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 27, 2009
You can find the current column HERE


Las Vegas - November 27, 2009


Donny Osmond & Kym Johnson

Pete Barbutti

Joseph Gabriel

After 14 weeks, the winner and champion of this season's Dancing With the Stars competition is Las Vegas headliner, Donny Osmond. On Tuesday night, the three couples in the finals of the ABC reality show were Kelly Osbourne and her partner Louis van Amstel, who came in third; Mya (full name, Mya Marie Harrison) and her partner, Dmitry Chaplin, who came in second, and the winners of the Mirror Ball trophies, Donny and pro, Kym Johnson, in her first win. (In earlier seasons, the Australian-born Johnson was paired with Mark Cuban, Joey Fatone, David Alan Grier, Warren Sapp, and Jerry Springer.) To say that Osmond, who brought his wife of 31 years, Debbie, and sister, Marie, up on stage to share the applause and accolades, was excited, would be an understatement. At 51 (he turns 52 on December 9th), Donny Osmond is the popular show's oldest winner. The Donny & Marie Show is ongoing at the Flamingo.

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It's The Great Piano Playoff, 80 On The 88's, Series No. 1. Proudly presented by the Las Vegas Jazz Society, this musical treat will take place on Sunday, December 6th, from 2 to 4:30 p.m. (includes intermission) at the Summerlin Library Theatre. Don't miss eight of the top Las Vegas pianists - Ronnie Di Fillips, Vinnie Falcone, Dehner Franks, Frank Leone, Gus Mancuso, Mike Montano, Adelaide Robbins and Joey Singer - individually displaying their very best. The pianists will be joined by Jeff Davis on bass, and Santo Savino on drums, with comic Pete Barbutti (who also plays piano in a style uniquely his own) serving as Master of Ceremonies. Tickets are $15 for general admission, and $12 for Las Vegas Jazz Society and Las Vegas Guitar Society members. To obtain tickets, you can e-mail your reservation, with name, phone number and the number of tickets you would like, to [email protected]. Your tickets will be reserved for you. Or, mail your check to: LVJS Great Piano Playoff, PO Box 60396, Las Vegas, NV 89106. You can then pick up your tickets at the Summerlin Library Theatre box office, outside the theater entrance on the day of the Great Piano Playoff. You may also purchase your tickets at the box office in person, the day of the event. The Summerlin Library Theatre box office will open at 1 p.m., one hour before the event begins. The LVJS can accept payment by check or in cash (sorry, no credit cards). The Summerlin Library Theatre is inside the library's Performing Arts Center, at 1771 Inner Circle, one block north of Summerlin Parkway at Town Center Drive (look for street signs to the Summerlin Library). For additional information, call (702) 507-3860.

Following the Great Piano Playoff, the Las Vegas Jazz Society members and followers will segue to the Captain's Cove Bistro, at 2902 Lake East Drive, for the annual Winter Party. The party will include cocktails at 5 p.m. and dinner at 6 p.m., with live entertainment provided by The Joe Lano Group. The menu for the LVJS Winter Party includes the Skipper Salad with choice of dressing, Cornish Hen on a bed of wild rice, homemade cranberry sauce and vegetable, followed by a Dessert and Coffee Bar (miniature desserts of choice). There is a Vegetarian pasta entrée as an option. A silent auction for fun gifts is also planned. The Captain's Cove Bistro, which sits on a lakeside setting, will be decorated for the holidays. The cost is $35 per person. Please mail your check, as soon as possible, to: LVJS Winter Party, PO Box 60396, Las Vegas, NV 89106. Deadline for reservations for The Winter Party is Monday, November 30th. Note: Please do not call The Cove for reservations. If you have questions regarding The Winter Party, please call the LVJS message line at (702) 313-6778 or e-mail them at [email protected].

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Reminders...
This weekend, it's Paul Stone's Variety Live at the Suncoast. The international cast features magician Joseph Gabriel from the USA; balancing act, Tino Ferreira, from Portugal; Swiss juggler Kris Kremo; hoop artist, Yelena Larkina from Russia, and England's young singing sensation, Ben Stone. Show times are at 7:30, tonight (Friday), tomorrow and Sunday. Tickets are from $19.95 plus tax, and may be purchased by calling the Suncoast box office at (702) 636-7075.

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 an intimate showroom, with a real stage, etc.) at the Eastside Cannery (5255 Boulder Highway, just south of Sam‘s Town), tonight and tomorrow night at 8 p.m. Rob will be joined by Michelle Rohl 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.


