Claire Voyant's Las Vegas Gossip Column

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

Claire Voyant  

Note: This is a past column from April 10, 2009
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - April 10, 2009

Society of Seven

Jasmine Trias

This weekend at the Suncoast, seven is definitely a lucky number. In this case, it's the amazing Society of Seven, performing in the hotel/casinos showroom, tonight through Sunday. We defy anyone to find a better variety show and a more talented group of entertainers... anywhere. From music, to comedy, to brilliant and sometimes outrageous impersonations, SOS is the tops. Macadamia nuts, leis, pineapples, grass skirts, the hula, Spam, and the Society of Seven...all are associated with Hawaii, but, quite possibly, it's the Society of Seven that leaves the most lasting impression on the public. Formed in the early ‘60s, the group was first called the Fabulous Echoes. The original cast of characters, who all sang, was made up of Tony Ruivivar (leader, guitar), Terry Lucido (keyboards), Stan Robertson (bass), Bert Saqum (vocals, percussions), Cliff Foenander (lead vocals) and Danny Ruivivar (drums, xylophone). Tony, Danny, Bert and Terry were from the Philippines, while Cliff and Stan were from Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Scotland respectively. In 1964, their song, A Little Bit of Soap, was a hit. The Fabulous Echoes were hired to play in Las Vegas. They were later invited to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show. In 1968, the group changed their name to Society of Seven and moved to Honolulu, where they have been a very successful act at the Outrigger Waikiki Hotel for more than 40 years. In 2001, a second troupe, calling themselves Society of Seven LV (with the "LV" standing, not for Las Vegas, but for Latest Version), was formed. This group alternates with the original, allowing the original group to perform outside Hawaii while they continue the engagement in Hawaii. Today, in addition to Tony Ruivivar, the singing Las Vegas SOS members include funny man Sagum, Hoku Low (bass, trumpet), multi-instrumentalist Wayne Wakai, Mike Laygo (lead vocals), Vince Mendoza (drums, horns), and Roy Venturina (keyboards). As a unit, these gentlemen can fill a room with the music of Broadway, standards, and today's popular hits, as well as comedy as they do their unique interpretations of personalities such as Little Richard, Sammy Davis Jr., Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, Liberace, Celine Dion, Sonny and Cher, Frankie Valli, and Kenny G. Their version of The Supremes has to be seen to be believed. A Society of Seven show is a non-stop, high energy presentation of pure entertainment. For their first (but probably not their last) engagement at the Suncoast, the Society of Seven will have Jasmine Trias, Hawaii's own American Idol finalist, as their special guest. Show times for SOS and Ms. Trias are at 7:30 p.m., tonight, tomorrow and Sunday. Tickets start at $19.95 plus taxes and fees. Call (702) 636-7075. We feel it only fair to warn readers that, if you haven't already made your reservations to see this show, it is very possible you won't be able to do so this time around

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We are deeply saddened to report the death of longtime friend, Billy Chapel. Billy, an award-winning ice skater/choreographer/producer, died at Desert Springs Hospital in Las Vegas on Saturday (April 4th) following a brief illness. He was 62. Born in Dayton, Ohio, while a youngster, Billy and his family moved to Southern California, where he graduated from the Hollywood Professional School. In 1963, Billy won the National Junior Men's Champion. A year after winning the 1966 bronze medal in the United States Figure Skating Championships, Chapel turned pro. After 10 years as principal male star with the world famous Ice Capades, Billy joined the cast of the Tropicana's Folies Bergere, where he danced for two years. He then returned to the ice as the star of Ice Fantasy at the Hacienda (now the site of Mandalay Bay). In 1988, Billy and his partner, Peter Gordon, formed Chapel/Gordon Productions. Ironically, the Hacienda became the home of Chapel/Gordon's first production, Fire & Ice. In addition to Fire & Ice, the two gentlemen produced the dance revue, Seduction, for the Sahara Hotel, and Icy Hot for Laughlin. Over the years, other Chapel/Gordon clients included New York - New York, Excalibur, and MGM Grand, to name a few. In 1996, Billy and Peter were asked to return to their roots to help direct and choreograph for Ice Capades. That same year, Gordon took on the job of coaching his and Chapel's godson, Jered Guzman, in pairs figure skating. As the result of his success in the sport, Guzman became a member of the United States Figure Skating team. Gordon traveled the world for almost four years, as Jered's guardian and coach for international competitions. It was during this time that Chapel/Gordon merged with Rand Productions to ease Billy's workload while Peter was away. Up until a couple of months before he died, Chapel continued to choreograph productions with Jeb Rand. In December, while working on a show in Hong Kong, Billy broke three ribs, causing internal damage that ultimately resulted in his unexpected and untimely death. There were no services.

