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 June 19, 2009
You can find the current column HERE


Las Vegas - June 19, 2009


Mac King

Bob Kaz

OMG! Mac King is missing! Mac King has disappeared! No. No. Not from Harrah's, where he has been performing The Mac King Comedy Magic Show, afternoons, for more than nine years. Mac's Magic In a Minute Sunday strip is gone! GONE we say...from the comic section of the Las Vegas Review-Journal! According to the R-J's editor, Thomas Mitchell, that are running a smaller section to save money and are "evaluating," whatever that means. Apparently, we have lost our sense of humor, as we don't find this latest budget cut one bit funny!

* * * * * *

The Supreme Mary Wilson heads off to the United Kingdom for an 11 day, six-show series of performances. Tomorrow is flying day, and on the 22nd, it's rehearsals. The 23rd, sees Wilson and company in Tyne. On the 24th, they are in Nottingham, the 25th in London, 26th in Birmingham (and we don't mean Alabama), 27th in Manchester, and wind up in Liverpool on the 28th. Come the Fourth of July, Ms. Wilson will be performing at the Riverfront Park in North Charleston, South Carolina. Handling all the arrangements for these journeys, is Mary's Tour/Production Manager, Bob Kaz. When he isn't busy working out travel schedules and creating itineraries for Mary Wilson and her entourage, or for Friends of Distinction (Grazing In the Grass, Love Or Let Me Be Lonely), or the Pointer Sisters (Neutron Dance, Im So Excited), or the 5th Dimension (Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In, Wedding Bell Blues, One Less Bell to Answer), or Radiance, Kaz can often be seen playing Easy Rider (or The Wild One) as he buzzes around Las Vegas on his snappy motorcycle. As the saying goes, the difference between a man and a boy is the price of his toys. Mr. Kaz has some pricey toys.

* * * * * *

On Monday, June 15th, we got word that, effective that day, Nicole Durr, also known as ND, the creator of Club Fuego at the Rio, has opted to close the nightclub "in order to pursue future projects in other formats." According to the media release, Marilyn Winn, president of Rio, Paris and Bally's Las Vegas, stated, "We regret that ND has decided to close Club Fuego, however we have enjoyed a positive partnership with ND and respect her desire to explore alternative projects. We have benefited from her originality, creativity and enthusiasm and wish both ND and her talented team much success as they continue to develop the various elements of the brand." If you keep up on these things, you probably know that ND was the producer (Siegfried and Roy were also involved) of Havana Night Club that played in the theater at the Stardust in late 2004, closing early in 2005, and you may also recall that, in January, Ms. Durr's show, Fuego Raw Talent Live, closed at the Sahara following a three-month run. ND's nightclub show, Fuego - The Evolution of Night Life, opened at the Rio In February, closing four months later. We can only wonder what is next, and where it will happen, for ND and her projects. The lady doesn't give up easily. Maybe ND also stands for Not Done.

* * * * * *

It's still spring (until Sunday, anyway) and love is in the air (or maybe it's ragweed). Therefore, we are happy to spread some romantic news. On July 5th, Linda Glynn and Marvin Lashever will become husband and wife in a ceremony attended by family members and about 40 of their nearest and dearest friends. Since we plan to crash the party, we will report on the event, after the fact. Marvin is the president/CEO of G.E.M. Group Inc., Global Entertainment & Management. Congratulations to the happy couple.


Marvin Lashever & Linda Glynn

Vocal Soup

* * * * * *

The 100-seat Onyx Theatre, located inside The Rack clothing store in Commercial Center, 953 E. Sahara at Maryland Parkway, offers some of the most unique entertainment in a city known for entertainment. In a recent feature article in Las Vegas Weekly, Steve Friess named "anything at The Onyx" among his Top 10 Entertainment picks in the city. The tradition continues. In a city where topless showgirls are almost as common as video poker machines, one would be hard pressed to find any type of nudity that might be even slightly controversial, that is until now. With last night's opening of the Las Vegas production of the award winning off-Broadway musical, Naked Boys Singing, tongues around here are sure to be wagging. The number one question I get, says Jimmy Emerson, whose company Starr Pro Productions, in conjunction with Rack Media/Onyx Theatre Group, is producing the Vegas revue, is "are the boys really naked?" The answer, Emerson continues, is "YES they are!" Cast member Nolan Christopher, who moved to Las Vegas from Chicago after performing in the Windy City's version of Naked Boys for two years, believes that, thanks to the wonderfully written script and music, audience members quickly discover that the actors on stage also have faces...and voices. "Ten minutes into the show, the shock wears off," Emerson states, "and the comedy and passion of the piece take over." Under the direction of Jimmy's brother, Hank Emerson, and the choreography of Brad Barnes, who has been associated with the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes and the national touring company of Cats, Naked Boys Singing, which has been running for 10 years in New York, and has played in most major cities around the world, lures in the audience with the guise of seeing attractive men bare it all. The catch is, when no one is looking, Naked Boys Singing slaps you in the face with a mixture of comedy and, as cast member Paul Pratt puts it, "Honesty." Mr. Pratt, whose theatrical credits are nearly as extensive as his talents, explains, "You can't hide anything when you're naked." Luckily, the seven talented cast members, accompanied by pianist Spencer Baker, will be exposing much more than their bodies. In a 90-minute, 16-song presentation, they will also be exposing their gifts of song, dance, acting and comedy, when Naked Boys Singing premiers tonight at 10 p.m. in the Onyx Theatre. Ongoing show times are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 10 p.m., through July 11th. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased either by phone, at the door, or online at www.onyxtheatre.com. For reservations or additional information, call the Onyx at (702) 732-7225.

