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 November 28, 2008
You can find the current column HERE


Las Vegas - November 21, 2008, AND November 28, 2008


Gerald Gordon & Roslyn Kind (1981)

Gerald Gordon & Roslyn Kind (2008)

Sam Port



We're sure you have heard of Sleepless in Seattle. How about Computerless in Las Vegas? That's where Cousin Claire found herself for most of last week, thus, no November 21st column. Although we get a flu shot every year, we still were hit with a very nasty virus. This one doesn't send you to bed for a week, instead it keeps duplicating all the files in your computer (there were 80 copies of one particular e-mail), leaving it with no memory to do anything. Although we do admit to keeping too much "stuff" in our PC, we knew we didn't really have 800,000 e-mails stashed away in this HP tower. So, our computer spent five days in the "hospital," under the good care of guru/computer whiz, Michael Carter. (Thank you, Michael.) This week, instead of giving readers a heads-up on some terrific things that they may have wanted to attend during our sabbatical, we will let you know what we did and what you may have missed.

The weekend of November 14th, Cousin Claire played tourist, spending three nights vacationing in the west...the west part of Las Vegas, that is. On Friday night, we were at the Cannery, on Craig Road in North Las Vegas. There we saw the very talented Roslyn Kind in her first Las Vegas appearance since the 1970s. Following a summer engagement at the Rrazz Room in San Francisco's Nikko Hotel, Steve Murray of Cabaret Scenes magazine had this to say about Ms. Kind...
Roslyn Kind put on a dynamic, crowd pleasing appearance at the new Rrazz Room (which she re-dubbed "the Ros Room") with her trademark humor and astounding voice. Kind has a wide vocal range, singing with an unadulterated, emotive style well suited for cabaret and theatre. Ms. Kind can blow the roof off with that voice, clear as a bell, sonorous and pitch perfect. She chooses material that amply shows off her instrument and offers up a joyous love-filled philosophy of a life full of hopes and dreams. Looking fabulous in black and diamonds, Ms. Kind opened with 'You and I' and the hopeful (Leslie) Bricusse/(Anthony) Newly tune 'Pure Imagination' displaying incredible control of both the material and her voice. Launching into Jerry Herman's 'Its Today' from "Mame" reminds the listener of what Kind is all about - bold, sassy and bigger than life. Not able to avoid the inevitable comparisons to her famous sibling, Ms. Kind pokes fun at the situation that has dogged her career with a sampling of Streisand's 'People' that morphs into 'I Gotta Be Me'. Point acknowledged, now back to the fabulous Roslyn Kind. Beautiful ballads are a forte for her voice and she delivered on 'Come What May', the title track on her newly re-issued CD, the unreleased 'What Love Has Done' and a tender version of Michel LeGrand/Alan and Marilyn Bergman's 'How Do You Keep The Music Playing.' Ms. Kind arranged a pairing of Burt Bacharach's sensuous 'The Look of Love' with the Bergman's 'The Island' to great success, and nailed a huge Broadway version of 'Meadowlark' from her starring role in the musical revue "3 From Brooklyn". Closing the show with the love theme from "Superman" 'Can You Read My Mind', I wanted more - more of her youthful energy, eternal optimism and much more of that gorgeous voice.
Lauded by critics from The London Times, New York Post, Time Magazine and New York Times, Ms. Kind has forged a successful career in all facets of entertainment, from critically acclaimed recordings to sold-out performances on Broadway and in some of the top concert venues and nightclubs the world over, including Lincoln Center, The Greek Theater and London's Café Royal. In 2006, she made her Carnegie Hall debut with her frequent musical collaborator and friend, Michael Feinstein. Ms. Kind began her performing career while still in her teens with the release of her first album, Give Me You. Ms. Kind's latest CD is a re-release of Come What May (with a few additional tunes added). The New York Times described Come What May as "splendid and sizzling." Concurrent with her recording career, Ms. Kind has appeared in both movies and television. She made her feature film debut with a challenging dramatic role in I'm Going to be Famous. Ms. Kind's list of television credits includes the film Switched at Birth, multiple episodes of NBC's Gimme a Break, Throb, starring Jane Leeves, and CBS's The Nanny. Los Angeles Times jazz writer Don Heckman once said, "Forget that Roslyn Kind is Barbra Streisand's kid sister. She's too good and too special to have to worry about comparisons." One of the premiere interpreters of popular song, the multi-talented Ms. Kind's dazzled audiences at the Cannery Casino & Hotel on both Friday and Saturday (November 14th and 15th) with her one woman show. For her Vegas appearance, Roslyn was backed by David Snyder on piano, Kenneth Seiffert on bass and Jess Gopen on drums. With tickets priced at only $10, it's no wonder that both shows at The Cannery were sellouts. Bring this lady back to Las Vegas...even at higher ticket prices! And when you see that Roslyn Kind is back in Vegas (and we are sure she will be), go see her show, even if you aren't a diehard Barbra Brolin fan.