Rob Garrett

Alton Fitzgerald White & Lion King Cast Mates

Jay White as Neil Diamond

The Apple Sisters perform at the Stage Door Theatre in the Town Square, at 10 p.m. tonight, November 27th. Tickets for the after Thanksgiving show, called Thanks for Stuffing, are $20. The Stage Door Theatre is located at 6587 Las Vegas Blvd. So., in Town Square. With these three ladies in the spotlight, this should be a blast from the past...possibly even as far back as 1943.

And, it's Alton Fitzgerald White at the Liberace Museum Cabaret next Friday, December 4th. On his night off as "Mufasa" in The Lion King, playing at Mandalay Bay, Alton will perform two shows, one at 8 and the other at 10:30 p.m. (after theater for the show kids from around the city). With Broadway credits in Smokey Joe's Café, Ragtime, The Color Purple and Miss Saigon, this is a show you won't want to miss. Alton will be joined in song by Lion King cast members, Derrick Davis and Monique Migette. Keith Thompson, Jersey Boys Musical Director, accompanies on piano. Hopefully, you had the chance to see Alton this morning, when he and cast members from The Lion King appeared in the opening segment on Live With Regis and Kelly. The show had been broadcasting from Las Vegas for the entire week. 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. This should be a sell out, so make your reservations now. Call (702) 798-5595.

Also, if you are in or around Chicago this weekend, singer/actor/songwriter Joey Gian will perform at the world famous Jilly's Piano Bar, located at 1007 N. Rush St., tonight and tomorrow . Please call the venue at (312) 664-1001 for times and reservations.

And speaking of Neil Diamond, after eight years in the LeBistro at the Riviera, Jay White, another Diamond tribute artist, will end his run at the hotel following his December 3rd show. "It's been a great 8 years, but it really is time for me to pursue my dream show that I've been working on for 14 years," says White. Jay and his manager, Steve Hart, recently had a meeting in New York with a prominent London director who has directed productions with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Josh Groban, to discuss the theatrical production Jay has written. Jay states, "The show is a journey of mans conflict to create a bond with family, while fulfilling the passion for work, in a world that is all too demanding of our time. A dramatically uplifting story of emotional struggles, passionate persistence and the shared hope of pursuing the American dream." He goes on to say, "With a 12-piece powerful band, we will use several sets, video, singers and dancers to tell our story through the music of Neil Diamond. The best way to describe it would be to say that if you took Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia! and We Will Rock You, mixed them into a bowl and poured it on stage, you would have our show (working title is Brooklyn Roads). It will be a visually thrilling, warmly familiar theatrical concert that will reach out to people in all walks of life. I look forward to the day we can share America's story with the rest of the world." The Brit is very interested in directing White‘s show. They are working with an attorney in New York on the legalities now. One step at a time, but the hope is to see the production on stage in 2010. Additionally, Jay has a new Web site, a new video and an agent who is booking him out of town with some regularity. Last Friday night, the singer/musician performed with the 60-piece Calgary (Canada) Philharmonic to a sold out crowd of 1800. He states, "It was an exciting night for me and them. We are planning to do a few more symphony shows for next year."


Larry Atello

Mark Nadler

Also making a career change is entertainer Larry Atello. Larry tells us that, as of Tuesday the 24th, he has left the cast of Tony n' Tina's Wedding after more than four years of playing "Donny Dulce," the wedding singer in the interactive dinner show. "The show is moving to the "V" Theater at Planet Hollywood's Miracle Mile Mall, as well as going to track (in lieu of a live band)," says Atello. By mutual agreement, he has chosen not to make the move with the company. "I have several shows lined up - on December 27th, January 9th and 30th, and February 7th and 14th - at Streetbar in Palm Springs. In addition, Larry is the front man as Jon Bon Jovi in the Bon Jovi tribute band, Have A Nice Day. Atello will also be part of the Jon Eisele's Holiday Benefit at The Onyx Theater on December 18th. We will have more info on the benefit, and Larry's career in upcoming columns.

We wish both of these gentlemen the very best.

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What's a nice Jewish boy, like uber-entertainer Mark Nadler, doing heading up a Holiday Show? To quote Nadler, "I've never done a holiday show, because, frankly, I find them cloying and annoying. However, I was commissioned to put one together for the cabaret series in Brownville, Nebraska (I really do lead a very glamorous life). Well, the big surprise to me is that I haven't had this much fun since I did my shows at Sardi's! This Holiday Show has turned out to be so good that we've decided we can't JUST do it in Brownville, so we've booked it for a couple performances in New York City. My co-stars in this show are all favorites of mine: Heather Mac Rae, Marta Sanders, Jamie Stern and Tanya Holt and we really are having a merry, merry time!! As a special added Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza gift to you, we're keeping the price low so you have no excuse to stay home and wait for the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, to come calling. We have to do a two-act show in Nebraska and we can only do 75 minutes at a time in New York, so the two New York shows will be a little different from each other. If you want to see the whole thing, you'll have to come to both." The Big Holiday Special(s) will take place at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, located within the West Bank Café, 407 W. 42nd St. (between 9th and 10th Aves.), on two Thursdays, December 3rd and 17th, at 7 p.m. There is a $25 music charge and $15 minimum. To make reservations, call (212) 695-6909. Mark Nadler is an amazing talent. If you have never seen him perform (he plays piano, sings, dances - frequently all at the same time - and is funny), we highly recommend that you do. If you HAVE seen his act, we need say no more. For additional information, check his Web site at www.MarkNadler.com. You can see clips from some of his recent performances by clicking on 'Mark on YouTube.'

