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 26, 2008
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - September 26, 2008

Rita Moreno

Brandon Albright

Kelly Albright

If you are a lover of musical theater, and happen to be in the Las Vegas area next weekend, lucky you. On Friday (NOT Saturday as is usual), October 3rd, at 8 p.m., the UNLV Performing Arts Center opens its New York Stage & Beyond Series by presenting Rita Moreno. Moreno is one of only nine performers to ever win all four of show business' most prestigious awards: the Oscar (for her performance in West Side Story), two Emmys (one for her performance on The Muppet Show, and the other for a dramatic guest appearance on The Rockford Files), a Tony (for her role as Googie Gomez in The Ritz), and a Grammy (for her performance on The Electric Company Album for children). In fact, Rita Moreno is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for this achievement. Born in Puerto Rico, in 1931, Moreno and her mother moved to New York City in 1937. Eleven-year-old Rosita (real name Rosita Dolores Alverío) got her first movie experience dubbing Spanish-language versions of American films. Less than a month before her 14th birthday, she made her Broadway debut in the play Skydrift at the Belasco Theatre, where she co-starred with Arthur Keegan and a young Eli Wallach. Although she would not appear on Broadway again for almost 20 years, Rita Moreno, as she was billed in the play, had arrived professionally. It was in 1961 that Moreno become the first Hispanic to win an Academy Award for her role as Anita, the Puerto Rican girlfriend of Jets' leader Bernardo in West Side Story. Ms. Moreno is also the recipient of the Golden Globe Award, the Golden Apple Award, and the Joseph Jefferson Award for her performance as Serafina in The Rose Tattoo. For her portrayal of Olive Madison in the female version of The Odd Couple, she received the Sarah Siddons Award. Moreno was featured in Hal Prince's She Loves Me, and Lorraine Hansbury's The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window. Her Broadway credits include Gantry, The Last of the Red Hot Lovers, The National Health, and Wally's Café. Her film credits include Untamed, Seven Cities of Gold, The Lieutenant Wore Skirts, Garden of Evil, The King and I, The Night of the Following Day, Marlowe, Popi, Carnal Knowledge, The Four Seasons, The Italian Move, and the film version of The Ritz. Ms. Moreno also starred in her own television series, the TV version of the film 9 to 5, B.L. Stryker opposite Burt Reynolds , Fox-TV's The Top of the Heap, and Bill Cosby Mysteries. She performed for President Clinton's inauguration, and later that month was asked to entertain at the White House. At 76, Rita continues to perform concerts in theaters and also guest stars with symphony orchestras. In 2004, Moreno was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House, the highest honor bestowed upon a civilian. Recently, Ms. Moreno has been seen in the CBS drama, Cane. Tickets for Rita Moreno at UNLV are $35, $50, and $80, and can be purchased at the Performing Arts Center Box Office at 895-ARTS (2787) or by visiting Student rush tickets are $13 each and are available one hour prior to each event, based on availability and with valid student I.D. UNLV faculty and staff discounts are also available. A $1 facilities fee, in addition to the ticket price, is charged on all Performing Arts Center tickets. The box office is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

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When mentioning the past students who attended Gerald Gordon's Actor's Showcase on September 13th, Cousin Claire accidentally omitted the talented husband and wife team of Brandon Albright and Kelly Albright from the list. Don't know how that could have happened, and we deserve to be tarred and feathered (or at least feathered) for the oversight, especially after the good reviews that Brandon got for his role in Super Summer Theater's recent production of Aida. It is most impressive to Cousin Claire, that people like the Albrights, who have both studied with Mr. Gordon, continue to support those who have helped them on their career journey.