Among those in the weekend audiences to catch Roslyn Kind at work were her onetime mentor (and the man who cast her in Ferguson the Tailor, her first large scale musical), Las Vegas drama coach Gerald Gordon (who attended both the Friday and Saturday performances); Jubilee! principal, Sam Port; Katrina Loncaric, most recently in The Producers; actors Michael Cassano, most recently in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing at the Age of Chivalry Renaissance Faire, and Nathan Ferrier (Caesars Palace gladiator).

And speaking of Gerald Gordon (and we were, weren't we?), Las Vegas' most successful acting coach (if we are basing it on his past students, that include Best Actor Academy Award-winner for The Pianist, Adrien Brody; Christopher Titus; Greg Grunberg, of TV's Heroes; Marcia Lewis, from Broadway and Las Vegas' Chicago; American Graffiti and Melvin and Howard's Paul LeMat; and Mark Curry of Hangin' With Mr. Cooper, among others) made his first trip to Europe at the end of September. During a five-week dream getaway, Gordon took in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Globe in London (where he also saw Jersey Boys for the second time). In Paris, he attended the Crazy Horse where two of his onetime students are working, in Zurich it was Aida, and in Florence he saw one of his favorite operas, Tosca. In Vienna, he saw a performance of Faust (the first time he ever saw the Gounod opera). Gordon stated that there were so many places to see and go to, and that it was all exciting because it was new to him. While in Venice, Gordon stayed in an old villa. The adventure was so wonderful that, for a moment, he thought, "Maybe I'll never go home." That wasn't really an option, as there were students waiting to learn, and a Las Vegas event that he couldn't miss. Gordon had scheduled his journey and return so he would be back in Southern Nevada before Ms. Kind's November 14th and 15th engagement at The Cannery.

By the way...If you are not familiar with Cabaret Scenes magazine, but are a fan or cabaret and/or musical theater, you should check it out at www.cabaretscenes.org.

On SaturDAY, we made our first trip to the popular Bagel Café, on Buffalo near Washington, where we lunched with the owners of Charleston Communications, Gene Balmain and Frank Sener. (Disclosure Notice: These gents are Cousin Claire's bosses.) You never know who you might run into at the eatery. During our late, late lunch, we spotted 83-year-old violinist/conductor, Sasha Semenoff, dining at the café. Semenoff and his violin have been Vegas mainstays for decades.


Kelly Clinton (It Amazes Me)

Kelly "Cher" Clinton & Lena "Sonny" Bono

Jan Hellesoe, Chipper Lowell & Anders Hansen

On Saturday night, we were REALLY in the west...as far west on Lake Mead as you can go today (although it looks like construction is underway to go even further west, maybe to Utah...or whatever the state is west of us). We attended Kelly Clinton's one woman tour de force, presented by Michael Chapman and ChapQuist Entertainment, at the Starbright Theatre in Sun City Summerlin. Although Kelly refers to it as a "one woman show," a more accurate description might be a "multi-cast show." This lady can do it all - she sings, she's funny, she does impressions, acts, and even throws in some Bob Fosse-inspired choreography. "Kelvis" has something that many performers lack - personality plus. Whether it's her characterization of "Madonica," Elvis, or "Joe Joe Spaghetti Moretti," the clever, audience-pleasing Baldheaded Men, or a beautiful version of Ervin Drake's Good Morning Heartache, Ms. Clinton handles it with ease. Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh's It Amazes Me, an homage sung to and about Clint Homes, Kelly's husband of one year, was very touching...for both the singer AND the audience (see photo). The influence of Kelly's idols, Carol Burnett and Lucille Ball, shines through in her performances. Clinton was backed by Michael Clark on piano, Jeff Neiman on keyboard, Adam Shendal on drums, Tommy Steele on horns (his part on Good Morning Heartache was outstanding), and Tim Fahey on bass. Special guest, the uber-talented Reva Rice, added a classy touch with her John Kander and Fred Ebb/Fosse Chicago-inspired All That Jazz song and dance, in costume, no less. Reva's solo turn was followed by she and Kelly re-creating the Mein Heir number from Cabaret. Clinton's show was directed by her close friend, Lena Prima, who also stepped in to play an angelic Sonny Bono to Kelly's very well done Cher. We spotted some familiar faces at the Starbright, among them, busy photographer Don Cadette; Billie Holiday tribute artist, Janice "Lady Day" Merkerson; Carole Hassell; Judy Garland look-alike/sound-alike, Denise Rose; well-known photographer, Jerry Metellus; and entertainment maven, Frank H. Lieberman.
The accompanying photos of Kelly and Lena are the work of Lindsay Hebberd. Look for Hebberd's latest book, Las Vegas ~ Imagination to Reality, in your favorite bookstore.

