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.  

Claire Voyant  

Note: This is a past column from March 05, 2010
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - March 5, 2010

Vince Falcone & artist Peter Justl

Frank Marino & Diva Dancers

We are a bit behind on sharing some of our recent entertainment experiences with our readers. Although we don't call ourselves "critics," and we don't give grades or stars to what we have seen, we are happy to suggest performances that we have enjoyed...or not.

On Saturday, February 20th, we made the trip to see singer/impressionist, Bob Anderson at the North Las Vegas Cannery. He played to a full house, with lots of friends and fans in the crowd. We saw Judy Coco, Jerry Fink, Vera Goulet, Norm Johnson and Nancy Barr, Jessica Marciel, Babe Pier, Cork Proctor, and Art Vargas (who recently did his own show at the Cannery-owned Rampart) in the audience. In addition to singing standards like "I Get Along Without You Very Well," "After Today," "What's New," "You're Gonna Hear From Me," and Phyllis Molinary and Artie Butler's "Here's To Life" in his own voice, Anderson did spot on impressions of Johnny Mathis (singing "Over the Weekend"), Neil Diamond ("September Morn"), Barry Manilow ("I Write the Songs"), Ray Charles ("Georgia"), Tony Bennett ("Steppin' Out With My Baby/I Left My Heart In San Francisco"), Dean Martin ("When You're Smiling"), Sammy Davis Jr. ("Come Back To Me/What Kind of Fool Am I"), Frank Sinatra ("Angel Eyes"), and snippets of Steve Lawrence, Buddy Greco, Bobby Darin and Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong. A touching moment was Anderson singing "If Ever I Would Leave You" in the voice of the late Robert Goulet, with his widow, Vera, in the audience. Anderson was backed by Vincent Falcone on piano, Vinnie's brother Marc Falcone on keys, John Nasshan on drums, and Kenny Seiffert on bass. It is very evident to us that former Las Vegan Anderson, who currently lives and works in Branson, would like to be back performing (and maybe living) in this city. It wouldn't surprise us to see him back here again. As Cousin Claire has said many times before (she does tend to repeat herself), most of the people who move away from Las Vegas, eventually come back. It's true!

In a surprise move, at a song break in Anderson's Saturday night show, journalist/publicist Norm Johnson and architect/artist Peter Justl came out on stage to present his friends, Vince and Annette Falcone with a portrait of the musician done by Justl, adding a nice touch to the evening.

On Thursday, the 25th, we took in two events - early in the evening, it was Media and VIP night at the Imperial Palace for Frank Marino's Divas Las Vegas, and late night, it was the February edition of the (usually) monthly Composers Showcase. Although Marino's new revue has been up and running since October (following a successful four-show September "audition" over Labor Day weekend). When the hotel quickly decided that Divas had passed the "test," and would be staying on, work got underway to build some permanent sets and add some extra pizzazz to the production. It was decided to wait to hold the VIP Grand Opening festivities until everything was ready for critiquing. A number of the carefully made-up cast faces are familiar, having made the transition from the Riviera's An Evening at La Cage (where Frank Marino starred in the show for almost 25 years) to the Imperial Palace's Divas Las Vegas. The impersonators are Larry Edwards as Beyonce and Tina Turner, Joseph Santellano as Bette Midler and Shirley Bassey, Kenneth Blake as Madonna and Dolly Parton, Derrick Barry as Lady Gaga and Britney Spears, Steven Wayne as Celine Dion and Cher, Chris Woods as Whitney Houston and Diana Ross, Sammy Gonzales as Liza Minnelli, and, of course, Frank Marino as host/hostess, Joan Rivers. It's Kenneth Blake who performs the effective and dramatic, "What Makes a Man a Man" (sung by the oh so French, Charles Aznavour), before the big finale. One very noticeable change (and we feel, improvement) is the addition of six male dancers to the production, and these boys can really dance! As for the hunky half-dozen, they are Jeremy Butcher, Michael Cammarata, Justin LaFluer, Stephen Lowry, Jason Mckensie and Paul Pratt (both Pratt and Butcher were cast members of Naked Boys Singing!, now in its ninth month at The Onyx in the off-Strip Commercial Center). The pre-show party, called "Drinks & Desserts With the Divas," offered invited guests everything from a trip back to their youth, to the Sin Sity Sisters - a group of hairy-chested men in outrageous make-up and get-ups, who served as hostesses. Those Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence passed around diet-busters such as individual boxes of familiar movie candy (Milk Duds, Junior Mints, Raisinetes, Good & Plenty, Starburst, Skittles and Whoppers), along with Hostess "pastries," including Twinkies and Ho Hos and Ding Dongs and Suzy Q's, on silver trays. The tables were decorated with silver-wrapped Hershey Kisses, Ring Pops, Valentine Candy Bracelets, while oversize martini glasses containing pink cotton candy were used as centerpieces. The audience was enthusiastic, about both the party and Divas Las Vegas. With the Australian boy band, Human Nature; and the Japanese muscle musical, Matsuri, already established, it looks like the IP has another entertainment winner in its stable.