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Neil Patrick Harris, who plays the womanizing "Barney Stinson" on CBS' How I Met Your Mother (for which he won Emmy nominations, for Best Supporting Male Actor in a Comedy Series, in 2007, 2008 and 2009), was in the crowd and invited backstage at Penn & Teller's show at the Rio last Monday night. "Doogie Howser" is now 36-years-old and has worked on Broadway in both musical and dramatic roles, playing in the 2001 concert performance of Sweeney Todd, with Ann Heche in Proof, and as the emcee in Cabaret, for which he was named the top-drawing headliner by GuestStarCasting.com. In 2004, Harris performed a dual role of the Balladeer and Lee Harvey Oswald in Broadway's controversial musical revival of Stephen Sondheim's Assassins, and portrayed "Mark Cohen" in the musical Rent. In the past year, the talented performer has earned accolades and respect as the host of both 63rd Tony Awards in June, and the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards in September. Harris is a fan of magic and longtime admirer of Penn & Teller. He is, like his character on How I Met Your Mother, is an amateur magician, who serves on the Board of Directors of Hollywood's Magic Castle. In 2006, Harris won the Tannen's Magic Louis Award, and in 2008, hosted the 2008 World Magic Awards. He was in Las Vegas to tape an appearance on Live with Regis & Kelly. Pen & Teller perform at the Rio, Saturdays through Wednesdays at 9 p.m. Call (702) 777-7776 for tickets.


Penn Jillette, Neil Patrick Harris & Teller

Philip Fortenberry

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Philip Fortenberry's Broadway, My Way, done at the Flamingo Library last Sunday, was absolutely wonderful. If you missed it, you really missed something very special. Because of Thanksgiving, we had to cut into our writing time. We will share the experience with readers next Friday.

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Sam Wainwright's HEE-HAW: It's a Wonderful Li e, written by Daniel F. Levin as dictated by Sam Wainwright, CEO Wainwright Plastics, officially opens next Friday, December 4th, at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Everyone loves It's a Wonderful Life's hero, "George Bailey." That's a fact. But what if a historically overlooked character, the outwardly clowning and inwardly seething Sam Wainwright, were given the chance to tell his side of the story? Could he give voice to the people not quite at the center of their community - those less likable types who hold grudges, impress with money, sit on their jealousy? Part morality tale, part vaudevillian tragedy, HEE-HAW looks at the underbelly of the Holiday Season. You are now leaving Bedford Falls... Cast: Natalie Bird, Lauren Blackman, Alex Borinksy, Jenny Nissel, Sam Port (former principal in Bally‘s Jubilee!), Felicia Ricci, Michael Sutherland, and Molly Thomas (Blackman and Thomas are appearing courtesy of Actors' Equity Association). Creative Team: Daniel F. Levin, Director; Sheila Phalon, Set Designer; Natalie Robin, Lighting Designer; Anna Lacivita, Costume Designer; Joy Son, Music Director; Greg Kilarjian, Publicist; La Vie Productions, Consulting Producer. Performances will run Thursdays through Sundays, December 3rd through December 20th, with shows at 7 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and Sundays at 5 p.m. Admission is $18. The Nuyorican Poets Café is located in the heart of Manhattan's East Village, at 236 East 3rd Street, between Avenues B and C, in Manhattan. The café is legendary in New York City, so if you somehow get a little lost in the neighborhood, a friendly local can direct you.


Hee-Haw Marquee

Isaias Hiram Urrabazo

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On Sunday, December 6th, the Gateway Gallery Public Art Collection will present Isaias Hiram Urrabazo in A Sunday Afternoon With Friends. The musical program will feature Isaias singing Stephen Sondheim‘s "Being Alive" from Company and "Johanna" from Sweeney Todd, and "Someone Like You" from Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse's Jekyll and Hyde.

