Claire Voyant's Las Vegas Gossip Column



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

Claire Voyant  

Note: This is a past column from February 29, 2008
You can find the current column HERE


Las Vegas - February 29, 2008


Bill Nolte

Liberace Kicks

Bill Nolte may not have shown ALL of himself at his concert last Sunday, but the audience who saw his tour de force show at the Clark County Flamingo Library saw enough of him to know there is much more to this man than Franz Liebkind. Nolte's performance as the wacky Nazi playwright in The Producers gives only a hint of this entertainers' versatility. Presented by the Performing Arts Society of Nevada, All of Me, directed by Mark Waldrop, with Pam Drews Phillips as Musical Director, put sunshine in a kind of gray Las Vegas afternoon. Nolte, who has had leading roles in Broadway and national touring companies of CATS, Me and My Girl, Evita, Man of LaMancha, Oliver!, and Marriage of Figaro, charmed the audience with songs such as Something's Gotta Give, What Kind of Fool Am I, Sway (with a Dancing with the Stars reject for a partner), and Michael Buble's Home. A very clever "travel" medley proved to be a real crowd pleaser. Pretty Pam accompanied Nolte on piano and added some vocal assists. Among those spotted in the library theater were the Liberace Museum's Darin Hollingsworth; Las Vegas Review-Journal's theater critic, Anthony Del Valle; singer/comics, Tony (Arias) and Lloyd (Ziel); Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular principals, Kristen Hertzenberg and Tina Walsh; entertainer Lou Garcia (Lou and partner Gary Oakes will be featured at the library on March 30th; Jersey Boys music mavens, Keith Thompson and Philip Fortenberry; and singer/dancer Jeanne Brei. Nolte, who has purchased a home here and intends to make Vegas his permanent residence, will be available for vocal coaching after he returns from New York in a few weeks. Those that have heard the Ohio-native sing know that he is more than qualified to handle the job. For more information, contact Bill at (917) 445-9003.

And speaking of the Liberace Museum, you can find some of this season's hottest fashion accessories in the form of jazzy sneakers inspired by Mr. Showmanship. During the recent MAGIC (Major Apparel and Garment trade Show) Convention, Liberace's legendary Volks Royce was moved from the Museum to the convention center, to be used as the centerpiece for a booth highlighting the brand new but already outrageously popular Liberace Kicks sneakers. These fabulous shoes were created by designer Alan Kashi as an addition to his already hugely successful line of BLING kicks! Darin Hollingsworth, mentioned above, is probably the shoe company's best advertisement, as he owns (three pairs) and wears the flashy footwear on a regular basis. A portion of the sale of every pair of the $99 sneakers benefits the Liberace Foundation and the entertainer's legacy of supporting the arts. Check them out!

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The Dynamic Duo, Mark Nadler and KT Sullivan, return to the Charleston Heights Arts Center at 3 p.m. on Sunday (March 2nd) for the fourth time in as many years (actually, it's KT's third time and Mark's fourth). In previous performances, the twosome has done tribute shows to both George Gershwin and Irving Berlin. On his own, Nadler did his brilliant Mark Nadler in a Nutshell revue. (Songwriter Ervin Drake - Good Morning Heartache, I Believe, It Was a Very Good Year - describes Mark as "the most talented man on the planet." Who are we to argue?) Both KT and Mark, individually and/or together (in their salutes to composers), perform all around the world. Las Vegas is fortunate that they find the time to get here once a year. This time around, the afternoon show is called Time After Time, and is described as "A breezy, sophisticated m�lange of the best of the best. " If you have seen them before, you don't have to be convinced to see their shows. If you have never seen them, do yourself a favor. Tickets in advance are only $10. At the door, they are $15 (chances are the show will be sold out before Sunday). Call (702) 229-6383.

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Mark Nadler & KT Sullivan

James Lee Reeves as Milo Tremley

Tina Walsh, Brent Barrett & Reva Rice

Happy birthday to the following Pisces celebrants...Harry Goldson, James Lee Reeves (aka comic Milo Tremley), Brent Barrett, Jed Allen, Cherry Wainer, Betty Mitchell (Mrs. Guy Mitchell), Cinnamon Steen, Lance Burton, Marlon Jackson, Al Jarreau, Margaret Kurtz, Toni Andrews, Teresa Gilmore and Jaymi Marshal. Also, happy anniversary to Robert Allen and Deborah Danielson.

