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 May 02, 2008
You can find the current column HERE


Las Vegas - May 2, 2008


Bobby Darin

Robert Ensler as Donald Trump

Bill Nolte

We are including a few more photos taken at the eNORMous NORM-a-THON held at The Orleans on Sunday, April 20th. The three-hour plus show featured almost 50 performers and musicians and raised more than $20,000 to financially assist 86-year-old veteran entertainer Norman Kaye with his medical costs. Norman, a founding member of the famed Mary Kaye Trio, is suffering the effects of a stroke. Even though there has already been much written on this benefit (by us as well as others), it was such a successful event, put together in only three weeks, we will continue to give updates on Norman's condition, as well as keep readers posted on additional donations that are still coming in.

Forgive us for some shameless plugs for a few of the talented individuals who helped make the NORM-a-THON a big success. Since they didn't make a dime, and in fact coughed up their own financial contributions to the cause, the very least we can do is give them some ink. For example...Tonight (May 2nd), tomorrow and Sunday (May 3rd and 4th), is Bobby Darin weekend at the Alexis Park Resort. If you are reading this early enough, tonight The Darin Lifetime Group will host an auction of Bobby Darin's original memorabilia. Dodd Darin, Bobby's son with actress Sandra Dee, is donating some personal items that belonged to his father. A Saturday video event of never before seen Bobby Darin footage, and a Sunday afternoon concert will benefit the Children's Heart Foundation, a Nevada-based non-profit that lends support to children and families who suffer or are affected by heart problems. The Darin Lifetime Events hosts the weekend each year, gathering to celebrate and remember the former musician's career and life. Last year, Dodd presented Children's Heart Foundation with a $1,000 donation. During his too brief lifetime, Bobby Darin suffered with an eventually fatal heart condition (the entertainer died in 1973 at the age of 37). Because of the damage rheumatic fever did to his heart as a child, Bobby always had a special interest in children with heart problems. In his memory, his family has been committed to the advancement of a treatment to alleviate this serious disease, and donates a gift in his name each year to the Children's Heart Foundation. Special guests attending this year's event will be some of Darin's former musicians, including Billy McCubbin and Terry Kellman. Among the singers performing Darin material will be Las Vegan, Robert S. Ensler. (Ensler also does a mean job duplicating Dean Martin, Donald Trump, and a number of other celebrities.) Alexis Park Resort is located at 375 East Harmon. Individual ticket prices are $15, or buy two for $25. Call the Children's heart Foundation at (702) 967-3522 for tickets and more information on the foundation. Visit their site at www.chfn.org.

As for Bill Nolte, who portrayed the pigeon-loving Nazi, Franz Liebkind, in The Producers at Paris Las Vegas, when the show closed in February, Bill decided to give up his dark little New York apartment (his words, not ours). When he isn't on the road with his one-man-show or performing in a theatrical production, the singer/actor teaches voice. Many of his students are working professionals, looking to improve their vocal skills or learn to sing correctly. This fellow knows his stuff, having spent 30 plus year performing on Broadway, in shows such as Cats, Me and My Girl, The Secret Garden, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, A Christmas Carol, King David, 1776, Jane Eyre, Amour and The Producers, plus regional productions of Evita, Oliver, Man of La Mancha, South Pacific, The Marriage of Figaro, and Jekyll & Hyde among others, there probably isn't anyone in Vegas more qualified than Bill to guide others through the maze of music. You can reach Bill at (917) 445-9003. He promises to add a local number to his repertoire very soon. We will provide it when it is available.

Jimmy Hopper, described as "The Most Amazing Voice You Will Ever Love," is all over the city these days and nights. Well, actually, brand new billboards promoting his current engagement at Trader Vic's Lava Room, are all over the city. Jimmy himself has settled into his new gig in the club located adjacent to the Planet Hollywood Hotel/Casino. The singer/musician performs shows starting at 10 p.m. (a good time for the late-night crowd as well as other entertainers), Wednesdays through Saturdays. For the time being, there is no cover charge. This giveaway may not last for long, so it is our suggestion that you head over there very soon. In our opinion, Mr. Hopper is one of the most unique and talented entertainers we have seen around these parts. As a bonus, at the Lava Room, not only do you get a wonderful show, you also get an incredible Strip view from the cozy second-floor venue. Call (702) 405-4700.