Billy Chapel

Erich Bergen

Travis Cloer & Frankie Valli

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Erich Bergen, who currently stars as Bob Gaudio in the Las Vegas production of Jersey Boys at The Palazzo, did so well at his Live! concerts at the Liberace Museum, he may be back for more. Originally scheduled to do two Wednesday evening shows (Jersey Boys is dark on Wednesdays), at 7 p.m. on March 28th and again on April 8th, demand for tickets were such, that a second show at 9:30 was added on the 8th. Although he states that as a youngster, he was influenced by Michael Jackson, it was definitely Liberace who inspired Bergen's grand entrance wearing an over-the-top sequined floor-length, feather-trimmed cape. For his performance, the baby-faced Bergen presented an eclectic, to say the least, program. Backed by musicians Patricia Diaz (Jersey Boys) on piano, Drew Zingg (also from Jersey Boys) on guitar, Tyler Williams of the Frankie Moreno Band on bass, and Tony DeAugustine (Le Reve) on drums, along with Rene Ruiz (Toxic Audio), Ali Spuck (Jersey Boys) and Keely Vasquez from Barry Manilow's Hilton show, on backup vocals, Erich sang everything from Manilow's Even Now, and Marc Cohn's Walking In Memphis, to some of the 23-year-olds' originals - I Hope You Know, Wasted Time and December Without You, co-written with and performed by Travis Cloer, who portrays Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys. In between, Bergen, backed by Cloer and Ruiz, performed Britney Spears, I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman (yep, that's what they did), as well as some songs that were, um, questionable in content. So much so, that we dare not mention the titles, lest we get smacked by the famed media censor, Priscilla Goodbody. Suffice it to say, there is a lot of mischief in the angelic looking Mr. Bergen. In addition to his role in Jersey Boys (both the national tour and the Vegas version), Erich also has additional theater credits, including in Pure Heaven: The Music of Kay Thompson (O'Neill Theatre Center), The Three Musketeers (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), and Irving Berlin's White Christmas (Pantages Theatre, Los Angeles). All the proceeds from Erich's three special performances go to benefit the Liberace Foundation for the Performing and Creative Arts, aiding students pursuing careers in the arts through scholarship assistance.

At the most recent monthly Composers Showcase, which also takes place at the Liberace Museum, there were a number of new contributors. One of them was the talented Andrew Lippa who performed three of his own compositions. Lippa, probably best known for his musical, The Wild Party, is in Las Vegas working on Jerry Mitchell's PEEPSHOW, playing at the Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino.

Andrew Lippa


Bill Nolte

And speaking of the Liberace Museum (and we frequently do), three decades of glitz, glamour and scholarships will be celebrated from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, April 15th, when the museum marks its 30th anniversary. For this special day, admission to the museum will be only 30 cents. The legendary pianist and international entertainer, Liberace, known as "Mr. Showmanship," created the museum to share his fabulous collection of pianos, rhinestone-covered cars, million dollar costumes and incredible jewelry with the public, and to fund scholarships to students studying in performing and creative arts. Over the years, more than $5 million in scholarships, donated through the Liberace Foundation and Museum admissions, have benefited 2,500 students at 120 U.S. colleges, including UNLV, the largest Liberace Scholarship recipient. The schedule is as follows...

