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 September 19, 2008
You can find the current column HERE


Las Vegas - September 19, 2008


Sharon McNight as Sophie Tucker

Gerald Gordon

Michael Cardella

If readers recall, in May, Sharon McNight, was scheduled to perform her tribute to Sophie Tucker at the Starbright Theatre. Unfortunately, Sharon became ill just hours before the show and had to cancel. Not wanting to leave the crowd with nothing to do on a Saturday night, in the old "show must go on" tradition, musician/entertainer Michael Chapman (the "Chap" in ChapQuist Entertainment), and comic Kelly McDonald, went on in McNight's place, tempering the disappointment of the Sun City Summerlin audience. Last weekend, though, McNight was back at the Starbright, looking and sounding healthy and in very fine form. Judging by those in attendance (including Cousin Claire), her performance was well worth the wait. McNight, accompanied by Ted Shapiro on piano, presented Tucker signature songs such as There'll Be Some Changes Made, Last of the Red Hot Mamas, You've Gotta See Your Mama, After You've Gone, My Yiddishe Momme (Mama), and, of course, Some of These Days. Three costume changes, and some cute between tunes patter, made for a terrific evening's entertainment. Hopefully, Ms. McNight will make a return visit to Las Vegas for another round of revelry. Until that happens, you can purchase her Sophie Tucker Songbook CD (and a number of other recordings) through her Web site at www.SharonMcNight.com.

The accompanying 'Sharon McNight as Sophie Tucker' photo was taken by Don Cadette during McNight's recent Starbright appearance. For several seasons, Cadette, who now calls Vegas home, was both the on camera and studio drummer for TV's The Love Boat. He was also the drummer in the movie, Sweet Dreams - The Story of Patsy Cline, and scores of other productions. Cadette traveled around the world for several years, as both a musician and a photographer; shooting many dignitaries and stars, including Alan Alda, George Burns, Debbie Reynolds, Dick Van Dyke, and Raquel Welch among them. Cadette was the official studio photographer for TV's Murder She Wrote, Matlock, Roseanne, and many more.

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Bad news/good news. The bad news is that there will be no Composers Showcase this month. The good news is WHY there won't be a September showcase. In addition to the Liberace Foundations annual Piano Competition taking place now, and because of prior commitments of the showcase hosts, Keith Thompson and Michael Brennan, they have decided to postpone the September showcase. They may try to have one early in October and again at the end of October (it's a long month), before getting back on the usual once-a-month schedule. Both Michael and Keith have original shows that are being presented in New York over the next few weeks - Keith's IDAHO! as part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF), and Michael's musical adaptation of The Fisher King for potential backers. See more info on the NYMF below...

Note: The Liberace Foundations annual Piano Competition finals take place in the Community Lutheran Church auditorium, 3720 E. Tropicana, at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. The music-loving public is encouraged to attend. Admission is $15 per person, with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit Family Promise. Call (702) 798-5595.

And speaking of showcases...

We hope Gerald Gordon doesn't mean it when he says (once again), "that was my last one." He is talking, of course, about his Actor's Showcase. Gordon, who moved to Las Vegas from Southern California about 11 years ago, has coached more than 600 people who are hoping to gain or improve their acting skills. Not all of the students live in the Las Vegas area. Some of them travel here to study with Mr. Gordon, where the ages of the class members have ranged from late teens to AARP members. Anyway, the September 13th edition MAY, or may not, have been Gordon's last. If it was, it was a doozy! The performers included Elly Brown, Michael Cardella, Domenica Castro, Cara Dace, Nathan Ferrier, Blu Griffith, Khetanya Henderson, Luke Jones, Susan Lundt, Margarita Maliagros, Jason Nious, Sam Port, Forest Rall, Sameya Roocke and Scott Watanabe, with guests Benjamin Hale and Cory Lee Taves. There were many highlights and, we felt, moments of acting brilliance. Some of our personal favorites included Sure Thing, with Brown and Cardella; Dutchman, with Nious, Castro, Jones, Lundt, Cardella, Rall and Port; and John Kander and Fred Ebb's Wet (inspired by Brent Barrett's recording of the seductive song). Believe it or not, a swimming pool was created, just for this musical number. Since everyone was so very, very good, we feel like we are having to choose a favorite child. We love all of our children, but some are just a little sweeter than the others. Probably the most unusual scene was Archy and Mehitabel, a musical number featuring a dancing 'cockroach' (played very well by Cory Lee Taves) and a group of alley cats (portrayed by Nious, Brown, Dace, Roocke and Maliagros). Live music was provided by Scott Crookston on piano, and Ryan Redden on reeds and flute. Among those in the audience were a number of Gordon's former pupils - J.D. Smith, Stephen Sorrentino, Fhretscya Youmans, and Leslie Rehak, a student of more than 20 years ago, who traveled to Las Vegas to see how well Gordon was doing here (she gave him high marks). We also spotted the Las Vegas Review-Journal's theater critic, Anthony DelValle, in the house. Bravo to Gerald Gordon and his talented cast.

