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.
Note: This is a past column from March 12, 2010
You can find the current column HERE
Las Vegas - March 12, 2010
Lee Roy Reams as Roger DeBris
Bill Nolte as Franz Liebkind
Where do they go from here? Following a stint or two (or more) on a Las Vegas stage, where do the actor/performers go and what do they do after they leave here? Many return to New York or California or wherever they may have come from. Here are what a few of these talented folks are doing...
From The Producers, Lee Roy Reams, who played "Roger DeBris" in the Mel Brooks musical romp at Paris Las Vegas (the theater is now being occupied by Barry Manilow), is off sailing on the Regent Navigator, thanks to his association with the Theatre Guild. Reams is a favorite of the passengers and crew, as are the talented people he takes with him. For this particular journey at sea, through March 19th, Lee Roy is accompanied by fellow entertainers Carol Channing, Carol Lawrence, Ed Asner, Karen Mason, Susan Powell and Richard White. Tommy Tune's musical directors, Michael Biagi and Bobby Hirshhorn, are also part of the ensemble. Poor Patricia Neal, who was scheduled to be part of the group, took a fall while visiting her daughter Lucy in Los Angels, and fractured her pelvic bone, meaning that instead of cruising, Patricia is in rehabilitation.
And our friend, actor/singer Bill Nolte, returns to Broadway on April 6th, when previews for La Cage aux Folles begin at the Longacre Theatre. Nolte, who played "Franz Liebkind" in the Vegas version of The Producers, will be doing the role of "Tabarro" and understudying "Georges" and "Dindon." Kelsey Grammer will star as "Georges," and making his Broadway debut, is Douglas Hodge who will portray "Albin/ZaZa." Christine Andreas, who appeared at the Charleston Heights Arts Center with her husband/accompanist, Martin Silvestri, in November of 2006, will play "Jacqueline." La Cage aux Folles originally opened on Broadway at the Palace Theatre in 1983. Gene Barry starred as "Georges," with George Hearn as "Albin." The Jerry Herman musical, with book by Harvey Fierstein, racked up numerous Tony Awards during its little more than four year run. During that period, some of the other performers who appeared in La Cage during its original Broadway run were Van Johnson, Hollywood Squares host, Peter Marshall, and our friend, the above mentioned Lee Roy Reams. In 2004, the show was revived at the Marquis Theatre, with Daniel Davis as "Georges" and Gary Beach as "Albin." In April of 2005, Las Vegas resident, the late Robert Goulet, took over the role of "Georges" until the show closed in June of that year. It might be noted that Jerry Mitchell, of Planet Hollywood's Peepshow fame, was the choreographer of the 2004 La Cage revival. In 1996, The Birdcage, a film based on La Cage aux Folles, was released. The movie starred Robin Williams and Nathan Lane in the lead roles.
Larry Raben & Leigh Zimmerman, The Producers
Then there is Larry Raben, who portrayed "Leo Bloom" in both the Broadway and Vegas productions of the very same multi-Tony Award-winning show mentioned above. From March 16th through the 28th, the 2009-2010 season of Reprise Theatre Company presents A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at UCLA's Freud Playhouse. This version of the 1962 Tony-Award-winning Best Musical stars Tony-Award-nominee Lee Wilkof, who originated the part of "Seymour" in Little Shop of Horrors, and Raben, one of the original cast members of Forever Plaid (he can be seen in the 20th Anniversary film special) and also starred off-Broadway and in Los Angeles in I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change. The Reprise production of Forum, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and book by the late Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart, also features Erich Bergen in the role of "Hero." Until last September, Bergen was playing "Bob Gaudio" in the Vegas production of Jersey Boys. Since its inception in 1997, Reprise Theatre Company has been a focus of the Los Angeles musical theater community, producing productions of great American musicals, and a wide variety of concerts, staged-readings, special events and outreach programs. In May of 2007, Jason Alexander, who has been performing his Donny Clay Experience at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, became Reprise's Artistic Director. Since its inaugural production of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's Promises, Promises, which starred Mr. Alexander, Reprise has brought to the stage vibrant productions from all eras of American musical theater, including Of Thee I Sing, Strike Up the Band, Anything Goes, The Boys from Syracuse, Babes in Arms, and No Strings. The "Golden Era" has been well represented, with Carousel, Finian's Rainbow, Brigadoon, On the Town, Wonderful Town, Call Me Madam, Kismet, The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, Li'l Abner, Bells are Ringing and The Most Happy Fella. Musical