* * * * * *

Last minute weekend reminders...
We are anxiously looking forward to seeing the debut of Vocal Soup at the Suncoast Hotel & Casino. The new collaboration plays through Sunday, with show times at 8 p.m. Long-time friends and performers, Clint Holmes, Susan Anton, Domenick Allen and Martin Nievera, combine their talents onstage for the first time in this union. The 90-minute showcase of solo performances, duets and group numbers will leave fans wanting more as the stars of Vocal Soup fulfill a shared dream of rekindling the Las Vegas tradition of entertainers coming together in an "anything can happen" atmosphere. The show will feature a variety of musical genres, including rock n' roll, hits from Foreigner, popular songs and standards, Broadway classics and originals, including the title song, "Vocal Soup." In addition, special guest Vincent Falcone, onetime pianist and conductor for Frank Sinatra, will perform and conduct during a segment of the show dedicated to the music of "Ol' Blue Eyes." Each one an accomplished performer, Holmes, Anton, Allen and Nievera bring their individual vocal ranges and standout showmanship skills together for a rare group performance. Holmes, known for his powerful voice, magnetic stage presence and success in theater, enjoyed a six-year run in Clint Holmes at Harrah's, during which readers of the Las Vegas Review-Journal named him Las Vegas' best singer. A charismatic performer with a smooth style, Holmes had a Top 10 smash hit with 1973s "Playground In My Mind (My Name Is Michael)." Clint is currently working on a theater project called JAM. Susan Anton is known as one of the most enduring and versatile performers in show business, having achieved fame on Broadway, the big screen and in numerous television shows, including Night Court and Murder She Wrote. Anton, with her beautiful and free-spirited style, spent more than five years as special guest star with the Great Radio City Music Hall Spectacular and its renowned Rockettes at the Flamingo Hilton on the Strip. Holmes and Anton, whose bond of friendship has spanned two decades, will perform alongside their friends Domenick Allen and Martin Nievera. Rock n' roll legend Allen is a former member of the multi-platinum rock group Foreigner, known best for such hits as "I Want To Know What Love Is," "Double Vision" and "Cold As Ice." A professional actor, singer and musician, Allen also toured the world for four years with the famed pianist Liberace and appeared on the London stage in several productions. He co-starred with Helen Reddy in the musical Blood Brothers on Broadway, and was a regular on the daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives. Recording and television star Martin Nievera, who has 15 gold hits in Asia and is regarded as "The Concert King" and a heartthrob in his native Philippines, had his own show at the Golden Nugget, and has performed in other Las Vegas venues, including as a guest artist with Society of Seven (returning to the Suncoast, July 10th through 12th). Martin has dazzled crowds with his diverse repertoire, including his signature "On the Right Track," Broadway medleys and his swing rendition of Michael Jackson songs. Tickets are now available starting from $29.95, plus tax, and can be purchased by calling (702) 636-7075, (702) 636-7111, or visiting
www.suncoastcasino.com. Note that the new show time is not at 7:30, as has been the case, but at 8 p.m. Take the extra half-hour to eat slower...and have dessert.

In the same neighborhood this weekend, Paul Campanella, co-star of Tony n Tina's Wedding at Planet Hollywood Casino & Resort, steps into another role tomorrow night (June 20th)...that of himself! At 7 p.m., on the stage of the Starbright Theatre, at 2215 Thomas Ryan Blvd. in Sun City Summerlin, Campanella, in conjunction with the Sun City Summerlin Community Association Inc., presents Good Times! Good Times! is a music/comedy variety show, built on the classic sounds of Motown, Memphis, Delta Blues, and good old fashioned Soul. The audience can't help but feel good after Paul's dynamic performance! Add a live band, sprinkle in some quick-hit comedy, special giveaways and audience participation, and you have a winning formula for a great time. Tickets are $10 for Sun City Summerlin residents, and $15 for non-residents (including LET), and may be purchased at Desert Vista, Mountain Shadows and Pinnacle, or at the Starbright. Call (702) 240-1301.


Patti LuPone

Kristofer McNeeley

Karon Kate Blackwell & Marty Allen

Then there is Broadway diva, Patti LuPone, performing at The Orleans, at 8 p.m., tomorrow and Sunday. A two-time Tony-winner (for Evita in 1979, and Gypsy in 2008), LuPone performed her Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda (songs she should have sung) program at the Suncoast two years ago. For that engagement, in a smaller, more intimate room, Patti was accompanied by just piano. This time around, in the larger Orleans theater, she will be backed up by 10 musicians. In addition to Evita and Gypsy, some of LuPone's other credits include Sunset Boulevard, Anything Goes, Oliver!, Working, Master Class and Pal Joey. LuPone also headlined two solo Broadway concerts, Patti LuPone On Broadway and Matters of the Heart, and received excellent reviews for her role as "Mrs. Lovett" in the Lincoln Center concert version of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd. She also earned a Tony nomination for her performance as "Mrs. Lovett" in the recent revival of that Sondheim musical. Tickets range from $33 to $60.50, all inclusive. For reservations, call (702) 365-7075. And let us remind you...Don't you dare take a photo, especially with a flash, while Ms. LuPone is performing, or you, too, might wind up on youtube!

