Claire Voyant's Las Vegas Gossip Column



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

Claire Voyant  

Note: This is a past column from November 20, 2009
You can find the current column HERE


Las Vegas - November 20, 2009


Philip Fortenberry

Alton Fitzgerald White

The Apple Sisters

Reminder...
On Sunday, at 2 p.m., concert pianist Philip Fortenberry, Jersey Boys Associate Conductor and star of Liberace and Me at the Liberace Museum Cabaret, performs Broadway, My Way, a solo piano concert to commemorate the decades he dedicated to performing for Broadway musicals, national tours, and concerts. The concert is presented by the Performing Arts Society of Nevada Brown Bag Concerts at the Clark County Library Theater, 1401 E. Flamingo Road. Fortenberry, a virtuoso pianist and Broadway import who now makes his home in Las Vegas, will perform popular and classic Broadway show tunes, some that he learned directly from the composers, arrangers, directors, and stars of Broadway shows. In this concert, Philip will weave the music of the Great White Way around the stories of his experiences on Broadway and include his own personal take on music from such modern classic hits as "CATS," "Evita" and "Jesus Christ Superstar," plus lesser known cult favorites like "Ragtime," "Sideshow" and "Seussical, the Musical." He'll also feature songs from the canon of great Broadway classics "Camelot," "South Pacific," and "Carousel." Fortenberry will also debut his newest CD, Broadway, My Way, at the concert. Tickets for the concert are $15 and can be purchased by phone, (702) 658-6741 or e-mail ticket requests to [email protected] For more information about Philip Fortenberry's career, and other available CDs, visit his Web site at
www.philipfortenberry.com.

* * * * * * *

November's Composers Showcase, held on the 12th) proved, once again, to be fun (with humorous songs) and touching (with poignant offerings). Among the highlights (there are always so many) were Angelica Roque, accompanied by Tish Diaz, singing her father Danny Roque's "I Love You, For Leaving Me;" Vita Corimbi playing and singing "A Thanksgiving Full of Love;" Lisa and Melody Wilson, accompanied by composer Christopher Lash, doing his "Somewhere In the Dream;" Kristopher McNeeley sang one of Richard Oberacker's songs from Ace; and Niles Rivers sang his "Angels All Around You." Four of Keith Thompson's (Jersey Boys' Musical Director) originals were performed, with the songwriter himself doing "Hook, Line & Sinker;" "Shine, Shine, Shine," with Vicki Van Tassel (formerly "Tanya" in Mamma Mia!) performing as "Crystal Powers;" Nicole Pryor (Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular) sang "Brand New Day," which was an introduction leading into Keith's "What If" from Kooky Tunes, sung by Drew Gehling (Jersey Boys) , with Leslie Goddard, Lauren Tartaglia, and John Ambrosino singing back-ups; and Alton Fitzgerald White (The Lion King) ended the evening with "Your Love Lives On." We may have missed some names and song titles, but it's awfully hard to be taking notes while listening and applauding.

And speaking of Alton Fitzgerald White, on Friday, December 4th, he will have his turn in the spotlight in the Cabaret at the Liberace Museum as he showcases his talent in two performances - one at 8 and the other at 10:30 p.m. - without the clever Tony-winning costumes of Julie Taymor to cover him. Alton, who plays "Mufasa" in The Lion King at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, will be joined by special guests and fellow Lion King cast members, Derrick Davis (who is in the ensemble and also understudies the role of "Mufasa"), and Monique Migette (who is a swing in the Tony Award-winning musical). Alton comes to this very gifted Las Vegas company directly from a three-year engagement as "Mufasa" on Broadway. Other Broadway credits include "Mister" in original Broadway production of The Color Purple; "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 concert dates around the world. He can be seen in the new film, The Invention of Lying, and has done a number of episodes on Law & Order and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Keith Thompson, musical director for Jersey Boys, will serve in the same capacity for this performance. Show times are at 8 and 10:30 p.m., with ticket prices are $20 in advance, and $25 at the door. Proceeds from this concert will go to improve the Cabaret at the Liberace Museum, located at 1775 E. Tropicana at Spencer. We have a feeling this will be a sell out, so make your reservations quickly. Call (702) 798-5595.