And yet another type of showcase...

This year's exciting New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) roster features traditional musical comedies, to edgy satires, to new takes on your favorite stories, with a little hip-hop freestyle thrown. The full productions will satisfy even the most picky musical theatre palette. From homegrown New York musicals and projects from as far away as Australia, the projects encompass a broad diversity of styles from bluegrass to jazz, grunge rock to chamber opera, satiric comedy to suspense and drama. For their fifth anniversary season, the group of shows reflects the breadth of contemporary musical theatre. The New York Musical Theatre Festival exists to revitalize one of America's greatest art forms by discovering, supporting and promoting new musical theater artists, producers, and projects, and by introducing a diverse audience to the vibrancy of contemporary musical theater. The largest musical theatre event in America, NYMF takes over midtown Manhattan for three weeks each fall with a slate of more than 30 productions, and more than 50 concerts, readings, workshops, seminars and other special events. NYMF is widely regarded as the essential source for new material and talent discovery. The festival has premiered more than 150 new musicals since 2004 - many of which have gone on to award-winning productions on Broadway, off-Broadway, at regional theatres and on tour, in 38 states and nine countries worldwide. The 2004 NYMF hit, Altar Boyz, has played more than 1,000 performances off-Broadway and spawned two national tours; fellow NYMF alum [title of show] recently opened to rave reviews at the Lyceum Theater on Broadway; and NYMF alum Nerds:// will open on Broadway in the spring. The current crop of NYMF shows - About Face, with book and lyrics by David Arthur and music by Jeffrey Lodin; Bedbugs!!!, with music by Paul Leschen and book and lyrics by Fred Sauter; Bonnie & Clyde, with book by Hunter Foster, and music and lyrics by Rick Crom; The Bubble, with book by Karen Paull with Wendy Robbins, music by David Pack, and lyrics by David Pack and Karen Paull; Castronauts, with book by Bobby Houston and Patricio Bisso, lyrics by Bobby Houston, and music by Randy Courts; College the Musical, with book, music and lyrics by Drew Fornarola and Scott Elmegreen; Cyclone (and the Pig-Faced Lady), with book and lyrics by Dana Leslie Goldstein, and music by Rima Fand; The Fancy Boys Follies, starring Jim J. Bullock, with book and lyrics by David Pevsner, music by Stephen Bates, Jamie Forsyth, Mark Hummel, Chris Lavely, Michael Orland, Jeff Rizzo, Michael Skloff and David Pevsner, and additional material by Bruce Vilanch; The Hatpin, with music by Peter Rutherford, and book and lyrics by James Millar; Heaven in Your Pocket, with music and lyrics by Mark Houston, and book by Mark Houston, Francis J. Cullinan and Dianne Sposito; I Come for Love, with book, music and lyrics by Terrence Atkins and Jeffery Lyle Segal; Idaho!, with book and Lyrics by Buddy Sheffield, and music by Buddy Sheffield and Keith Thompson; Jason & Ben, with book, lyrics and music by Matthew Loren Cohen; The Jerusalem Syndrome, with book and lyrics by Laurence Holzman and Felicia Needleman, and music by Kyle Rosen; Love Jerry, written by Megan Gogerty; Max and the Truffle Pig, with book by Suzanne Bradbeer, lyrics by Nancy Leeds, and music by Bert Draesel; Play It Cool, conceived by Larry Dean Harris, book by Martin Casella and Larry Dean Harris, lyrics by Mark Winkler, music by Phillip Swann, with additional music by Jim Andron, Michael Cruz, Marilyn Harris, Robert Kraft, Emilio Palame, Joe Pasquale, Dan Siegel, Larry Steelman; The Road to Ruin, with book, music and lyrics by William Zeffiro; She Can't Believe She Said That, with book, lyrics and music by Matt Prager; That Other Woman's Child, with book, music, and lyrics by Sherry Landrum and George S. Clinton; To Paint the Earth, with music by Jonathan Portera, and book and lyrics by Daniel F. Levin; Twilight in Manchego, with book, music, and lyrics by Matt Gould; Villa Diodati, with book by Colette Inez and Mira J. Spektor, music and additional lyrics by Mira J. Spektor, lyrics by Colette Inez, and additional lyrics by Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley and William Wordsworth; and Wood, with book and lyrics by Dan Collins and music by Julianne Wick Davis - will be presented at various off-Broadway venues throughout Manhattan.