Jimmy Hopper

Jeanne Brei

Brent Barrett

Then there is Jeanne Brei, who is more than a little excited about her new CD, Jazzin' with Jeanne! Live from Las Vegas! featuring the Speakeasy Swingers - Charlie Shaffer, Don Hill, Ty Lemley, Jim Racey, Corey Gemme, and special guest, Dehner Franks. Recorded live in the Fitzgeralds showroom, the CD includes fun up-tempo songs and classic standards, both familiar and obscure (Jeanne has an old soul), such as Beyond the Sea, Keepin' Out of Mischief, Day By Day, Let Me Entertain You, Just a Gigolo, Dream Lover, You Meet the Nicest People in Your Dreams, Ain't Misbehavin,‘ a "special version" of My Favorite Things, Stormy Weather, When You're Smilin' and more. Don Hill's beautiful sax solo on The Very Thought of You belies the fact that the former Trenier is 86-years-young. To order Jeanne's CD, go to www.jazzinwithjeanne.com.

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Our Phavorite Phantom, that would be Brent Barrett, will perform a concert in the Terrace Theater at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. as part of the Barbara Cook's Spotlight series on Saturday, June 28th. Called Bernstein on Broadway, this is the same program that Barrett did in Barcelona in June of last year. The first time Brent played the Kennedy Center, it was during the pre-Broadway tour of West Side Story. The Kennedy Center's Web site describes Brent thusly, "Hailed for his glorious tenor voice, Brent Barrett has enjoyed the starring role in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom - The Vegas Spectacular. He has also appeared in Chicago, Annie Get Your Gun, and Kiss Me, Kate. Closing out the Spotlight season, his concert is sure to entertain with a variety of Broadway classics and more." If you haven't already seen Barrett in Phantom, we suggest you do so soon. He departs the production at The Venetian on June 6th. You can learn what nights he performs by going to his Web site at www.brentbarrett.com. For reservations, call (702) 414-7469. Phantom is dark on Sundays.

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If there are any doubts that Las Vegas is a magical city, one only has to tune in to David Letterman beginning on Monday to see just how magical it is. Once again, Dave presents Magicians Week on The Late Show. Not surprisingly, all of the magicians who will appear during the week are headliners with ongoing shows here. Scheduled to appear are Lance Burton (Monte Carlo) on Monday, Dirk Arthur (Tropicana) on Wednesday, Steve Wyrick (Planet Hollywood's Miracle Mile) on Thursday, and Penn & Teller (Rio) on Friday. On Tuesday (May 6th), comedian/magician Mac King will be featured. Late Show producers selected King after seeing his Paper Bag and signature Goldfish tricks. Both of these clever bits will be included in Mac's segment. King has been the recipient of many honors, including Funniest Act in Magic Today by Magic Magazine, Magician of the Year by The Magic Castle, Best Magician and Best Bargain Show by the Las Vegas Review-Journal's Readers Poll and Entertainer of the Year by the Las Vegas Weekly Readers Choice Awards. King performs at 1 and 3 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays, in the Showroom Theatre at Harrah's Las Vegas. Call (702) 369-5111 for reservations. Additional information on The Mac King Comedy Magic Show can be found by visiting www.mackingshow.com. The Late Show airs on CBS at 11:30 EST/PST.


Mac King

Frank Marino

David Pomeranz

And in more TV-related news...The popular television entertainment "magazine," EXTRA, is down to its Final Four in their New Face of Las Vegas competition. And who is one of the finalists that would like to join the existing on air personalities - Dayna Devon, Mark McGrath, Tanika Ray, Carlos Diaz, Mario Lopez, Jerry Penacoli and the rest of the crew - as part of the television news magazine team? Why it's none other than that shy and retiring Frank Marino, of course! Now in his 23rd year as the star of the Riviera's An Evening at La Cage, since EXTRA has a Las Vegas headquarters (in Planet Hollywood), if he is selected, Marino, the self-proclaimed "Queen of the Strip," wouldn't have to pack up many of his Bob Mackie gowns and Manolo Blahnik stilettos to do his "extra" job. Tune in this Tuesday to catch Frank in action. We will let you know how the contest turns out. Hey, here's a thought! Since Frank admittedly is a cosmetic surgeon junkie (he has had many a nip and tuck), every few years, he is ALWAYS the New Face of Las Vegas...or anywhere else he happens to be! Does that give him an unfair advantage? Winky. Winky.