9 a.m., Museum opens - Premiere of 30th Anniversary Liberace Museum Exhibit

10:30 to 10:50 a.m. - Entertainment by Liberace Entertainer Wayland Pickard

11:50 to noon - Performance by Jersey Boys pianist Philip Fortenberry

1 to 1:45 p.m. - "Liberace & Me" with Jersey Boys Pianist Philip Fortenberry playing Liberace's piano, covered with 40,000 Swarovski rhinestones.

1 to 2 p.m. Liberace Scholar- UNLV Jazz Studies Student Otto Ehling (pianist)

2:30 to 2:50 and 3:30 to 3:50 pm - Performance by Liberace Entertainer Wayland Pickard

4 to 5 p.m. – Celebrities arriving for red carpet ceremony

5 to 6 p.m. - Celebrity Red Carpet hosted by former Lt. Governor Lorraine Hunt-Bono and her husband, singer Dennis Bono. Scheduled to walk the Red Carpet are cast members from Cirque du Soleil, Jersey Boys, Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, Marie Osmond, the Supreme Mary Wilson, Clint and Kelly Clinton Holmes, Domenick Allen, former lead singer of Foreigner and Liberace Protégé, Liberace Piano Competition winners, and other dignitaries.

From 7 to 9 p.m., an evening benefit fundraiser, Liberace through the Years - The Friends and the Music, will be hosted by Lorraine Hunt-Bono and Dennis Bono, in the Liberace Museum Cabaret Showroom. Among those expected to perform are Rich Little, Denise Clemente, Clint Holmes, Mary Wilson; Jersey Boys cast members, Keith Thompson, Philip Fortenberry, Travis Cloer, Rick Faugno, and Liberace Scholar, Glen Colby; Domenick Allen and his daughter, singer Cayleigh Capaldi; Kristen Hertzenberg of Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular; Rebecca Spencer, formerly of Phantom; Abigail Varghese, an eight-year-old from Henderson, who won the Classical Junior division of the 2008 Liberace Piano Competition, plus other entertainers.

The Liberace Museum is located at the Liberace Foundation Plaza, 1775 E. Tropicana Ave. (at Spencer).

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For those of you who said you would "try" to get over to the Clark County Flamingo Library on Monday to see Bill Nolte in performance (and you know who you are), you should have tried harder. Nolte, a Broadway veteran who was one of the principals in the Las Vegas production of The Producers last year, did his second show at the Clark County Flamingo Library Theatre for the Performing Arts Society of Nevada. Last year, Bill presented a sort of autobiographical musical called All of Me. It was very well done (his version of Sway, with an inflatable doll as a dance partner, was only one of the highlights) and very well received by the attendees. What Nolte did on Monday was called On Broadway and, not surprisingly, it featured treasures from the musical theater. Performing songs from Guys and Dolls, Man of LaMancha, Company, Jekyll and Hyde, South Pacific, My Fair Lady, Cats, The Producers, On the Town and Fiddler on the Roof, Nolte charmed the afternoon audience with his vocal abilities and humor. Directed by Mark Waldrop, Bill was accompanied by Joey Singer on piano. Currently in the national tour of Fiddler on the Roof, starring Topol, it would take someone as skilled and talented as Nolte to be able to play both a crazed Nazi playwright, as he did in The Producers, and a Jewish butcher, as he is doing in Fiddler. Bravo, Bill.