On Sunday night, we were at the Suncoast for Paul Stone's Variety Live! Featuring pretty hoopster, Larissa Youens; the clever physical comedy of young Rob Torres; magician Joseph Gabriel and his winged co-stars; the hilarious Jeff Hobson (the lovechild of Liberace and Paul Lynde); foot juggler Antje Pode; singer Ben Stone; and Variety Award Winner, Charlie Frye & Company. We saw a number of familiar faces at the Suncoast (there are lots of familiar faces around these parts), both before and after the show - Tony Ruivivar and Mendrei Leelil of the Society of Seven (why isn't this talented group working here?), magic man Norm Nielsen, and producer Bill Moore - and met a number of new-to-us, interesting people in the crowd - among them, young magicians Anders Hansen and Jan Hellesoe (known professionally as Anders & Jan), and entertainer Billy Scadlock, who does everything from impersonations (Charlie Chaplin and Rod Stewart among them), magic and mime, to juggling and comedy. We also met the Stephen Caplan family. Steve, an oboist of great acclaim, is with the music department at UNLV and is a member of the Las Vegas Philharmonic and Sierra Winds. Caplan has performed as a soloist with many of classical music's leading members, including violinist Hilary Hahn, flutist Ransom Wilson and singer Jan de Gaetani. He has performed at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall, and has accompanied superstars as diverse as Tony Bennett, Andrea Bocelli, Ray Charles, Roger Daltry, Dudley Moore, and Luciano Pavarotti. Stephen also happens to be the brother of Sherry Frye of the above mentioned Charlie Fry & Company comedy act. We could SWEAR that soon to be former president, George W. Bush was posing for photos with audience members after the variety show. We were somewhat relieved to learn that the amazing look-alike was John Morgan, who appeared as the Leader of the Free World on both network TV's The Next Best Thing AND America's Got Talent.


John Morgan as George W Bush

Mark Giovi

Jersey Boy, Erich Bergen (Composers Showcase)

Last Sunday afternoon (November 23rd), there was Lou Garcia doing his one man show at the Clark County Flamingo Library under the banner of the Performing Arts Society of Nevada's Brown Bag Concert Series, and Bruce Ewing and Joey Singer performing songs from their new holiday CD, Remembering to Dream, in the sanctuary/theater of the Community Lutheran Church on East Tropicana. That evening, it was Mark Giovi, one of the original Las Vegas Tenors, at the new in spot, View 215, located at 215 and Russell, hosted about 100 guests for dinner and Giovi's concert. A few nights earlier, Mark's mother, who lives on the East Coast, was a birthday surprise at a party celebrating his 40th. We were unable to attend any of these three events, but the reports we got were all very positive.