Bill Nolte

Kathie Lee Gifford

Rebecca Spencer & Pheonix Vaughn

IDAHO! features Whip Masters, Jed Strunk, Slim Johnson, Aunt Pearlie and the rest of the good folks from the potato state who are rarin' to introduce audiences to potato country's simplest pleasures - spud-peelin', dancin' and devirginizin' - in this bawdy new musical that satirizes and pays homage to Broadway's most beloved classics. "IDAHO! is a 'hoot' - bawdy, smart, witty ... an extremely clever homage to the Golden Age of Musicals, with (obviously) a special nod to the gods, Rodgers & Hammerstein. I've been around this piece for over a year now, through three readings," says Sharon Carr, "and its audiences have a ball, with smiles, peals of laughter and hearty applause. My producing partner, Janet Pailet (How the Grinch Stole Christmas, MASKED, Passing Strange), is consulting on this production; Richard Winkler (lighting designer with way too many credits to list, making his producing debut) and I are producing it at NYMF (New York Musical Theatre Festival) which, for those of you who aren't familiar with it, is a venue that was created several years ago to help develop new works. There are 18 in our cast, great songs and fabulous dance numbers. Production values will let an audience know they are back in the land of Traditional Musicals. Tickets are $20 - a really fun 'insiders' way to see new musicals (NYMF is referred to as the "Sundance of Musical Theater). IDAHO! was originally directed by Thommie Walsh, who unfortunately passed away since the first reading. We are thrilled to have Matt Lenz (Hairspray, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Aida, etc.) directing, and Michelle Lynch (Little House on the Prairie, etc.) choreographing. We put together an all-star cast for the NYMF production, which we believe will be but a brief stop on the way to a commercial run in NYC, followed by a long life in the regional and eventually community theaters. We are all really excited about this project!" says an enthusiastic Sharon. IDAHO! will play at the 37 Arts (on 37th Street, between 9th and 10th Ave.) on Thursday, September 25th 8 p.m.; Friday, September 26th at 5 p.m.; Monday, September 29th at 5 and 9 p.m.; Tuesday, September 30th at 9 p.m., and October 4th at 9 p.m. Every year, NYMF shows are so hot that some sell out their runs before they even open, and this year is no exception. Additional performances for these hot ticket shows include IDAHO!, which will add a Saturday, October 4th, 1 p.m. matinee. Also adding performances are Bedbugs!!! - Thursday, September 25th at 4:30 p.m. and Saturday, September 27th at 11p.m., Bonnie and Clyde - Sunday, September 28th at 1 p.m.; Jason & Ben - Saturday, September 27th at 1 p.m.; and Wood - Friday, September 19th at 4:30 p.m. If we were in New York between now and October 5th, when this year's festival ends, we would HAVE to see the world premiere of Matt Prager's She Can't Believe She Said That! - The Rise and Fall of Kathie Lee Gifford nee Epstein. Although we haven't been a Kathie Me Gifford fan since she was the La La Lady, Kathie Lee Johnson, on TV's Name That Tune, this might be fun. According to the publicity, "She Can't Believe She Said That! recounts the true story of talk show hostess Kathie Lee Gifford over 30 years, creating an identity out of thin air to achieve national fame...and international infamy. The original Kathie Lee-sical, this loony satire from one of the writers of South Park is like Evita crossed with cheese - "Velvevita, if you will." Tony Award-winner (for the revival of Company) Heather Laws will star as "the tragic figure of our times (or at least a couple of months in 1997)," Kathie Lee Gifford nee Epstein, in the NYMF production of She Can't Believe She Said That!, which begins performances at the 99-seat Barrow Group (TBG) Theater on September 26th. TBG is located in the heart of the Garment District at 312 W. 36th Street (between 8th and 9th Ave). The Fancy Boys Follies, at the 45th Street Theater, is described as "Vaudelesque! A hilarious gay mini- Ziegfeld Follies. Filthy...but FABULOUS!" We think we would like to see this one too...even if friend Michael Orland weren't involved. For tickets to any of the New York Musical Theatre Festival shows, call Ovationtix at (212) 352-3101. They are open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (EST), Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., on Saturday and Sunday.

Rebecca Spencer, who created the role of Madame Giry in Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, will play Arlene Davis in Heaven in Your Pocket, one of the 14 offerings in this year's NYMF. Described as "A Musical Joy Ride!," Heaven In Your Pocket tells the tale of The Heavenly Belles - a family singing trio from Heaven, Oklahoma - en route to musical stardom in Nashville. An unexpected detour to Kansas City and an unusual inheritance wreaks havoc on the ladies' plans. A handsome cowboy, a kindly Miss-Fixit and a "can-do" decorator all chime in with the Belles as they face the music (and each other) in this lighthearted, tuneful romp! Phantom reunited Becky with Hal Prince, for whom she had played Carlotta in his Hamburg, Germany, Phantom company. While in Las Vegas, Spencer also performed the American premiere of Jerry Springer - The Opera at MGM Grand's Hollywood Theatre, hosted the 2007 Liberace Piano Competitions, and headlined a full-length solo concert evening. Among her numerous theatrical leading roles, Rebecca created the role of Emma Carew in the Alley Theatre world premiere of Jekyll & Hyde, and was later an original Broadway cast member. Her diverse recording experience includes the first cast album of Ragtime, Irving Berlin's Watch Your Step, and A Linda Eder Xmas (Bravo). She has been a guest soloist with leading American Symphonies, under the direction of Keith Lockhart, Marvin Hamlisch, and Rob Fisher, including five seasons with ENCORES!, Carnegie Hall's Gershwin Centennial (PBS), and the NYC Cabaret Convention produced by the Mabel Mercer Foundation. Her television appearances include Third Watch and Law and Order: SVU. Her critically acclaimed debut solo recording, Wide Awake and Dreaming, earned the 2004 Back Stage Bistro Award. Her newest release, 2006's Fair Warning (with Las Vegans Philip Fortenberry on piano, and Moonlight Tran on cello), is available in stores and thru Itunes. Both are distributed on the LML Music label. Heaven In Your Pocket will play at the 45th Street Theater, Saturday, September 20th at 8 p.m.; Sunday, September 21st at 1 p.m.; Tuesday, September 23rd at 4:30 p.m., and Sunday, September 28th at 1 p.m.