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David Pomeranz & Manila Mayor Eduardo Lim

Gerry McCambridge

Christopher Joel Carter

Friend David Pomeranz's Born For You - His Best And More has reached the 10 times Platinum mark! The CD of love songs, on EMI Records, has exceeded the 500,000 mark in sales throughout Southeast Asia, and has become the best selling, highest-grossing Pop album in the history of the Philippines. David was recently presented the Key to the City by Manila's Honorable Mayor, Eduardo Lim (see attached photo). In addition to many self-penned hits, including Tryin' To Get the Feeling Again and The Old Songs recorded by Barry Manilow, Pomeranz has a wonderful musical called Little Tramp, based on the troubled life and career of Charlie Chaplin. Although he performs in major venues around the world, Pomeranz has had only limited exposure in Las Vegas - at The Orleans, exclusive Stirling Club, and Steve Wyrick Entertainment Complex at Planet Hollywood. We would love to see entertainer David Pomeranz become a regular performer in this city.

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Since there will be no Composers Showcase in September (hosts Keith Thompson and Michael Brennan have more pressing things on their overflowing plates right now), there will be a "makeup" edition on Sunday, October 5th. (There will probably be another showcase in late October as well.) In addition to the fact that the showcase lovers, both performers and audience members, can't bear the idea of a month with no show, two regular presenters, the talented and creative Dana Allen and Frederic Kahler, will be departing Las Vegas in a couple of weeks. They have put something musical together as a farewell (hopefully, they will return to the city occasionally) to their friends. We expect to hear some of the songs from Allen's original musical, Hayes Hotel, on the 5th. We will have more information on the upcoming showcase, held in the cabaret at the Liberace Museum, next Friday. Incidentally, Dana and Frederic have some real treasures (art work, cookie jars, unique pieces of furniture, etc.) that must be sold before their departure. If you are interested in seeing any of the items, contact Cousin Claire.

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If you are a regular reader of this column, you know that one of our favorite Vegas "under the radar" acts is Gerry McCambridge, The Mentalist. McCambridge doesn't perform in a great big elaborate theater. He uses no pyrotechnics. There are no acrobats or contortionists. No helicopters on stage. No dancing showgirls. No wild beasts (except maybe for an occasional audience participant). Instead, McCambridge presents a unique, enjoyable, mystifying (even by skeptics) 75-minutes of pure entertainment in the 250-seat Night Owl Showroom at Hooters, located just east of the Strip on Tropicana. As a result, we were quite surprised to read Mike Weatherford's Review-Journal column of September 18th. What we thought was going to be a positive piece on Gerry and his show, turned out to be a negative-sounding "attack" on McCambridge's connection to the new TV series called The Mentalist. We don't like taking swipes at other local writers - unless they really deserve it - and, in this case, we were prepared to stand up for McCambridge and try to help right a wrong. Weatherford wrote in his September 18th column, "A spokeswoman for Warner Bros., the series producer, said Wednesday she was not aware of McCambridge doing any sanctioned interviews for the series, and had no comment on the rights issue concerning the term "Mentalist." After an angry letter from McCambridge, implying that Weatherford's earlier column questions Gerry's credibility, the R-J writer is backpedaling when he states in his September 25th column, "An update on The Mentalist, the live act, and 'The Mentalist,' the CBS television series. Last week, representatives of CBS and Warner Bros., the series producer, could not verify by deadline Hooter's performer Gerry McCambridge's claim that he is a paid spokesman for the TV series." That "could not verify by deadline" is the key here. It doesn't mean that McCambridge was not being truthful about his claims. It means that the article on this subject went to press before it should have and before the facts had been obtained. After McCambridge objected to last week's story, saying, "I hope your next newspaper column makes the proper corrections to the facts, and I also hope you research your topic a little better before putting someone's character in question," they (CBS/Warner Bros.) did additional research and now verify and confirm that McCambridge, who owned and copyrighted The Mentalist title in 2004 when he starred in and produced an NBC show using that name, was indeed paid by CBS to do promotional interviews for radio stations in different cities around the country. Gerry McCambridge, who is well into his second year at Hooters, is anticipating that a hit TV series, with the same name as his Las Vegas show, can only help increase his already decent ticket sales. If you haven't seen his show, we highly recommend it. After you go, we would like to hear your comments. Show times are at 7 p.m., every night but Friday. Call Hooters at (866) 584-6687 for reservations.