theatre reached a new peak of popularity in the sixties, and Reprise has presented many of them, including She Loves Me, Hair, 1776, Applause, Pippin, On the Twentieth Century, City of Angels, Mack and Mabel, Company, Sweeney Todd, and Sunday in the Park with George. Many of the great Broadway stage performers working today, as well as those who reside primarily in Los Angeles, have appeared in Reprise shows. Among them, Scott Bakula, Christine Baranski, Brent Barrett (former star of Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular), Orson Bean, Jodi Benson, Len Cariou, Vikki Carr, Kelsey Grammer, Sam Harris, Gregory Harrison, Mimi Hines, Jane Krakowski, Judith Light, Rebecca Luker, Maureen McGovern, Donna McKechnie, Andrea Marcovicci, Karen Morrow, David Hyde Pierce, Charles Nelson Reilly, Cathy Rigby, Rex Smith, Marisa Jaret Winokur, and Rachel York. Single tickets are available for Forum online at www.reprise.org, or through the UCLA Central Ticket Office at (310) 825-2101.
Karole Foreman, who portrayed "Tanya" in Mamma Mia! at Mandalay Bay, is performing in My Way - A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra, playing at The Cosmopolitan Cabaret, 1000 K Street (at 10th Street) in Sacramento, through May 9th. My Way was conceived by David Grapes and Todd Olson, with book by Olson. The production is directed by Glenn Casale, with musical direction by Chris Schlagel. Starring with Foreman are Michael G. Hawkins, Laura Dickinson and Jeffrey Christopher Todd. Frank Sinatra. He's the icon of cool - from classic elegance to contemporary "fedora" hipster. These four accomplished vocalists will take you from the 1940s swing era, to the bright lights of Las Vegas with the Rat Pack in the 1960s, and to Ol' Blue Eyes final performances in the 1990s. As Stephen Holden wrote for the 1983 Rolling Stone Record Guide: "Frank Sinatra's voice is pop music history." Among the 58 songs made famous by Sinatra are "Strangers in the Night," "That Old Black Magic," "New York, New York," "I've Got You Under My Skin," "High Hopes," "Fly Me to the Moon, " "It Was a Very Good Year," and, of course, "My Way." Ms. Foreman is happy to return to the California Musical Theatre family. Last summer she appeared as "Muzzy" in Thoroughly Modern Millie. Other shows: Parade at the Mark Taper, South Bay City CLO's Jesus Christ Superstar ("Mary Magdalene"), Hangin' Out, The Good Body and Norman's Ark. Other shows: Josephine Tonight ("Josephine Baker"), and Jelly's Last Jam ("Anita," Suzi Bass Award). Other theaters: Denver Center, Alliance Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Portland Center Stage, Mark Taper, San Jose Rep, AMT of San Jose, Northshore Music Theatre, Goodspeed Opera House and Pasadena Playhouse. On TV, Karole has appeared on Medium, Third Watch, Law & Order, Strong Medicine, The Bold and the Beautiful, and Becker. She has also done numerous commercials. Karole has won the Garland Award for As Bees in Honey Drown and numerous DramaLogue Awards. Writing honors include the Richard Rodgers' Award, a Jonathan Larson Foundation Grant and an Edgerton Foundation Grant for her musical The Princess and the Black-Eyed Pea. As part of its SuperNova event, San Diego's Vox Nova Theatre presented a staged reading of Karole's new musical, The Venus Hottentot's Extreme Makeover, with music by Ruff Yeager. This dynamic new work has been selected from more than 200 entries as one of six new musicals to be featured at the high-profile musical theatre showcase, directed by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell, Pippin). The Venus Hottentot's Extreme Makeover tracks the journeys of Saartjie, an African woman who is brought to Europe during the mid-1800s and presented as a side-show attraction, and Sara, a contemporary African-American woman grappling with society's often confusing standards of physical beauty and perfection. During this odyssey, Sara discovers that each of us must define beauty for ourselves and hold that definition deep in our hearts, regardless of society's pressures. Vox Nova Theatre Company is dedicated to the discovery, development, and presentation of new American plays. The playwrights involved are in residence during the rehearsal and performance process to hone, change, and develop their work in a safe and nurturing environment that promotes creativity, experimentation, and exploration. Playwrights participate in discussion sessions immediately following the reading of their new work to gain insight from the fresh eyes of the audience. Vox Nova Theatre Company is unique to San Diego in its singular focus on the development of new work and new voices in American Theatre. Single-show tickets are available at the Wells Fargo Pavilion Box Office, 1419 H Street, by phone at (916) 557-1999 or two hours before curtain at The Cosmopolitan Cabaret box office, 1000 K Street. $33-$43, or online at tickets.com (additional online fees apply). For group discounts (12 to 200), call (916) 557-1198. Also, enjoy the special Sinatra-themed menu at Cosmo Café.