You want more? We got more. At the Liberace Museum, it's the second edition of VS. (versus), as in Hello VS. Goodbye, Love VS. Hate, John VS. Paul...well, you get it. On this Sunday, at 10 p.m. (after theater), it will be B Sides VS. Hits (as in records). Like with the monthly Composers Showcase, the performers for VS. are all pros. For this Sunday's show, for example, the cast will include Travis Cloer from Jersey Boys; Pilita Danesh from Sin City Heat; Leslie Goddard, also from Jersey Boys (but shes a girl); Kristen Hertzenberg from Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular; and Mosaic, the six-member, a cappella "boy band" that was the winner of MTV's Top Pop Group. There will also be special appearances by Erich Bergen and Kristofer McNeeley, both from Jersey Boys. The incredible House Band is under the direction of Joey Melotti (Ultimate Manilow), and features Tom Barney, Sonny Emory, and Mike Miller, from Bette Midler's The Showgirl Must Go On). Hosting the evening are Ali Spuck and Keely Vasquez. Ali is a Los Angeles Ovation Award-nominated professional actress and singer. She recently finished the pre-Broadway run of Vanities at the Pasadena Playhouse. Ali's professional credits include Broadway and international workshops of Zorro (London's West End), DreamWorks' Gladiator, and Disney's Snow Queen; the national tours of Jekyll & Hyde, Grease, and Buddy: the Buddy Holly Story; and a variety of new works and regional performances. She created the role of Jenny in Internet Dating: the Musical, written by 30 Rock's Ron Weiner. She has worked with Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Alexander, Dick Van Dyke, Kristen Bell, Zachary Quinto, Michael York, Alan Menken, Steven Weber, Christopher Renshaw, Steven Blanchard, Lauren Kennedy and Judith Ivey, and has appeared at the Hollywood Bowl, Ford Amphitheatre, and 42nd Street Studios in New York City. Keely is a Chicago-based actress/singer dancer, currently enjoying a long run in Vegas singing for Barry Manilow in Ultimate Manilow:The Hits. Nominated for a Joseph Jefferson award for her first show in Chicago, Vices, she has had a varied and successful stage, TV commercial and voice-over career. For the last few years, Keely has performed with Manilow in more than 50 US and overseas cities, and appeared on TV shows such as Good Morning America, the Today Show, Ellen, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Entertainment Tonight, EXTRA, Dancing With The Stars, the Emmy Awards and American Music Awards, as well as several shows on the BBC. She has been featured in four of Manilow's DVD's, including the Emmy Award winning Music and Passion. Tickets for VS. are $20 in advance, and $25 at the door. To purchase, call (702) 798-5595 ext. 13, or go to [email protected]. For the two people who don't already know this, the Liberace Museum is located at 1775 Tropicana Ave. (at Spencer) in Las Vegas.

And if the public didn't already have enough entertainment choices to make for this weekend, let's not forget Golden Rainbow's 23rd annual Ribbon of Life production show. This year's event takes place on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. (which means you can probably do this one, AND a nighttime outing) in the theater at the Las Vegas Hilton. Starring in this weekend's show are comic George Wallace (Flamingo), Mosaic (The Mirage), Vegas newcomers Human Nature (Imperial Palace), plus 250 performers from producers and shows, including ChapQuist Entertainment, Jersey Boys, Jubilee!, Ka, La Femme, Love, O, Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, Rich & Famous, Searcy Entertainment, Sin City Bad Girls, Voci Vegas and Zumanity. Tickets start at $50 and may be purchased by calling (702) 384-2899. Golden Rainbow is a uniquely caring and responsive non-profit organization that exists to ensure that the fundamental needs of Southern Nevada men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS are met.

So many choices. So little time.

* * * * * *

Last weekend, comic Marty Allen and his bride, Karon Kate Blackwell, performed two completely sold out shows at Michael Gaughan's South Point. These two are a throwback to Vegas days of yore (and that's a good thing), presenting good old-fashioned entertainment. With Marty and Karon, ticket buyers (and there were plenty) get big doses of both music and comedy. The duo, backed by Dave Kowalski on keyboards, John Plows on drums, Tim Fahey on bass, and David Dubuc on guitar and conducting, seemed to have almost as much fun as the audience who showed up to see them. Karon, who is a skilled piano player (look out, Jerry Lee Lewis) and an excellent singer, proves to be a worthy foil/straight woman for her veteran entertainer husband. At 87 (yes, Mr. Allen is 87), the wild-haired comic has hardly slowed down, even including a little dancing in his portion of the "Marty & Karon Show." Did you know that, many years ago, Marty sold dance lessons...door-to-door? That's true! After his stint in the Air Force (where he earned a Medal of Valor), to supplement his GI Bill income, he hit on a novel idea. Marty became the first door-to-door dance salesman. For $10 a half-hour, he would arrive at women's door with a record player and records and they would dance. He finally gave it up, "because he was visiting 15 clients a day and it was costing him a fortune in new shoes and foot powder." A tip of the hat to assistant showroom manager, Robyn Tuck, who, in spite of an overflow crowd, did an outstanding job of keeping the room running smoothly and the customers happy (there is a definite art to that). Unfortunately, there are too many people working in the "hospitality" industry, that have no clue wat the word means. Ms. Tuck knows. We were delighted to see Norman Kaye (of the Mary Kaye Trio fame) and his wife, Barbara Meriwether Kaye, in Marty and Karon's Saturday night audience. It was just a little more than a year ago, as Norman was fighting to recover from a serious illness, that a benefit was held at The Orleans to raise money to allow him to remain in a rehabilitation facility for a couple of more months. In April of last year, for just a few hours, Norman was allowed to leave the medical facility where he was being cared for. He was in a wheelchair at the time. Last Saturday night, the pioneer lounge performer was on his feet and walking - assisted by Barbara, but walking - in the South Point casino. It's wonderful to actually be able to see the results of the hard work and long hours that goes into a community fundraiser like the one held for Norman Kaye. Following Saturday nights' show, a surprise party, in celebration of Mr. and Mrs. Allen's 25th wedding anniversary (they were married on June 17th, 1984), was held in a lovely suite at the South Point. About 60 friends gathered to congratulate the couple and enjoy a little food and libation, along with a beautiful personalized sheet cake (it was from Freed's Bakery, so you know it was good).