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A new song, Art of the Soul, written by David Pomeranz and Judith and Spencer Proffer, is featured in a documentary called As Seen Through These Eyes. In As Seen Through These Eyes, Art of the Soul is performed by Anna Nalik, courtesy of Sony BMG Records. The moving Hilary Helstein film, narrated by Maya Angelou, is a revealing insight into a lesser-known aspect of the Holocaust: the experience of artists in the concentration camps. Granted special treatment by camp officials, talented artists and musicians often survived by performing or creating work for the Nazis. This moving film presents engaging interviews with a handful of survivors, many of whom were children during the war, and offers an incredibly moving testimonial to the resiliency of the human spirit. As Seen Through These Eyes has been screened at film festivals around the globe, and was recently honored with the coveted Best of Festival award in Greece. It can be seen on the Sundance Channel, tonight (Friday, May 2nd) 7:30 p.m. and again on Wednesday, May 7th at 12:15 p.m. David Pomeranz has some history in Las Vegas but, in our opinion, not enough. The multi-talented singer/ songwriter/musician/ entertainer performed at the private Stirling Club in November of 2006 (we were there), at the Wyrick Theater (Planet Hollywood) in June of 2007 (we were there), and in The Orleans Showroom, last New Year's Eve (we were there too). A consummate composer, among Pomeranz's works are the Barry Manilow hits, The Old Songs and Trying To Get the Feeling Again, as well as a wonderful musical, Little Tramp, inspired by the life of Charlie Chaplin. There is a wonderful CD available, but it's a hard one to find (search the Internet). The recording features talent such as Richard Harris, Petula Clark, Mel Brooks, Lea Salonga and others, including Pomeranz himself.

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Bad News. Good news. The bad news is that the day after Mother's Day, Monday, May 12th, the postage rate will, once again take a jump...upward (mail those cards to mom early). The good news, especially for folks like Sebastian Anzaldo, Henry Prego, Steve Lippia, CJ Decker (Frank the Voice), Gary Anthony and Brian Duprey, to name a few, is that on Tuesday, May 13th, a new 42 cent stamp honoring Ol' Blue Eyes will be released. You have probably figured out that the gentlemen mentioned in this paragraph are all (sometimes) Frank Sinatra tribute artists.


Frank Sinatra stamp

Rob Powers

Steve Solomon

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On April 27th, an interesting article about the Las Vegas Walk of "Stars," written by Mike Weatherford, appeared in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Titled Bottom Line, It's a Business, the article comes with a truth in advertising "subtitle" stating, Vegas sidewalk immortality funded less by prominence than by how quickly cash raised." This was an informative (but we feel incomplete) story on the joke that is The Las Vegas Walk of Stars. We would love to know who among them approved this "non-profit" project and why. We are seeking those answers, Based on some of the R-J readers' follow-up comments, apparently Cousin Claire isn't the only one who feels this waste of Strip sidewalk does nothing to enhance our city's image. On the contrary. If anything, the Walk of Stars is, for the most part, an embarrassment. The story generated reader responses like these...

Carme wrote on April 30, 2008 08:07 AM: Being a long time resident of Las Vegas and an act who worked our town for over thirty years, I find the Walk of SHAME a joke. Most of us old timers who helped build our town, want no part of it. Can you imagine if you told Frank, Sammy, Dean, Robert Goulet, or any of the big stars who graced the stages of our town that for fifteen thousand dollars they could have their names on a side walk? Your ears would burn for a week. They would tell you exactly what you could do with the walk of fame and it would hurt. Shame on you Las Vegas.

John wrote on April 27, 2008 01:54 PM: I think the author of this article was bamboozled by Sacca. It's a shame and why is the contract with the city irrevocable? Oh, how nice, they donate $750 to a charity. Where does the rest go? Those questions have been asked for months with no answer coming forthwith from the group. They should be run out of town. It is quite interesting that two of the board members have been given stars, while headliners, who have since passed away, have none. Oh, yes, I understand that Sacca had to go back east to help raise the funds. By the way two local columnists, plus a group of entertainers, have written volumes about the organization behind the stars. And, especially since this Sacca fellow was announced as getting a star. I truly believe the group should have the permit revoked and the real stars (the ones like Rich Little, Sammy Davis, Jr., etc) should remain and the others torn up and thrown away (or given to the idiotic, egotist that paid the $15 grand).