Left to right in accompanying Charr Crail photo: Laura, Jeffrey, Michael and Karole.
My Way - A Musical Tribute To Frank Sinatra
And speaking of Glenn Casale, for those who do not know, Glenn received his masters degree from UNLV, where he is currently the Theater Department's Head of Directing. He spends some of his time away from Nevada, directing around the country. Among the performers he has worked with are (in alphabetical order) Adrienne Barbeau, Brent Barrett, Meredith Baxter, Theodore Bikel, Carol Burnett, Patrick Cassidy, George Clooney, Tyne Daly, Tony Danza, Charles Durning, Jason Graae, Mark Harmon, Gina Hecht, Cathy Rigby, Leslie Uggams and Rachel York. On Broadway and in touring companies, Casale has directed many productions, including Camelot, Company, Godspell, Peter Pan and Queen of the Stardust Ballroom to name just a handful.
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We may be the first to announce this interesting upcoming booking at the Las Vegas Hilton. From May 21st through the 23rd, the 1500-seat Hilton Theater will present Eric Floyd's Grand Divas of Stage, co-starring Connie Francis and Dionne Warwick. The two legendary performers have never worked together, although they share the same birth date, December 12th (Connie in 1938 and Dionne in 1940), and attended the same New Jersey high school. It might be interesting to note that both Frank Sinatra and Joe Williams were also born on December 12th, Frank in 1915 and Joe in 1918. We will have more on the Hilton show in upcoming weeks.
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Brassy, broad, Jeneane Marie, sings at BB King's Blues Club inside The Mirage, Monday, March 15th from 8 to 11:30 p.m. Jeneane has performed at many notable venues throughout the country and appeared with numerous prominent entertainers including George Carlin, Bill Cosby, Liberace, Rich Little, Don Rickles, Jerry Lewis, Mel Torme, Wayne Newton and Frank Sinatra. Featured in 120 jingles, radio spots and commercials, Jeneane continues to show the versatility of her voice, covering the bases from romantic ballads to standards, pop and Top 40. Check out this explosive performer.
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If you have missed Conan O'Brien since he left the tube on January 22nd, NBC's former Tonight Show host will be performing at the Palms' Pearl on May 1st. The Vegas stop will be part of a two month tour around the country for O'Brien and his longtime TV sidekick, Andy Richter. Tickets start at $75 and are available through ticketmaster.
Matthew Gray Gubler
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Happy birthday to actor, director and former fashion model (Tommy Hilfiger, Marc Jacobs), Matthew Gray Gubler who turned 30 on March 9th. Gubler, who plays "Dr. Spencer Reid" on the CBS television series, Criminal Minds, is a Las Vegas native. Matthew attended The Meadows school (Carolyn Goodman, the wife of Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, is the President/Founder and Trustee Emeritus of the private college preparatory school), and is a graduate of the award-winning Las Vegas Academy of International Studies, Performing and Visual Arts high school. Not only was Matthew born here, so were his parents. His mother, Marilyn Gubler, was the first woman to serve as Republican state Chairman, while his maternal grandfather, Maxwell Kelch, was the first president of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, and Maxwell and his wife, Laura Belle Kelch, were the founders of Las Vegas' first radio station, KENO.