Beginning on July 30th, Marty Allen and Karon Kate Blackwell will do a short Catch a Rising Star run, performing at the club in Allamuchy, New Jersey; followed by Princeton, NJ on the 31st; Monticello, New York, on August 1st; and back to New Jersey and Monroe Township on the 2nd. Traveling with the busy couple will be their producer/ director, Howard Jochsberger. The Las Vegans won't even have time to return to home before setting sail from New York on one of their many cruise ship bookings. Mr. and Mrs. Allen are favorites with the cruise companies, as they work clean and have an act that always entertains, and never offends.

And speaking of the South Point, on July 4th, it will be Red, White and BBQ, featuring Bill Fayne's Voci Vegas in the hotel's Grand Ballroom. For $33 per person (all inclusive), guests will have a lunch buffet, offering salads, grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, and an "as American as apple pie" dessert. A cash bar will be provided. Doors open at noon and Voci Vegas starts at 1:30. For reservations, call (702) 797-8055, or (866) 796-7111.


Voci Vegas by Ed Foster

Veteran Nelson Sardelli

* * * * * *

And also this weekend...Nelson Sardelli is once again showing his humanitarian side (would that be "softer side"?). As he has for four previous Father's Days, Sardelli, who happens to be a veteran himself, is organizing a team of volunteers, entertainers and schleppers (of which he is one), to head out to the Nevada Veterans Home in Boulder City on Sunday (Father's Day, June 21st) to bring a little joy to those who have done so much for their (and our) country. Sardelli says, "For the last four years, we have been going to the Veterans Home and spending four hours entertaining the heroes who reside there." Nelson goes on to say, "It is the least we can do for those who have given so much. For those of you who have taken part in this before, I don't need to tell you what it means to the residents there." This year, the entertainers will be performing indoors - with air conditioning, a stage, and a new public address system...in a setup befitting the pros that they are. The Gary Olds Trio, with Gary Olds on drums, Vincent Falcone (yes, THE Vincent Falcone) on piano, and Bob Sachs on bass, will be providing the backup music. Musicians Tommy Deering and Dr. George Ritter will also be contributing. The entertainment starts at 10 a.m. and will go until 2 p.m. As has been the case for the past four years, many generous souls have volunteered their time and talent, and giving up their Father's Day at home, to participate in this worthwhile annual event. In addition to the above mentioned musicians, among those making the trip to Boulder City are (in alphabetical and politically correct order), Linda "Marilyn Monroe" Angeline, Gary Anthony, Peter Anthony, Michaelina Bellamy, Paul Campanella, George Dare, Teddy Davey, Joe DeCaprio, Robert S. Ensler, Genevieve, Don Gloude', Roy "Willie Nelson" Hammock, Don Hill, Richel Kompst, Robby LeBlanc, Larry Liso, Jerry Lopez, Nik Mastrangelo, Linda November, Babe Pier, Cork Proctor, Charly Raymond, Ronnie Rose, Sonny Rose, Felix Silla, Frank Sinestero, Allen Tramont, and Nathan Brian Wine. The volunteer crew is made up of Andrea Gross, Don Sacco, Pietra Sardelli, and Lou Toomin, with, as we mentioned above, Sardelli serving as stage hand/schlepper.

* * * * * *

We often lay awake at night, wondering where will the next tier of Las Vegas headliners come from, and who will they be? We have pointed out before, that almost all of the BIG names that play this city, whether as recurring regulars, or once a year visitors, are all on the AARP mailing list. The above mentioned Marty Allen (87), along with Paul Anka (who will be 68 in July), Frankie Avalon (69), Glen Campbell (73), Charo (a longstanding mystery, but we are quite sure that she is in her 60s), Cher (63), James Darren (73), Neil Diamond (67), Engelbert Humperdinck (73), Julio Iglesias (65), Al Jarreau (69), Elton John (62), Tom Jones (who celebrated number 69 on June 7th), Gladys Knight (65), Barry Manilow (who turned 66 on Wednesday), Johnny Mathis (73), Marilyn McCoo (65) and Billy Davis Jr. (69 on June 26th), Bill Medley (68), Bette Midler (63), Liza Minnelli (63), Wayne Newton (67), Tony Orlando (65), Debbie Reynolds (77), Smokey Robinson (69), Don Rickles (83), Carlos Santana (turns 62 next month), Neil Sedaka (70), Tom (72) and Dick (69) Smothers, Barbra Streisand (67), Paul Williams (68), and the Supreme Mary Wilson (65), are all eligible, or nearly so, to collect their social security retirement benefits, although they continue to work. After his recent successful engagement at the Suncoast, if Shecky Greene decides to return to a Las Vegas stage as a regular, or semi-regular, performer, we can add the 83-year-old comic to this list. And, because he will turn 60 tomorrow, we will also include Lionel Richie. We are sure that we have omitted someone (or a few someone's), but you see the pattern/problem here.

And speaking of Neil Diamond, three of Diamond's biggest fans, Jean Scigliano, Iris Gerhardt, and Eydie Ruth, administrators of www.iaisnd.com (with "iaisnd" standing for I Am I Said Neil Diamond), tell Cousin Claire that Neil will be performing with the Boston Pops for the city's Fourth of July celebration. Neil's Sweet Caroline is an anthem of sorts for Red Sox fans. The singer/songwriter will join conductor Keith Lockhart and the Pops for the traditional concert and fireworks spectacular on the Charles River Esplanade. That's not far from Fenway Park, where fans sing along with Sweet Caroline during every game, and where Diamond played a concert last summer. Sponsors say about a half-million people attend the free show each year. The final hour, from 10 to 11 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, will be televised nationally by CBS.