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The top prize winner of the 2008 Liberace Piano Competition, was personable Southern gentleman, Christopher Joel Carter of Albertville, Alabama. On Sunday, Christopher joined ten other artists, ranging in age from six to 69, for the finals held in the auditorium of the Community Lutheran Church in southeast Las Vegas. Other competitors included, in the Classical Junior Division, Tiffany Koo (6) from South Pasadena, California; Kevin Meng (10) of Las Vegas; and Abigail Varghese (8) from Henderson, Nevada. In the Classical Senior Division, competitors were Grace Kim (14) of Las Vegas; Carmen Lai (18) from Las Vegas; and Seth Thompson (16) of Henderson. The Classical Open Division was made up of Otto Ehling (20) from Los Angeles, and Ashlee Young (21) from Billings, Montana. In addition to Christopher Carter, the Showmanship Division included Melissa Alcazar (26) from Los Angeles, and Hector Montes de Oca Ruiz (69) from Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico. As the winner of the Showmanship Division, Carter, who started playing piano at age five, took home $1,000. Today, he plays piano with the Florence Camarata at the University of North Alabama, and the organ at a church in Fayetteville. The annual competition, now in its 15th year, is presented by the Liberace Foundation to help talented students pursue careers in the performing and creative arts. The Foundation has awarded more than $5.2 million in scholarships to some 2,500 students at more than 120 colleges and universities. The talent was wonderful, and we enjoyed the afternoon very much, but we were quite surprised to see so many misspelled names and words in both the printed booklets and on the video screens used during the afternoon recital. These errors created some problems for the competition hosts, Bruce Ewing and Dana Rogers Martin. Through no fault of their own, because of the misspells, Ewing and Martin had to stumble through words like Coppelia and Mephisto, as well as proper names such as Hector Montes de Oca Ruiz during introductions. If people like D. Gause Snelson, David Kancsar and Anna Nateece are important enough to deserve an honor or a mention in a classy-looking program, crabby Cousin Claire feels they should also be important enough to have their names spelled correctly.

And as long as we're telling other people how to do their business, let us mention last Saturday night's Screen Actors Guild 75th Anniversary Gala. The local gathering was only one of a number of celebrations being held around the country to pay homage to the nation's largest labor union. Established in 1933, SAG represents nearly 120,000 working actors in film, television, industrials, commercials, video games, music videos and other new media. The guild was created and exists to enhance actors' working conditions, compensation and benefits. It is a powerful, unified voice on behalf of artists' rights. 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 Screen Actors Guild the respected union in entertainment. The Las Vegas celebration was held at DreamVision Studios on South Eastern, thanks to the generosity of owner, Phyllis Carreon-Taie. The event attracted approximately 400 people and was hosted by Women In Film Las Vegas, established in 2002 by Carreon-Taie. A portion of the proceeds from the party will benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Las Vegas. This is all very positive. Unfortunately, the evening presented a number of glitches. Doors to the venue, scheduled to open at 6:30, did not open until after 7, leaving lots of costumed (requested attire was 1930s-style) guests standing outside for much too long. When the building was finally opened up, only a few people at a time were admitted. Everything (buffet dinner, raffle, silent auction results) seemed to lag behind the indicated schedule. There were problems with sound and lighting, leaving some speakers, including emcee Cork (misspelled "Cort" in the very nice Commemorative Program) Proctor, unheard. On the plus side, music was provided by the Arnie Webster Band, there was a lot of socializing and camaraderie, some good Kodak moments, a psychic named Angela Kay, and a great display of beautiful photos of former SAG presidents, among them Eddie Cantor, Robert Montgomery, James Cagney, George Murphy, Ronald Reagan (also misspelled in the program), Walter Pidgeon, Leon Ames, Howard Keel, Dana Andrews, Charlton Heston, John Gavin, Dennis Weaver, Edward Asner, Patty Duke, Barry Gordon and Melissa Gilbert. These large photos (produced and provided by Passkey Systems) were to be auctioned off during the evening. The auction had still not started when we left at 10 p.m. We have not been able to find out how much money the gala generated, but we hope to have that information sometime soon. We realize that this was a labor of love, put together by all volunteers. Their hearts were in the right place, but it is our wish that by the time SAG is celebrating their 100th anniversary, some professional party planners will offer their services to the organization so they can do it up really right.

