spoke to the staff asking why she was in the show and their response was, " All we have gotten is complaints and fortunately it's only for 4 nights!" OMG, was that a bad combination! Just thought you might want to know!

Thank you, GP. And yes, we want to know. Hell, we want to know EVERYTHING!

And from yet another reader comes this...
I love your Friday Column. I have a Red Hat chapter and we go to the live shows at the casinos and around town. Lots of times I find out about shows from your column. For instance today's news about Mark Giovi at DeStefano's. I will be sure to get my chapter together to attend a few weekend nights there. Claire, maybe you can help me with this problem. About 85% of the showrooms here blast you out of your seats with their sound systems. Sometimes the loud music actually hurts ones ears. Do they think that we are all deaf in this town? Even in the small showrooms they rock the walls with their sound systems. What can we do if anything about this problem? Its really sad when one can't hear a really good singer because the volume of the band drowns out his/her voice. Maybe you could spread the word. I will be looking forward to your next column as I do every Friday.
When asked to be a bit more specific, our Red Hat lady cited the following shows

The Venetian's Blue Man Group (where they hand out packages of ear plugs to audience members); Barbra and Frank - The Concert That Never Was, and Jay White‘s America's Neil Diamond Tribute at the Riviera's LeBistro Theatre; a one day Bobby Darin tribute concert at Alexis Park; Trent Carlini's Elvis impersonator show at the Sahara (no longer there), and We Will Rock You at Paris Las Vegas, where the ushers wore ear plugs (another show no longer here).

And speaking of Trent Carlini, for the reader who e-mailed to inquire about his current whereabouts, we have been unable to find out about the future plans of the winner of TV's The Next Best Thing. As soon as we have the answer, we will pass the information along.

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Mon Ami Gabi, part of the Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises group, has just opened its fifth location in the Reston Town Center in Virginia, bringing the dining experience to the greater Washington, D.C. area. This classic French Bistro specializes in fresh seafood, crepes, quiches and variations of traditional Steak Frites. There are other Mon Ami Gabi locations in Chicago, Oak Brook, Bethesda and, of course, Las Vegas. The menus may be the same, or similar, at all five of their bistros, but one thing we can guarantee...none of the other outlets has the ambiance of the Vegas restaurant. Located inside Paris Las Vegas, in addition to the lovely indoor dining area and bar, this city's Mon Ami Gabi offers an outdoor patio overlooking the dancing fountains at Bellagio directly across Las Vegas Blvd. (also known as the Strip) from Mon Ami Gabi. Besides seeing the incredible fountain display, you can also hear the music that accompanies the water shows. The food is great (don't miss the Bananas Foster dessert) and the view spectacular. If you haven't been there, we suggest that you put Mon Ami Gabi on our list of "don't miss" Las Vegas experiences. Tell genial General Manager Ryan Richardson that Cousin Claire sent you.

And speaking of food, congratulations to Barbara Nosek and Debbie Hall who are celebrating the one year anniversary of their Celebrity Chef Connection. The online audio/visual show covers wines, restaurants, chefs, recipes and just about anything and everything to do with food and drink. Barbara has been a food writer in Las Vegas since 1991, with ongoing feature articles in such publications as Las Vegas Life, Las Vegas Style, The Las Vegan, Las Vegas Magazine, Nevada Woman, Nevada Hospitality, Best Read Guide, Where, Monorail Magazine, and the in-house glossies for MGM Mirage and Caesars Palace. Her credentials also include such out-of-market, regional and national publications as Desert Living Magazine in Phoenix, Culture & Leisure Magazine in the southeastern United States, Travel Weekly and Luxury Living. Her previous online columns were DineLine and PlayBill and her current online newsletter is Live in Fabulous Las Vegas. For a couple of years, in the early 2000s, Barbara also co-hosted an entertainment (magic) segment featuring news and chat on a nationally syndicated radio show. These roles produced interviews and conversations with such marquee chefs as Daniel Boulud, Wolfgang Puck, Michael Mina, Guy Savoy, Rick Moonen, Luciano Pelligrini, Norm Van Aken, Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse, Hubert Keller, Joe and Megan Romano, Charlie Palmer, Jean-Philippe Maury, Thomas Keller, Joseph Keller, and others. Debbie has been a broadcaster and writer in Las Vegas since 1984. She has produced and hosted a number of radio interview programs featuring food, lifestyles and trends. She has also written a number of feature articles in such publications as Las Vegas Life, Las Vegas Style, Nevada Woman, What's On and Las Vegas Food and Beverage as well as regional publications. Debbie has also interviewed a number of chefs and other individuals in the food and beverage industry, Lagasse, Puck and Gustav Mauler among them. She has more than 20 years in the broadcasting industry, and has worked in Internet radio for the past three years. She understands and can apply the technology needed to set up and maintain this audio/visual show. Debbie teaches marketing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and is part of the Public Relations Certification Program. To check out what these ladies have been up to for the past year, visit their Web site at and their MySpace page at Good going, ladies!