Neil Diamond

Aretha Franklin in THAT hat

Shoshana Bean

And speaking of Barry Manilow, the Hilton headliner is one of the featured entertainers announced for PBS-TV's A Capitol Fourth, to run Saturday, July 4 at 8 p.m. (check local listings). The event, which will be broadcast live from the West Lawn of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C., and which concludes with a spectacular fireworks display, will be hosted by actor Jimmy Smits. In addition to Manilow, the show will feature cast members from companies of the award-winning musical Jersey Boys, as well as Michael Feinstein, Aretha Franklin, Natasha Bedingfield, Andrew von Oeyen, the Muppets, and the National Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Erich Kunzel. The BIG question here is, "Will Aretha wear that infamous hat?" Ms. Franklin is performing at Primm tonight. For reservations and/or additional information, call (702) 386-7867. And the question, once again, is "Will Aretha wear that infamous hat?"

* * * * * *

Beginning on Monday, June 22nd, there will be two big changes in Jerry Mitchell's PEEPSHOW at Planet Hollywood. Broadway veteran, Shoshana Bean, will replace former Spice Girl Mel B (Melanie Brown) as the Mistress of Ceremonies, and former Girl Next Door (and Playboy Hugh Hefner's girlfriend) Holly Madison will step in for Kelly Monaco who played Bo Peep in PEEPSHOW. On Broadway, Shoshana took over Indina Menzel's role of Wicked's green-skinned witch "Elphaba." Menzel, who originated that role, won a Tony for it. Initially cast as Menzel's standby, Bean played Elphaba for a year on Broadway and reprised the role during a national tour. Before that, she originated the role of "Shelley" in another Tony-winning Broadway hit, Hairspray. In addition to her stage success, Bean has worked as a back-up singer for Ray Charles, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Britney Spears. The title track from Bean's album, Superhero, was used by NBC to promote part of the network's prime-time lineup.

* * * * * *

In addition to some of the regular multi-talented Composers Showcase contributors, last week's edition featured performances by a couple of Vegas newcomers, Monique I. Midgette and Alton Fitzgerald White, cast members from Las Vegas' newest big production show, The Lion King. These two blew the roof off the Liberace Museum with their individual performances. Monique and Alton bring an impressive list of Broadway credits to our community. Monique was nominated for a 2008 Helen Hayes award for her role as "Kiswana Browne," in the musical adaptation of the great novel by Gloria Naylor, The Women of Brewster Place. She has also had roles, on and off-Broadway in Seussical the Musical, Marie Christine, The Who's Tommy, Ain't Misbehavin', House of Flowers, The Civil War and Dreamgirls. Alton comes to the Las Vegas company directly from a three-year engagement as "Mufasa" in The Lion King on Broadway. Other Big Apple credits include "Coalhouse Walker Jr." in Ragtime: The Musical, "Ken" in Smokey Joe's Cafe (Broadway and original London company), "John" in Miss Saigon (original company member) and "The Hawker" in The Who's Tommy. Favorite regional roles include Scott Joplin in Tin Pan Alley Rag, Jackie Robinson in The First, "Athos" in The Three Musketeers, and "Curtis Taylor, Jr." in Dreamgirls. Alton has also performed in many concert dates around the world. Welcome to Las Vegas!


Monique L. Midgette

Frank Marino

Felice Garcia as Carrie Underwood

* * * * * *

We were among the approximately 50 people who showed up at the first of a series of Classic Dinner Shows, to be held at La Scala Ristorante. The folks came out to enjoy a meal at the East Desert Inn Italian eatery, and to listen to the combined musical talents of the TDs. No, that's not the name of a new boy band, although, with these two entertainers, it could be. To launch the new series, producer Jeanne Bavaro brought together singer Teddy Davey (he of Las Vegas Tenors fame) and pianist/songwriter Tommy Deering (thus the TDs). Arriving guests were greeted by two lovely showgirls (one who happened to be Angela Acosta, the daughter of Bavaro and Bill Acosta), and offered a glass of complimentary wine or champagne, while La Scala's owner/chef, Roberto Perotti, was busy preparing a meal of chopped salad, Ossobuco ala Milanese, Saffron Risotto, Eggplant Parmigiana, and Trottole Pasta Pescatora. Cannolis were served before the musical performance began. The talented Mr. Davey (not only can he sing, but he is funny too) and Mr. Deering did a set that included standards, opera, Broadway tunes and even some Italian numbers (after all, the series is called To Italy with Love), including Al Di La, Volare', Matinatta, Sway, Mona Lisa/Speak Softly Love, Route 66 (with the unexpected, but crowd-pleasing "Route 66 Dancers"), Caruso, Unchained Melody (Italian), and Another Vintage Year and A Votre Sante (To Your Health in French), two original songs from Deering's Paso Robles song cycle. Frank Sinatra was remembered with Almost Like Being In Love, You Make Me Feel So Young, Young at Heart, I've Got You Under my Skin, Swingin' on a Star and Forget Domani. Teddy and Tommy will perform again at La Scala on Sunday, June 28th...same time, same ticket prices ($50 per person, all inclusive), different music, and a different meal. Next month, on the 12th and 19th (both Sundays), it will be Denise Clemente in the spotlight at La Scala. The series will continue through August 9th, 23rd and 30th), with performers to be announced. Call (702) 367-9805 for more information and reservations. Seating for this series is expected to be extremely limited.