And speaking of the Great White Way...

After a record-breaking run of 27 years, including 18 separate editions and more than 9,000 performances, Gerard Alessandrini's Forbidden Broadway will play its final performance on January 15th, 2009, the 27th anniversary of the show's debut at Palsson's Supper Club in 1982. The newest edition, Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab, opened on Wednesday, September 17th, at the 47th Street Theatre (304 West 47th Street). After its New York closing, Forbidden Broadway will continue to tour around the country, as well as perform concert dates with symphony orchestras. Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab features spoofs of South Pacific, In the Heights, Equus, [title of show], August Osage County, Gypsy, Sunday in the Park with George, and Young Frankenstein, among others. Bernadette Peters, Patti LuPone, Liza Minnelli and Kristin Chenowith all get their fair share as well. Forbidden Broadway has been playing in New York theaters since 1982 when Alessandrini created the first parody lampooning the Broadway shows and its stars. It is a favorite among theater lovers as well as Broadway stars who often stop by to laugh at themselves. Forbidden Broadway has won numerous awards in its history, including the 2008 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical Revue, the 2006 Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre, six additional Drama Desk Awards, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League, Obie, and Lucille Lortel Awards. Forbidden Broadway has received national and international notoriety, racking up more than 15,000 performances in more than 200 US cities as well as engagements in London, Tokyo, Singapore and Sydney. Show times for Forbidden Broadway Goes to Rehab is Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 7:30 p.m., with matinees on Wednesdays at 2 p.m., Saturdays at 4 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets are $65 Saturday, Sunday and Monday evenings, and $60 for all other performances. Call (212) 239-6200. As a note...Over the years, there have been a couple of Forbidden Vegas revues here. Although they were clever and entertaining, the productions didn't last very long. Too bad.


Bernadette Peters

Kimberley Locke

Hash House a Go Go

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Lest anyone question the impact that appearing (you don't have to be a winner) as a competitor on American Idol can have on a career, here's an interesting note. On just one morning (today, Friday, September 19th), singers Ruben Studdard and Kimberley Locke (he won the Idol title, she didn't) appeared on NBC's Today show, while Jennifer Hudson showed up on Good Morning America, and Kristy Lee Cook on Live with Regis and Kelly, both airing on ABC.

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In October 2005, Hash House A Go Go, a San Diego-based restaurant, brought its farm fresh food with a funky twist to Southern Nevada. Now the restaurant is celebrating its third anniversary with an entire month of festivities. Anniversary month kicks-off from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, September 30th, with its three-year anniversary party. The event includes special drink and food promotions, as well as complimentary Bacardi cocktails and Linenkugle beer, a giant pancake birthday cake, and a variety of prizes. The evening will also feature a dinner special for revelers to enjoy at a discounted price. The larger-than-life meal includes Hash House Homemade Stuffed Meatloaf, Fresh Sweet Corn Mashed Potatoes, Fresh Green Beans and Carrots and is crowned with its "twisted" house gravy. "It has been an amazing three years in Las Vegas," said owner Jim Rees. Since the restaurant opened three years ago, it has been featured on "The Martha Stewart Show," "Dr. Phil" and the Travel Channel. In the next few months, the Las Vegas restaurant is included in a segment on "The Rachael Ray Show." The restaurant has also been recognized with numerous local and national awards including AOL's "Best Breakfast in Las Vegas" in 2007 and 2008, "Best Breakfast in Las Vegas" from the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2007 and 2008, "Best Breakfast in Las Vegas" by the Las Vegas Weekly in 2007 and 2008, "Top Insiders Spot" from Travelocity in 2007, and "Best of Vegas – 72 Hours" from Spin Magazine in 2007. In addition to locals and Las Vegas tourists, a variety of well-known visitors have enjoyed the food as well, among them Chelsea Clinton, Al Roker and Bjork, as well as numerous athletes and entertainers. Hash House A Go Go puts its own unique spin on dining, making it an experience like no other. The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch daily from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and dinner from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Hash House A Go Go is open until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and until 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. The restaurant is located at 6800 West Sahara Avenue. For reservations or inquiries, please call (702) 804-4646, or visit the Web site at www.hashhouseagogo.com.