Also, late on Sunday (things get underway at about 10:30), it was Composers Showcase night. Approximately 150 people showed up at the Liberace Museum - songwriters and performers, but also plenty of music lovers - for about 90-minutes of pure entertainment by some of the most creative people in our community. Among those participating in the late night showcase, local composers and songwriters: Erich Bergen, Travis Cloer, Vita Corimbi, Christopher Lash, Jeff Leibow, Jason Martinez, Renee Marino, Sharon Paquette, Kevin Stout and Keith Thompson, and the song stylings and vocal powers of: Brooks Asher, Charl Brown, Jennifer Cantorna, Bruce Ewing, Tee-Jay Jones, Nadine Roden, Savanah Smith-Thomas, Joan Sobel, Lauren Tartaglia, Scott Watanabe, Lisa Wilson, Melody Wilson, Renata Renee Wilson, Carmen Yurich and other special guests. On piano, bass, woodwinds, guitar, horns, cello and other assorted instruments were: Jim Belk, Patricia Diaz, Philip Fortenberry, PJ Gopaoco, Tina Hadley, Keith Hubacher, Jim McIntosh, Don Meoli, Jeremy Meronuck, Moonlight Tran, and the Yucca Mountain String Band, featuring Crazy Doc (Kevin) Stout, Joey Singer, Matt Taylor and Fred Watstein. Sound was handled by Richard Camuso.
In recent months, we have noted some behavior by a select few who attend and/or participate in these wonderful evenings. The staff of the Liberace Museum volunteers their time to come back to the facility, hours after their work day should be over, to reopen the museum so this monthly event can have a home. They do not charge for the use of the hall. There is a cash bar available, and a more than reasonable $5 PER PERSON hors d'oeuvres buffet provided by Keg and Cork Catering or Carluccio's Tivoli Gardens. It has been noted in recent months, that there is an inordinate (make that unacceptable) amount of food "sharing" going on. We are not talking about taking a few grapes or a single cream puff off your friends' plate. Some folks are paying their $5, then piling their plates dangerously high and feeding their entire table for $5. At five bucks, this is not a moneymaker for anyone. It barely covers the cost of the spread. We are all feeling the economic crunch, but come on kids, please don't abuse our hosts. Personally, Cousin Claire would hate to see these showcases end because of selfishness and greed. Play fair. Even if you don't take advantage of the buffet, $5 is an amazing bargain for what you get at the Composers Showcase. Do your part to keep this going. If not, everybody loses. End of (this) speech.

* * * * * *

There has been a Brown Out of sorts in downtown Las Vegas for a quite a spell...since March of 2006, to be specific. All of that ends on February 5th, when things become a lot brighter in the Entertainment Capital of the World as Gordie Brown returns to the showroom at the Golden Nugget. Brown first played the room beginning in July of 2004, where he performed in the then 400-seat theater, accompanied by a real, live band, for almost two years. From October 2006, to February 13, 2008, Gordie entertained in a 740-seat theater at The Venetian. This was followed by a short stint in a theater space in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood, where Brown was playing to prerecorded tracks. For someone as quick and spontaneous as Gordie, tracks just won't do. The accompanying music needs to take its lead from Gordie, not the other way around. The entertainer needs to be able to add things and improvise, as the situation calls for it (like when a celebrity is in the audience). It was an offer from Celine Dion that saved Brown from the mall and prerecorded music. He is currently on a world tour with fellow Canadian, Dion. Fortunately, when he reopens at the Nugget in five weeks, the Hardest Working Man in Las Vegas, will once again be enhanced by a real, live band. Gordie, a former political cartoonist for the Ottawa Sunday Herald, is well known for his amazing comedy and vast repertoire of celebrity impressions such as Robin Williams, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Woody Allen, Robert DeNiro, Jim Carrey, Bob Dylan, Randy Travis, Willie Nelson, Henry Fonda, Tom Jones, Neil Diamond, Sylvester Stallone, Michael Jackson, Garry Shandling, Ozzy Osbourne, Clint Eastwood, Neil Young, departing president George W. Bush, Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise, as well as Las Vegas icons like Elvis Presley and Sammy Davis, Jr. For the younger crowd, Gordie does his unique take on Green Day, Smash Mouth, James Blunt, Coldplay, Sixpence None the Richer, and other contemporary artists. Brown consistently receives rave reviews by both critics and audiences alike, and has been recognized as Entertainer of the Year and Best Show in both Northern and Southern Nevada. Gordie will perform Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. The Golden Nugget's Showroom, which completed a major expansion and renovation in October 2006, is an intimate, 600-seat theater on the third level of the hotel's Spa Tower. It features plush seats and an advanced, state-of-the-art digital audio and visual system. The history of the Golden Nugget's showroom sets it apart from other venues of its size. Outstanding headliners of all genres, such as Frank Sinatra, Kenny Rogers, Paul Anka, Tony Bennett, Don Rickles, Rich Little, Randy Travis and Regis Philbin have played the showroom, which continues to bring in a variety of acts and headline entertainment appealing to all tastes. When the entertainer begins his multi-year headlining Golden Nugget deal in February, it will be in a room bearing his name, as it becomes the Gordie Brown Showroom in his honor. Tickets are on sale at the Golden Nugget Ticket Office starting at $39.95. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Golden Nugget Ticket Office or toll free by calling (866) 946-5336. VIP tickets are available for $99.95 and include front row seats and an artist meet and greet. *Ticket prices are subject to change and do not include service fees and taxes. The Golden Nugget's current show, Defending the Caveman, starring Kevin Burke, will end its run on December 4th, instead of in mid-January as originally announced.