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And speaking of Brent Barrett...Get out your calendar and circle the date April 18th. If you are a music lover, you won't want to miss this event. Mr. Barrett, who plays the lead in Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, will star (he also co-produces) with Reve Rice and Tina Walsh in Too Darn Hot! The Golden Age of Broadway. The years from the early 1940s through the mid-1960s were considered" The Golden Age of Broadway." Songs from Oklahoma! ('43), Carousel ('45), Annie Get Your Gun ('46), Kiss Me, Kate ('48), South Pacific ('49), Guys and Dolls ('50), Wonderful Town (53), The Pajama Game (54), West Side Story and The Music Man (both '57), Gypsy ('59), Carnival (�61), Oliver! (�63), Fiddler on the Roof ('64) and Sweet Charity ('66) will be among those performed. The production, with a 25-piece orchestra and the 90-member Red Mountain Music Choir, will do a One Night Only show at the Cashman Theatre on Friday, April 18th, at 7 p.m. Jeffrey Skouson serves as Artistic Director and David Skouson is Musical Director. Barrett, who is a member of Actors Equity, was seen on Broadway reprising his role as Billy Flynn in the Tony Award-winning hit, Chicago - The Musical, for which he received a Los Angeles drama Critics Award. He received an Olivier Award nomination for his starring role in the London premiere of the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of Kiss Me, Kate (available on DVD), starred in the City Center Encores! production of The Pajama Game, and played King Arthur in the Paper Mill Playhouse production of Camelot. Some of Barrett's film performances include The Producers, Hercules and Longtime Companion. On television, he has appeared on the daytime soaps, All My Children, Another World and Guiding Light. Our Phavorite Phantom's CDs, The Alan Jay Lerner Album and The Kander & Ebb Album, "ain't so bad either" (from All I Care About in Brent's Kander & Ebb Album) Reva Rice, was a featured performer in Starlight Express during its run at the Las Vegas Hilton and was in the Clint Holmes bio-musical, JAM, Just Another Man. She is currently standby for The Lady of the Lake in Spamalot at Wynn Las Vegas. Tina Walsh, who currently plays the role of Madame Giry in Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, starred as Donna Sheridan in Mamma Mia! at Mandalay Bay, performed in EFX at the MGM Grand, and was featured in Just Another Man. David Skouson is a Broadway pianist and conductor who has collaborated with the likes of Stephen Schwartz, Patti LaBelle, Wayne Brady, Anne Reinking, Walter Bobbie and Rob Fisher. Vocal instructor Jeffrey Skouson�s international clientele includes a wide array of pop, country and Broadway stars, including lead performers in Mamma Mia!, Les Miserables, and Hairspray. The Boulder City-based, nonprofit valley-wide musical performing arts organization, Red Mountain Music Company (RMMC), was founded in 1998. RMMC encompasses five musical organizations, including Red Mountain Choir, Red Mountain Youth Choir, Red Mountain Music Theatre, Red Mountain Second Saturday Concert Series and Red Mountain Music Camp. The organization is one of the most active and largest community-based choir groups in Southern Nevada. Tickets for Too Darn Hot! are $35, $25, and $15. Cashman Theatre is located at 850 Las Vegas Blvd. North. There is plenty of parking available. To order tickets, or for more information on Red Mountain Music Company or any of its groups, call (702) 294-0043 and leave a message, or visit redmountainmusic.org. You can also e-mail to [email protected] today! We will remind you about this again, closer to the actual performance date.

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We have mentioned Take 1 on more than one occasion, usually when telling readers about the F.I.O.R.E. (Fun Italians Organizing Ridiculous Events) bunch (the non-club club where everyone is a president). Most F.I.O.R.E. gatherings are held at the downtown club/restaurant, but there are other things going on at Ben Ardito's place. For example, on Sunday night, you can have a five-course dinner, drinks and a show for $34.95 plus tax (and, hopefully, a tip for your server). Doors open at 6 p.m. for dinner. At 7 p.m., A Night with the Voice, featuring "Frank the Voice" (real name C.J. Decker), pays tribute to Sinatra's early years. Frank the Voice has been performing the music of Frank Sinatra for some time (including a stint in The Rat Pack Is Back). On occasion, some other tribute artists join the show, including the talented Denise Rose as Judy Garland. Reservations are required for the Sunday night shows. To make them, call Take 1 at (702) 433-TAKE (8253), or (702) 523-4398. You can also e-mail frank_the [email protected]