Ronald Reagan

Don Rickles

Dick & Tom Smothers

One of the many hard-working volunteers for the anniversary gala, music man George Dare, apparently is not pleased with our take on the event. Here is what Mr. Dare had to say...

Yes, the Nevada SAG event would not match the highly funded, star-studded, red carpet Galas of Hollywood, but Las Vegas has potential. Just as when I first moved here 30 years ago after winning a national competition to write the jingle ad campaign for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, I've had to work very hard to elevate the image of original music in a city where cover artists were so dominant. Today, my original music is used and requested throughout the world and Las Vegas is now known as a place where artists, movie and production show producers and organizations can go for high-end, original music scores and theme songs. This did not happen over night. My request is that you consider looking at the potential that SAG in Nevada and Las Vegas has and help to support it. As my children were growing up and learning to walk, when they fell, we cheered them on to try again and again. We applauded every step as they learned how to be more sure-footed with each attempt. Now they are teaching my grandchildren. I remember the first year that the National Finals Rodeo came to town...I created their theme song and sang there frequently. With the exception of opening and closing nights, you could have shot a cannon into the Thomas & Mack Arena and been hard pressed to hit someone. Today it is sold out a year in advance. There will be more Nevada SAG Galas, there will be more movies made in Las Vegas and there will be more work for actors, which means money into our economy. You have the power of the pen and although I am not an actor nor a SAG member, I am requesting that you consider supporting SAG in your articles, now and frequently in the future. Your help is appreciated.
Musically, George Dare

We agree with everything you say, George, and absolutely WILL support SAG, and any other legitimate organizations that protect the working actors, and entertainers in general. We just want to see things done right and in a professional manner. We are sure that much has been learned through this recent gathering and that the next one will be better and better organized, as will the ones after that. Thank you for taking the time to share your feelings.

And on the subject of the Screen Actors Guild, we received this important alert from Hrair Messerlian, SAG's Nevada Branch Executive Director...

We have been advised that a film titled Kites, produced by Happy Hour Productions, LLC, is filming in the Las Vegas, NV, area and members will not be cleared to work on this production until and unless they satisfy certain Guild requirements. Should the production provide the materials to the Guild necessary to allow members to work on the production, we will send a follow up notice to let you all know. Members are asked to please contact Hrair Messerlian in the SAG office at (323) 549-6440 if you are contacted for work on this film production in the next week or so. Thank you for supporting the Guild's effort to ensure that any performers who may be hired for work on this show are adequately protected by our contract terms.

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Last weekends' Emmy Award show not only earned abysmally low viewer numbers, reviews for the show itself were also very poor.

The Vancouver Province had this to say...Sunday's Emmy production was an atomic bomb. The hosts weren't funny; the musical numbers were embarrassing; the sets were amateurish. From the self-aggrandizing Oprah Winfrey to the career-killing musical stylings of Josh Groban, the show was practically without a redeeming moment of entertainment. We said, practically. Kudos to 82-year-old comic Don Rickles for an outrageously funny five minutes in an almost humourless three hours. If Emmy is looking for a host for next year's show, why not give Rickles a crack? Don Rickles bagged this year's Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Comedy, Variety or Musical program. He received two standing ovations during the function - one when he went on stage as a presenter with Kathy Griffin, and another when he received the award for HBO's Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project. "It's a mistake," Rickles said. "I've been in the business 55 years and the biggest award I got was an ashtray from the Friar's in New York." Rickles gladly and gratefully accepted this latest honor.