The Apple Sisters, who have displayed their wit, wisdom and originality at the Composers Showcase on more than one occasion, will perform in their own show, Thanks for Stuffing, at the Stage Door Theatre in the Town Square, at 10 p.m. on November 27th, the Friday after Thanksgiving. We can guarantee that you have never seen an act quite like The Apple Sisters. How to describe "Seedy," "Candy" and "Cora Apple"? Seedy is the oldest of the sisters. This gorgeous good-girl loves her dancing and her God - who is also her boyfriend. When she's not practicing her high kicks or keeping her sisters in line on stage, she's praying or drinking her boyfriend's blood at church (Holy wine!) Seedy loves a man who can walk on water in open toed sandals. Candy is the middle child. When Candy's not doing splits or "nailing it," she fights for women's rights, beaver rights, and dyke rights - someone has to look out for those sea walls in Holland! This spunky, sexy spit-fire misses her husband, Cheryl, who is a man fighting in the war overseas. Cheryl sure is a funny name for a boy! Cora is the youngest of the sisters (but she'll never reveal her age.) This blonde bombshell has a knack for spicing up any sailor party - she just loves seamen! When she's not singing with the girls and shaking her tail feathers, Cora loves to drink giggle juice at her local speakeasy. Her favorite drink is a Manhattan - hint, hint. As for the ladies who portray The Apple Sisters, here is a bit about them. Sarah Lowe (Seedy Apple) actually grew up back stage with a Director/Stage manager father, and a Broadway dancing mother. She has been performing in television, commercials and stage shows since childhood. Some of her credits include the off-Broadway hit, The Donkey Show, and the premiere Las Vegas production of Mamma Mia!, as well as pretty much ALL the soaps. Currently she can be seen at the Peoples Improv Theater with the improv team, The Baldwins. Her grandmother, on her mother's side, was in the 1930s radio group "The Clark Sisters," and her grandmother, on her father's side, was Ruby Keeler. She couldn't be more pleased or at home with The Apple Sisters. Kim Gatewood (Cora Apple) can be seen and heard in tons of national commercials and voiceovers including the recent MasterCard commercial with Peyton Manning (named Best Ad by Ad Week). She was named Best of Time Out NY, ECNY Best Musical Act Nominee, and Andy Kaufman Semi-Finalist. She has performed at every improv theatre in NYC, including a four-and-a-half year stint with the off-Broadway show Chicago City Limits. Her writing credits include Oxygen, Idiots Guide to Jokes, SCarrie: the Musical and numerous industrials. She is a partner at Vaguely Qualified Productions which produced Comedy Central's The Watch List and the feature documentary film Nerdcore Rising. Kimmy currently teaches at the Peoples Improv Theater. Check out her latest music video on www.kimmygatewood.com. Rebekka Johnson (Candy Apple), best known for her work on the MTV hit show Boiling Points, has performed in various sketch and improv shows across the country, including The Neutrino Video Projects which was an official selection at the 2004 HBO U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen. She has performed in many shows at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, including Killgore The Musical and Gravid Water. She currently teaches improvisation at The Peoples Improv Theater. Rebekka recently appeared on Law & Order: Criminal Intent. She has also leant her distinctive voice to numerous commercial radio campaigns. Tickets for The Apple Sisters are $20. The Stage Door Theatre is located at 6587 Las Vegas Blvd. So., in Town Square.