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In a struggling economy, Jerry Lewis still managed to surpass last year's Muscular Dystrophy take, raising $65 million during the Labor Day telethon. Las Vegans contributed $1 million to the national total.

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Once again, it's Liberace Piano Competition time. The 2008 Competition's jury is being chaired by Philip Fortenberry, who is currently is the associate music director for the Las Vegas production of Jersey Boys. Philip holds a Master of Music degree in classical piano performance from New Jersey City University. He has studied piano privately at Juilliard and over the years, has competed in many competitions. Semi-finals' adjudicators are musicians Patricia Diaz, David Kancsar and D. Gause-Snelsen. The Finals will be judged by Mr. Fortenberry, Dr. Min Kim, Joey Singer, Moonlight Tran and Hal Weller. All competitors will be judged on a point system and discretionary adjudicator ranking. Technical skill, artistic impression (appropriateness of musical selection to age and current musical development) and audience appeal are the areas that will be judged. Showmanship division competitors, who are encouraged to dress in costume for this portion, will perform two selections, one classical and one reflecting Liberace's joyful spirit of showmanship and entertainment ability. Liberace himself studied classical music for 17 years at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and received a scholarship for his studies. The Semi-Finals will be held beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, September 13th and 14th. Competitors will perform in front of the Adjudicator Panel and audience. These events will take place at the Liberace Museum's Cabaret Showroom, 1775 E. Tropicana Ave. (at Spencer), and admission is free with very limited seating on a first come, first serve basis. The Final Competition is 1:30 p.m., Sunday, September 21st, at the Community Lutheran Church Auditorium, 3720 E. Tropicana Avenue. The Finals will feature the top three competitors from each Division. Tickets for the Finals may be purchased at The Liberace Museum, 1775 E. Tropicana (at Spencer), or by calling the museum at (702) 798-5595, ext. 20. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Family Promise, a 10-year-old Las Vegas organization that helps families to get off the streets, find employment and move back into a home. Family Promise is the only agency in Las Vegas that helps the families stay together while in this process.

And speaking of pianist/musical director David Kancsar, we wish the Virgo (August 27th) belated birthday greetings. While a Las Vegan, David has been associated with a number of production shows in the city, among them Chicago the Musical (Mandalay Bay), Mamma Mia!, (Mandalay Bay), Second City (Flamingo), The Producers (Paris Las Vegas), Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular (The Venetian), Spamalot (Wynn Las Vegas) and Forever Plaid (Flamingo and Gold Coast). David also teaches piano. We promise that, next year, we will have David, along with our friend Sharon Prier (whose birthday occurs on a day that none of us will ever forget, September 11th), on the list with the rest of our Virgo celebrants.