Nic wrote on April 27, 2008 11:18 AM: I cannot believe the City of Las Vegas allowed this CRAP to happen in Vegas! Being raised here all my life I am embarrassed but not surprised that people like Sacca (biggest egomaniac in town obviously!) could buy a star! Oh, and he's on the committee? And, other people were not accepted? Hollywood allows the best...not just well, you know, he was a really fair lounge singer THAT NOBODY KNEW!!! Come on! How can you write to promote this!? Sinatra's family probably decided NOT to (get involved) because its beneath them with all the idiots listed! Let the implosions begin!!! Now I know where to walk my dog without having to pickup the doo doo! Its already there!!


yah right wrote on April 27, 2008 11:00 AM: I am looking forward to the implosions of the hotels and the egomaniac people who are NOT stars being ripped up! This is an outrage! Hollywood is about real stars not fake ones like this Sacca dude! Shame on the city for allowing crap on their streets. All for the money. Sinatra's family probably saw the insignificance based on the "who the hell is that -STARS?!" There's no excuse for writing good things about this. Makes me puke!


Julie Neal wrote on April 27, 2008 10:50 AM: So let me get this correct...I was laughing so hard reading this I might have read this article incorrectly....Legends-in-their-own-minds have gathered together to create a non-profit to get their name implanted on a star that is located on the sidewalk of the Las Vegas Strip. How embarrassing. Who the hell is this Tony Sacca? We've been here since 1990, never heard of him. Anyone know? The name returns no results on a web search. Both Yahoo and Google have no clue who this mystery legend is. This is the biggest joke ever pulled on Las Vegas. Can you imagine the millions of tourists who step right over this Sacca name scratching their heads and laughing as well? Doesn't this Sacca feel like a complete idiot? A public buffoon? Of course not, he's a legend. And he asked friends to pay for his star? That tops it all. Didn't one of those friends stop for a second and ask him why? Honestly thought this was an April Fools article. Can I join a Sacca fan club?


And lest you think we are making these up (would we do that?), check the R-J site at
http://www.lvrj.com/living/18312659.html where you can see Weatherford's original story and the letters for yourselves.

The biggest question regarding this Walk of Whatever remains...Who among our elected or appointed government officials approved this project? And why? A non-profit organization? Non-profit for whom? The cost for the dubious "honor" of getting ones name embedded in the sidewalk somewhere on the Las Vegas Strip is $15,000, while the actual cost for material and labor MIGHT be $1,000 (probably much less). What happens to the other $14,000? Oh yes, we forgot...$750 goes to charity (how generous). And what about the rest? And while we are asking, the R-J article states that not everyone who applies is approved to receive this curbside honor. We have to wonder, if someone, ANYONE, came to this dubious committee of deciders (at least two who have their own stars on the Strip sidewalk) with $15,000 in hand, who would they have to be to be turned down? After all, isn't it all about money? Based on the standards (or lack of same) of these so-called committee members, even O. J. Simpson's name may one day turn up among the sidewalk honorees. We have a feeling that the Las Vegas Star Wars may be getting hotter than an automobile engine on a mid-August afternoon!

* * * * * *

Media Maven Rob Powers has been plying his craft in Las Vegas for more than 30 years. He was still a student at UNLV when he went to work at the Las Vegas Sun newspaper. In the three decades since, Powers has added his own style to work places such as the Las Vegas Review-Journal, R & R Advertising, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and Today in Las Vegas magazine. Today will be his last day at the Andre Agassi Foundation, where he has been for the past two years. Rob will take some well-deserved time off to travel to far away places. We wish him a safe and joyful journey.

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Once again, the Suncoast leads the pack when it comes to booking not-your-typical Las Vegas acts. No Cirque du Anything at this property. Remember, it's the Suncoast who brought Petula Clark back to Las Vegas after a two decade absence. They have also presented the likes of Gino Vannelli, the husband and wife team of Joe Bologna and Renee Taylor, Jimmy Hopper, Rita McKenzie as Ethel Merman, Patti LuPone and Linda Eder. This weekend's offering, My Mother's Italian, My Father's Jewish and I'm in Therapy with Steve Solomon, is also an innovative idea. This show is receiving critical acclaim as it plays to sold out audiences from New York to Phoenix. It's filled with hilarious stories about Steve's wacky family and the crazy characters that he meets on the road whose sole purpose is to drive him into therapy ... and they have succeeded. Steve creates voices, dialects and sound effects which make the stories and jokes come alive. And there are even a few musical surprises along the way. Will this be a winner? Monday will tell. Tickets start at $19.95 plus taxes and may be purchased at the Suncoast box office. Call (702) 636-7075.

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From Gale Baker, mentioned in last week's column, comes this e-mail...