Lina Koutrakos

Heather MacRae

Mark Nadler

And speaking of Broadway, on Sunday, we spent about six hours at Don't Tell Mama in downtown Las Vegas, enjoying some of the local (and visiting) talent. Beginning at 6 p.m., it was the RNI Productions' Cabaret Intensive Workshop‘s "graduation class" in performance. Three days worth of classes, taught by award-winning New York pros, Lina Koutrakos and Rick Jensen, culminated in an open-to-the-public concert of sorts. Showcasing what they had learned, regarding the art of song performance, were Jeanne Brei (from The Speakeasy Swingers) singing You Meet the Nicest People In Your Dreams, Elly Brown (from Jubilee!) singing Jerry Herman‘s If He Walked Into My Life, Karen Merstik-Michaels (from Dangerous Curves) doing Come Some Rainy Day, Dennis Michaels singing The Morning After (NOT the theme song from The Poseidon Adventure, but a newer, funny tune written by Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler), Michael Miyazki (cabaret artist from Washington, D.C., and columnist for Cabaret Scenes magazine) doing the English version of L‘Accordianiste, doing the English version of L‘Accordianiste, Justin Olsen (from SwingBeat Entertainment) performing Ron Miller‘s For Once In My Life, Ron Squeri (also from Washington, D.C.) singing Stranger In Paradise, and Scott Watanabe (from Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular) who did Harry Chapin‘s Mail Order Annie, who all took the three-day class. Instructors Koutrakos and Jensen also demonstrated their talents, Lina with a song she and Jensen wrote called Oh My My, and Rick with his beautiful self-penned In Passing Time (recorded by, among others, the late Nancy LaMott). It was Jensen who accompanied the "students" on piano. For those who might be interested, there will be Cabaret Intensive Workshops held in Los Angeles, May 29th, 30th and 31st, and in Chicago on June 5th, 6th and 7th. For additional information, contact Tim Schall at (314) 359-0785, or e-mail Tim at [email protected].

On the same night, also at Don't Tell Mama, Felice Garcia, who had been a principal singer in the now closed Folies Bergere, and the amazing young Christopher Lash, teamed to present a little Sondheim in the night, Included in their program were Invocation and Instructions To the Audience (from The Frogs), Broadway Baby, No One Is Alone, Lovely, Some People, Being Alive, and "he Little Things We Do Together. If you are in Las Vegas, or plan to be here, and you enjoy good music with lyrics that make sense and that you can understand, we recommend a visit to Don't Tell Mama. The cabaret/nightclub is located at 517 E. Fremont and is open nightly from 6 p.m.

And speaking of Don't Tell Mama, if you happen to be downtown this Sunday, check out the Beauty Bar right next door to Mama's. At 8 p.m., a refreshing mix of comedy, music, spoken-word and burlesque, featuring performers seen on Comedy Central, HBO and late night television, will do their thing in Nice Jewish Girls Gone Bad. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call (702) 598-1965.

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If you are in the New York area, there are a number of interesting things happening in the music world. Heather MacRae will perform at the Laurie Beechman Theatre on Monday, April 13th, at 7 p.m. Heather has a lengthy history in cabaret, in addition to her roles on Broadway in Hair, Falsettos, and A Catered Affair. Songs for My Father, Heather's acclaimed tribute to her father, Gordon MacRae, enjoyed a successful run at the late Firebird Cafe and at venues throughout the country. For her upcoming engagement at the Laurie Beachman Theatre, Heather will revisit some of her musical theatre roots, with a special emphasis on Galt MacDermot's score from Hair. MacRae will be accompanied by the multi-talented Mark Nadler on piano. Mr. Nadler has performed in Las Vegas on a number of occasions. We would like to see him back here...soon. For Heather MacRae reservations, call (212) 695 6909.

Also in New York, on Wednesday evening, April 15th at 7:30, it's Lucy Shropshire reprising her All Sides of Love show at the Metropolitan Room, 34 West 22nd Street in Manhattan. With David Shenton on piano, and Mark Wade on bass, All Sides of Love is directed by former Las Vegan, Jim Semmelman. Lucy, who has been featured in a number of revues across the country, also tours and performs with the Supreme Mary Wilson. If you haven't seen and heard this lady with the unusual name, take the opportunity to do so. There is a $20 music charge and a $15 food/drink charge. Reservations are suggested. Call (212) 206-0440.