Gordie Brown

Sawyer Brown

Keith Robinson

And speaking of Brown...Country band Sawyer Brown (no relation to Gordie, mentioned above) comes into Boulder Station's Railhead, next Friday, December 5th. Since winning Star Search, this small town, five-man band has performed more than 3,500 shows, released several gold and platinum albums, worked with Elvis Costello and Robert Randolph, won a CMA Horizon award and an ACM Vocal Group of the Year Award - all within 27 years. In addition, Sawyer Brown hit No. 1 on the Top Country Singles with Step That Step, Some Girls Do, and Thank God for You. Formed in Florida in 1981, the current band is made up of lead vocalist Mark Miller, keyboardist Gregg "Hobie" Hubbard, lead guitarist Shayne Hill, bassist Jim Scholten and drummer Joe Smyth. Their most recent album, Rejoice, was released in 2008. Show time for Sawyer Brown is at 8 p.m. Ticket prices are $24.50, $29.50, $34.50 and $44.50 plus tax and applicable fees. All ages welcome, but those under 21 must be accompanied by an adult.

Some of our friends went to see comic/actress Wanda Sykes at Planet Hollywood on Saturday, November 15th. The funny lady has performed in the hotel/casino's 1,500-seat Planet Hollywood Showroom (the home of Stomp Out Loud until January 4th) on three previous occasions - in March, July and August. Obviously, she is doing something right as they keep bringing her back. Our "stringer" reporter tells us that the theater was almost full. The diverse audience ranged in age from 21 to AARP recipients. Sykes' subject matter was about as diverse as her audience, covering subjects from politics, to male enhancement drugs (or, as Sykes calls it "broke dick problems"), to travel, to Proposition 8. The comedian says the passage of a same-sex marriage ban in California has led to her be more outspoken about her own sexuality. "You know, I don't really talk about my sexual orientation. I didn't feel like I had to. I was just living my life, not necessarily in the closet, but I was living my life," Sykes told a surprised crowd at a gay rights rally in Las Vegas earlier in the day on the 15th. "Everybody that knows me personally, they know I'm gay. But that's the way people should be able to live their lives," she said. Sykes, who is known for her feisty and blunt style, said the passage of California's Proposition 8 made her feel like she was "attacked." "Now, I gotta get in their face," she said. "I'm proud to be a woman. I'm proud to be a black woman, and I'm proud to be gay." At this time, Wanda does not have any additional dates booked at Planet Hollywood. They are hoping to book her for future engagements in 2009, but do not yet have anything confirmed. Opening for Sykes was Keith Robinson. The comic has appeared on Showtime at the Apollo, Def Comedy Jam and BET. After realizing these credits weren't getting him noticed in the white comedy rooms, he started doing shows like MTV Half Hour Comedy and Star Search where he became a $100,000 finalist. He had an acting role in the HBO production Rebound, and toured two years with the late Bernie Mac. He also taped his own half hour special for Comedy Central and was a writer on Comedy Centrals Chappell's Show.
Robinson is a favorite of Wanda Sykes and tours with her frequently.

* * * * * *

Bea Fogelman, a Las Vegan since the early 1980s, passed away on Friday, November 14th at the age of 83. If the name isn't familiar, you are probably not an entertainer, or more specifically, an impersonator. Born in Detroit, during her lifetime, Bea had successful careers as a Big Band singer, a dental hygienist, real estate broker, and writer of books on entertainment and fiction. She was also the founder of The Entertainment Network, a worldwide organization devoted to uniting performers, producers and agents in pursuit of their careers. Bea Fogelman truly changed the entertainment industry. She was married to pharmacist, Leo Fogelman, for more than 55 years. She is survived by her three children, Jayne Juster, Bob Fogelman and Sherie Rae Parker, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Bea will be truly missed. A public memorial service was held on Sunday, the 16th, at the Palm Mortuary on North Jones in Las Vegas. Fogelman's daughter, Sherie Rae Parker, is a well-known celebrity impersonator with a history in Legends In Concert. She is best known for her interpretations of Bette Midler, Janis Joplin, and Phyllis Diller.