Thanks for sending me the html, and especially for reminding me of great times in Vegas with dear Jerry Grasse. At Jerry's request, I audio taped Amazing Grace for him a few weeks before he died. It was played at his self-produced funeral. And to hear that my old neighbor Christine Ebersole is visiting Vegas. Christine also worked with my dear friend Tony Gaetano in Guys & Dolls at the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theater in FL before Hollywood and Broadway days. I worked with Tony in Natalie Need a Nightie with June Wilkinson. Remember her? You may recall Tony for several stints at the Union Plaza, his final as Humphrey Bogart in Play it Again Sam with Gary Burghoff. It was a role he reprised often. We lost Tony to cancer in 2002.

And speaking of Christine Ebersole, we have to wonder why the poor turnout for the two-time Tony Award-winners concert at UNLV last Saturday night. Could it be that people aren't familiar with her name? Not enough pre-publicity? Ticket prices too high during difficult economic times? Whatever the reason, it is very discouraging to see the 1800-seat Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall with only around 300 people in the audience. The folks that came out to see the last performance of the 2007-2008 New York Stage & Beyond series got a real treat. Although she got sick on her flight to Las Vegas, Ebersole practices that old "The show must go on," adage. Being under the weather didn't show in this troupers performance, other than the fact the concert was a little shorter than usual. Oh yes, as Cousin Claire anticipated (and wrote in last Friday‘s column), Christine was accompanied by the incredibly talented Billy Stritch. We very much enjoyed the combination of pianist/vocalist Stritch and Ms. Ebersole, and disagree with the Review-Journal's theater critic that the twosome were "mismatched." And, yes, that was the very same Christine Ebersole in bed with Denny Crane (William Shatner) on Wednesday night's episode of Boston Legal. Did you know that Christine was once married to Peter Bergman, who has played Jack Abbott on the CBS daytime soap, The Young and The Restless, for decades? You never know when this information might come in handy.


Rita Moreno

IMPACT logo

Barbara Fasano

Mark your calendars and start saving your pennies. Next season, which launches on Friday, October 3rd, the New York Stage & Beyond series will open with multi-award winning Rita Moreno. We will have more about Ms. Moreno's upcoming appearance as we get closer to October (actually, tomorrow will be closer to October). We will also let you know what else is on the schedule at UNLV.

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IMPACT (Imagine Museums, Performance, Art and Culture Together) 2008 is Las Vegas' first annual cultural fair, created to foster a sense of community between and within artistic and cultural disciplines, by bringing together the city's best and highest caliber museums, galleries, and performance groups to showcase the depth, breadth, and richness of culture in southern Nevada. IMPACT. It's an event. It's collaboration. It's a noun and a verb and a call-to-action. It will bring us together and get excitement pumping through the veins of anyone seeking creativity and cultural influence in their lives. IMPACT, where Imagination Becomes Reality, collaborators seek to underscore the vibrant arts, cultural and museum community that exists in the Las Vegas Valley and provide an opportunity to come together to share these assets with each other and with the community at large. Experience our thriving cultural community beyond the neon glow, nightclubs and slot machines. For the first time, many of the organizations that have individually been expanding the typical definition of Southern Nevada culture and entertainment come together for an event that is destined to make an "impact" on the community. There will be performances, displays, exhibits, demonstrations, and information provided for people to get involved or to simply find out more. Among the confirmed organizations who will participate in IMPACT 2008, the Atomic Testing Museum, Celebrity City Chorus, City of Las Vegas Office of Cultural Affairs, Department of Music - UNLV, Desert Spring Arts, Foundation to Assist Young Musicians ("FAYM"), Henderson Symphony Orchestra, Las Vegas Art Museum, Las Vegas Marching Arts, Inc, The Las Vegas Master Singers, The Las Vegas Natural History Museum, The Las Vegas Philharmonic, The Liberace Foundation & Museum, Metro Arts Council, Nevada Arts Council, Nevada Ballet Theatre, Nevada Community Foundation, Nevada Public Radio, Nevada School of the Arts, The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, and UNLV Performing Arts Center. IMPACT 2008 takes place Sunday, May 4th, from noon 5 p.m. at the Liberace Museum, 1775 E. Tropicana Ave. This event is FREE, and even includes free admission to view the treasures and collectibles once owned by Mr. Showmanship that are now displayed at the museum. The show and tour are open to well-behaved people of all ages . For more information call any of the participating IMPACT organizations or the Liberace Museum at (702) 798-5595.