Lucy Shropshire

Kelly Albright

Vintage Joe Darro
& Diane Ellis

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From songstress Loretta Holloway comes this e-mail...
Thank you, Claire Voyant for including the press release of my upcoming Lincoln Center performances and the remembrance of our friend Doris Troy and of Skipp Pearson and his foundation. He was thrilled at the recognition you gave about his foundation and his contributions to the South Carolina music scene. Many thanks to you.
You are welcome, Ms. Holloway.

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We have heard and read nothing but wonderful things about Signature Productions, Thoroughly Modern Millie, currently at the Summerlin Library and Performing Arts Center through April 25th. Described as a high-spirited romp, Thoroughly Modern Millie should have all of Las Vegas dancing the Charleston. This zany 1920s musical took Broadway by storm in 2002, winning six Tony Awards, including Best Musical. With music by Jeanine Tesori and Dick Scanlon (who also wrote one of Cousin Claire's favorite cabaret tunes, The Girl In 14G), the play is based on the 1967 movie of the same name, starring Julie Andrews, Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Channing, John Gavin and Beatrice Lillie. Thoroughly Modern Millie tells the story of Millie Dillmount, a small-town girl who goes to New York to marry for money instead of love. In this production, Millie is played by Kelly Albright. We plan to see the show on the 18th, so, by the time we share our feelings about Millie and her adventures, this version will have ended. Don't delay if you have any interest in seeing and hearing the songs and seeing this talented cast perform. There are 2 p.m. matinees tomorrow and on the 18th. Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, show time is at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $15 to $25, and may be ordered by phone at (702) 878-PLAY. The Summerlin Library and Performing Arts Center is located at 1771 Inner Circle Summerlin, of course.

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Neighborhood news...
There's more than lasagna cooking at DeStefano's restaurant...there's lots of music going on at the southeast Las Vegas bistro. Apparently, singer Diane Ellis impressed the powers-that-be at the Italian eatery, as she will now be performing there regularly on Saturday nights. With Joe Darro on piano and vocals, the twosome will entertain from 7 to 10 p.m. Wait! There's more. In addition to Diane and Joe on Saturdays, on Sunday afternoons, from 1 to 5 p.m., it's a jazzy jam session with Darro, Larry "Wild" Wrice on drums, King Bartel on sax, and Dick Straub on upright bass, followed at 6 by Bruce Westcott on piano and vocals. On Thursday nights, from 7 to 10, Westcott, Jimmy Racey and Darro play for open mic night. The owner encourages professional singers and musicians to come on down and sit in. Let's have some fun. DeStefano's Restaurant is at 3430 E. Tropicana, on the northeast corner of Pecos and Trop. To make a dinner reservation, call (702) 436-3275. Diane reports that the food is great! Their minestrone soup and shrimp scampi and calamari are yummy! And they serve the best tirimisu I've ever tasted. And...the kitchen is kosher. DeStefano's is closed on Tuesdays.

And just down the street a way, at 4800 S. Eastern, it's Jazz Night at Marie Callender's, Monday nights from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Coming up this Monday, it's the Joel Dane Trio (this is Dane's gig), with guest artist, guitarist Joe Lano. Also playing on Monday will be Joey Singer on piano (Singer has been working with Debbie Reynolds for years), Chris Gordon on bass, and Boris Shapiro on drums. This will be the third Monday for the Joel Dane Trio at Marie Callender's (the first week featured sax man, Tom Hall, and last week, it was jazz duo, The Cunninghams). The cost is a very reasonable $5 (pie not included), to offset expenses and keep jazz alive. They will also be raffling off dinners for two and other goodies. Get out there, have something to eat or drink and enjoy the music.