Also, a great big happy milestone (we won't say which stone) birthday to an almost Las Vegas native, Carole Hassell, who celebrates her special day today, March 12th.
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UNLV Jazz Ensemble I
On Sunday, at 2 p.m., the UNLV Dept. of Music presents a Jazz Concert, featuring Jazz Ensemble I in the Judy Bayley Theater. You won't want to miss hearing these outstanding jazz ensembles under the direction of Dave Loeb and Nathan Tanouye. Jazz Ensemble I was one of only six college ensembles selected to perform in the Monterey Generation Jazz Festival next month. Community attendance and support for these fine young musicians means so much as they prepare for this festival and perform for you this weekend. Tickets are $10 general admission for adults and $8 for seniors. Students with photo ID are admitted free. For additional information, call the UNLV Performing Arts Center at (702) 895-ARTS.
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As we have said, and written, numerous times, when a member of the Las Vegas entertainment community is in trouble, health wise or otherwise, their peers get together to do what they can to help. For those that doubt that this is a city with a heart, they weren't among the close to 500 people who paid between $25 and $45 to be in the audience when musician Bill Fayne was honored in a show in the Suncoast Showroom last Saturday afternoon. Lending their talents to the star-filled afternoon, produced by Ed Mathews, were Domenick Allen, who sang an original song featuring Billy Joel tunes and special Billy Fayne lyrics (Domenick also directed); Louie Anderson (who was running a little late because he went to the South Point instead of the Suncoast); Susan Anton; Pete Barbutti; magician Lance Burton, who proved to be quite funny; nine-year old singer, Cayleigh Capaldi; the ladies of Dangerous Curves, Margaret "Gret" Menzies, Karen Merstik-Michaels, Lisa Smith, plus Lori Simpson; America's Got Talent-winner/Mirage headliner, Terry Fator; Jersey Boy Rick Faugno; Fifth Avenue's Jeff Celentano, Rob Hyatt, Jerry Jones, Bryce Robinson; Mark Giovi, plus his "special guests," Olivia Giovi (5) and Justus Giovi (3); Michelle Johnson; Las Vegas Tenors, Bobby Black, Chris Coyle, Teddy Davey; Robin Leach; Jerry Lopez with Tony Davich and Jamie Hosmer; from Menopause the Musical, Sandra Benton, Vita Corimbi, Skye Dee Miles; Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons tribute artists from Oh What a Night, Brandon Albright, Paul Holmquist, Michael Jacobs, George Solomon; Louie Prima's daughter, Lena Prima; from the musical Scinta family, Frankie Scinta; Gayle Steele; Voci Vegas members George DeMott, Cody Guy, Molly Tennant; and Tina Walsh. The musicians included Brian Czach & The Zack Attack, made up of Brian Czack on drums, Jozef Bobula on bass, Carlos Guerrero on guitar, Jason Holcomb on trombone, Lance Phelps on trumpet (2), Charly Raymond on trumpet (1), Joe Spraker on piano, Tommy Steele on tenor sax, and Phil Wigfall on alto sax; Mike Clark, Vince Falcone, Ned Mills, Jeff Neiman, and Keith Thompson. In the full-stage finale, we spotted Early Clover, John Garofolo, Carmine Mandia, Michelle Rohl, Ronnie Rose, Paul Stubblefield, and the Swing City Dolls - Natalie Carson, Connie Murray and Robin Vincent. Anticipated to participate, but missing, due to scheduling conflicts, were Leigh Zimmerman (playing chauffer to daughter, Cayleigh, who had another engagement); Human Nature; Paul Casey (Elvis); Sandy Hackett's Rat Pack Show and Paul Casey. There was only one (well, maybe more than one) sour note hit (ouch) during the almost three hour show. It (or they) came from the same person, during the grand finale. With a stage full of talented people, this was as obvious as a cat in a dog show. No need to name names. Anyone who was in the Suncoast showroom, and has even average hearing and an ear for real music, knows who we are talking about. And, as long as we are voicing opinions (which we do on occasion), we think that the talented singer, impressionist, puppeteer, Terry Fator chose the wrong dummy and the wrong material for the afternoon event. He is a relative newcomer to Las Vegas (celebrating his one year anniversary at The Mirage this month), so perhaps he didn't realize that the usual customers at the Suncoast are older, retired folks. We think that Fator would have been better served if he had brought along Winston the Turtle, Emma Taylor, or Johnny Vegas, rather than an "annoying, druggie neighbor." He would have won the audience over more, had he sung in his Garth Brooks, Etta James, Tony Bennett, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole or Louis Armstrong voices. Consider it an opportunity missed. Oh, and did we mention that the Man of the Hour, Bill Fayne, sang "Here's To Life" at the end of the program? He couldn't have chosen a better song to end the afternoon. And Here's To Life. (If we missed any names, sue us.)