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A reminder...Supreme Reflections - The Ultimate Tribute to the Music of Diana Ross & The Supremes, performs at the Starbright Theatre in Sun City Summerlin on Saturday, September 6th at 7 p.m. and again on Sunday, September 7th, at 2 p.m. This sparkling trip down Motown's memory lane is written and directed by independent Motown producer and creative consultant George Solomon and award-winning producer/director Michael Chapman, with choreography by Paul Holmquist. Learn the true story of the original dream girls' rise to fame while enjoying an endless string of irresistible, toe-tapping hits - Baby Love, Stop! In the Name of Love, You Can't Hurry Love, Love Child - and the eye-popping glamour of the most famous female singing group of all time, Diana Ross & The Supremes. You will love, love, love this stylish, fun and informative musical gem! In addition, Oh What a Night! The Ultimate Tribute to the Music of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons will have a show at 4 p.m. on Sunday, following the Supreme Reflections revue. Also, Sharon McNight, who had to bow out at the last minute when she became ill during rehearsals for her May 24th date at the Starbright Theatre, returns to Vegas to perform her Red Hot Mama! show at that theater, September 13th. McNight will present the Las Vegas premiere of her spirited musical tribute to Sophie Tucker. Tucker was a powerful presence in American entertainment for nearly sixty years. Not only was she physically imposing, she also had a powerful, distinctive voice. Her particular strength was the naughty song delivered with such gusto that many commentators began to categorize her as a force of nature. Sophie Tucker was a magnificent entertainer, a luckless gambler, a generous friend, a tireless trouper, an unforgettable character...truly the Last of the Red Hot Mamas. Sharon McNight herself has a long and impressive entertainment background, including having repeatedly won the San Francisco Entertainer of the Year Award. She is also a Tony Award nominee. Showtime for Red Hot Mama! The Life and Loves of Sophie Tucker is at 7 p.m. All three shows are presented by Michael Chapman and ChapQuist Entertainment. The Starbright is located at 2215 Thomas Ryan Blvd. (west on Lake Mead from Rampart). Tickets are $18 for Sun City Summerlin residents and $23 for the rest of us. Call (702) 240-1301.

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Barbara Fasano

The 5 Browns

Multi MAC Award-winning vocalist Barbara Fasano joins Leslie Anderson, Anne Austin, Deb Berman, Marla Green, Tanya Holt, Lina Koutrakos, Sue Matsuki and Susan Winter at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, 407 West 42nd Street at 9th Avenue, in the benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Help Is On The Way Today, Monday, September 8th at 9:30 p.m. Musical Director is David Shenton, with Joseph Macchia Executive Producing. There is a $25 cover charge, with a $15 food and drink minimum. For reservations, call (212) 695-6909.

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The UNLV Performing Arts Center opens its Charles Vanda Master Series with The 5 Browns, classical music's first family of piano virtuosos, at 8 p.m. on Monday, September 8th. Whether performing individually or together in various combinations from duo to complex five-piano arrangements, Ryan, Melody, Gregory, Deondra, and Desirae Brown demonstrate their individual and collective mastery of the piano and their command of classical repertoire through a series of emotionally complex works by Rachmaninoff, Brahms, Chopin, Debussy, and Saint Saens, to the jazz-influenced contemporary masterpieces of Gershwin, W.C. Handy and Piazzolla. Utahans, Keith and Lisa Brown, wanted their Mormon children to have music in their lives and to raise "five good people." Not only did they achieve their goal, they also managed to raise five great pianists. At around the age of three, each of the children showed a clear talent and interest in piano lessons. While they were introduced to other instruments, the Brown children's passion was the piano. The quintet enjoyed their first wave of critical attention in February 2002 when People magazine dubbed them the "Fab Five." At about the same time, they were featured on Oprah and 60 Minutes. The siblings caught the eye of multi-platinum recording producer Joel Diamond, who landed them an international recording contract with SONY BMG Masterworks and became their personal manager. Success grew with the 2005 release of their debut album, simply titled The 5 Browns, on RCA Red Seal. The New York Post proclaimed, "One family, five pianos and 50 fingers add up to the biggest classical music sensation in years...When these kids do Rachmaninoff, they'll make you forget about Marshall amps." By the end of 2005, The 5 Browns were one of the top classical acts of the year. Tickets to The 5 Browns are $45, $60, and $90 plus applicable fees, and can be purchased at the Performing Arts Center Box Office, open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, or by calling (702) 895-ARTS. Information about all of the season's performances can be found on the Performing Arts Center website, located at