Jason Forbach, will perform Gavin DeGraw's "More Than Anyone," and Benjamin Hale, will do an, as yet, unnamed number. Paul Hansell, will sing Sondheim‘s "Could I Leave You" from Follies, and Nicole Pryor, sings "Breath of Heaven (Mary's Song)," recorded by Amy Grant. Nicole will also join Isaias in a duet of Jill Jackson Miller‘s "Let There Be Peace On Earth," and the nieces of Mr. Urrabazo will join him in singing The Beatles' "Let It Be." Traditional holiday favorites will also be performed. The vocalists, all cast and crew members of The Venetian's Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, will be accompanied by pianist Michael Wineski, who traveled from Amargosa Valley to participate in the program. The 80-minute (with short intermission) concert will take place at the Trinity International School, 2525 Emerson Ave. (one block south of Desert Inn, east of Eastern), at 3 p.m. (doors open at 2:30). Tickets are $15. Gateway Gallery - A Public Art Collection is a 501-c-3 non-profit organization. For more information, call (702) 255-0695.

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Message to Maynard Sloate, from actor/singer Bart Williams...
"I would like to send my old boss, Maynard Sloate, "Very Good Wishes" for a speedy recovery. Most sincerely, Bart Williams." Veteran producer Sloate was hospitalized recently. Williams appeared at the downtown Union Plaza, now known as the Plaza, in a number of Sloate's Las Vegas productions, including Top Banana, Anything Goes, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and Gypsy.


Rush Tower Bar

And speaking of downtown, on Monday we attended media night at the beautiful Rush Tower, adjacent to the Golden Nugget. Big bucks (about $150 million of them) were spent to make this place sparkle - from the beautiful light fixtures, to the 75,000-gallon tropical aquarium, which is the focal point on the casino level. Samplings from the new Chart House were served (we loved the crab cakes and skewered shrimp and avocado) to invited guests. There are 500 brand new hotel rooms, a luxurious new reservation desk, porté cochere and valet, and a million-dollar landscaped entrance at First Street and Carson. Rush Tower will certainly further the Golden Nugget's standing as the crown jewel of downtown Las Vegas. We spotted lots of familiar faces at the gathering, including Ron Futrell, Joe LaVigna, Jackie Brett, Mel Cater, ZZ Zorn, Diane Wisdom, the very observant John Katsilometes, Lou Toomin, Ted and Eve Quillin, Rolando Larraz, Nathan Burton, Carole Hassell, Laura Blackburn and Jerry Fink among the hundreds. There was also a new, to us, face, Chuck Williams. The dapper gentleman from Cleveland and then Kansas City, is now a Las Vegan. We loved the lime green ensemble he wore to the celebration. One of our favorites, the talented comic/impressionist, Gordie Brown, spent his night off from the Golden Nugget showroom, mingling with the press and VIPs. A nice touch was the "press kit" that was passed out to the media-types...photos and pages of descriptive copy were all inside a "flash drive' bracelet to be plugged into your computer when you got to your work place. Many trees are saved in a contemporary approach like this. Amazing. Simply amazing. Check out the Rush Tower when you are in downtown Las Vegas. We think you will be very impressed.

While we were on Fremont Street, we also checked out Hennessey's and the room where The Edwards Twins will open their show on December 26th. We will have more on this over the next few weeks. We also went over to Don't Tell Mama, where owner Minh Pham tells us that he is launching Classical Cabaret on Sunday's from 7 to 9 p.m. There will be a two drink minimum and no cover charge. Richard Weiss, will be featured. Mama's is open seven nights a week, with artists including Michael Spadoni, Mark Randol, Michael Dubay, Robbie Winfield, and Chris Lash at the piano, and Shanon Bond, Bianca Alanis, Sandy Geiger, Emily Miller, Savannah Thomas, Justin Rodriguez, Andrea Whitt and guest performers at the mic. The cabaret nightclub is located at 517 E. Fremont, a half-block east of the Fremont Street Experience in the developing Arts District. For information, including hours, call (702) 207-0788.


Joe LaVigna & Chuck Williams

Terri White in Finian's Rainbow

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Regarding the revival of Finian's Rainbow on Broadway, there are a couple of Las Vegas connections. One of the producers, Kevin Spirtas, currently costarring in Loaded at the Lion Theater in New York, has performed here, in both his own cabaret show, Night and Days, and as "Corny Collins" in Hairspray at the Luxor. Then there's former Las Vegan Terri White as "Dottie," who does the show stopping number, "Necessity," in the Burton Lane/E. Y. "Yip" Harburg musical. To quote from Charles Isherwood's New York Times review (October 30, 2009)..."When the characters in Finian's Rainbow are not swooning beneath a heart-smiting moon, they are caught up in a complicated plot pitting the good ol' boy "Senator Rawkins" (a boisterously oily David Schramm) and his minions against the poor sharecroppers looking to Woody for leadership. From this, the more comic side of the score, come the gospel-inflected showstoppers "Necessity," sung with burly gusto and wry flair by Terri White, and the rhythmic quartet "The Begat," led with equal charisma and vocal command by Chuck Cooper, who plays the senator miraculously transformed into a black man." If you happen to be in New York, Finian's Rainbow is playing at the St. James Theatre, 246 W 44th Street. For tickets, priced from $25 to $127, call Telecharge at (212) 239-6200 (outside the NY metro area call (800) 432-7250), or go to the St. James Theatre Box Office, Mondays through Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. Performances are Tuesdays at 7 p.m., Wednesdays at 2 and 7 p.m., Thursdays at 7 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m. No shows on Mondays.