Bea Fogelman

Sherie Rae Parker as Bette Midler

Harold Kreloff

And speaking of Legends in Concert, after 25 years at the Imperial Palace, the celebrity impersonator show will make a somewhat lateral move...north. Legends will do its last performance at the IP on December 13th, reopening two days later in the main showroom at Harrah's where it will share space with comic Rita Rudner.

Also, sympathies go out to artist Martin Kreloff on the loss of his father, Harold Kreloff, who died on Wednesday, November 19th, at the age of 94. As a young man, Harold worked as a barker for impresario Mike Todd at the 1939 New York World's Fair (for those too young to remember, Mr. Todd was the third husband of actress Elizabeth Taylor) . During this time, he met and married fellow New Yorker, Florence Cantor. Harold enlisted in the U.S. Army shortly before the outbreak of World War II, and was stationed at Fort Jackson, S.C. Following the war, his careers included stints as a gas station owner, New York cabbie and a travel agent. He moved his family to Miami in 1967. Following the death of his wife in 1984, he met Dora Grupeter, and they lived together until her death in 2001. Harold moved to Southern California in the mid-90's to be close to his son, Martin; and relocated to Las Vegas with his son in 2004. Harold will be remembered as an entertaining raconteur. He will be buried next to his wife, Florence, at Vista Memorial Gardens in Miami. In addition to his two special ladies, Harold was preceded in death by his brother, Samuel. Harold is survived by his son Martin and Martin's partner, Tim Olsen, of Las Vegas. Other survivors include son Rev. Steven Kreloff and wife, Michele, of Clearwater, Fla.; grandchildren, Benjamin Kreloff of Clearwater, Sarah Cotton of Chicago, and Rachel Goode of Clearwater; great-grandchildren, Abby, Naomi and Luke Kreloff, and Drew and Jack Goode; brother, Bernard Kreloff of Florida; and his sister, Gudy Koenigsberg of Israel.

* * * * * *

Happy birthday to the Sagittarians (November 23rd through December 21st) whose natal dates we know about...Kenny Kerr, Mark Giovi, Billy Chapel, Rich Little (who turns 70), UNLV's Larry Henley, Johnny Pate, Doug Breniser, Skip Trenier, Roger Caldwell, Danny Cohen, Paul Lowden, Bill Fayne and George Verbiwski. And anniversary greetings to Ken and Melissa Miles Gardner, and Steven Lee and Brenda Leonard Cowart.

* * * * * *

We don't like to toot our own horn...except when we deserve it. Las Vegas Channel 3's entertainment reporter succeeded in teasing those that were interested when it came to revealing the new show coming into Planet Hollywood following the departure of Stomp Out Loud on January 4th. Those that read our November 7th column, already had the answer to the burning question before the big announcement during a news broadcast...at least 10 days later. For those that missed the news (through either source), Stomp Out Loud's replacement will be the strictly adult, Peepshow. Tony-winning choreographer/director Jerry Mitchell will be at the helm. Heading up the 20+ Peepshow cast will be former Spice Girl, Mel B, and Dancing With the Stars' first season winner, General Hospital soap star, Kelly Monaco. Previews will begin on March 30th, with the "official" opening night scheduled for April 25th.