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Alissa Kelly and Brandy Bell, of PR Plus, are working overtime to promote all the deals being offered at Jerry's Nugget Casino. For example, Jerry's Famous Coffee Shop is now offering an incredible $11.99 lobster dinner special. The succulent lobster comes with a wide array of side dishes. Diners can choose from the homemade soup or Jerry's famous signature salad, a whipped or baked potato or rice, and garlic or French bread. If foodies want to sweeten the deal, a marinated, grilled-to-perfection New York Steak can be added to the lobster special for only $2 more. To better serve their varied customers' schedules, the 24-hour coffee shop is offering the $11.99 and $13.99 lobster and/or lobster and steak around the clock! These specials are available for dine-in only, and the offer is not valid on certain holidays. Sounds like real meal deal to us! Also at Jerry‘s, tonight (September 5th) Tyriq and Jamestown will make their debut as part of the revolving Motown Fridays lineup in the Royal Street Theater inside the casino. Tyriq Johnson is a gifted vocalist who has been performing in Las Vegas with talented artists such as Clint Holmes and Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns. Johnson created Jamestown, a new group that combines funk, dance, R&B and alternative rock. The multi-faceted band has performed in numerous Las Vegas venues, including The Palms and The Orleans Hotel and Casino. Jerry's Nugget is located at 1821 Las Vegas Blvd. North, in North Las Vegas. We're there!


Cork Proctor

Lucie Arnaz & Larry Luckinbill

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Carmine & Friends took off for Labor Day weekend, but they return to Piero's tonight (September 5th) and tomorrow with shows from 7 to 10:30 p.m. Piero's is located at 355 Convention Center Drive, between Paradise and the Las Vegas Strip. Phone (702) 369-2305.

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On Saturday, September 20th, Screen Actors Guild celebrates 75 years of pioneering for artists' rights. SAG Branches nationwide are celebrating this historic milestone. The Nevada SAG Branch will be hosting a ‘30s themed gala event, complete with entertainment, food, drink, swag bags, fun and entertainment. Everyone is invited to share this moment with the members and the entertainment industry. Dress attire of an upscale 1930's look is encouraged. Dress like your favorite movie star. Leave the lights of Las Vegas for the evening and come down into our "speak easy" for a short red-carpet jaunt through history, complete with torch singers, vaudeville acts, cigarette girls, photo stations, a silent auction, industry camaraderie and many surprises. Cork Proctor will serve as the evening's emcee. The party will be held at Dream Vision Studios, located at 6705 S. Eastern Avenue from 7 to 11 p.m. Tickets are $15 each for SAG members and one guest, $25 each for members of Women in Film, the SAG Conservatory, IATSE, AEA, AFTRA and College/University Students, and $50 for the General Public. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Boys and Girls Club of Las Vegas. Please consider becoming a sponsor with a tax deductible donation. Checks (cash will not be accepted) may be written to Women in Film, which has graciously offered to help host this event. Varying levels of sponsorships are available as well as "in kind" donations. To RSVP, purchase tickets or get additional information, call (702) 370-0458 or (702) 403-7366 or go online to Established in 1933, the Guild has a rich history in the American labor movement. From standing up to studios to break long-term engagement contracts in the 1940s, to fighting for performer protections amid the digital revolution sweeping the industry in the 21st century. Over the years, these revolutionary contributions have made the Screen Actors Guild a highly respected union in entertainment.