And Maureen Ryan, Chicago Tribune critic, had this to say about the Emmys and Tommy Smothers...

TV has a new train wreck to make fun of, in the form of the 60th Emmy broadcast that aired from Los Angeles on ABC Sunday. Ryan went on to say, "One of the high points of the otherwise colorless opening hour came when Steve Martin presented a commemorative Emmy to 71-year-old Tommy Smothers of the Smothers Brothers. "Tommy Smothers is a man who has given me so much," said Martin, a former writer for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. "(Smothers gave me) nothing I wanted. Mostly corporate gifts." Martin pointed out that in 1968, when the rest of the "Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" writing staff won Emmys, Smothers didn't get a statue. He had taken his name off the list, thinking that it was too controversial and would ruin the show's chances of winning. The television academy, "in an effort to fill time," Martin joked, had decided to right that wrong and give Smothers his statue 40 years later "It's hard for me to stay silent when I keep hearing that peace is only attainable through war. There's nothing more scary than watching ignorance in action," Smothers said in his acceptance speech. "I dedicate this Emmy to all people who feel compelled to speak out and not afraid to speak to power and won't shut up and refuse to be silenced."

Congratulations to both Mr. Rickles and Mr. Smothers, both with a long Las Vegas history, on their well deserved and long overdue awards.

On second thought...If the pros, with a great big budget, didn't do too well putting together the usually much touted Emmy Awards show - providing very few highlights, but plenty of lowlights - maybe the SAG crew didn't do so badly after all.

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We mentioned this event before, but because it is a worthy cause, we are mentioning it again. Consider it a friendly reminder...

The Tropicana Las Vegas presents Laugh to Cure Diabetes, October 5th, at 6:30 p.m. in the Tiffany Theater. The all star comedy line-up includes: Jon Manfrellotti, Pam Matteson, John Padon, Rob Sherwood, Fielding West and several special celebrity guests. Tickets for Laugh to Cure Diabetes are priced as low as $25 and are available at the Tropicana Box Office or by calling 702-739-2411. All ticket proceeds go to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Nevada Chapter. "We feel that it is important to not only be part of a community but to give back to it as well," said Tropicana Las Vegas Casino General Manager Penny Baratta. "We encourage guests, employees, visitors and locals alike to help raise money and awareness for a worthy cause through an evening of entertainment." JDRF is the leading charitable advocate of type one diabetes (juvenile diabetes) research worldwide. The foundation's mission is to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research. Type one diabetes is a disease that strikes children suddenly and requires multiple injections of insulin. Insulin is not a cure for diabetes, nor does it prevent its eventual and devastating complications. Complications may include: kidney failure, blindness, heart disease, stroke and amputation. This program is not appropriate for children, so please leave the kids at home. For additional information call (702) 739-2222, or visit and

John Padon

Artie Schroeck & Linda November

Joey Gian

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We have good news! Norman Kaye, who has been confined to either a hospital or rehab facility for many months, was able to celebrate his 86th birthday at home. Yes, the original member of the famed Mary Kaye Trio (along with his sister, Mary Kaye, and Frank Ross) is back home where he continues to recuperate from a series of strokes.

And speaking of birthdays, we missed acknowledging actor/singer (and onetime husband of Las Vegas resident, Tempest Storm) Herb Jeffries on his 97th. Also best wishes to the almost forgotten Libras, Artie Schroeck and his bride, the shy and retiring Jingle Lady, Linda November. Meow. Meow. Meow. Meow.