* * * * * * *


Jimmy Hopper

Martin, Bert & Victoria Nievera

For those who have wondered when Jimmy Hopper might be returning to Las Vegas, we now have an answer for you. Hopper will provide the entertainment on New Year's Eve at The Mirage. Calling the night, Notorious 2010, the experience will take place in the hotel's Grand Ballroom, beginning at 9 p.m. Reserve a room at the Mirage for New Year's Eve and enjoy access to the Strip's most Notorious party, all for $250 per person. Call The Mirage at (702) 791-7111 for more details and reservations.
New Years Eve party attendees must have a room reservation at The Mirage on 12/31/09. Entertainment is subject to change. Tickets are available for pick-up starting December 28, 2009

* * * * * * *

It was practically standing room only for Martin Nievera's Sunday night show at the Suncoast (we have been told it was that way on Friday and Saturday night as well). "The Concert King" of the Philippines really knows how to entertain an audience. He is funny, without being overly so, and very comfortable on stage, without coming off as too self-confident. Oh yes. Did we mention he can sing? Backed by Jeff Neiman on piano and keyboards (Jeff is also musical director), Davy Nathan on keys, Brian Czach on drums, John Wedemeyer on guitar, and Darryl Williams on bass, among the songs Martin performed were "Corner of the Sky;" "When I Fall In Love/How Do You Keep the Music Playing" sung with his "non identical" twin sister, Victoria: "Moondance," "Wildflower," and with his father, Bert Nievera (one of the original members of Society of Seven) "Just a Gigolo." Bert, who turned 73 on October 7th, also sang "Portrait of My Love/Mona Lisa" and "If You Are But a Dream" (eat your heart out, Wayne Newton). There was a Michael Jackson tribute, with Martin doing "Billy Jean," "Beat It," "I'm Bad," and "The Way You Make Me Feel," and a Broadway medley (with an intro using Clint Holmes' original, "I Sing"), of West Side Story and Phantom songs, "Memory" from CATS, and "This Is the Moment" from Jekyll and Hyde. Martin included some of his signature songs - "Be My Lady," "You Are My Song," and three Filipino tunes, "Ikaw" (pronounced E Cow, or I Cow, and meaning "You"), "Ikaw Ang Pangarap" ("You Are My Dream") and "Kahit Isang Saglit" ("Just For a Moment")...We hope we got those right, Martin. There was an original song, written by Martin called "All That I Want This Christmas," that he would like Clint to sing, and, in keeping with the holiday spirit, a version of "My Grown Up Christmas List" with special, "personal" lyrics. The singing Nieveras, ended the show with "What a Wonderful World." We think the audience felt it was "A Wonderful Night." Bring Martin Nievera back, real soon.

* * * * * * *

Although you don't hear much about the Royal Resort Hotel, located on Convention Center Drive (between Encore and the Riviera, just east of the Strip), they are quietly attracting audiences to their "intimate" (aka small) showroom with a variety of acts. Larry G. Jones, "The Man of 1002 Voices," performs Sundays through Wednesdays, at 9 p.m. (call the property to confirm dates, as on occasion, the vocal impersonator takes off to do a corporate gig), while a new revue, called Nashville Nights, takes the 9 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays slot. At 7 p.m., Wednesdays through Saturdays, magician/escape artist, Dixie Dooley, performs, and on Saturdays and Sundays at 4 p.m., it's Super Duper, a show geared to children.


Larry G. Jones

James Darren

Rob Garrett

* * * * * * *

Still handsome at 73, James Darren will entertain in The Club at the North Las Vegas Cannery, tomorrow night (November 21st) at 8 p.m. The tall, good-looking Darren was a student of acting coach Stella Adler, and made his name in the 1950s in a series of teenage-themed films. A better actor than most of his contemporary teenage heartthrobs, he nevertheless found it difficult to escape the teen-idol image he got in pictures like Gidget (1959) and Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961). He also gained fame in the early and mid-1960s as a singer, with a number of hits to his credit, including "Goodbye Cruel World" and "Her Royal Majesty". His film work tapered off in the 1960s, but he did TV work and had two hit series, The Time Tunnel (in the 1960s) and T.J. Hooker (in the 1980s). His talents are revealed as the portrayal of the hologram "Vic Fontaine" on a couple of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episodes. In the 1970s, Darren toured the country as the singing opening act for comedian Buddy Hackett. Tickets for James Darren are $19.95. For reservations, call (702) 507-5757.