* * * * * *


Skip Trenier

Liza Minnelli

Rosie O'Donnell

From Primm to the Palace...Liza Minnelli (is there any other Liza?), whose last performance in Southern Nevada was NOT at Caesars Palace, or Bellagio, or the Luxor (where she played a few dates in late 2006 and early 2007), but at Buffalo Bill's in Primm, the little burgh close to the Nevada/California border. Beginning Wednesday (December 3rd), Liza takes her magic to Broadway, when she stars in her new show, Liza's At The Palace...!, at the Palace Theatre (Broadway & 47th Street). Produced by John Scher/Metropolitan Talent Presents and Jubilee Time Productions, and directed and choreographed by Ron Lewis, the evening will feature an incomparable Minnelli songfest including many of her personal favorites and signature hits, such as Cabaret, Maybe This Time, and New York, New York - all written especially for her by the legendary Broadway songwriting team of John Kander and Fred Ebb - followed by a dance-filled tribute to the groundbreaking late-1940s nightclub act of Minnelli's godmother, the late Kay Thompson. Thompson was a legendary performer (Think Pink! from Funny Face) and author (Eloise at the Plaza), as well a gifted vocal arranger and Music Director/vocal coach at MGM Studios, working with stars such as Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra and Lena Horne. Supported by a quartet of dynamic singer/dancers, Liza will perform musical hits (with the original vocal arrangements) from Thompson's act, including numbers such as I Love a Violin, Clap Yo' Hands, Jubilee Time, and Hello Hello, set to brand-new staging and choreography by Mr. Lewis. Accompanying Minnelli onstage will be Cortés Alexander, Jim Caruso, Tiger Martina and Johnny Rodgers. The concert performance will be scripted by Liza and Tony Award-winner David Zippel, and will be full of personal stories, anecdotes and heartfelt reminiscences embraced in a theatrical setting. Gary Labriola will serve as Executive Producer. There will be a twelve-piece orchestra, led by conductor/ drummer Michael Berkowitz and pianist/musical supervisor Billy Stritch. Liza made her screen debut in 1949 as a toddler in the musical In the Good Old Summertime. She won Tony awards for Flora, the Red Menace in 1965, and The Act in 1978, along with a third, for Best Personal Achievement, thanks to her 1974 engagement at the Winter Garden Theatre. Nominated for an Academy Award for The Sterile Cuckoo (1969), she won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as "Sally Bowles" in Cabaret (1972), which also won her a Golden Globe and a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Award. She won an Emmy for Liza with a 'Z' (1972) and was the recipient of a Grammy Legend Award in 1989, making her one of the few artists who have won entertainments' top six awards. Liza has also been the recipient of three David di Donatello Awards - for The Sterile Cuckoo, Cabaret and Lifetime Achievement (2002). Additional film credits include Charlie Bubbles (1968), Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon (1970), Lucky Lady (1975), A Matter of Time (1976), New York, New York (1977), Arthur (1981) Stepping Out (1991), and The Oh In Ohio (2006). Liza, now 62, recently attracted an entirely new generation of fans with her acclaimed turn as "Lucille 2" on the Emmy-winning sitcom, Arrested Development, and for her appearance on the chart-topping album The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance. Ron Lewis has been a staple on the Las Vegas scene for decades, and last choreographed Liza in her Tony Award-winning performance in The Act on Broadway. Having worked on more than 80 productions, Lewis has directed and choreographed shows for some of the biggest names in show business, including Ann-Margret, Debbie Reynolds, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Paul Anka. Liza's At The Palace...! will play Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m., with matinees on Sundays at 3 p.m. Originally scheduled to run for two weeks, Liza has been extended and will play the Palace through December 28th. Ticket prices range from $55 to $125. At Ms. Minnelli's request, $25 first row seats will be made available at the box office by daily lottery.

And speaking of Ms. Minnelli, she was one of the guests on the debut of Rosie O'Donnell's new TV variety show that aired on Wednesday night. Is Rosie ready for primetime? Based on what we saw, in our opinion, the answer is a resounding "NO." What was wrong with Rosie Live? The major problem is Rosie. If a successful variety show, ala the old Hollywood Palace, Ed Sullivan, Andy Williams, Carol Burnett, Sonny & Cher, etc., is what NBC was aiming for, this one is way off base. The idea is good, the host isn't. You already have the job, Rosie. All the screaming and shrieking is not only unnecessary, it is very annoying. A number of the segments were just plain embarrassing. The "Nancy Grace" (played by comic Kathy Griffin) bit fell flat, and the Clay Aiken spot was a mess. Aiken, an American Idol runner-up who is currently appearing in Spamalot on Broadway (his second go-round in this musical), came on in his costume. His short (but not short enough) segment involved discussing what he and Rosie had in common, via a pitiful shaggy dog story attempt at humor. The twosome both like musical theater. They both got their big break via a reality TV talent competition - Rosie on Star Search and Clay on Idol. They both have sons named Parker. They then pretended to try to think of what else they have in common. There were the expected, painful dramatic pauses (do we know where they are going here?), before O' Donnell says, "I know. We're both Gay...briel Byrne fans." Oh, puleeeze! Barbara Walters and Donald Trump must be jumping for joy. We think NBC served up THEIR turkey the night BEFORE Thanksgiving!