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Frank the Voice

Martin Nievera

Roseanne Barr

Michelle Rohl-Justice sends this reminder...If you haven't already heard the sad news, our friend and fellow entertainer, the beautiful, glamorous and amazingly gifted Jahna Steele passed away on January 24th. In honor of her great spirit, a Memorial/Jam Tribute to her life will be held tonight (Friday, February 29th) at 9 p.m. at The E String Grill & Poker Bar, located at 2031 W Sunset Rd (at Mountain Vista), in Henderson, Nevada. "The Grill has great food," says Michelle, "so come early, get a seat and have a nice dinner." Michelle and the Lon Bronson Band will be performing, along with Catte Adams, puppeteer Jerry Halliday, Joelle Rigetti, Tara, Rick Friedman, Tony Davich, Robyn St. Romain and others will be sitting in. This will be a night of celebration with Jahna's favorite music and musicians, memories, laughs and stories. Please attend, participate, and bring your photos, DVDs, stories and love for a great friend who is gone too soon.
Please feel free to contact Michelle with questions at
[email protected] or call the E-String at (702) 437-8764.

If the name Catte Adams is familiar, it may be because you remember the talented lady from the forerunner to TV's American Idol, Star Search. In 1985, after competing for nine weeks, Catte Adams was named Grand Champion in the Female Vocalist category, winning $100,000 in the process. In the years since, Catte has toured and recorded with artists such as Natalie Cole, Bill Medley and Neil Young. She also appears on Yanni's live concert video, Tribute.

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One of our favorites, Martin Nievera, joins the Society of Seven and Lani Misalucha for a very limited run. Comprised of Hawaii's finest performers with an eclectic mix of talents, Society of Seven has earned a reputation as one of the most entertaining and energetic shows on the Las Vegas Strip. Tony Ruivivar contributes to vocals and guitar. Bert Sagum is the comedic leader of the group. Huku Low plays the bass and horns. Vince Mendoza is the group's drummer, with impressive vocals. Roy Guerzo is the keyboardist, and Wayne Wakai rounds out the group with an impressive vocal range. Lani, born in the Philippines, has been dubbed "Asia's Nightingale." She performs pop, rock, jazz, soul, rhythm and blues, and operatic arias, and is frequently compared to popular American divas such as Barbra Streisand, Whitney Houston and Celine Dion. Lani also possesses a comedic flair and can effectively impersonate the above-named divas as well as Gladys Knight, Toni Braxton, Gloria Gaynor, Donna Summer, Tina Turner, Beyonce Knowles and Britney Spears. As for Nievera, in the Philippines (where he, too, is from), he is known as "The Concert King"...and with good reason. Nievera could, and should, be a star anywhere he performs...if he gets the opportunity to play the right venues. A change of owners at the Golden Nugget, where he performed when he first came to Vegas, resulted in a change of policy (we hate when that happens). Martin's more recent stint, at the Wyrick Theatre in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood, was pretty much doomed before it started. The Wyrick venue has many obstacles to deal with and, so far, no entertainer or show, no matter how good, has been able to overcome them. SOS shows are at 3 p.m., Wednesdays through Sundays, in the Flamingo Showroom. Their run will end on April 13th, when magician Nathan Burton moves from the V-Theater at Planet Hollywood to take over the SOS time slot at the Flamingo. Friends who saw the Society of Seven with Lani and Martin on Thursday, raved about the show. Our suggestion is, that if you love good music, sung by top vocalists, with some comedy thrown into the mix (like the Vegas revues of old), get yourself over to the Flamingo before the 13th of April. Tickets are $49.95, plus the usual tax and fees. You won't be sorry. For reservations, call (702) 733-3333, or (800) 221-7299.

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Emmy Award-winner Roseanne Barr returns to Las Vegas for an indefinite run at the Sahara, beginning tomorrow night. The comic/actress/author is ranked No. 9 on Comedy Central's list of 100 the Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time. The Utah-born entertainer moved to Los Angeles in 1983 to pursue stand-up comedy. Her 1985 appearance on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson (Cousin Claire remembers that night very well) set her course. Barr's groundbreaking, award-winning TV show, Roseanne, followed. The series ran for nine seasons, earning four Emmys and two Golden Globes, and made her a household name. As fate would have it, the Sahara's Congo Room is where Roseanne's mentor, the late Johnny Carson, headlined when performing in Las Vegas. Show times for Roseanne Barr at the Sahara are 9:30 p.m., Saturdays through Wednesdays (dark Thursdays and Fridays). For reservations, call (702) 737-2515.