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Broadway veteran (42nd Street, The Producers), Lee Roy Reams, will be one of the celebrities participating in this year's Theatre Guild cruise (their 36th) presented by the Crystal Cruise Line. Between September 12th and 24th, The Theatre at Sea Cruise will travel from Venice to Monte Carlo, with stops in Dubrovnik, Sicily, Sorrento, Rome, Florence and Elba. Among the other personalities traveling on the 1,070-passenger capacity Crystal Serenity are Lucie Arnaz and husband Laurence Luckinbill, Donna McKechnie, Brian Bedford, Patricia Neal, Susan Powell (Miss America l981), Richard White and Betsy Craig. This should be a Grand Italian Adventure.

Patricia Neal

Placido Domingo

Anna Bergman

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If you missed Clint Holmes during his recent five-performance engagement at UNLV's Judy Bayley Theater, you can see an eight-minute snippet of the show's West Side Story medley on YouTube, under Clint Holmes Sings Broadway. Take a look at Holmes, Reva Rice, Gayle Steele, Elisa Fiorillo and Earl Turner, with Bill Fayne playing piano and leading the band and be honest...aren't you sorry you weren't there?

And speaking of Bill Fayne, he has a new project in the works. He is the musical director for I Voci Vegas, featuring vocalists Mollie Tennant, George DeMott, Pilita Danesh, and Cody Gay performing "Popera," a combination of pop music and opera. Look for them in a venue near you.

And speaking of opera...Who says Las Vegas has no class or culture? Certainly NOT Cousin Claire. We find it all around us (sometimes you just have to look beyond the neon). We are not sure why, but there has been very little publicity regarding Planet Hollywood's upcoming Placido Domingo concert. The opera legend will give a one-night performance at the resort at 8 p.m. on Monday, September 15th, the anniversary of Mexican Independence. The great tenor and international singer will be performing at the Theatre for the Performing Arts at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. In this one of a kind performance, Domingo will be accompanied by 65 musicians from the University of Las Vegas Nevada Symphony Orchestra, Puerto Rican soprano singer, Ana Maria Martinez, and orchestra director Eugene Kohn. The repertoire will include Spanish opera, zarzuela, and for this special occasion, Mexican music accompanied by Mariachis. This special and much anticipated performance will take place amidst a very busy schedule for Mr. Domingo, including his current endeavors, directing the Washington National Opera and the Los Angeles Opera and his participation in Operalia 2008 in Quebec. Placido is a frequent performer at the Metropolitan Opera, where he will be honored on March 15th. Tickets for the Planet Hollywood appearance range from $99 to $354, plus taxes and fees. For additional information, call (702) 785-5055.

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Jeanne Brei, who just returned from the Alaskan and Canadian wilderness (Juneau, Skagway and Whitehorse, Yukon Territories), reminds music and dance lovers that tomorrow, Saturday, September 6th, Bugsy's, at 6145 W. Sahara, will feature drummer Bruce Harper's Big Band from 7 to 10 p.m. For those that like to trip the light fantastic, Bugsy's has a gorgeous wood floor where you can display your Fred and Ginger dance skills (or not). Check it out. No cover. No minimum. Great music and great food. Jeanne says, "It's Old Vegas with a New Twist!"

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On September 14th, 15th and 21st, at 8:30 p.m., our Phavorite Phantom, Brent Barrett (he starred in Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular for two years), will be Anna Bergman's very special guest when she headlines at Feinstein's at Loews Regency in My Heart Stood Still: The Love Songs of Richard Rodgers. Brent was also Anna's special guest for her 2007 public television special. Direct from his role in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Barrett is the perfect choice to join Bergman in presenting the glorious and romantic melodies of the incomparable theatrical legend, Richard Rodgers, and interpreting the masterful lyrics of Lorenz Hart, Oscar Hammerstein, Martin Charnin and Stephen Sondheim. About Ms. Bergman, Peter Haas of Cabaret Scenes magazine has this to say, "With a clear, glorious voice, the sureness and subtlety of a fine actress, and a captivating, classy program and performance, Anna Bergman goes to the head of the class." Bergman and Barrett's will be directed by onetime Las Vegan, Eric Michael Gillett. Paul Greenwood will serve as musical director. This program, one that cabaret lovers will not want to miss, launches the 10th Anniversary season of Feinstein's at Loews Regency. There is a $40 Cover (Premium Seating is $60) plus a $25 Food/Drink Minimum. Jackets are suggested but not required. Feinstein's is located at 540 Park Avenue at 61st Street in New York City. Call (212) 339-4095 for reservations.