And speaking of the Cannery, Rob Garrett, known as "The King of Diamonds" for his tribute to Neil Diamond, will perform two shows in Marilyn's Lounge (it's more like a comfortable, intimate showroom, with a real stage, etc.) at the Eastside Cannery, next Friday and Saturday night (November 27th and 28th) at 8 p.m. Rob will be joined by talented Michelle Rohl (formerly with the band Sailon, Clint Holmes at Harrah�s, and in Legends in Concert and Playboy's Girls of Rock & Roll) providing background vocals, and musicians Keith Neal on lead guitar, Daryl Slade on bass, Jay Boyer and David Bruley on keyboards, Tony Cobb on percussions and rhythm guitar, and Jeff Borree on drums. Last year, the Entertainment Network, created by "The Matriarch of the Celebrity Tribute Industry," the late Bea Fogelman, named Rob Garrett "Male Musical Tribute Act of 2008." Although he has performed at the Cannery in North Las Vegas twice before, this will be Garrett's first time at the Eastside Cannery.

* * * * * * *

A memorial service will be held for Carol Breslaw at 10 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday, November 21st), at the Shrine of the Most Holy Redeemer Church (across from Luxor). Carol was born in Fall River, Massachusetts, on January 25th, 1942, and died in Las Vegas on October 31st. After working in the casino gaming world for 30 years, she changed careers going into the theater. She retired in 2007 after working backstage in wardrobe and costumes. Carol worked for Starlight Express, Imagine and the Blue Man Group to name just a few. Her work took her all over the world. Married twice, she is survived by her daughter, Jill Breslaw, a Technical Manager at the Excalibur, and son, Adam.

* * * * * * *


UNLV Jazz Band

Don't miss David Loeb ,Nathan Tanouye and Las Vegas Academy Jazz Band, directed by Pat Bowen, Monday, November 23rd at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 6:30), in UNLV's Black Box Theater (downstairs in the Fine Arts building). Tickets are $10 for general admission, $8 for seniors, military, and UNLV faculty and staff. Students with ID can get one free ticket. To purchase tickets, call the UNLV PAC box office at (702) 895-2787.

* * * * * * *

Jimmie "JJ" Walker headlines the Riviera Comedy Club, November 23rd through 29th. Walker made his stand-up debut as an opening act on New Year's Eve in 1967 for The Last Poets, a militant poetry group, and was such a hit that he stayed with the group for a year and a half building and polishing his jive-styled act. Jimmie eventually became a regular at Budd Friedman's Improv stage in New York. In 1974, he was cast as "J.J. Evans" of the popular urban-styled sitcom, Good Times. Today, Jimmie's main focus has remained the stand-up circuit, touring an average of 25-30 weeks a year. The rubbery-faced, tunnel-mouthed comic continues to pop up occasionally on the late night talk show forum. In his spare time, he writes scripts for television and films. Stanley Ullman has appeared at premier comedy clubs across the country. His many television credits include The Golden Girls, Showtime's Funniest Person In America, FOX's Comic Strip Live, and The Guiding Light. Television fans will recognize his appearance in commercials for Campbell's Soup, Meister Brau, Wagner Paint Rollers, Wendy's and Federal Express. Matt Morales has been winning over audiences with his razor-sharp wit and narrative style since starting his stand-up comedy career in 2002. Topics range from the culture shock that comes from moving to California (Morales is a Louisiana native), psychotic family members, odd living situations and edgy, unconventional material about his many failed relationships. Show times for the Riviera Comedy Club are 8:30 and 10 p.m. Tickets are $24.99 plus tax and fee. There are also dinner and show packages available . For more information, call the Box Office at (702) 794-9433, or go to www.rivierahotel.com. All guests must be at least 18 years of age.