* * * * * *

Opportunity Village's annual Magical Forest opened last Saturday. It will operate nightly - Sundays through Thursdays from 5:30 to 9 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30 to 10 p.m. - ending on December 30th. The Magical Forest, located at 6300 W. Oakey Blvd. (there is Free Parking in the College of Southern Nevada lot), is a wonderful experience for "kids" of all ages. From the moment you enter, you are enchanted by the sights and sounds of the holiday season. From strolling through decorated trees and displays, to photos with Santa and nightly entertainment, there is something for everyone. Enjoy a ride on our passenger train. The Forest express winds its way through the two acre Forest, giving visitors another angle to view the many trees and displays. The Enchanted Carousel will delight riders and spectators alike. Featuring beautiful animals, lights and traditional carousel music, you will find yourself lost in the moment. Looking for more of a thrill? Then climb to the top of the 40' Alpine Slide. The view is simply amazing. For the little ones, check out the Junior Alpine Slide. If you are feeling hungry, visit the Gift Box Café as you are entertained nightly by local performing groups. All proceeds raised at the Magical Forest will benefit people with disabilities. General Admission, for children ages 3 to 11, is $7.50, and adults (12 and up) is $9.50. Passport prices are, children $14, and adults $16. Passports include entry to the park and unlimited rides on the Train, Carousel and Alpine Slide, as well as visits to the newest attraction, the Storytime Theatre sponsored by Penta Building Group. Tickets and Passports for the Magical Forest can be purchased at any area CVS/pharmacy location. Bulk ticket purchases are also available by calling Holly at (702) 880-4096. Since 1954, Opportunity Village has been serving men and women in the Southern Nevada community, providing them with programs and services to help enrich their lives. If you are interested in learning more about Opportunity Village, taking a daytime tour of the campus, or getting involved with any of the programs, please call (702) 259-3741.

* * * * * *

We would like to share an e-mail we received from a longtime Vegas musician. Although we have assured this fellow that we will not mention him again, we also added the tag line "unless it's to print your message of today." In our homage to etiquette expert Emily Post, or author Dale Carnegie, of How To Win Friends and Influence People fame, we have decided to do just that (we are not changing the spelling, punctuation or syntax, for fear of doing something else to offend this man). This is exactly what we wrote in our column of October 17th...

Veteran entertainer, Howie Gold, has found himself a piano at the very comfortable Ichabod's Lounge at 3300 E. East Flamingo, just west of Pecos. Reminiscent of the old Chateau Vegas atmosphere, Gold provides easy listening music for a mostly locals crowd from 6 to 9 p.m., Wednesdays through Saturdays. Gold, who has spent more than 30 years entertaining in piano bars here and in Palm Springs, is very particular about who can sing along with his tasty piano playing. He has wisely decided that Diane Ellis and Danny Calico meet his high standards and has invited the twosome join him on Wednesdays and any other nights they have available. With Ellis at the mic, and Calico on vocals and drums, the threesome create a great crowd-pleasing sound. Ellis and Calico may be remembered when they were part of a vocal group called Chazz. As a duo, they called themselves D'Cal (a play on their names). Ichabod's is a 24-hour place with an extensive menu. They are located in the Renaissance Center, between Hollywood Videos and Food 4 Less. See you there.

Here is Mr. Gold's response...

you wrote a write up about me and icobod.s that i did not know about that i found on the internet its content should be approved by me before its reaches public knowledge!
And here is ours...
A "THANK YOU" for the mention would have been more appropriate, Mr. Gold, not a message saying I need to get your approval for giving you and your gig a plug. Do you get approval before playing Stardust, I Write the Songs, or Here's To Life? What you are asking is ridiculous, unreasonable and something no writer/journalist would go along with. I am not your paid publicist that needs your final okay before a press release goes out. In your case, I was just trying to promote Ichabod's and the work of some talented people. I would have thought you might welcome the plug. Wonder how Ichabod's would feel about your orders?



Have a question about Las Vegas? Want to make a comment (be nice, now)?
If so, drop an e-mail and ask. Click Here
Cousin Claire will do her best to find the answer for you.
You can find Past Columns HERE


     Like to be notified when Claire Voyant's next column is available?
Then join Claire Voyant's announcement mailing list!
Enter your email address below, then click the 'Join List' button:
   

Claire Voyant's portrait by Charlie Frye