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They (whoever THEY are) say there is no such thing as a free lunch (which there are), but there IS a FREE classical concert coming up. The Performing Arts Society of Nevada Brown Bag Concerts will present the Mechta Trio in the Clark County Library Theater, 1401 E. Flamingo, on Wednesday, September 24th. Professional pianist, Maria (Masha) Pisarenko; violinist, Dr. Laraine Kaizer-Viazovtsey; and cellist, Elena Kapustina, will perform works by Mozart, Mendelssohn and Shostakovich, among others. No tickets are required for this free concert. Simply show up at the Library Theater. Doors will open at 6 p.m., with the concert beginning at 6:30. Seating is limited, so try not to be late.

Also, from the folks at the Performing Arts Society, on Sunday, September 28th, John Meren and Tom Gallagher will present Bert Anderson, Laurie Caceres, Dolly Coulter and Randy Hendrickson in Wanna Sing A Show Tune (a song written by the very clever Ray Jessel, who we would LOVE to see perform in Vegas). Greg Bosler will accompany on piano. This singing quartet are favorites of Performing Arts patrons, having previously presented A Tribute to the Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber (April 2006), The Broadway Musical Old and New (November 2006), Andrew Lloyd Webber Revisited (July 2007), The Music of Rodgers & Hammerstein and Lerner & Loewe (April 2008). Tickets for Wanna Sing A Show Tune are $15 per person. For further information or ticket reservations call the Performing Arts Society's office at (702) 658-6741. Concert tickets will also be available at the Clark County Theater box office, located at 1401 E. Flamingo Road, beginning at 1 p.m. This fantastic musical show starts at 2 p.m.

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Suzanne Buhrer

Larry Raben

Norman Kaye

Happy birthday to our Libra friends, including Melissa Miles, Sonny Turner, Jerry Ritholz, Tina Walsh, Adam Pero, Adele "ZZ" Zorn, John Maltby, Suzanne Buhrer, Donna Taylor, Robert Beal, Lindsay Fitzpatrick, Larry Raben, John Elizondo, Lon Halls, Roy Horn, Tito Jackson, Peter Anthony, Artie Schroeck, Gerald Gordon, David Engel, and Joey Lomello. Also, happy anniversary to Gary and Chrisse White Waddell. And a happy birthday to Nelson Sardelli, who celebrates tomorrow (September 20th). Since we didn't know when his birthday was until now, we did not include him with the rest of our Virgo birthday folks. For his 75th birthday, we promise to mention Nelson Sardelli with the rest of his celebrants.

And speaking of birthdays - Norman Kaye, of the Mary Kaye Trio fame, who celebrates his 86th on the 22nd of this month, was able to attend yesterday's F.I.O.R.E. (Fun Italians Organizing Ridiculous Events) meeting. Signs stating Welcome Back F.I.O.R.E.'s President Emeritus Norman Kaye greeted him. If readers recall, in April, a large star-studded benefit was held at The Orleans to raise money to help with the veteran performers' mounting medical bills, incurred as the result of a stroke. Though he was in a wheelchair (see photo), Norman looked great. We hope he will be able to attend more functions like the F.I.O.R.E. meetings... although, in our opinion, there are no other functions like the F.I.O.R.E., where EVERYONE is a president or (when the situation permits) First Lady, gatherings).

And speaking of Adam Pero (who turns 19 next Friday, the 26th), he and his Social Control band-mates will perform at reJAVAnate tomorrow night. ReJAVAnate not only offers the best coffee in town, but is also home to many local musicians and touring bands. It's becoming one of Las Vegas hottest venues for all genres of music from rock, folk, metal, blue grass, neo soul, Christian, jazz and more! Enjoy anything from the menu while you sit back and relax to some of your favorite musicians. If you are young, or young at heart, you might enjoy tomorrow night's offering. ReJAVAnate is located at 3300 East Flamingo #23 (at the corner of Pecos, in the Renaissance Center). Call (702) 253-7721 for additional information. The coffee house, under the guidance of John Abbasnezhad and Hercules Cummings, was previously owned by Bruce Ewing and Greg Davis, both former members of Forever Plaid. Ewing is currently a cast member of Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, and Davis is Minister of Music at Community Lutheran Church in Las Vegas.