Jimmie "J.J." Walker

Lady Gaga

Joey Gian

* * * * * * *

Captiv8, a new LGBT marketing and promotions company, has teamed up with RHUMBAR at The Mirage to present Captiv8 Wednesdays. The weekly event allows fashionable tourists, guests and members of the LGBT community to relax in the laid-back atmosphere of RHUMBAR while enjoying cocktails, fashion and culture. Captiv8 Wednesdays begins at 8 p.m. Each week, Captiv8 features a new handmade cocktail created exclusively by RHUMBAR's expert mixologist, and opportunities to win high-profile prizes from top fashion designers such as Prada and Louis Vuitton, as well as tickets to some of the hottest shows in entertainment. For a limited time, event attendees will have the opportunity to win tickets to the sold out Lady Gaga concert at The Palms Casino Resort. "There isn't a better event in Vegas for dynamic gay professionals to take a break from their busy work week to relax and catch up," said Tim Haughinberry, founder of Captiv8. "RHUMBAR's luxurious lounge and patio provides an incredible relaxing atmosphere to enjoy stunning views of The Strip; and the cocktails are out of this world. There are millions of gay visitors coming to Las Vegas annually and more than 10,000 active gay and lesbian locals," says Haughinberry, "but there isn't a single weekly promotion that offers stylish and sophisticated nightlife. I saw an opportunity to fill this niche, and in just a few short weeks Captiv8 has become one of the top LGBT events in the city." On Wednesday, the LGBT Community Center honored Senator David Parks at the weekly event at RHUMBAR. Next Wednesday, November 25th, is SinCityQSocials Appreciation Night. RHUMBAR brings the cool mood of the Caribbean to sizzling Sin City. The contemporary lounge and outdoor patio, designed by the New York-based firm Alvarez + Brock Design, features a highly stylized daiquiri bar, 20-foot-tall walls adorned by abstract mint leaves and 15 Jeff Koons-esque chrome-fighting cocks protruding from the walls above guests. RHUMBAR is the second hospitality and nightlife venture for Drive This! Entertainment, following T&T, the tacos and tequila mecca that opened at Luxor last fall. RHUMBAR is open from 12 p.m. until 1 a.m., Sundays through Thursdays, and noon until 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For more information please contact The Mirage's RHUMBAR at (702) 792-7615.

* * * * * * *

We gained 10 pounds just reading this next item. For the holidays, in addition to their standard lunch and dinner menus, the Society Café Encore restaurant (AT the Encore, of course) adds specialty menus for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve. Loosen your belt. Here goes...On Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 26th, seating begins at noon. A special tasting menu is available at $36 per person (plus tax and gratuity). The selections include Butternut Squash Soup with Spiced Pumpkin Seeds, Slow Roasted Free Range Turkey Breast with Savory Apple and Sage Stuffing, Yukon Mashed Potato, Fall Vegetables and Fresh Cranberry Sauce, and Individual Pumpkin Pie with Sweet Cream for dessert. On Christmas day, Friday, December 25th, seating begins at 5 p.m. Menu is available as a special tasting at $36 per person (plus tax and gratuity) or items can be purchased a la carte. The tasting menu consists of Creamy Sweet Onion Soup with Crisp Pancetta and Gruyere Crouton, Slow Roasted Prime Rib with Au Jus, Yukon Mashed Potato and Winter Vegetables, followed by White Chocolate Bomb with Dark Chocolate Sauce and Peppermint Cream. For New Year's Eve, Thursday, December 31st, seating begins at 6 p.m. Menu is available as a special tasting at $95 per person (all-inclusive of taxes and gratuity) and includes the starter of Shellfish for Two: Florida Stone Crab with Mustard Dipping Sauce, Kumumoto Oysters with Yuzu Vinaigrette, Poached Tiger Shrimp with Traditional Cocktail Sauce; choice of Appetizer: Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Chimay Cheese Puff or Mixed Greens with Roasted Beets, Candied Pecans, Local Apples and Ice Wine-Cider Vinaigrette; Choice of Entrée: Land and Sea with Filet Mignon and Butter Poached Lobster, Truffled Mashed Potato, Baby Root Vegetables and Madeira Bordelaise or East Coast West Coast with Maine Lobster Cake and Pan Roasted Hawaiian Moi with Baby Root Vegetables and Saffron Mussel Broth; and Dessert: Chocolate Banana Vision. Items can also be purchased a la carte. Society Café Encore was recently named one of Esquire magazine's "Best New Restaurants in America," and continues to be the choice of locals, tourists and celebrities for power outings during breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Society Bar provides a great spot for a cocktail with its creative drink list and extensive mojito menu. Society is open Sundays through Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. Reservations are encouraged and can be made by calling (702) 248-DINE (3463) or (888) 352-DINE (3463).