* * * * * *

An Evening at La Cage has been gone from the Riviera since February, but that doesn't mean that the show's star, Frank Marino, is lounging by his pool, sipping a mint julep, and being fanned by a handsome cabana boy (although he might be doing that too). The female impersonator is not letting any grass grow under his Manolo Blahniks. No indeed. As he waits to make an announcement regarding a new home on the Strip, Frank has managed to stay busy. He recently wound up a six-week guest-starring role in Tony n' Tina's Wedding at Planet Hollywood, and last weekend, he and six additional impersonators - Steven Wayne as Cher, Crystal Woods as Diana Ross, Sammy Gonzales as both Liza Minnelli and Debbie Reynolds, Christopher Ray as Reba McEntire, Coco Vega as Tina Turner and Shirley Bassey, and Gary Seitz as Big Madonna and Mae West - calling their revue Diva Las Vegas, did three sell-out shows in the 300-seat Freedom Hall at Independence Center in Anthem. Also last Saturday, in conjunction with Gay Pride Month, the group did a free performance of Diva Las Vegas at the West Charleston Library. In November, Diva Las Vegas will do their thing at the Starbright Theatre in Sun City Summerlin. We will have more details on that, and a few other things, in upcoming columns. On a more personal level, when it comes to female impersonators, the public is often curious about the performers sexuality, as in "Is he, or isnt he?" In the case of Frank Marino, with out-there Adam Lambert honesty, he states that "he himself is not gay, but he thinks his boyfriend might be."

* * * * * *

Java Detour introduces two new ways to cool off during the desert heat, with some unique beverage additions - the Oreo Mint Latte and the Lemon Drop Smoothie. The Oreo Mint Latte offers an unusual twist on one of Java Detour's classic favorites, the Oreo Latte. Java Detour's Oreo Mint Latte is blended with peppermint for a refreshing taste, similar to that of the classic Girl Scout cookie. Prices start at $4.74 (small) and $6.79 (extra large). The icy Lemon Drop Smoothie is the ideal combination of tart and sweet, blended to perfection with homemade lemonade and ice (small, $3.40; extra large, $5.06). Both drinks are available on Java Detour's menu from now through Labor Day. Java Detour offers 100 percent organic premium coffees and teas, and all packaging is made from recycled materials. In addition to serving organic coffee, Java Detour has a wide variety of delicious syrups, and can create custom specialty drinks. They also offer a variety of fresh blended smoothies, fruit juices, breakfast sandwiches and pastries, along with a wide selection of kid-friendly beverages. All of Java Detour's custom drinks are served up in a trendy, lounge-feel atmosphere, with all the comforts of home. Both locations boast modern furniture, free Wi-Fi, high-definition televisions, and will soon feature live entertainment. Java Detour, a San Francisco-based upscale boutique brand, has 21 stores throughout California, Nevada, Minnesota, Wisconsin and China. The Java Detour, located at 6087 S. Pecos Rd. is open Monday through Saturday from 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Java Detour, located at 100 City Parkway, Suite 130 in the Molasky Corporate Center complex, is open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information visit www.javadetourlv.com or www.javadetour.com.

* * * * * *

In spite of what you may have heard, Buddy Greco's Dinner Club in Cathedral City, adjacent to Palm Springs, is still up and running. Now in its third year of operation, the restaurant/lounge most often features Greco and wife, Lezlie Anders Greco, as the entertainment. Currently, the Grecos are on a working tour of the United Kingdom. As with many businesses in the desert community, and while Buddy and Lezlie traveling, the club will be closed until August.

* * * * * *

Nevada Public Radio listeners and members have a unique opportunity to support public radio while experiencing Jersey Boys and an exclusive Q&A session with the cast and crew following the performance at The Palazzo on Friday, June 26th, at 7 p.m. Five hundred tickets for the June 26th performance - all located in the front orchestra section - will benefit and must be purchased through Nevada Public Radio. Only Nevada Public Radio ticket holders will have access to the rare post-show meeting with the talented performers who take audiences up the charts and behind the timeless sounds of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons. This musical biography that traces one of the greatest successes in pop music history is the same production that fans around the world have come to know and love. It features electrifying performances of such classics as "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" and "My Eyes Adored You." Jersey Boys was voted "Best Show" in Las Vegas by the staff of the Las Vegas Review-Journal in the newspaper's 28th annual "Best of Las Vegas" poll. Special ticket pricing of $100 is available for current Nevada Public Radio members. Listeners of News 88.9 KNPR and Classical 89.7 can purchase tickets for $125 each, which includes Nevada Public Radio membership. All proceeds benefit Nevada Public Radio. To purchase tickets, visit www.knpr.org, www.classical897.org or call (702) 258-9895 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.

* * * * * *

It was bound to happen. The American Superstars show at the Stratosphere has introduced a Carrie Underwood tribute, with Felice Garcia filling the role. "Carrie Underwood is one of the most popular artists out there," said Mark Callas, who produces American Superstars with his Springtime Productions partner, Donny Moore. "This is a great addition to the American Superstars lineup. Felice Garcia has amazing talent - combine her Carrie Underwood with Elvis, Tim McGraw, Michael Jackson and our new Britney Spears, and you have a tribute artist group that puts on a show everyone will enjoy and one that simply can't be missed," he added. Garcia will perform a three-song set of Underwood hits including: "All American Girl," "I Told You So," and "Last Name." Garcia's set was conceived and designed by veteran American Superstars producer and Las Vegas Walk of Stars 2008 inductee Donny Moore. Garcia is a singer, dancer and actress, and comes to American Superstars from Les Folies Bergère. She is pursuing a bachelor of art in music and vocal performance at UNLV, and attended the I Can Do Anything Performing Arts Conservatory. American Superstars is a full-scale production show that combines the talents of tribute artists portraying the likeness and musical abilities of today and yesterday's hottest stars. The high energy Superstars Dance Band and the beautiful Superstars Dancers back the multi-talented cast. Show times are Sunday through Tuesday at 7 p.m., and Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. in the Stratosphere's Theater of the Stars Showroom. The show is dark on Thursday. Summer Special: Tickets are $39.99 for adults and $29.99 for children ages 5 to 12. Buffet and Observation Deck Package is just $5 more. VIP Seating is available for an additional $10 per ticket. For tickets or more information, call (702) 380-7711 or (800) 99-TOWER.