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Rebecca Luker

Mykola Suk

As long as he keeps singing (and dancing), we will keep writing about Brent Barrett and his projects. One week from today, on the 17th, Barrett and Rebecca Luker will be performing with Maryland's Annapolis Symphony Orchestra. Entitled A Broadway Romance, the 8 p.m. concert, according to press notes, "explores the universal theme of American musical theatre: two people meet and fall in love. The evening weaves together dozens of show tunes that tell the story of a tangled romance, performed by two brilliant stars of Broadway." Brent, who recently completed a two-year stint in the title role of Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular at The Venetian, received an Olivier Award nomination for his role in the London company of Kiss Me, Kate. Some of his other theatrical credits include the Broadway productions of Annie Get Your Gun, Chicago, Grand Hotel, Dance a Little Closer, West Side Story and Candide. Barrett received a Los Angeles Drama Critics Award for his work in the L.A. production of Chicago, and has been seen off-Broadway in Closer Than Ever, March of the Falsettos, The Death of Von Richtofen, The Time of the Cuckoo, and Portrait of Jenny. His television and film appearances include Hercules, Longtime Companion, The Producers, All My Children, Another World, and The Guiding Light. Rebecca Luker, currently on Broadway in Mary Poppins, earned Tony nominations for her performance in that Disney-Cameron Mackintosh musical, as well as Show Boat and The Music Man. She has also been seen on Broadway in Nine, The Sound of Music, The Secret Garden and The Phantom of the Opera. Luker also appeared with Michael Cerveris and Judy Kuhn in the Kennedy Center production of Stephen Sondheim's Passion. For tickets, priced $35-$44 (student tickets are $10), call (410) 263-0907, or visit The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra plays the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, located at 801 Chase Street in Annapolis. If you are in the neighborhood...

In the dancing department, Brent Barrett is getting ready for the Dancing With the Las Vegas Stars fundraiser on the 19th. He, along with Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, radio personalities Chet Buchanan and Steph MacKenzie, Zowie Bowie's Chris Phillips, and boxer Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini, and their professional dance partners (just like on the popular TV reality show), will compete for votes (at $1 per), with all monies going to local cancer support groups. The event will take place at Rain nightclub at the Palms, with tickets selling for $50 through Ticketmaster. We will have more about this worthwhile, and fun, event, next Friday.

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The UNLV Department of Music class presents Exploring Beethoven, an all-Beethoven concert at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 16th in the Paul Harris Theatre of the Alta Ham Fine Arts building on the UNLV campus. The concert is free and open to the public. To set the mood, there will also be greeters in period costume and typical Viennese pastries. In addition to the students, the Exploring Beethoven program features a faculty performance of movements from the Opus 135 string quartet; professor Mykola Suk performs the popular Moonlight Sonata; and graduate student Michael Smith sings from the cycle, An Die Ferne Geliebte, Op. 98. In addition, students will present new jazz and compositions based on Beethoven themes.

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Along Comes The Association at the Cannery Casino & Hotel, tomorrow night at 8 p.m. The popular Grammy-nominated and Golden Globe-winning band will perform their hits in the North Las Vegas property's Club. The Association, a cornerstone of American pop music, is one of the most successful bands to have come out of the ‘60s. They have sold more than 70 million records, earning them six gold and one platinum disc. Their No. 1 hits, Never My Love, Windy, and Cherish, have achieved "standard" status, receiving almost as much airplay today as they ever have. Other Association songs, including Time for Living, Along Comes Mary, and Everything That Touches You, showcase the versatility, the carefully crafted vocals and the delicately woven instrumentation that is the signature of the group. Tickets at $14.95 plus tax and fees, are on sale at the Cannery Casino & Hotel's ticket sales counter located at the front desk. Tickets are also available for purchase by calling (702) 507-5757 or (866) 999-4899 (toll free), or by visiting