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Are we through with our issues involving the organization once known as The CAST? Hell no. Since the interest seems to be building (along with questions about that questionable joke known as the Las Vegas Walk of Stars), we will keep writing about what is left of the group, now known as The Show Biz Society. On their Web site, it indicates, "Only the name is changed. " That couldn't be further from the truth. (It has been suggested to us by a very astute reader, "The name has been changed to protect the guilty.") The "board" changes on a weekly basis, and early CAST members are abandoning what appears to be a rapidly sinking ship. (Those wishing to become totally unassociated with the "Society," have been told they must submit their resignations in writing (see example below). Reading through those resignations must be keeping someone very busy.) In the meantime, some concerned Las Vegans have formed a grassroots operation to check into some of the goings on within both the Walk of Stars and the former CAST organization.

Here is one letter of resignation, addressed to new Society board member, and longtime CAST Webmaster, Denny Jones...

Dear Denny,

I did not renew my membership for the Cast Inc. Therefore, I don't know anything about this new organization other than the e-mails I have received from many former CAST members. Is this a non-profit? What are the dues? Who can join? How are the board members and officers placed? Is the accounting announced to the membership? Are meetings held at other places than the head masters friends business? As a matter of fact, this would be a good time to ask you to remove my name picture and any reference to me and this sub club (theshowbizsociety) farce. It is as unprofessional as the person in charge to assume that myself and others involved with the CAST could have their names and likeness used as a tool to attract others to join without our permission. Furthermore I don't believe even those that have passed would want to have been involved in such a transaction changing the name without a general membership vote. If the person in charge could not keep The CAST intent, integrity and membership intact, maybe he should have stepped down and let someone with a real heart step in. Thanks but NO THANKS! I formally request that this will be my only need to remove my name from the roster. Any further action will be unpleasant and costly.

Respectfully,

Larry Taylor

And speaking of Larry Taylor, also known as First DJ Larry, he announces that his latest gig at the Railroad Pass Casino is already expanding its schedule. What started on Valentine's Day as a once a week dance night, has now turned into a two times a week event. On Tuesdays, from 6 to 10 p.m., dance classes begin at 6, followed by open dancing starting at 7 and running until 10. For only $10 a person, future Dancing with the Stars competitors (you never know) get four hours of fun and exercise. The price includes a beverage and the chance to win drawing prizes valued up to $150 (including $100 for dinner in the Railroad Pass' Conductors Room steak house). Beginning on March 15th, the Railroad Pass will add Saturday night dances to their lineup. Ticket prices and times for Saturdays will be the same as on Tuesdays. This is the first time, in his more than 20 years of doing these Ballroom Dance specials in the Las Vegas Valley, that Taylor has had a regular Saturday night party. Larry Taylor spent almost two decades hosting dance nights at the Gold Coast in Las Vegas. For additional information, call the Railroad Pass hotel/casino at (702) 294-5000 or (800) 654-0877, or the Hot Line at (702) 225-5324 (you can leave a message). E-mail to [email protected].

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Reader Robert B. wonders what became of entertainers The Reycards and Lee Meza. Cousin Claire has not been able to locate these people (she doesn�t know EVERYTHING). Anyone out there know where these folks might be today?

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They're back! A group that we saw and enjoyed multiple times during their run at the Luxor in 2005, has returned to Las Vegas for, hopefully, a longer stay. This time around, Toxic Audio is performing at the V Theater in the Miracle Miles Shops adjacent to Planet Hollywood. The Toxins, as they are called by their fans, is a five-member theatrical mixed vocal band who combine popular and original songs, musical improvisation, and comedic sound effects in their high energy performances. No musical instruments are used. The group creates their unique sound by combining tight a cappella harmonies with vocal percussion and voice effects processors. Styles include contemporary pop, rock �n� roll, jazz, hip-hop, comedy, and improvisational songs. They have toured across the country, performing concert shows and opening for the likes of Tony Bennett, Ziggy Marley, The Rippingtons, and The Bobs. In 2003, Toxic Audio's album, Chemistry, was named Album of the Year by the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America. The group has appeared on national TV with Ed McMahon and Wayne Brady. In 2004, the Toxins won the 2004 Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience in their off-Broadway show at New York's John Houseman Theatre. To date, five Toxic Audio albums have been released on CD. Show times for Toxic Audio are Fridays through Wednesdays at 6 p.m. For reservations, call (702) 932-1818.