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If you are in the Southern California area, the talented Joey Gian reminds us that the Italian Feast of San Gennaro Los Angeles, now in its 7th year, takes place this weekend. We got to know Joey (a onetime Star Search competitor and regular cast member of TV's Knots Landing, Beverly Hills 90210 and Hooperman), during the year he lived in Las Vegas. A terrific singer/entertainer, Gian was a regular performer at a local Italian joint on Las Vegas Blvd. So., and in the busy lounge at the Stardust (soon to be known as Echelon). Today (September 26th), through Sunday, feast hours are from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., with Italian food, music, fun, culture, games, rides, and plenty of entertainment taking place at 1651 N. Highland, south of Hollywood Blvd. Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla, in addition to singer/actor/ songwriter Joey Gian (scheduled to entertain at 9 p.m. on Saturday), Dean's daughter, Deana Martin, and Las Vegas favorites, Frankie Randall and Mark Giovi will perform. Admission to the feast is only $5, with kids under 12 admitted free when accompanied by an adult. We can smell the garlic from here.

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Hollywood manager, Beverly Dean, who is actor Jim Caviezel's manager, has selected Las Vegan Paul Campanella, co-star of Tony 'n Tina's Wedding at the Rio, to perform at a Los Angeles showcase for major motion picture and television casting directors, producers and directors. Ms. Dean saw Paul perform at a Las Vegas showcase sponsored by Dave Brown's Remington Agency this past Sunday at Neonopolis and was quite impressed. Congratulations, to Mr. Campanella. Paul also informs us that, from 6 to 10 p.m. tomorrow (the 27th), the ever popular Zavier Blue will be entertaining at Lucille's BBQ in The District at Green Valley Ranch.

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David Finkle, of the Village Voice, calls Eric Comstock and his wife Barbara Fasano "The Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt of the intimate rooms." The musical twosome return to Café Sabarsky on Thursday, October 2nd, for a 7 p.m. prix-fixe dinner and 9 p.m. concert in the Cabaret. Operated by Kurt Gutenbrunner, chef and owner of the renowned Wallsé, the Cabaret at Café Sabarsky serves authentic Viennese cuisine, drawing its inspiration from the great cafés that served as important centers of intellectual and cultural life at the turn of the twentieth century. The intimate 60-seat room is exquisitely appointed with period objects, including lighting fixtures by Josef Hoffmann and furniture by Adolf Loos. Comstock and Fasano bring their unique combination of wit and sensuality back to the cabaret where they will explore romance and its modern complications in a musical evening featuring the songs of American and European composers, Kurt Weill, Frederick Hollander, Frank Loesser, Jerome Kern, Dorothy Fields, John Wallowitch, Charles Strouse, Vernon Duke, John Latouche, Noel Coward, and others. The cabaret is located at 1048 Fifth Avenue at 86th Street. For reservations, call (212) 228-0665 or 212.628.6200, ext. 485.