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Mary Wilson

Nobody Famous & The Infamous Horns

The Edwards Twins

We were very impressed with the supreme Mary Wilson's show at the South Point last weekend (although we can't say the same for the couple of Video Poker machines that we tried). Accompanied by musical director/pianist, Tom Lipps, with Keith Nelson on bass, Johnny Johnson on guitar, Darryl Woolfolk on drums, and backup vocalists Parnell Damone and Lucy Shropshire, Mary, who takes great pride in letting the audience know that she is 64½, sounded great. Her take on I Am Changing from Dreamgirls earned the former member of The Supremes a well-deserved standing O. Last night, Wilson opened at Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center's 1,844-seat Laura Turner Concert Hall, where she will perform through Sunday, accompanied by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, with Albert-George Schram conducting. Mary Wilson makes her home in Las Vegas.

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From Steve Filippini (aka Steve Phillips) comes this bit of news for you music and dance lovers...

In conjunction with the Italian American Supper Club, JuSt Entertainment Enterprises will be sponsoring a series of dance nights this fall, beginning with the Fall Twilight Dance on Thursday, September 25th, at the Supper Club. Additional Thursday dance nights will occur on October 16th (Fifties Big Bop Dance) and 30th (Halloween Costume Dance), November 20th (Thanksgiving Semi-Formal Dance), December 4th (Swing Into the Holidays Dance) and 18th (Meet Under the Mistletoe Dance). Dancing and Mingling on the Sahara, featuring Nobody Famous and the Infamous Horns, a professional show band, made up of 10 musicians and two vocalists (Ray Lopez and Kat Downey), perform the great dance hits of the past 50 years. From Big Band Swing to Rock N' Roll, Disco, Motown, Soul, Blues, Country and Latin, Nobody Famous plays it all in a quick paced entertaining show style. The events will be open to the public, with the ballroom doors open at 6 p.m. Free dance lessons are available from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., followed by dance music of Nobody Famous from 7:45 to 10:45 p.m. Tickets are $10 for singles and $18 for couples, if purchased in advance, and $12 for singles and $20 for couples when bought at the door. For advanced ticket reservations, phone (702) 220-6325. Ticket prices do not include dinner, although the Italian American Club's Sorrento Room is open for dining from 5 to 9 p.m. The Italian American Supper Club, centrally located at 2333 E. Sahara (east of Eastern), offers easy access and plenty of free parking.

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Celebrities On Stage, starring The Edwards Twins, Masters of Celebrity Illusions, will perform at the Sun City Summerlin Starbright Theatre on Thursday, September 25th and Friday the 26th, both nights at 7 p.m. This is one unique revue - with identical twin brothers portraying high-profile male AND female celebrities. Eddie and Anthony Edwards are known for their uncanny musical impressions, with Anthony Edwards re-creating Elton John, Neil Diamond, Rod Stewart, Billy Joel, Tom Jones and Johnny Mathis, and Eddie Edwards taking on the ladies - Barbra Streisand, Cher, Bette Midler and others. This is one show you won't want to miss! Wherever The Edwards Twins perform, not only are the audiences thrilled, but the press showers them with rave reviews. The senior editor at People magazine was moved to write, "They bring such love and attention to recreating celebrities, that in many ways they are better than watching the real thing." We say, Seeing is Unbelieving! Ticket prices are $17 for Sun City Summerlin residents, and $25 for non-residents. All ticket sales are check or cash (exact change required). No credit cards accepted. For up-to-date information on Starbright Theatre shows, call (702) 240-1301.

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Cutting-edge magician Jeff McBride hosts Wonderground, a magical, interactive club experience, following his shows Magic at the Edge in the Sound Trax Showroom at Palace Station on West Sahara. Jeff McBride first came to Las Vegas as an opening act for Diana Ross at Caesars Palace more than 20 years ago. Since then, he has performed opening or headline acts at the Golden Nugget, Las Vegas Hilton and was one of the leading magicians in Caesars Palace's Magical Empire. His unique style of performance art is a fusion of magic, mime, Kabuki theatre and martial arts that has amazed audiences all over the world. Television appearances include Celebracadabra, A&E's Mindfreak, and Star Trek - Deep Space Nine. This week's Wonderground guests include Aaron Crow, finalist from TV's Phenomenon; martial arts magician and author, Tom Meseroll; the comical magic of the Bellini Twins, and several other guest performers. Wonderground is a magical club experience that features interactive close-up magic, uncommon variety acts, performance art, a psychic sideshow, and DJ Leo Diaz spinning house, mash-ups and down-tempo techno. The guests are different every week and you never know who might appear. Past celebrity guests have included Lance Burton, Criss Angel and comedian Kevin Burke. McBride's Palace Station show times are 7:30 p.m., Wednesdays through Mondays. Entrance to Wonderground (10 p.m. until 2 a.m.) is $10 at the door, or half price for patrons showing up in magical costumes before 10:30 p.m. Those who have attended McBride's Magic at the Edge show earlier in the evening can show their ticket stub for free admission. Call (702) 414-9000.