* * * * * * *

In last Friday's column, we may have misled some readers, but not reader Patty Mac from Las Vegas. She writes..."Happy to hear about the new choreography in the Society of Seven show. Buddy (Schwimmer) is amazing. One note is that he is not NEW to the SOS. As a matter of fact, Buddy has been their choreographer for many, many years, starting back in Hawaii. If you don't believe me, ask them ;) So my question is, will Buddy actually be performing in the new show???" You are absolutely correct, Patty. Buddy has been working with SOS for many years (something we were not aware of). In fact, when that relationship began, Buddy's dancing children, Lacey Schwimmer (from Dancing With the Stars), and Benji Schwimmer (a So You Think You Can Dance winner), were practically babies! As for your question about Buddy performing with SOS? The answer, directly from Tony Ruivivar, spokesperson for the musical comedy group, is "no," Mr. Schwimmer will not be performing with the show band. There IS a possibility, though, that if one or both of the Schwimmer children happen to visit Las Vegas, they might make a surprise appearance on the Gold Coast stage (where SOS opened on November 6th). Due to commitments made prior to signing a with the Gold Coast, Society of Seven, with American Idol's Jasmine Trias, had already inked a deal with John Ascuaga's Nugget in Reno to be there for Thanksgiving weekend. With the rodeo fans coming to Las Vegas in early December, the Gold Coast showroom will be taken over by cowboy boots and Stetsons, therefore, SOS will not be back at the property until Friday, December 18th. Their normal schedule will then resume, with shows at 3:30 and 7 p.m., Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are a very reasonable $$29.95 for matinees, and $34.95 for evening shows. For Society of Seven reservations, call (702) 251-3574.

* * * * * * *

Singer/actor/songwriter, Joey Gian, is celebrating two new album releases with shows next Friday and Saturday, November 27th and 28th, at the world famous Jilly's Piano Bar in downtown Chicago. A Star Search finalist in the mid-1980s, Gian went on to leading roles in TV's Knots Landing (as "Detective Tom Ryan"), Beverly Hills 90210 (as "Kenny Bannerman"), and Steven Bochco's Hopperman, starring John Ritter (where Joey played police officer "Rick Silardi"). He also played himself in the 2000 movie, Return To Me, starring David Duchovny, Minnie Driver, Carroll O'Connor (in his last film), Robert Loggia, Jim Belushi and Bonnie Hunt. Joey recently released a five-song EP titled Here I Am, in which he co-wrote all of the tunes. The selections include the title track, a previously unreleased "original version" formerly featured in the MGM motion picture, Return to Me; "I Believe," from the forthcoming first-ever New York Yankees animated film, Henry & Me; "Can't Stop," "Great Unknown," and "Let Me Love You." In addition, there is the just released, eight-song live album titled Joey Gian: Live at the Italian Feast of San Gennaro, Hollywood. It features three original tracks and with Joey's signature style, five Italian festival favorites like "Speak Softy Love (Theme from The Godfather)", a swinging version of "That's Amore" and the Dean Martin classic, "Return to Me." Also included on the new recording is "Let Me Love You Baby," "A Little Romance," "Arrivederci Roma," "Party People," and "What If I Loved You." The two CDs are available World Wide at iTunes; Amazon.com and wherever digital downloads are sold. Fans of Joey are encouraged to go to iTunes and YouTube and leave reviews. Jilly's in Chicago, the bistro/piano bar immortalized by the legendary Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr., is located at 1007 N. Rush Street. Please call the venue at (312) 664-1001 for performance times and reservations. First come, first served.