* * * * * *


Jimmy Hopper

Jean Francois Detaille

Denny Dent

For those who have been enquiring about the whereabouts of Jimmy Hopper, lately, the unique entertainer has been spending most of his time in Southern California - more specifically, the Newport Beach area. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 7 to 10 p.m., Hopper performs at the Ritz Restaurant & Garden on Fashion Island, and on Fridays and Saturdays, from 8:45 to midnight, he entertains in the Palm Terrace at The Island Hotel in Newport Beach. If you are in the area... Word is that Trader Vic's, where Jimmy last performed in Las Vegas, is closing its Planet Hollywood/Miracle Mile Mall location.

* * * * * *

The Happening will be performing at Marilyn's Lounge inside the Eastside Cannery Casino & Hotel tonight and tomorrow. The group burst onto the music scene in the summer of 1966 with the release of their first single, "See You In September." The song quickly spiraled up to the top of the national and international music charts, and was recently categorized as one of the top 100 summer songs of all time by Entertainment Magazine. Riding on the momentum of their success, The Happening released their next smash hit "Go Away Little Girl," from their album Bye, Bye, So Long, Farewell. Many great releases soon followed including the classic hits, "I Got Rhythm," and "My Mammy." Today, the extraordinary vocal talent and unparalleled showmanship of The Happening continues in their performances throughout concert venues and arenas across the country. Doors open at 7 p.m. and tickets, at a reasonable $10, are available for purchase at the front desk, prior to the show.

* * * * * *

On Friday nights, from 7 to 10 p.m., The Village at Lake Las Vegas is offering a series of free classic rock concert tribute bands throughout this month. Tonight, enjoy the relaxing lakeside ambiance and music from the Billy Joel songbook, with Billy Joel Tributet; and next Friday, the 26th, Have A Nice Day, a Las Vegas-based Bon Jovi tribute band, featuring our friend Larry Atello (Larry is also a cast member of Tony n' Tina's Wedding, currently doing great business at Planet Hollywood), will be featured. This takes place on The Village lakeside lawn, at 15 Costa di Lago. And in the Jazz on the Lake concert series, tomorrow night, also from 7 to 10 p.m., The Village at Lake Las Vegas welcomes jazz pianist Woody Woods to the stage. On June 27th, it's the band, Blu7, and the monthly Vino di Lago wine tasting. Except for the wine tasting event, the concerts are free and open to the public. The wine tasting event is the perfect evening for wine enthusiasts to experience wines from vineyards across the country while supporting MDA of Southern Nevada. Tickets for Vino di Lago are available at the event for $25 per person, and can also be purchased at https://secure.mdausa.org/mdavinodilago. No coolers please. Overnight stays are available at MonteLago Village Resort. For lodging reservations, please call (888) 600-2688 or visit www.montelagovillage.com.

* * * * * *

Tomorrow night, beginning at 8, paint flies to music at the Philharmonic "Pops" at Henderson Pavilion.
Extreme Artist Jean Francois Detaille literally throws himself into his work, using not only brushes, but brooms and his body to create amazing paintings at warp speed. He's been known to paint while hanging upside down on a burning rope! He has also painted the Mona Lisa while blindfolded. His unique comedy routines are as quick as his paint brush. Tomorrow evening, members of the Las Vegas Philharmonic will inspire Detaille's efforts in "LV Philharmonic Goes to the Extreme...with Artist Jean Francois," a family friendly blending of the arts. The orchestra will have its work cut out for it, keeping pace with the whirlwind artist. While the orchestra plays rousing American music, Jean Francois will dazzle with his amazing ability to paint a picture upside down...then reveal it as the Statue of Liberty when turned right-side up. Paintings with international themes take the audience on a parallel worldwide musical journey. For the grand finale, Jean Francois and the orchestra will pair a giant mural of pop music legends with music. By the end of the evening, Jean Francois frequently has as much paint on himself as on his canvases. Las Vegas is half a world away from Jean Francois' birthplace, Namur, Belgium. A chance meeting with flamboyant artist Salvador Dali in Spain convinced the fledgling artist that a sequestered studio life was not for him. He enrolled in the Academy des Beaux Art in Belgium, best known for such painters as Jan van Eyck, Brueghel, Peter Paul Rubens, Rene Magritte, James Ensor, Pierre Alechinsky and others, and then continued his studies at the Academy des Beaux Arts in Paris. This school, which inspired famous impressionists Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Jean-Francois Millet, Paul Gauguin, and Henri Matisse, cubist Pablo Picasso, and surrealist Dali, also produced performance artist Yves Klein. The stage was set. Jean Francois' unique vision of the arts scene catapulted him into a career as a mile-a-minute artist filling large canvasses with vibrant colors in record time. His first gig in Vegas was in Madhattan at New York-New York in 1997. That served as a springboard for appearances as an "event painter" throughout the world, including Hong Kong, Milan, Paris, Tokyo, London, and Monaco. He has taken center stage at global events such as the Olympics, the World Soccer Tournament, political conventions, and world summit meetings, and also performed for the King of Belgium, the Sultan of Brunei, Prince Charles, the Sheik of Kuwait, and the Grimaldis, from the Royal House of Monaco. He's also starred on TV, including The Today Show and Larry King Live. Jean Francois also painted Nelson Mandela in South Africa for his 90th Birthday, Pope John Paul in 1978 for his first inaugural tour to Europe, and did the grand opening of the 2008 Ryder cup. In 2000, he was named the Spotlight Awards Entertainer of the Year for the special/corporate event market. Tickets for "LV Philharmonic Goes to the Extreme...with Artist Jean Francois" are available by phone at (702) 267-4849 and on the Pavilion website:
www.hendersonlive.com. Reserved seats are $50, Section A; $30, Section B; $25, Section C. Children 4-12, $10; Children 3 and under, free. Lawn seating is also $25 but will be available only after all reserved seats are sold. The Henderson Pavilion is located at 200 South Green Valley Parkway, Henderson. Please note: There are no refunds or exchanges on all ticket purchases. All performances will continue as scheduled, rain or shine. For additional information on our programs and entertainment, please contact us directly at (702) 267-2171. A few specific rules apply at this venue: One unopened bottle of water per person, blankets and animals assisting disabled are allowed. Items prohibited from being brought to the Pavilion include: coolers, bottles, cans, weapons, laser pointers, chairs, bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades, scooters, illegal drugs, outside food and beverage, pets, recording devices, cameras, umbrellas and any items deemed inappropriate by the management. Smoking is only permitted in designated area. Shoes and shirts are required. All bags are subject to search at anytime. Management reserves all rights.