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Best wishes to our Sagittarian (November 23rd through December 21st) celebrants - Kenny Kerr, Mark Giovi, Beverly Washburn Radell, Rich Little, Larry Henley, Johnny Pate, Joni Illi, Wes Winters, Doug Breniser, Skip Trenier, Roger Caldwell, Bill Fayne, George Verbiwski, Gene Balmain, and Shea Mitchell Satterwhite (daughter of Kristen Hertzenberg who plays "Christine" in Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, and Dana Satterwhite), who turns one on November 29th. Also, happy anniversary wishes to Ken and Melissa Miles Gardner, and Brenda and Steven Lee Cowart.

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On Wednesday, December 2nd, Fremont Street Experience is going country for the annual kickoff party for the National Finals Rodeo. The event highlights major country-music entertainment with free live concerts on two stages at the Fremont Street Experience. The 23rd Annual Downtown Hoedown brings a boot-scootin' entertainment lineup to Fremont Street, with top country music talents Gloriana (who earned the T-Mobile Breakthrough Artist Award, beating out Keri Hilson, Lady Gaga and Kid Cudi, at the American Music Awards last Sunday), Jonathan Singleton, The Lost Trailers and Emerson Drive. The performance schedule is as follows: Gloriana, 6:30-8 pm, 1st Street Stage; Jonathan Singleton, 6:30-8 pm, 3rd Street Stage; The Lost Trailers, 9-10:30 pm, 1st Street Stage; Emerson Drive, 9-10:30 pm, 3rd Street Stage. In addition to the Wednesday kickoff event with country music headliners, Fremont Street experience will present free country music concerts December 3rd through 12th on the 1st Street Stage, from 8 to 11 p.m. nightly. Amid the soaring four-part harmonies and electric stage presence, it's clear that Gloriana represents an exciting new and vibrant force in country music. The group - Tom Gossin, Mike Gossin, Rachel Reinert and Cheyenne Kimball - consists of four uniquely talented and enthusiastic young musicians joining forces to create a fresh, one-of-a-kind sound that reflects the best of today's Nashville. The group released their debut single, "Wild at Heart" in February 2009, which became a Top 20 hit on the BillBoard Hot Country Songs chart. Since then, the group's self-titled album, Gloriana, has featured major singles including "The Way it Goes" and "How Far Do You Wanna Go?" Jonathan Singleton's gritty guitars and blues-saturated vocal attack draw heavily from the American center of soul, while the stories and lyrical craft are pure Music City. With his self-titled debut album, he offers a collection that ranges from the jagged, lonesome "Lover," through some country-simple explorations of love's ups and downs in "Paradise" and "Good Guys," to the near-five-minute southern rock jam "Storms" that concludes the disc. Singleton's success is all the more interesting and promising given his years of hard work and focus on the music instead of the dream. The Lost Trailers established their group in 2000, when members Ryder Lee, Manny Medina, Andrew Nielson, Stokes Nielson and Jeff Potter came together with their undying passion for country music. They made their debut performing at Willie Nelson's annual Fourth of July picnic performing to thousands which catapulted their success. Since that day, The Lost Trailers have staked claim on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart with singles "Call Me Crazy" and "Why Me?" Their fifth album, Holler Back, was released in August 2008, producing a Top Ten country hit in its title track and a Top 20 in "How 'Bout You Don't." Emerson Drive's success grew out of a dream that began in the group's hometown of Grande Prairie, Alberta with band members Brad Mates, Danick Dupelle, Mike Melancon, Dale Wallace and David Pichette. A selfless camaraderie has kept them united through the years, and a tireless work ethic continues to make them one of country's busiest bands. Non-stop touring (their old bus recently passed the one-million mile mark) has won them fan loyalty that has been a key to their longevity. Their success over the years includes numerous Grammy Award nominations and a streak of hit singles including their first Number One single, "Moments." The Downtown Hoedown kicks off at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, December 2. All are invited to mosey on downtown and enjoy the feel-good sounds of country music among the iconic neon lights of the Fremont Street Experience. All concerts are free and open to the public and parking is available at the Fremont Street Experience parking garage located on the corner of Carson and 4th Streets. Downtown Hoedown is produced by Fremont Street Experience in conjunction with Las Vegas Events. Sponsors include Jack Daniel's and Blue Moon. For more information on Downtown Hoedown and other Fremont Street Experience events, visit www.vegasexperience.com. The Fremont Street Experience is a five-block entertainment complex located in historical downtown Las Vegas. In 1995, Fremont Street was closed to vehicular traffic and a giant screen was suspended 90-feet over the street to display spectacular light and sound shows on its 1,500 foot surface. The 12.5 million lights of the Viva Vision screen dazzle 365 nights a year and make the Fremont Street Experience a one-of-a-kind venue. With direct pedestrian access to 10 casinos, more than 60 restaurants, specialty retail and free nightly entertainment, the Fremont Street Experience attracts millions of annual visitors. The Fremont Street Experience can be found online at www.vegasexperience.com.