In December of 2004, while he was performing in Las Vegas, Joey Gian hosted Christmas for Kids - A Musical Event, a holiday show organized to collect toys for abused and neglected children living at the Child Haven shelter. It was a resounding success. There were tons of toys and clothing, and cash donations totaled more than $2,000. It was standing room only as fans turned out to hear more than 20 entertainers. "The audience had a ball," Gian said, "and so did the performers." Among them were Clint Holmes (a surprise guest), comics Pat Cooper and Joey Villa, vocalist Ruth Brown (co-host of the event), Gian himself, and a dozen or so others. Television and motion picture actress, Bonnie Hunt (a friend of Joey's), came to Vegas to attend the benefit and helped with the raffling of prizes.

* * * * * * *

Perhaps Wayne Brady is suffering from the same malady that plagued Toni Braxton during parts of her engagement at the Flamingo. We might call it "Cancellitis." Brady had already canceled all of his October and early November dates at The Venetian, due to vocal problems requiring vocal rest (maybe the Tropicana's "other Wayne" should follow suit). Interestingly, he is healthy enough for his Let's Make a Deal hosting duties at the Tropicana. Now comes word that, Brady won't return to his Venetian gig, Making __it Up, until after the first of the year (maybe). Perhaps BASE Entertainment should have kept the more reliable comic/ impressionist, Gordie Brown, on board. Gordie Brown - Live can be seen at the Golden Nugget, where he performs, Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. Call (866) 946-5336 for reservations.


Gordie Brown

The Four Tops

Kevin Spirtas & Scott Kerns by David Morgan

* * * * * * *

The Four Tops, whose meteoric rise to fame began with their 1964 Motown hit "Baby I Need Your Loving," bring their soulful songs to The Orleans Showroom, November 20th, 21st and 22nd, at 8 p.m. each evening. One of the few groups to have hits in three consecutive decades, The Four Tops' songs were splashed across the pop and R&B music charts from the 1960s through the 1980s. "I Can't Help Myself," a 1965 R&B and pop smash, is one of Motown's longest-running chart toppers. In the years that followed, The Four Tops continued to produce anthems that defined a generation, including such favorites as "It's The Same Old Song," "Reach Out I'll Be There," "Standing in the Shadows of Love" and "Bernadette." Their extraordinary run of classics continued with "Shake Me, Wake Me," "Ain't No Woman" and "When She Was My Girl," which went to No. 1 in 1981. Over the years, The Four Tops' fame grew as they teamed with Motown's top female group, The Supremes, post-Diana Ross. Billing themselves "The Magnificent Seven" for a series of albums, they hit with a cover of "River Deep - Mountain High." Later the group partnered with "Queen of Soul" and longtime friend, Aretha Franklin, to produce the Top 40 R&B hit "If Ever A Love There Was." Audiences also know the tunes of The Four Tops from their R&B hit "Are You Man Enough," from the movie Shaft in Africa, and the song "Back To School Again," heard in the film Grease 2. Their final solo Top 40 hit, "Indestructible," was heard around the globe as the theme of the 1988 Summer Olympics, held in Seoul, South Korea. In 1990, with 24 Top 40 pop hits to their credit, The Four Tops were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Pegged among the greatest artists of all time by Rolling Stone, The Four Tops have performed a nearly non-stop string of tour dates, dazzling adoring fans with their signature sound. Tickets are now available, starting from $39.95, plus tax. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Box Office at (702) 365-7075, or visiting www.orleanscasino.com.