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Paul Campanella

Barbara Fasano & Eric Comstock

Queen Emily

We enjoy the talent-themed reality competitions - American Idol, Dancing With the Stars, America's Got Talent, So You Think You Can Dance, etc. - but have some thoughts on the genre. Many of the Idol competitors were in bands or performing professionally before they became familiar names and faces on the show. The same thing applies to the contestants on the celebrity impersonator show, The Next Best Thing (will that one be back for a second season, or have we already seen the best-of-the-best?) and America's Got Talent. Last season's AGT winner, ventriloquist/impressionist Terry Fator; Britney Spears impersonator, Derrick Berry; magicians Kevin James, The Pendragons, Nathan Burton, the Quick Change act of David and Dania; Leonid the Magnificent (Beacher's Madhouse); The King Charles Unicycle Troupe (Beyond Belief, starring Siegfried and Roy); all had been making their livings as entertainers prior to their appearances on Idol. And that is fine. What we find a bit disturbing are the sad stories told by some contestants, i.e. AGT finalist, Donald Braswell, who claims to have lost his voice in a bicycle vs. car accident, but, now, after 13 years, has found it and can, once again, sing opera. Hopefully, voters will make their decisions and vote for the person with the talent, not for the most inspirational story. We have no reason to doubt Braswell's story, but we are very disappointed to learn that another AGT finalist, known on the show as Queen Emily, has created much of her "overnight sensation" tale used on the "reality" show. The REAL reality is that "life did not get in the way of her dreams," as stated on Emily's AGT bio. That piece of creative writing goes on to say, "Raising her daughters as a single mother meant Emily's musical aspirations had to be put on hold. When she turned 40, Emily experienced an epiphany and realized that it was time to stop dreaming and start acting, which led her to the America's Got Talent auditions." That's not quite true. Emily's story turns out to be a bunch of baloney. As a matter of fact, the lady's REAL, and very appropriate name, is Emily Baloney (could we make this up?). She has been working as an entertainer/singer for some time. We hear (but cannot verify) that Queen Emily has appeared on Showtime at the Apollo on more than one occasion. We know for a fact that in Northern California, where Miss Emily lives, she won the grand prize in the Gimme the Mike competition, held at Great America's Paramount Theater. According to the Internet, Miss (full of) Baloney's interests are "Commercial, Live Event, Movies, Music, Stage, TV." She is quoted as saying "I've been singing since the age of seven. I'm a principle (sic) cast member in Steve Silvers Beach Blanket Babylon, singing acting, and theatre is just what i (sic) do" We were rooting for Queen Emily until we learned about her lies. At this point, we would hate to see her reap a windfall ($1 million and a job in Las Vegas) as the result of her false claims.

Incidentally, Las Vegans Skye Dee Miles (currently traveling with Menopause the Musical), and Richel Kompst , have both been cast members in Steve Silver's Beach Blanket Babylon. BBB, the longest running musical revue in theatre history, is a zany musical spoof of pop culture, with extravagant costumes and outrageously huge hats. Now in its 34th year of sold-out performances, Beach Blanket Babylon is an internationally acclaimed San Francisco institution. With more than 12,000 performances in the City by the Bay, the show has performed for standing room only crowds during engagements in London and at the Sands in Las Vegas. Beach Blanket Babylon continually evolves in its clever and hilarious parodies of current events and popular icons as today's headlines unfold.

And speaking of Dancing With the Stars, we hope that 82-year-young Cloris Leachman manages to hang on for a while. The former cast member of the Mary Tyler Moore Show and star of the spin-off, Phyllis, is an inspiration to the AARP crowd and a breath of fresh air on what can get to be a routine show. Her sense of humor, although sometimes a little "out there," adds a whole new dimension, not to mention lots of press, to the dance competition. On Tuesday night, comic Jeffrey Ross and his professional dancing partner, Edyta Sliwinska, were the first couple eliminated from the seventh season of ABC's dancing competition. The pair only earned a score of 14 from the show's judges on Monday, after their cha cha cha routine. It is the judges scores, plus the audience votes, that determines who will go and who will stay to dance another day. On Wednesday night, it was Ted McGinley (Married...with Children) and his pro partner, Inna Brayer, who got their walking/dancing papers. That leaves personalities Lance Bass, Toni Braxton, Brooke Burke, Rocco DiSpirito, Maurice Greene, Kim Kardashian, Cody Linley, Susan Lucci, Warren Sapp, Misty May-Treanor, and Ms. Leachman left to dance another day.

And speaking of Dancing With the Stars, look for the Riviera's An Evening at La Cage star, Frank Marino, to share his opinions with local Channel 13 news viewers the morning after Dancing With the Stars episodes.

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From girl singer Diane Ellis comes this news...For the past month, she has been sitting in with Joe Darro, awesome jazz vocalist and pianist; Steve Golden, wonderful jazz player and flutist; and Jimmy Racey on drums. The trio plays at Franklins Tavern every Sunday night from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Franklins is located in the Target Center at 9821 S. Eastern at Silverado Ranch. On Wednesday nights, from 7 to 9:30 p.m., Darro and drummer Joe Locatelli play at Frediani's, 2895 Green Valley Parkway, two blocks north of Sunset. Check out these talented pros.