Angelica Bridges

Zowie Bowie's Chris Phillips

Raymond del Barrio

Among those that we spotted in the crowd were Larry Atello, Angelica Bridges (formerly of Baywatch and Playboy magazine fame, and now appearing in Fantasy at the Luxor), Lon Bronson, Nathan Burton, Ron Camari, Doug Elfman, Dick Feeney, Jerry Fink, Amanda Flahive, Vera Goulet, Carole Hassell, the men of Human Nature, Norm Johnson, Robin Leach, John Neeland, Ken Owens, and Zowie Bowie's Chris Phillips. And yes, we noticed that when Marino was giving credit to those who helped him along the way, he "forgot" to mention his former producer, old "what's-his-name." That was very tactful, Frank.

Then it was out the door, without even staying for the final bows (or curtseys), to make it to the Liberace Museum and the Composers Showcase before the 10:30 start (no speed limits were broken in getting there). These showcases are extremely impressive, giving professionals who usually have to stick to a script, the opportunity to display other sides of their talents. Many of the musicians and singers who perform in big productions six nights out of the week, also write music and musicals. The Composers Showcase gives them the chance to show their wares to, mostly, other actors. Last week was no different, except there were a few new, or rarely seen, faces in the spotlight. New Yorker, actor/singer/dancer Jon Peterson, in Vegas to perform as a special guest for the Performing Arts Society of Nevada, graced the showcase with a song called "Skidoo." Young Phillip Seaton, formerly with Think the Band, did "Broke Down Cheater," while singer, songwriter Larry Hart (in his first time performing at the showcase) did "Stand Strong" from his musical, Sisterella, and vocalist Raymond del Barrio sang Hart's "Because She Loves Me." One of the many high points was Rebecca Spencer (visiting from Seattle) singing Keith Thompson's "That's My Life," while Philip Fortenberry accompanied her on piano; and visiting pianist (and funny fellow), Floridian, Dennis Edwards, playing his two of his original compositions, "All Alone" and "Buckle Up."

Dennis Edwards

Thommie Walsh

By the way, Keith Thompson, the glue that holds the showcase together, announced that the March edition will probably take place on APRIL 1st (no fooling!). The primary reason for the late date is because Mr. Thompson, who is, as we have mentioned many times (and will continue to do so) is the Musical Director for Jersey Boys, will be at the Springside Inn in Auburn, New York, doing a production of his clever musical, Kooky Tunes, for the March 26th, 27th debut season of the Inn's new dinner theater series, which is dedicated to the memory of Auburn native, Thommie Walsh. The late two-time Tony and Drama Desk Award-winner passed away from complications of lymphoma in June of 2007. Prior to his death, Walsh directed productions of Kooky Tunes to sold-out crowds in Manhattan nightspots. The revue also was part of a tribute to Walsh at Sardi's after his death. In Theatre Magazine wrote, "Keith Thompson's Kooky Tunes is distinguished by an irreverent sense of humor that consistently amuses and provides big laughs." The upcoming Kooky Tunes cast will feature Patrick DeGennaro, Vanessa A. Jones, Perry Payne, Jay Rogers and Thompson himself.

We will have more about this project, AND Thommie Walsh, next week.

The Cast of Kooky Tunes

Jon Peterson

On Sunday, the 28th, we saw London-born, musical theater star, Jon Peterson, in his one man Song Man, Dance Man at the Clark County Flamingo Library. Presented by the Performing Arts Society of Nevada, this talented entertainer's theater piece paid tribute to some of his personal favorites - George M. Cohan, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Anthony Newley, Sammy Davis Jr., and Bobby Darin, in both song and dance (thus, the name of his show). And, surprise! Busy, busy Keith Thompson accompanied.