* * * * * * *

Loaded, a new play written by Elliot Ramón Potts, had its official opening on November 15th at Theatre Row. Directed by Michael Unger, this production is scheduled to run through January 23. Loaded centers on "Jude" (played by Scott Kerns) and "Patrick" (portrayed by Kevin Spirtas), two men exploring whether or not their casual sexual relationship has the potential to be something more. When the generation that separates them sparks a series of assumptions and misunderstandings, their connection is strained and the conversation turns serious. Loaded taps into the climate of 21st century gay culture as it seeks to make sense of the bewildering chasm that separates middle-aged and younger gay men. Kerns' New York credits include Heart of the City (Orange Thoughts Productions at Urban Stages), It Pays to Advertise (The Metropolitan Playhouse), Playground Rules (Slant Theatre Project). Spirtas is recognized for his role as "Dr. Craig Wesley" on television's Days of Our Lives, and on Broadway in The Boy from Oz (where he was standby for Hugh Jackman), A Chorus Line and Meet Me In St. Louis. Presented by Ramoncíto Productions in association with Tim Sutton and David Santana, Loaded plays at the Lion Theatre, 410 West 42nd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues) as follows: Tuesdays at 7 p.m., Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., with matinees on Saturdays at 2 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. There will be no performances Thursday, November 26th, Thursday, December 24th, Friday, December 25th, Thursday, December 31st and Friday, January 1st. Performances have been added on the following dates: Monday, November 23rd at 8 p.m., Monday, December 21st at 8 p.m., Sunday, December 27th at 7 p.m., and Monday, December 28th at 8 p.m. Tickets may be arranged through Ticket Central at www.ticketcentral.com or (212) 279-4200, or at the Theatre Row Box Office (from noon to 8 p.m. daily). Tickets are $49, including $1.25 restoration fee.
Kevin Spirtas has performed his one man cabaret act, Night and Days, in Las Vegas twice, once at the Starbright Theatre in Sun City Summerlin, and once at the Charleston Heights Arts Center.

* * * * * * *

A troupe of talented international entertainers will amaze Suncoast Showroom audience members as they perform in Variety Live, a world-class show direct from The London Palladium, Thanksgiving weekend, November 27th, 28th and 29th. Variety Live, a Paul Stone production, blends the exceptional abilities of five seasoned performers into an action-packed showcase of skill. Las Vegas' own consummate magician and illusionist, Joseph Gabriel, will be joined by an cast of performers whose acts range from juggling to serenading. With more than 30 years of experience, Kris Kremo of Switzerland is a true Variety legend and the world's most famous juggler with his gravity defying tricks. Just as impressive and unique is the "Rolla Bolla" man, Spain's Tino Ferreira, and his skillful balancing act. Hula Hoop performer and Russian beauty, Yelena Larkina, enchants audiences with her seamless blend of artistic skill and athleticism while controlling several hula-hoops at a time. Bringing his English charm and fresh new sound, singing sensation, Ben Stone, will swoon and croon his way into the hearts of all who listen. Skilled artists who complement each other's unique talents, the impressive cast of Variety Live offers something for everyone, as the performers seamlessly blend their perfected natural abilities and showmanship skills to entertain audiences of all generations. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $19.95, plus tax, and can be purchased by calling the Box Office at (702) 63-7075 or visiting www.suncoastcasino.com.


Kris Kremo

Jan Rouven & Siegfried Fischbacher

* * * * * * *

Jan Rouven, an international master illusionist from Germany, made his Las Vegas debut at the Fremont Street Experience, by headlining OktoberFrightFest with his dangerous, spectacular and brilliant acts in Jan Rouven Presents Death-Defying Illusions. Rouven brings thrills and breathtaking risks to the Fremont Street Experience with his larger-than-life acts and stage props, including the mind-blowing "Drill of Death." Rouven, billed as "The Man With Nine Lives," has won top awards including the International Magician's Society "2007 Entertainer of the Year," an award previously held by magic greats David Copperfield and Siegfried & Roy. Last night, Siegfried made a trip downtown to catch Rouven's act. Jan performs seven nights a week at the 1st Street Stage at 8 and 10 p.m. Originally scheduled to close his show on Halloween night, Jan Rouven has now been held over until the end of this month.


HAPPY THANKSGIVING


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