Diane Ellis

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From Rory Johnston comes this information...Johnston is directing the world premier of a major new musical, Nick Saint. This is a delightfully funny Christmas story for the entire family. The tale revolves around an old man who claims he is Santa Claus. A disabled girl and her friends who are recruited to help him prove it, the bizarre tabloid newspaper who champions their cause, the love story between a reporter and the girl's mother, and the slimy rival reporter who tries to prove them all wrong. There are 32 roles to be filled in this show, including eight adult leads, three young leads, and chorus roles for eight women, eight men, and five children. The chorus roles are quite extensive, including featured acting parts and songs solos, and are a wonderful opportunity to develop a number of quirky characters. All ages and types are welcome. There are 17 musical numbers in this show, so singing is required for all actors. This is not a heavy dance show, but dance ability is a plus. Strong comedic character acting is an absolute must for all roles, except Barbara, Benny, and Jenny who need strong dramatic acting skills. Auditions for Nick Saint, will take place at Canyon Ridge Auditorium, on Sunday, September 28th, at 2 p.m., and Monday, September 29th, at 6:30 p.m., with callbacks scheduled for the following Sunday, October 5th, at 2 p.m. Rehearsals will begin on Friday, October 17th, and run nightly until performances on December 11th, 12th and 13th. Of course, not all cast members will be required for all rehearsals until the first two weeks of December. Canyon Ridge is located at 6200 W. Lone Mountain Road, on the corner of Jones Blvd. This is community theater. There is no salary, just an opportunity to do some completely original work, perhaps be featured on the original cast album, and on the promotional video that will later be submitted to Broadway producers. Come to audition prepared to sing one ballad and one "up" song. Provide tracks or piano music. Please arrive at auditions early so we may start on time.
Nick Saint (Lead/baritone) - He doesn't look like Santa but is as charming as they come. Must be a strong singer and actor. Barbara Taylor (Lead/alto) - Mid 30s, attractive, single mother.

Benny Bigalow (Lead/baritone) - Mid 30s. Mild-mannered newspaperman. Lance Boyle (Lead/tenor) - Any age 20-50. The bad guy. An outrageous, comic character. Think Jim Carrey with a terrific singing voice). Jenny Taylor (Barbara's daughter) - About 10 years old. A strong young actress is needed for this lead role. Danny S. (Lead) - A 10 year old, wise-cracking kid. Moderate singing required but great acting is imperative. Bartholomew Leigh Sheffield III (Lead) - An overly intelligent, polite, ten year old, in other words, a nerd. Could be English. Moderate singing required, great acting is imperative. Mr. Stapleton (Lead/baritone) - The cigar-chomping editor of a sleazy tabloid newspaper. Loud and gruff (in the tradition of Danny DeVito's Louie DePalma in Taxi). Bernard Slater (Featured role/baritone) - Age 50+. The owner and publisher of tabloid. Large and imposing but child-like in his enthusiasm. A John Goodman or Ed Asner type. Max Magee (Featured acting/ no solo singing) - Any age 20-50, male or female. Friendly, enthusiastic television reporter. Louie the Slime (Featured role/one duet) - A big, dumb professional thug. A guy whose jacket size is bigger than his IQ. Chorus (All ages 5-80) - Tabloid staff, moms, dads, grandparents, kids, homeless people, newspaper sellers, angry Christmas shoppers, frazzled toy store employees, a Salvation Army person, policeman, cameraman, Scrooge, Jimmy Stewart, Bing Crosby, the cutest little girl ever, a grumpy store manager, a life-sized Teddy Bear, and more. Not just average people, but great characters. (Need at least one bass and tenor lead.) Did you ever want to create a role and be in the original cast? This is a unique opportunity to fulfill every actor's dream. For a complete synopsis of the show, rehearsal schedule, script sides, or other information, go to If you have questions, call Rory Johnston at (702) 769-6617.

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