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If you are in the New York area, you might want to check out Barbara Fasano at the Metropolitan Room, next Friday and Saturday (May 9th and 10th). Barbara, who is described by Elizabeth Ahlfors of Cabaret Scenes magazine as, "Impressionistic, thoughtful and dramatic, Barbara Fasano is a one-woman marquee in lights ... imagination, style, musicianship and drama," will be accompanied by John Di Martino at the piano. Show times are at 7:30 p.m. The Metropolitan Room was recently chosen Best Cabaret Room by New York magazine. It is located at 34 West 22nd Street in Manhattan. For reservations, call (212) 206-0440. Last night (May 1st) Barbara and her husband, Eric Comstock, made a return visit to the cabaret at Café Sabarsky at Neue Galerie, where they played up romance and its modern complications as seen through the music of Kurt Weill, Frederick Hollander, Charles Strouse, Lee Adams, Harold Arlen, Carolyn Leigh, Richard Rodgers, Cole Porter and Noel Coward. Described as "erudite" by The New Yorker, "soigné" by The Village Voice, "ingenious musical wit" by The New York Times, and "coolly elegant" by Time Out New York, we suggest, that if you have the chance to see these two, jump at the opportunity.

Photo by James Smith

And, speaking of Cabaret Scenes magazine...if you are a fan of cabaret and/or musical theater, we highly recommend this monthly publication. You can learn what is going on around the country, who is playing where, read reviews and more. There is even a section on Las Vegas! For more information, go to www.cabaretscenes.org.

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A week from today (Friday, May 9th), a group of veteran entertainers will provide a free show for Valley seniors. The variety show, co-sponsored by Clark County and Seniors in Action, will take place at the Winchester Cultural Center, 3130 S. McLeod Drive. Scheduled performers include the event's organizer, singer Renee Lee; the Encore Dancers; Lois Layne and partner; the Lohan School of Shaolin with Billie Ann Sabala; solo singers Greta Lorworth, Michel Martel, Jim Hodge and Ann McCormack; the Tambourine Four; vaudeville veteran Nancy Long, and dancer Kitty Duarte. Renee is a Broadway veteran who has also performed in summer stock, on cruise ships, in Hallelujah Hollywood at the MGM Grand (now Bally's), Folies Bergere at the Tropicana Hotel, and Hello, America at the Desert Inn, all in Las Vegas. She was also in the comedy revue, Love Over 40, in both Las Vegas and Laughlin, and Hello, Hollywood, Hello at the MGM Grand in Reno. Seniors in Action is a local non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for seniors. Among its activities is providing free entertainment for the AARP generation. For additional information, please call the Winchester Cultural Center at (702) 455-7340, or visit the Web site at www.accessclarkcounty.com/parks.

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UNLV Jazz Ensemble with David Loeb

The UNLV Jazz Studies program, part of the Department of Music in the UNLV College of Fine Arts, is pleased to announce that its Liberace Jazz Quartet earned first place at the prestigious 46th Annual Reno Jazz Festival this past weekend. The group - Otto Ehling, piano; Julian Tanaka, saxophone; Andy Roberts, bass; and Abe Gumroyan, bass - competed against 17 of the top university combos from the western states, including California, Oregon, and Washington. The students performed among more than 10,000 participants and guests. Under the guidance of UNLV Director of Jazz Studies Dave Loeb, they earned straight superior ratings, out-performing veteran musicians for the title. The UNLV Liberace Jazz Quartet is made possible through the generous support of the Liberace Foundation, whose mission is to help talented students pursue careers in the performing and creative arts through scholarship assistance. The organization recently awarded $20,000 to UNLV students for the upcoming year, bringing the total UNLV funding received from the Liberace Foundation to more $365,000, more than any other university. UNLV is the top recipient of Liberace Foundation funding, followed by the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University and the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester. "We are incredibly proud of our jazz students for their exceptional performance at the Reno Jazz Festival," said Loeb. "We are especially pleased that the Liberace Foundation scholarships have made it possible to attract these gifted and highly talented students to our outstanding UNLV Department of Music Jazz Studies Program. I believe that this is a fantastic accomplishment. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the Liberace Foundation and to the UNLV College of Fine Arts and Department of Music for their steadfast support." Don't miss the last concert of the year on Monday May 5th, at 7:30 p.m. in the UNLV Black Box Theater. Purchase tickets via UNLV PAC Box Office.



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