Travis Cloer, who portrays Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys at The Palazzo, stepped out of that role to do his own show (actually, two shows on the same night) in the Cabaret at Liberace's on Wednesday. With Keith Thompson at the piano (there's that name again), Tyler Williams on upright bass, Brian Czach on drums, Steve Cantor on guitar, Gary Cordell on trumpet and Eric Tewalt on saxophone, on this night, Cloer's selection of songs did not include one Frankie Valli tune, although one song, "Since I Don't Have You," showed off Travis' Valli-like falsetto abilities. Like his first solo recording, Cloer calls his show, Setting the Standard, and, for the most part, standards are what the personable young singer delivers. From Cole Porter's "In the Still of the Night" combined with "That's All," Irving Berlin's "Cheek to Cheek," Duke Ellington's "I'm Beginning To See the Light," Hoagy Carmichael's "Georgia On My Mind," and George and Ira Gershwin's "A Foggy Day (In London Town)," to the Beatles, "My Love," Travis gave each song his own personal touch. The audience (sold out for the first show and almost full for the second), was delighted with the performance by this approachable young man.

Travis Cloer

Larry Atello

Sharon McNight

On a personal note...It's hard to believe that this serious musician is the same fellow who joined Erich Bergen (late of Jersey Boys) and Rene Ruiz (Toxic Audio) in Britney Spears' "I'm Not a Girl." Yep. That's what they sang in a showcase at the Liberace Museum. We have a feeling that Liberace would have enjoyed it all as much as the rest of us did.

And speaking of Larry Atello, rumor has it that Matt Remington, the company manager of Tony n' Tina's Wedding, would like Atello to return to the interactive dinner show, if even for a few nights a week. Tony n' Tina's director, Larry Pellegrini, as well as producers, Jeff Gitlin and Raphael Berko, would like for that to happen as well. This might work out very well for Atello, as it would give him the opportunity to do other his Have a Nice Day Bon Jovi tribute show, both here and out of the city. Tony n' Tina's Wedding, is currently serving up dinner, music and laughs at the V Theater in the Miracle Mile Mall at Planet Hollywood.

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Here are reminders for some of the best things (too many) that are happening around the city this weekend...
Tomorrow afternoon, it's a gathering of Bill Fayne's show business friends, pooling their talents in a benefit to honor his standing in the community and raise money to help with his mounting medical bills. In November, Bill had major throat surgery in a Southern California hospital. Things did not go as planned or hoped for the well-liked musician, and Fayne wound up being hospitalized until January. Beginning at 2, the Suncoast showroom will be the site of the fundraiser. Although he is now back in Las Vegas, it is not known when Fayne can return to work. Add Susan Anton and Tina Walsh to the list of top performers mentioned in last Friday's column. This should be a blockbuster. We will tell you that tickets are $25, $35 and $45, plus taxes and fees, but, by the time you are reading this, chances are that all the tickets will have been sold. On the slim chance that there are still some seats available, call (702) 636-7075.

Up the hill, not too far from the Suncoast, the Starbright Theatre is featuring the uniquely talented, Sharon McNight in Betty, Betty, Bette! This is a return trip to Vegas for McNight, who performed her Sophie Tucker tribute show, and Gone But Not Forgotten, in earlier performances at the Sun City Summerlin theater. This time, it's Betty Hutton, Betty Grable and Bette Davis who are getting the McNight treatment. Tickets for the 7 p.m. show, presented by Michael Chapman and ChapQuist Entertainment, are $15 for Sun City Summerlin residents, and $17 for those who live elsewhere. All ticket sales are check or cash (exact change required). No credit cards accepted. The theater is located at 2215 Thomas Ryan Blvd. (off Rampart, west on Lake Mead to the top of the hill). For up-to-date information on Starbright Theatre shows, call (702) 240-1301.

Jason Forbach

Las Vegas Academy's Thoroughly Modern Millie

Jimmy Hopper

Also on March 6th, the Las Vegas Philharmonic presents Pops Concert III, Broadway a la Carte, at 8 p.m. inside Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall on the UNLV Campus. Five spectacular singers, Elly Brown, Bruce Ewing, Mary Ann Robinson, Kristy Tingle and Jason Forbach, will join the Philharmonic, to take audience members on an unforgettable journey with music from Les Miserables, Evita, South Pacific and Hello, Dolly! Forbach, who recently wound up his engagement in Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, is stepping in for the previously scheduled Kevin Sherrell. Sherrell has pneumonia. Ticket prices are $35 to $75 for general seating, $31.50 to $67.50 for seniors (62 and older) and students (18 and younger), and are available at the UNLV Performing Arts Center Box Office or at Call (702) 895-ARTS for any questions.