Jeff McBride

Robert Goulet

Vassili Sulich

And more hocus pocus...Lance Burton's Master Magician show at the Monte Carlo Resort & Casino will offer two tickets for the price of one for Southern Nevada residents only. This promotion will run for about six weeks, ending on Friday, October 31st (Halloween night). There are many new illusions in Burton's show, so if you have seen it before, it might be time to see it again. Lower level seats for the family-type show are available for $75.55, while the balcony seating is $69.50 (which includes tax and service fees). Call (702) 730-7160, or log on to montecarlo.com.

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Yesterday, September 18th, during an award ceremony at 6:30 p.m. in UNLV's Artemus Ham Concert Hall, legendary entertainer Robert Goulet (posthumously), entertainer Clint Holmes, architect Tony Marnell, Nevada Dance Theatre (later named Nevada Ballet Theatre) co-founder Vassili Sulich, and award-winning, multi-platinum recording group The Killers, were inducted into the Nevada Entertainer/Artist Hall of Fame. "It is truly our honor to recognize these amazing people for their talent, hard work, and dedication to Southern Nevada," said Jeffrey Koep, Dean of the College of Fine Arts. "They are all giants in their industries and we are a better community for what they continually give back." Robert Goulet's vocal talents illuminated every medium of the entertainment world. A Grammy, Tony and Emmy Award-winner, this legendary artist's illustrious career spanned more than six decades. In 1960, Goulet took Broadway by storm when he originated the role of Sir Lancelot in Camelot (also starring Richard Burton and Julie Andrews). In 1982, he married Vera Novak and they made Las Vegas their home. While awaiting a lung transplant, the big-voiced baritone died from pulmonary fibrosis on October 30, 2007 at age 73. For one minute, at exactly 8 p.m. on Wednesday, October 31st, marquees of Broadway theatres, and theatres in cities across North America, were dimmed in his memory. On Friday, November 9, the day of his funeral, Las Vegas honored the late singer and actor in an unprecedented tribute by closing the Las Vegas Strip for his funeral procession. As he took his last ride down the Strip, every Las Vegas hotel-casino featured his name on their marquees. Clint Holmes is more than a singer. When he is on stage, anything can happen. And it usually does. Born in England, he is the son of an African-American jazz musician and a British opera singer. When he was eight, his mother began teaching him classic vocal techniques at home, while his dad showed him how to scat-sing in the jazz clubs. Holmes admits it was the best of two musical worlds claiming his mom taught him how to sing correctly and his dad taught him how to enjoy it. Holmes' first break came as announcer on The Late Show with Joan Rivers, followed by a two-year stint on Entertainment Tonight and host of the Emmy-winning talk/variety show New York at Night. He has made numerous TV appearances and had a Top 10 smash hit, Playground In My Mind (My Name Is Michael). Named Atlantic City's Entertainer of the Year three times, he starred in Clint Holmes' Sophisticated Rhythms, a dynamic stage show journey through music of the 1940s through the present. In 1996, Holmes' show Comfortable Shoes opened in New Jersey, and in 2002, a new and updated version of the show opened to rave reviews in Chicago.
For six years, he starred in his own show at Harrah's. Holmes, who was named Harrah's Entertainer of Choice for the Millennium, and was voted Best Singer in the 2002 Las Vegas Review-Journal's Readers Poll, is currently working on his bio musical, JAM - Just Another Man. Tony A. Marnell II was born in Riverside, California. His family moved to Las Vegas in 1952, where Tony attended public schools and graduated from Rancho High School. Upon earning a degree in Architecture from the University of Southern California, Marnell moved back to Las Vegas where he married and had two children. In 1974, he joined Corrao Construction Co. as General Manager. Soon after, Marnell Corrao Associates was formed, becoming Nevada's first and only design-build company specializing in hotel/casino projects. In 1982, Marnell became the Chairman/Owner of the company, and for the past 30 years has been involved in more than $6 billion of construction work, building and/or remodeling more than 70,000
guest rooms for companies such as MGM/Mirage, Harrah's Entertainment, Caesars Palace, Boyd Gaming, and Wynn Resorts. Marnell's projects have included volcanoes, parades in the air, Omnimax theaters, riverboats on the Colorado River, the transformation of a Howard Johnson's to a Caesars Palace in Atlantic City, and simultaneously building the two largest hotels in America, the Mirage and the Excalibur. Recent projects are the Bellagio Resort and Wynn Las Vegas. Currently Marnell Corrao Associates is constructing what promises to be the preeminent luxury hotel in Las Vegas, The M Resort. Marnell is very active in the Las Vegas community, serving on several children's community advisory boards and is active in conservation groups committed to the great outdoors. Vassili Sulich, born on the island of Brac, began improvising performances at an early age. As a refugee in Egypt during World War II, he joined a Yugoslav children's theatre receiving his early classical training in the Zagreb Opera Ballet. After studying in London for a year, Sulich moved to Paris in 1953 to become a member of Ballet de France de Janine Charrat. During his 11 years in Paris, he partnered with such famous ballerinas as Ludmilla Tcherina, Zizi Jeanmarie and Colette Marchand. He began his choreographic career with Suite Lyrique, The Wall, and Oedipus Rex. Sulich came to Broadway in 1964 as principal dancer with Folies Bergere and was later offered a three-month contract by the producer of Folies Bergere at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas, where he stayed for nine years. It was there he held classes for classically trained dancers who appeared in other shows on the Las Vegas Strip. At the same time, he started teaching classical ballet at UNLV. In 1972, Sulich organized a free ballet performance with volunteer dancers that turned out to be the inaugural performance of the Nevada Dance Theatre. Sulich co-founded the Nevada Dance Theatre (later renamed Nevada Ballet Theatre) with Nancy Houssels. Since then, Sulich has created 51 ballets, and for the NDT's 15th anniversary season, he created two new ballets, Walls in the Horizon and a full-length production of Cinderella. He also conceived and directed a total theater production of Oedipus the King, combining dance and drama. Sulich retired from the Nevada Dance Theatre in 1997.
He now lives in Rio de Janeiro and is currently staging choreography for Teatro Municpal and company Joven. He is also an accomplished artist, a published poet and has written his autobiography Vision in the Desert. The Killers, an alternative rock band from Las Vegas, combine music styles from the '70s, '80s and '90s with modern synthetic music. Formed in 2002, band members include Brandon Flowers (vocals, keyboards), Dave Keuning (guitar, vocals), Mark Stoermer (bass guitar, vocals) and Ronnie Vannucci Jr. (drums, percussion).
The Killers, who played large clubs in Las Vegas, attracted the attention of local agents, major labels, and a UK representative for Warner Bros. who showed their demo to a friend at UK indie label Lizard King. The Killers were signed that summer to a British label. In 2004, the band's debut album, Hot Fuss, was classified 4x Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and 3x Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Their second album, Sam's Town, was released in 2006 and the single When You Were Young went to No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart. Their third album, Sawdust, was released in 2007 and has been classified Gold by the BPI. Their first two albums have sold in excess of 12 million copies worldwide, and since their debut album in 2004, The Killers have received 50 award nominations including seven Grammy Awards and have won the MTV VIDEO Music Award for Best New Artist In A Video, National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM) Award for Pop/Rock Breakout Artist of the Year, ShockWaves New Musical Express (NME) Award for Best International Band and the World Music Award for Worlds Best Selling New Group (2005); the MTV Europe Music Award for Best Rock (2006); two Brit Awards, one for Best International Group and one for Best International Album (2007); and the NME Award USA for Best American Alternative/Independent Track and the ShockWaves NME Award for Best International Band (2008). The Nevada Entertainer/Artist Hall of Fame at UNLV was founded to honor past and present residents of Southern Nevada who have made a significant impact on the arts, including visual and performing arts and architecture. The recipient is given The Sidney Award, named for Academy Award-winning director and Las Vegas resident George Sidney. Sidney, who was posthumously inducted into the inaugural Nevada Entertainer/Artist Hall of Fame at UNLV, directed such great films as Anchors Aweigh, Show Boat, Kiss Me Kate, Viva Las Vegas, and Annie Get Your Gun.