Skip Trenier

Gloriana

Clarence Gilyard

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From reader Jim Seagrave, Vice President of Advertising fro Boyd Gaming, comes this Saturday afternoon e-mail...A few weeks ago you mentioned in your column that Mel Torme's son, Steve March Torme, would be appearing in Boulder City. So Jan (Mrs. Seagrave) and I made the quick trip last night and were handsomely rewarded with a delightful show in the historic Boulder City Theater, masterfully managed by Desi Arnaz Jr. and his charming wife Amy. We had a great time. Steve is a winning showman who neatly wrapped his own considerable talents around the familiar Mel Torme repertoire. It was a satisfying experience all around. Desi, Jr. and Amy are obviously much beloved in Boulder City...and for good reason. Their theater is a gem. They personally greeted all attendees at the door. Desi took a nifty turn on stage with Steve, playing drums and congas, received huge applause, then went back to running the spotlight. Thanks for the tip." Proud papa Seagrave goes on to say, "My ladies are well, thanks. My youngest daughter, Jill, recently concluded a month's run as the leading lady in "The Nerd" at the Altarena Playhouse in Alameda, California. The Seagrave Sisters, Elizabeth and Jill, are keeping the duet together as occasional backup singers for Pollux, one of San Francisco's better rock nightclub bands."

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The Nevada Conservatory Theatre at UNLV presents the holiday classic A Christmas Carol, adapted by David Bell, tonight through December 13th, in the Judy Bayley Theatre. Clarence Gilyard stars as "Scrooge" and Brad Carroll directs. The tale begins on Christmas Eve seven years after the death of Ebenezer Scrooge's business partner Jacob Marley. That night seven years later, the ghost of Jacob Marley appears before Scrooge and warns him that his soul will be bearing heavy chains for eternity if he does not change his greedy ways, and also predicts that a series of other ghosts will follow. Three ghosts visit Scrooge during the course of the night, fulfilling Marley's prophecy. The first, the Ghost of Christmas Past, takes Scrooge to the scenes of his boyhood and youth. The second spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Present, takes Scrooge to the home of his nephew Fred and to the humble dwelling of his clerk, Bob Cratchit. The third spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, harrows Scrooge with dire visions of the future if he does not learn and act upon what he has witnessed. Gilyard earned his BA in Theatre Arts from California State University, Dominguez Hills and his MFA from Southern Methodist University. As an actor, director, and producer, he has worked in television and film for more than 25 years. After 13 straight years as the costar on two successful television series, Matlock and Walker, Texas Ranger, Gilyard took a professional sabbatical and earned his MFA in theaer performance. He now teaches acting at UNLV and works professionally in television, and theater. Recently, Clarence performed the role of Ian in Shining City. Carroll enjoys a multi-faceted career as a director, musical director, writer, composer, arranger, conductor, actor and teacher, with more than 250 plays, musicals, operas and concerts to his credit. Nationally, he has worked in various capacities with such companies as the Utah Shakespearean Festival, PCPA Theaterfest, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis, Idaho Shakespeare, Great Lakes Theatre Festival, Anchorage Opera, Utah Festival Opera, UC Santa Barbara, University of Illinois, Hot Springs Music Festival and the Los Angeles Music Center. As a director, writer and musical arranger for Walt Disney Entertainment, Carroll was a key creator of three shows for the multi-billion dollar TokyoDisneySea theme park that opened in Japan in 2001. Others in the cast include Chase Daniels, Lisa Ferris, Ryan Fonville, Kate Mazzola, Angelo Molineri, Jaime Puckett, Justin Quintos, Billy Scott Reed, Jake Sauter, Savannah Smith, Griffin Stanton-Ameisen, Frank Strebel, Dalen Todorova, Christina Wells, and Clifton Yada. Scenic design is by Dana Moran Williams; costume design by Ashleigh Poteat; lighting design by Marihan Mehelba; and sound design by Nick Spraul. Production stage manager is Ashlee Wiseman and technical director is Jeff Chase. Performances are at 8 p.m., tonight, Friday, November 27th and tomorrow, December 3rd, 4th, 5th, 10th, 11th and 12th, and at 2 p.m. on Sundays, November 29th, December 6th and 13th. Tickets are $20-$30 and on sale at the UNLV Performing Arts Center Box Office. Special rates are available for groups of 15 or more. Performing Arts Center Box Office hours are Mondays through Fridays, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The box office may be reached by calling (702) 895-ARTS (2787).