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What else is going on around here?
The award-winning Las Vegas Academy is presenting West Side Story, at 7 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, through March 20th. We have seen a number of productions put on by this outstanding school - Cats, Miss Saigon School Edition (which even had a helicopter come down onto the stage from goodness knows where), Little Women the Musical, Sweeney Todd, and Thoroughly Modern Millie among them - put on by the students at the downtown high school, and have always been extremely impressed. The acting, singing, musicians, costumes, makeup and sets are top rate and of a professional nature. It's easy to forget that you are watching kids, and not seasoned Broadway pros. This version of the Leonard Bernstein musical has a cast of 75 young actors, more than 40 musicians, and a crew of about 60. Tickets are $18 and may be purchased by calling (800) 585-3737, going to or heading to the Lowden Theatre for the Performing Arts box office, located at 8th and Clark Streets. Box office hours are weekdays from 2 to 4 p.m. For additional information, call (702) 799-7800, extension 5103.

Better hop to it, if you want to catch the unique Jimmy Hopper during the rest of his very short (this time around) stint in Vegas. Hopper closes out his Sundays at the Palms Lounge, this Sunday, March 7th. Show time is from 7 to 10 p.m. and there is no charge, no cover, no drink minimum to see this fine singer, musician. Hurry. Hurry.

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Tempest Storm

Cherry Wainer

Some of our Pisces friends who are celebrating birthdays include - Candi Cazau, James Lee Reeves (aka Milo Tremley), Harry Goldson, Brent Barrett, Sean Astin, Carrot Top, Bernadette Peters, Tempest Storm, Jed Allen, Don Cadette, Cherry Wainer, Betty (Mrs. Guy) Mitchell, Tyler Cohen, Mary Wilson, Cruz Gallagher, Lance Burton, Marlon Jackson, Al Jarreau, Margaret Kurtz, Toni Andrews, Teresa Gilmore and Jaymi Marshal.

Also, happy anniversary wishes to James Lee and Amber Reeves who are celebrating their 8th, and to Robert and Debra Danielson Allen.

Incidentally, Bernadette Peters will close out the 2009-2010 New York Stage & Beyond season at UNLV, as she performs in concert on May 1st.

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Now in its 20th year, the World Magic Seminar was held at The Orleans earlier this week. Many of the top magicians were in Las Vegas for the occasion. Among those present, were Criss Angel, Eugene Burger, Lance Burton, Nathan Burton, Siegfried Fischbacher, Penn Jillette, Roy Horn, Mac King, Max Maven, Jeff McBride, Darren Romeo, Teller, Johnny Thompson, and Fielding West. Lance helped kick off a week of magic for the Youth Program of the World Magic Seminar at his castle in Henderson, hosting a luncheon and meet-and-greet with the most famous magicians in the world.

Magic Men

Sam Port

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Sam Port, who was a principal singer, dancer in Donn Arden's Jubilee! at Bally's, before leaving the production show to spread his artistic wings, informs us that he was just cast in Rent at the Palace Theatre in New Hampshire. He will be playing "Benny." Rehearsals start next week. "I've dreamed of being in this show since I was a little kid," says the happy and excited young performer, "and it's hard to contain my enthusiasm now!" We ask, "Why try to contain it?" Jump! Scream! Shout it from the rooftops! Congratulations, Sam.

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Out of town reminders...
If you happen to be in the Los Angeles area, and if you happen to be interested in recording your own CD (especially in cabaret style), let us recommend Mark Winkler's his How To Make Your Own CD (and Not Go Broke) workshop. Presented by Cabaret West, the informative three-hour session takes place this Monday, March 8th, from 7 to 10 p.m., at the famed Gardenia Restaurant and Lounge, at 7066 Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood. The cost for Cabaret West Members is $25, and $35 for non members. For reservations, call the Cabaret West voice mail line at (310) 226-7033, or e-mail to
[email protected]. Payment in cash or check the day of the class or in advance through to vendor ca[email protected]. Drinks and food will be available. Winkler is a working performer, songwriter, recording artist, so he knows of what he speaks...through experience. He and jazz singer, Judy Wexler, performed at the Summerlin Library Theater on Valentine's Day. Tell Mark that Cousin Claire sent you.