And speaking of Feinstein's, the proprietor of the nightclub, Michael Feinstein, has a brand new album (does anyone besides Cousin Claire call these discs albums?) out. The Sinatra Project, was released on September 2nd. Tracks on the CD include Exactly Like You, There's a Small Hotel, Fools Rush In, The Song Is You, The Same Hello, The Same Goodbye, Begin The Beguine, I've Got A Crush On You, It's All Right With Me, You Go To My Head, How Long Will It Last (featuring Pink Martini), All My Tomorrows/All The Way, and At Long Last Love. It is noted that "On this release, Feinstein has chosen to reflect the Sinatra sensibility by interpreting the songs in conceptually different styles from Sinatra's own renditions. The results are a fascinatingly unique and memorably beautiful." Feinstein, one of the premiere interpreters of American popular song, has been a household name since the success of his 1988 one-man Broadway show, Isn't It Romantic. He enjoys an active performance calendar, including major concert halls, symphony orchestras, intimate jazz clubs and college campuses. More than a mere performer, he is nationally recognized for his commitment to the American popular song, both celebrating its art and preserving its legacy for the next generation. Michael Feinstein has performed in a number of Las Vegas venues over the years, among them the Fontana Room at Bellagio, UNLV as part of the New York Stage & Beyond series and, most recently, at Lake Las Vegas where he appeared with Linda Eder.

Michael Feinstein

Rebecca Spencer

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The New York Music Festival 2008 begins in only ten days. Now in its fifth year, the NYMF has announced 14 new musicals to be presented as part of the festival, running from September 15th through October 5th in New York City. The New York Musical Theatre Festival is the enormously popular three-week celebration that features the works of the newest generation of musical theater writers. This season's line-up showcases the best of America's emerging musical theatre talent and the broad array of styles and subjects attendees have come to expect from NYMF. There's something for everyone. This years presentations are (in alphabetical order), Bonnie & Clyde, The Bubble: A Musical Dot-Comedy, College: The Musical, Fancy Boys Follies, The Hatpin, Heaven In Your Pocket, I Come for Love, IDAHO!, Max and the Truffle Pig, Play It Cool, She Can't Believe She Said That, That Other Woman's Child, The Road to Ruin, and Villa Diodati. "While there's no other city on the planet outside New York where NYMF could have the success and impact we've been able to achieve in just four years, musical theater is, in fact, alive and well beyond New York," said NYMF Executive Director and Producer Isaac Robert Hurwitz. "Certainly shows launched by NYMF have made their way not only to various off-Broadway productions but now Broadway - with the opening in July of the 2004 NYMF hit, (title of show), and yes, that's what the show is called! Check out the 2008 programming at After you've picked your favorite shows, visit our ticketing page to purchase your seats for only $20 each. Get them soon though. A number of shows in 2007 sold out before the Festival even got started.

If the show IDAHO! sounds familiar, that is because we have written about it before...more than once. In the last year or so, there have been two readings of the clever musical comedy, both done at UNLV. One of the show's creators is Keith Thompson (the other is Buddy Sheffield), another name that pops up in this column on a fairly regular basis. Keith is the former musical director of The Producers at Paris Las Vegas, the current musical director of Jersey Boys at The Palazzo, and the guiding force, with Michael Brennan, of the local Composers Showcase. We will give you more information about the NYMF next week, including some of the cast members and when and where the shows can be seen (numerous theater spaces around Manhattan are being used). In addition to our connection to the IDAHO! production, talented Rebecca Spencer (the original Madame Giry in Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular) is in Heaven in Your Pocket, and music man, Michael Orland (American Idol), is associated with Fancy Boys Follies. Stay tuned!

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Claire Voyant's portrait by Charlie Frye