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The "New Mr. Vegas," George Wallace, ushers in the holiday season by giving back to the community. Beginning Tuesday, December 1st through Saturday, December 12th, guests who bring two or more new, unwrapped toys to George Wallace's toy drive will receive one free ticket to his show. The ticket can be redeemed anytime from the evening of the donation through Saturday, December 19th. Donations can be dropped in the designated donation box located to the right of The Flamingo Showroom near the Donny & Marie kiosk at the Flamingo Hotel. Donations are accepted from 6 to 10 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. All donations will benefit HELP of Southern Nevada, an organization that brings toys to more than 10,000 local families each year. George Wallace is a veteran comedian and winner of the American Comedy Award for "Best Stand-Up Comedian." He has been featured in his own HBO special, One Night Stand, and has appeared in several major motion pictures, including Judd Apatow's latest feature, Funny People, and the Coen Brothers' hit, Ladykillers, among others. In addition, Wallace has appeared on numerous television shows including Chelsea Lately, Oprah, The Mo'Nique Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and the Late Show with David Letterman. HELP of Southern Nevada (Housing, Emergency Services, Life Skills and Prevention) was started by the Junior League of Las Vegas and incorporated in 1970. HELP is an organization that responds to the needs of the growing Las Vegas community and serves more than 55,000 people in a fiscal year. Some of HELP's programs include emergency resource services, homeless services, a youth center, holiday assistance and baby first services. For more information, please visit www.helpsonv.org. George Wallace is in his sixth year as a headliner at the Flamingo and has packed the showroom every night with thousands of laughing fans. Known best for his "Yo Mama" jokes and his infamous "I Be Thinkin'" lines, Wallace creates a one-on-one atmosphere with his audiences, including them in the show and giving away a multitude of prizes during each performance. For more information on George Wallace, please visit www.georgewallace.net. George Wallace performs at 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at The Flamingo Hotel. All ages are welcome. For ticket information please call (702) 733-3333 or visit www.FlamingoLasVegas.com.


George Wallace

Karen Rontowski

Jim Rees

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The Rampart Casino has teamed up with the JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa and United Blood Services, to host a blood drive on today (Friday, November 27th, and tomorrow, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Patrons who donate blood at the JW Marriott's Marquis Ballroom will receive one complimentary buffet coupon for the Rampart Buffet, a special free gift from the Rampart Casino and a United Blood Services T-Shirt. To make an appointment to donate blood, please visit www.bloodhero.com and enter the sponsor code "Rampart" or call United Blood Services at (702) 562-2166. Walk-ins are also welcome. The Rampart Casino and the JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa are located at 221 North Rampart Boulevard. Cannery Casino Resorts, LLC, owns and operates the Cannery Casino & Hotel in North Las Vegas; the Rampart Casino within the Resort in Summerlin, also home of the J.W. Marriott Resort; and Eastside Cannery Casino & Hotel. Cannery Casino Resorts can be reached at (702) 856-5300.