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Children of all ages can celebrate the joys of childhood during the 17th annual Clark County Children's Festival, at the Winchester Cultural Center and Park, 3130 S. McLeod Drive, on Saturday, April 18th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event, itself, along with many activities are free, but there are minimal fees for selected activities, rides and concessions. The award-winning festival combines recreational, cultural and creative activities to entertain and educate children. In the play area, children can ride one of the ponies on the Pony-Go-Round, or enjoy the company of animals during the Roos-N-More Petting Zoo. Active kids can ride the umbrella ride, Ferris wheel, swing and train rides after they test their strength on the climbing wall. Challenges can be met on the kids' fitness play course, or with carnival games and circus workshops. Other activities include mock knight battles and the water play park. New this year is the LegoLand Area, a fun trip with a childhood toy for the whole family. During indoor and outdoor crafts workshops, children can learn how to paint and then use their skills to create a colorful ceramic tile of their own. Arts and crafts, garden book tours and skate park activities also will be available. On the outdoor stage, Winchester's own Star Catchers, a hip-hop youth dance team, and the Youth Choir, the center's resident youth vocal group, will entertain the crowd. Other performers include magic by Dixie Dooley, Razzmatazz Dance Company, Encore Dance Team, storytelling and drumming by Eric Price, Shirley Chen Dancers and the Showbiz Kidz. Food and beverages, provided by Sweet & Treats, El Jalapeno and local groups, are available for purchase. Some activities require registration, and information can be found at the front desk. Those interested in the festival can call Winchester Cultural Center at (702) 455-7340, or visit the Web site at

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Dangerous Curves

Miss USA Crystle Stewart

You can hear some Girl Talk!, as well as some girl-sung songs, on Sunday, April 19th, at 2 p.m., when the Performing Arts Society of Nevada presents the ladies of Dangerous Curves - Margaret "Gret" Menzies, Karen Merstik-Michaels, Lisa Smith - at the Clark County Library Theatre. Featuring the songs of yesterday and today, including some made famous by the Andrews Sisters, Judy Garland, and Linda Eder...along with a tribute to some of Broadway's greatest composers. All this and more, performed by the fabulous girls of Dangerous Curves.
And shame on us for saying that the song the women sang as guests on Kellie Wright's show a couple of weeks ago was The Days of Wine and Roses, when, in fact, it was Moon River. We must have been having an Andy Williams/Henry Mancini flashback! Tickets for Girl Talk! are $15 and may be purchased at the library box office, located at 1401 E. Flamingo, an hour before show time or call (702) 658-6741 for reservations.

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Paula M. Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization, recently announced the organization has signed a two-year deal with the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to act as host hotel and venue for the celebrated annual Miss USA telecast. The 2009 competition will air live on NBC, Sunday, April 19th at the Theatre for the Performing Arts located at Planet Hollywood. "Returning to Vegas was not a difficult decision to make, Shugart said. "The great success of working together in 2008 with the collaboration from the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, combined with the support of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority was so incredible, we decided to come back for the next two years. Last year's contestants had a great time in the desert seeing many of the attractions Las Vegas offers. We can't wait to show this year's delegates and our viewers more of this exciting city!" "We are delighted to welcome back the Miss Universe Organization," said Robert Earl, co-chairman of Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Miss USA 2008, Crystle Stewart, who was crowned at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on April 11th of last year, has been traveling the nation as an advocate for breast and ovarian cancer awareness, education, research and legislation. She will crown her successor at the conclusion of the two-hour primetime telecast, before an estimated viewing audience, in the U.S. alone, of more than seven million people. Each contestant will be judged in three categories: swimsuit, evening gown and interview. The show will conclude with one contestant ultimately being crowned Miss USA 2009. Along with executive producer Donald J. Trump, Phil Gurin and the Gurin Company will again produce MISS USA 2009.

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Las Vegan Elisa Fiorillo did such a good job backing up Prince on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno (repeated last Tuesday night), she has been asked to join the Purple One's tour.

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Claire Voyant's portrait by Charlie Frye