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Toxic Audio

Paul Xavier Campanella

Ronnie Rose

On Sunday, March 9th at 3 p.m., Paul Xavier Campanella, one of the stars of Tony 'N Tina's Wedding at the Rio, will Let The Good Times Roll! when he performs at the Independence Hall Theater in Sun City Anthem. Backed by some of this city's top musicians - Jeff Johnson on keyboards and vocals (Lon Bronson All Stars); Jeff Krashin on drums (Tony 'N Tina's Wedding); Rob Mader on sax (Fat City Horns with Bette Midler); Elisa Dease on vocals (solo performer Kelly Clinton's Sunday Showcase at The Bootlegger); and Steven Raimundez on bass (Sheena Easton, Expose', Mamma Mia!) - Campanella presents a dynamic mix of blues, soul, R&B, comedy and audience participation. There will also be giveaways ($100.00 in cash and other prizes). Tickets are $12 if purchased by March 2nd, and $15 from the 3rd up to show time. Here's the rub...only Member Residents can "buy" tickets. If you are not a Sun City Anthem Resident Member, and want to catch the show, contact Campanella via email at [email protected] for guest tickets. The show starts at 3 sharp. There will be no one at the door for Will Call once the show starts, so don't be late.

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Among the productions scheduled for the San Diego REPertory Theatre's 2008-2009 season is the world premiere musical, The Princess and the Black-Eyed Pea. The REP's artistic director, Sam Woodhouse, announced that the company will stage The Threepenny Opera; the Pulitzer Prize winner Doubt: A Parable; and "an exotic twist" on a classic Han Christian Andersen fairy tale, The Princess and the Black Eyed Pea. The remainder of the theatre's new season, as well as production dates, will be announced in the coming weeks. Woodhouse will direct Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's The Threepenny Opera, the groundbreaking musical that features "a cunning and glorious story of love, greed, deception and capitalism run wild." John Patrick Shanley's award-winning Doubt, the drama about certainty set in a Catholic boys school, will be directed by REP associate artistic director Todd Salovey. Hans Christian Andersen's The Princess and the Pea will be transformed into "a soulful musical comedy set in two exotic African kingdoms," The Princess and the Black-Eyed Pea. The musical won the Richard Rodgers Award for Most Promising New Musical. The show, by Karole Foreman and Andrew Chukerman, had workshop and concert presentations around the country, and at the Musical of the Year International Musical Competition in Europe. "With a charming sense of fun and play, [the authors] spin a compelling tug of war between destiny and the destiny-changing power of the individual spirit," according to REP notes. "Rousing gospel, funky rhythm and blues, tropical African world beat and soaring pop ballads, this musical poses the question, 'Does fate or free will lead us to true love?'" In it, "Colorful characters rule the African kingdoms of Kheba and Torel - one is the tyrannical Queen Mother Zauba, the other, a befuddled King Nat whose teenage daughter, Princess Quelie, has never been outside the sheltering palace walls. When the most feared warrior in the land, Vinzulu, vows he will force her to be his queen, the defiant Princess climbs the walls, braves a wild storm and heads into the dangerous forest to seek her freedom. Meanwhile, back in Torel, the sad Prince Gallant has not yet found the princess of his dreams. To assist, the Queen Mother plans an elaborate ball, during which her son accidentally stumbles upon a ragged and starving Quelie. Its love at first sight, but will fate let these love birds stay together? There's only one way to find out - the sacred and legendary test of The Black-Eyed Pea! Andersen's Princess and the Pea was also the inspiration for the Broadway musical, Once Upon a Mattress. The REP presents their productions at the Lyceum Theatre in Horton Plaza in San Diego. For more information, visit www.sandiegorep.com.

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Catch song stylist Ronnie Rose, tonight (Leap Year Friday, February 29th) at Just Jazz. Rose will perform with Cocho Arbe (piano), Tim Hauff (bass) and Ryan Rose, from 9:30 p.m. until 1:30 a.m. Just Jazz is located at 1000 E. Sahara Ave. Call (702) 650-0432.



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