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One of the most popular comedians to appear at the Comedy Stop, located in the Congo Room at the Sahara Hotel, is Manny Oliveira. Producer Bob Kephart has brought Oliveira back to the Comedy Stop for the week of November 30th through December 6th. Appearing with Manny will be Karen Rontowski and Greg Vaccarello. Oliveira has been appearing professionally for more than thirty years, beginning as an actor in Boston and eventually moving into the world of stand up comedy. Manny has appeared on HBO, Showtime's "Comedy Club Network," and numerous comedy specials. He can also be seen on "Laffapalooza 2006" on Comedy Central and played the part of "Father Cisero" in the film "Crossroads." Oliveira also has been a semi-regular on "Army Wives" on the Lifetime network. When not working as a stand up comedian, Manny continues to be in demand for conventions and as a motivational speaker and teacher. He was recently featured in articles for USA Today and the Atlanta Business Chronicle. But it's his acting and comedic approach to life that makes Manny a mainstay in comedy clubs across the country. Greg Vaccarello knew that he wanted to be a comedic performer the first time he heard Jackie Gleason say, "How sweet it is!" Years of observing people, combined with his acting ability, have helped Vaccarello craft a unique show. During his performance, you might meet a variety of characters: You may encounter Uncle Jack Mahoney, the obnoxious cop, and his drunk, kilt-wearing cousin. Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci may make an appearance as they audition for the Flintstones. Greg's closing is his portrayal of a narcissistic magician which is considered a classic. Karen Rontowski has worked with some of the greatest stars in show biz, including Bob Hope, Ray Charles and The Monkees. David Brenner says, "Even if you can spell Karen Rontowski, you'd better remember it, because she is great!" She has entertained the troops with tales of her Polish father, who once put a drawbridge on their house...actually he just installed the garage door upside down. But that's Karen, always accentuating the positive. Showtime for the Comedy Stop, inside the Sahara Congo Room, is 9 p.m. nightly. Tickets are priced from $24.95 plus tax and fees, with a special ticket price for Nevada residents (with a valid drivers license) of $19.95 plus tax and fees. For reservations, call (702) 737-2515

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The Firefighters of Southern Nevada Burn Foundation will kick off its 8th annual "Fill the Truck" Toy Drive, today (Friday, November 27th). The seasonal toy drive will take place at select Wal-Mart locations across the valley, every Saturday and Sunday, throughout the holiday season, through December 20th, with final distribution day on Tuesday, December 22nd. Firefighters and foundation volunteers will be collecting new, unwrapped toys and gift cards in $10 increments on December 5th and 6th, 12th and 13th, and 19th and 20th, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at any of the five designated Wal-Mart locations: 8060 West Tropical Parkway, located off of Centennial Parkway and Highway 95; 6464 N Decatur Road, located at I-215; 7200 Arroyo Cross Pkwy, located at S. Rainbow and I-215; 540 Marks St, located at I-95 and Sunset; and 4350 N. Nellis and Las Vegas Blvd. In 2008, the "Fill the Fire Truck" Toy Drive provided toys to more than 18,000 children of low-income families throughout Southern Nevada. For 2009, the Firefighters of Southern Nevada Burn Foundation hopes to provide toys for 21,000 children. Several community service programs and organizations have partnered with Firefighters of Southern Nevada Burn Foundation to help make this year's toy drive a success. The following organizations have provided the Burn Foundation with a list of families and their needs for this holiday season: Child Focus, Las Vegas Urban League, Hemophilia Foundation, Clark County Social Services, Family Resource Centers, Family to Family Connection programs, Salvation Army, St. Jude's Women's Auxiliary, along with several low-income middle schools and local churches. These community service programs will be providing the Firefighters of Southern Nevada Burn Foundation with a list of the children and their needs. Wal-Mart, Designated Drivers, House of Blues Las Vegas, Storage One and Beasley Broadcasting have also shown their support through private toy and monetary donations. Firefighters of Southern Nevada Burn Foundation, a non-profit organization guided by valley firefighters from Clark County Fire Department, Las Vegas Fire & Rescue, North Las Vegas Fire Department Nellis Fire Department and Henderson Fire Department, is a charitable organization that reaches out to the Southern Nevada community during catastrophic situations and lends a hand in areas where other organizations are unable to help. The organization has raised more than $650,000 for the Southern Nevada community since 2003. In November 2008, the organization started their newest program, "Program Services," providing assistance to families that have recently experienced a fire tragedy. Through a partnership with the American Red Cross, the Firefighters of Southern Nevada Burn Foundation assists 6 to 10 families per month. For more information, visit www.theburnfoundation.org.

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On Tuesday, the popular Hash House A Go Go restaurant, will announce plans for its first Strip location. Restaurant co-owner, Jim Rees, and partners from the new Strip location, will jointly reveal the location, partnership and a surprise opening date for the second Hash House A Go Go in Las Vegas. This will be the third Hash House A Go Go location, with the first one being in the Hillcrest section of San Diego. In celebration of the big announcement, on Tuesday, the Las Vegas eatery (at 6800 W. Sahara Ave., just east of Rainbow) will feature a giant "Strip Bound" pancake to all patrons for just $5.95. Hash House A Go Go brings farm-fresh food with a funky, modern twist, to the locals and visitors of Las Vegas. The well-known restaurant is famous for its unusual décor and enormous portions. The restaurant has garnered dozens of local and national accolades and has been featured on the Food Network, Martha Stewart, Dr. Phil, and most recently, the popular Travel Channel program, Man v. Food. For reservations or inquiries, please call 702-804-4646 or visit www.hashhouseagogo.com.



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