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Last chance reminder...The Nevada Screen Actors Guild is having their 75th Anniversary Gala, tomorrow night, September 20th, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. (doors open at 6:30), and everyone is invited. It is being hosted by Las Vegas Women in Film and Dream Vision Studios, with a portion of the evening's proceeds going to the Boys & Girls Club of Las Vegas. Since the mid 1930s, SAG has been the driving force in the movie industry. Mega-stars, from Eddie Cantor, Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn, to Julia Roberts, George Clooney and Meryl Streep, as well as thousands of other members have long realized and appreciated the need and power of the Screen Actors Guild. SAG, this is your night! You are the star as we come together to celebrate 75 years of incredible actors and movies that have touched our hearts, changed the world and inspired us all. With the theme of SAG Then & Now, and an old-fashioned Speakeasy-style atmosphere, it is suggested that guests dress in period '30s (gangster and his moll) or your favorite old time movie star. There will be food and drink; a silent auction with many unusual and fun items; raffled items, including tickets for Strip shows; Madame Tussauds wax figures; celebrity look-a-likes; and up-close, sleight-of-hand magicians. A SAG "history walk" will entertain as well as enlighten guests about the Screen Actors Guild. Comedian and legendary Las Vegas icon, Cork Proctor, will serve as host/emcee. A live swing band will provide music for listening and dancing under the crystal ball, and there will be surprise events and guests throughout the evening. The event will be held at Dream Vision Studio, 6705 S. Eastern, across from Sunset Park (at the first driveway south of the Antique Mart, turn right and go to the third building back). 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, $50 for the General Public. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Boys and Girls Club of Las Vegas. Tickets may be purchased by calling (702) 737-7337, or you can RSVP and purchase tickets online at www.wiflasvegas.org (cash will not be accepted).



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