Performance artist, Denny Dent, was another entertainer known for his artistic abilities to paint celebrities and historical figures in a short period of time. He termed this his 'Two-Fisted Art Attack.' A native of Oakland, California, Dent could paint on a six-foot canvas with three paint brushes in each hand, sometimes working upside down. He could even paint with his feet but rarely did this. Dent performed to audiences from 25,000 to 300,000 people, including at Woodstock 94. He was also featured as an opening act for Steppenwolf and the B-52s when they were on tour. In the late 80s, Denny was one of the specialty acts in Steve Notario and Chris Andreoli's Star Shop at the Sands. Star Shop was quite creative in the rotating acts that they booked. In addition to the very clever Denny Dent, jugglers Michael Holly, Daniel Rosen, Rejean St. Jules, and Michael Marlin were in at different times, singer Catte Adams of Star Search fame had a shot, as did comic ventriloquist JTO & Bobby Duck, magician Ed Alonzo, the dancing Footlockers and Jahna Steele. Among the many famous people that Denny painted were Gerald Ford, Rudolph Giuliani, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Pope John Paul II, Bill Clinton, and Jimi Hendrix. In his later years, Dent's paintings sold for about $60,000 each. Denny Dent passed away on March 29, 2004, in Aurora, Colorado. He was only 55 when he died of multiple organ failure.

As for Michael Holly, look for the funny man (late of the Tropicana's Les Folies Bergere) in Paul Stone's Variety Live!, at the Suncoast next weekend.

* * * * * *

Tonight and tomorrow night, and again next Friday and Saturday (June 26th and 27th), it's Eric Comstock and his wife, Barbara Fasano, back at Palm Beach, Florida's, Royal Room Supper Club at The Colony. About their Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams show, which they are performing for this engagement, critics have written things like, "Their joint venture is a capital idea. Fasano is a gorgeous, soulful singer who has an actor's intensity in whatever she sings. When they (Comstock and Fasano) sing together, the evening is transformed from collaboration to alchemy." - Frank Scheck, New York Post. Stephen Holden, of the New York Times writes, "A smart and amusing show. Comstock (is) an aesthetic heir of Bobby Short and droll walking reference book of traditional American pop-jazz. Mr. Comstock and Ms. Fasano are turning the neighborhood into a hotbed of pleasure." Doors open at 6:45 for dinner, with shows at 8 p.m. The cost for dinner and show is $85 per person, and $50 for the show only. The Colony Palm Beach is located at 155 Hammon Ave. For reservations, call (561) 659-8100.
Comstock and Fasano photo by James Smith


Eric Comstock & Barbara Fasano

Michele LaFong & Paco

* * * * * *

Musician Michael Shane and Hollywood producer, Jon Fondy, are of the thinking that pride in our community is a natural extension of pride in ourselves. With this in mind, they say, "We in Las Vegas have a great opportunity to invest in our future by investing in our children. As our community grows, our challenges grow with us and this includes a widening population of children in facilities such as Child Haven - places designed to give a home to kids with no home. As the Entertainment Capital of the World, we can help these kids by using one of our best resources...the entertainers that have come to call Las Vegas THEIR home." As a result, they have put together a non-profit (yes, they have their 501 c3 permit) fundraising organization. On Sunday, the Las Vegas Tenors - Bill Fayne, Bobby Black, and Teddy Davey - will headline a charity variety show to be held at Santa Fe Station, 4949 N. Rancho. Also performing at this event are comics Mick Lazinski and Michele LaFong (and, more than likely, Paco, Michele's macho stud puppet boyfriend). Music will be provided by Shane's Metropolitan Club Orchestra. Cox Communication's president, Steve Schorr, is executive producer. Admission is free, but donations to are happily and most gratefully accepted. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. Get there early, as it is general seating and those seats should go fast. We will have more about Stars Among the Angels in upcoming columns.

* * * * * *

Winchester Cultural Center, at 3130 S. McLeod (just north of Desert Inn), has a Backyard Farmers' Market and Antique Fair taking place at the center, tomorrow, from 8 a.m. to noon. Visitors can purchase farm fresh eggs, fruit, veggies, Indian Fry Bread and corn, raw honey, and Pete's wheatgrass, among other things. There will be entertainment provided by the Guitar Society, Native American Dancers, and the Winchester Choir. Antiques and collectibles will be available to buy, and appraisals will be available for the low price of $1 per item. There will even be free Starbucks coffee. Admission is free and the public is invited. For additional information, call (702) 455-7340.

* * * * * *

We apologize for not giving photo credit to Brad Zucroff for the picture of Teddy Davey, and to Don Cadette for the picture of Sharon McNight as Sophie Tucker, both used in last Friday's column. We need a vacation...or, at the very least, a nap.

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