Mark Winkler with UCLA Class

KT Sullivan & Mark Nadler

And, if you are in the Manhattan area, specifically around the Algonquin Hotel and the famed Oak Room (59 W. 44th Street), go see KT Sullivan and Mark Nadler in Gershwin...Here To Stay. The talented twosome, with special guest Jon Weber, will perform from March 9th through April 10th - Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8:30 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays at 8:30 and 11 p.m. Having triumphed in their recent Oak Room salute to Cole Porter ("oo la la! C'est magnifique!", New York Times), Mark and KT now turn their considerable talents to two more greats of the musical pantheon, George and Ira Gershwin. From March 9th through April 10th in their new Oak Room show, Gershwin...Here to Stay, KT and Mark will lend their unique vocal and pianistic interpretations to such classic tunes as "Of Thee I Sing," "Do It Again!," "I'll Build A Stairway to Paradise," "Embraceable You," "But Not For Me" and "Swanee." Chicago jazz pianist, Jon Weber, will make a special guest appearance.

KT's Broadway shows include George Abbott's Broadway, Threepenny Opera with Sting and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. She appeared in the national company of Annie Get Your Gun and has received numerous awards, most recently the prestigious Mabel Mercer Award. Regionally she appeared at the Old Globe Theatre, the Hartford Stage Company, Municipal Opera in St. Louis, Goodspeed Opera House and Carnegie Hall with Michael Feinstein. Among her many CDs is "Swell Party...R.S.V.P. Cole Porter," the recorded version of her Oak Room show with Mark Nadler and her just-released "Timeless Tunes." Mark has performed at Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops and has been a soloist with the Baltimore Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony and Oregon Symphony. He has played at Lincoln Center and at almost every major nightclub in New York, Los Angles, Chicago, San Francisco and London. His off-Broadway Gershwin revue, American Rhapsody, was nominated for Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel Awards. Broadway credits include Dame Edna: The Royal Tour and The Sheik of Avenue B. His new CD, Beyond Words: Lyrics by Ira Gershwin, will be released during his Oak Room run. Dinner and Performances are offered seasonally Tuesday through Saturday, by reservation only. Dinner seating begins at 6:30 p.m. with an 8:30 p.m. curtain time. There is a second performance on Friday and Saturday evenings at 11 p.m. Guests may enjoy an la carte menu at 10 p.m., prior to the second show. Critic Stephen Holden of the New York Times, describes Nadler and Sullivan as, "Ferociously entertaining," and goes on to say "Ms. Sullivan and Mr. Nadler suggest a ripened Botticelli Venus squired by Danny Kaye, freshly incarnated as a hyperkinetic piano man visiting from vaudeville heaven." Has Holden ever lied to you? Go. See these two. There is a $50 cover charge per person plus either a $30 food and beverage minimum or a $60 prix fixe menu. For show reservations, call (212) 419-9331 or go online to [email protected].

Rebecca Spencer & Philip Fortenberry

F.I.O.R.E. Presidents

Joni Illi

Also, original Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular cast member (she played Madame Giry), Rebecca Spencer's concert, Broadway Passages, takes place at the intimate Blue Heron Art Center on idyllic Vashon Island near Seattle, at 8 p.m. on March 13th. Rebecca's longtime collaborator and Music Director/Pianist, Philip Fortenberry, will be flying in from his Las Vegas "day job" as the Associate Conductor for The Venetian's Jersey Boys to join her onstage. Tickets are priced at $15 and $17, and include complimentary champagne and deserts. Seating is limited, and no one under 21 will be admitted. You may purchase tickets thru Brown Paper Tickets, at this link. If you happen to be in the neighborhood...

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Apparently Lily Tomlin was happy with her first Las Vegas gig at the MGM Grand's Hollywood Theatre, as she is back there, from next Thursday, the 11th, through March 17th. Call (702) 891-7777 for tickets. THEN, from April 29th through May 5th, Lily returns to Las Vegas...this time to the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. And actor Chazz Palminteri, whose one man show Las Vegas Review-Journal theater critic Anthony Del Valle called " of the most exciting theater experiences on the Strip." The R-J's Mike Weatherford called Palmenteri's A Bronx Tale the "No. 1 show of 2009!" and the Las Vegas Sun's Joe Brown described the "New York Classic" as "...richly comic and compelling." Call it what you will, Palmenteri returns to The Venetian, in "Back by Popular Demand" performances, April 28th through May 9th, and again October 7th through the 18th. Tickets range from $37.25 to $157.25, and may be purchased by calling the Venetian/Palazzo Box Offices at (702) 414-9000. As for Jason Alexander, portraying motivational speaker "Donny Clay," it looks like he will continue to perform on occasional dates at Planet Hollywood, as long as interest is there and tickets are selling. For this go round, he is there through March 14th. For more dates, and additional information, call (702) 785-5000. We had a feeling this was going to happen with these types of shows.

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It's time for Obama, Bush (either or both), Clinton, Carter and any other living president, Italian or otherwise, to get together for a meeting of the non-club club called F.I.O.R.E. (Fun Italians Organizing Ridiculous Events). If you already have the date for the gathering marked on your calendar, and the notation isn't in a square for Tuesday, March 9th, it's in the wrong spot, and on the wrong day. So, change your notes and your plans and show up at Bugsy's (located on the southwest corner of Sahara and Jones) at 11:30 a.m. on March 9th...not before, not after, but March 9th. Detective (and president) Gordon Martines (pronounced Martinez), who is running for sheriff, will be the special guest for the March meeting, so leave your contraband at home. Martines (still pronounced Martinez) will speak about crime in our community. A question and answer session will take place after the detectives' talk. Head honcho, Nelson Sardelli, is still recovering from hand surgery, so this might be the opportune time to challenge him to an arm wrestling contest. Please let president Gene Vitale know if you will be attending (and you had better be there) by e-mailing to [email protected]. For more information on F.I.O.R.E., check out

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A week from tonight, March 12th, between 6:30 and 9:30 p.m., it's Joni Illi's turn in the spotlight at Frediani's Authentic Italian Restaurant. Backed by Joe Darro at the piano, Illi performs primarily pop standards from the Great American Songbook. Frediani's is located at 2895 N. Green Valley Parkway, one block north of Sunset, next to 24 Hour Fitness. For additional information, call (702) 433-1494.

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Eric Michael Gillett

Kathryn Grayson & Randy Carlson

Vegas vets, whether they be tourists or locals, may remember Eric Gillett (he put the Michael in between his first and last name, after he left the city for the Big Apple) as a principal in Donn Arden productions at MGM Grand/Bally's, the Las Vegas Hilton's Bal du Moulin Rouge, and in Maynard Sloate's book shows at the downtown Plaza (then known as the Union Plaza). Following 11 years as the "Singing Ringmaster" with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Eric Michael Gillett has done Broadway (The Frogs, Sweet Smell of Success, Kiss Me Kate), movies (The Producers and Maid in Manhattan), TV (Law & Order), and recorded two solo albums (Cast of Thousands: The Songs of Craig Carnelia and Sing a Rainbow). Tomorrow night at 7 and 9:30 p.m., Gillett performs his own show, Best of My Love, at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (One Center Street in Newark). In the Best of My Love, the MAC and Bistro Award-winning vocalist reflects his eclectic musical tastes, fearlessly intertwining the Great American Songbook with contemporary pop tunes. "I listen to all kinds of music," he says. "The soundtrack to my life is different than the soundtrack to my parents'. A lot of people think songwriting has deteriorated, that pop music doesn't have the same dramatic force it used to have. But good writing is good writing, no matter where you find it." For The Best of My Love, Gillett combines Broadway songs with reinventions of pop hits by Madonna ("Take a Bow"), Back Street Boys ("As Long as You Love Me"), The Eagles ("Best of My Love"), Celine Dion ("Because You Loved Me"), Phil Collins ("Separate Lives"), and more." Don Rebic serves as Musical Director/Arranger, with Chip Jackson on bass. For ticket info, call (888) GO-NJPAC.

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From Claire Voyant reader, Randy Carlson, comes this e-mail...It was with great sadness that I learned of the great MGM star Kathryn Grayson passing away. I had met her a couple of times over the years -- the first time she autographed my old 78 record album of "Showboat" - I was so happy to have something so valuable - autographed by one of the stars! She was very nice to visit with. Several years later I again met her in Las Vegas and told her about the time she autographed my record album - which unfortunately was one of the thousands of records that got stolen from my storage unit! I was so upset that I had stored it there in the first place and had not kept it at home! She was horrified to hear my story and told me to come by the next day and bring something else so she could sign it --- luckily Howard Keel was there also (whom she co-stared with in Showboat) she said "And go over to Howard Keel and get him to sign it too - tell him I said so!" I was lucky this time to have an LP Album of "Showboat" autographed not only by Kathryn Grayson but also by Howard Keel - thanks to her --- and she said, "let's sign a picture for you too of us both from "Kiss Me Kate"! She was very dear to have done that for me! Bless you Kathryn!
Randy Carlson

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