Bill Fayne by John Katsilometes
Bill Fayne Tribute Finale by Ed Foster
Bill Fayne in cap photo by John Katsilometes
Other Fayne tribute photos by Ed Foster
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As for last Sunday night's 82nd Oscar show, yes that was Las Vegan, Bob Kaz, you saw during the broadcast. No, he wasn't nominated for an award, and he wasn't showing off his designer tuxedo. What he WAS doing was a commercial spot for Channel 13's consumer help department. Another Vegas connection to the Oscar telecast was fashion designer, Randolph Duke. It may surprise some to know that Mr. Duke, who worked the red carpet, was born and raised here. Randolph's mother, Dagny "Dee" Garner, was a showgirl in the Tropicana's long- running production, Les Folies Bergere. Randolph's father, George Duke, was an Air Force sergeant. Three years after Dee and George divorced, Randolph's mother married John Garner, a casino card dealer and floor manager. Duke, a gifted classical pianist, attended UNLV on a music scholarship. During the summer, he decided to make some extra money by joining his mother and becoming a dancer in the Folies Bergère. Not surprisingly, being surrounded by feathers, rhinestones, top hats, G-strings and wildly dramatic costumes had a powerful impact on young Randolph. When he returned to school in the fall, Duke joined the theater department and began creating costumes for school productions. After dropping out in 1978, he moved to Los Angeles to attend the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, graduating with honors in 1980. He quickly landed a job designing swimwear for Anne Cole. In 1987, Duke moved to New York City where he launched his own Randolph Duke line and opened a Manhattan boutique.
Royal Irish Showband Members & Friends
Dennis DeYoung from Styx
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Faith and begorrah, St. Paddy's Day is almost upon us. In keeping in the spirit of the holiday,
The Irish Affair, made up of Jimmy Conway on guitar and vocals; Michael Keane on keyboards; D.J. Curtin on vocals; and Mickey O'Neill on drums - will be playing in The Orchid Lounge at Mandalay Bay on St. Paddy's night, March 17th, starting at 7 p.m. All of the Irish Affair musicians are former-members of Brendan Bowyer's Royal Irish Showband. For those who weren't around in the '70s, the Showband (a favorite of the late entertainment writer, Joe Delaney) headlined Las Vegas lounges up and down the Strip, including the Stardust (now the inner workings of the anticipated Echelon), The Aladdin (now buried somewhere under Planet Hollywood), and the Barbary Coast (now known as Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon). Wear something green and head to Mandalay Bay on Wednesday.
Seen in accompanying photo, from last St. Paddy's Day, are (left to right) Tom Bourke, Keane, O'Neill, Mary Clifford, Conway and Curtin).
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Bobby Arlin, 69, passed away on February 4th in Las Vegas. He was born March 7, 1940, in Petaluma, California, and moved to Pahrump six years ago from Las Vegas. He was formerly with the band "The Leaves," in 1966, among others, and had the Hit Record "Hey Joe." Bobby was a booking agent in Las Vegas for 13 years. He loved guitar, classic cars, fishing and art. Bobby is survived by his wife, Sheila Arlin, whom he married in 1993; cousin, Marc Rosen; and his German Shepherd, Chance. Services are pending. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the people of Haiti or the SPCA.
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Dennis DeYoung, former singer and songwriter of the Chicago-based rock group Styx who celebrated his 63rd birthday on February 18th, will perform in shows at the 827-seat theater-style Orleans Showroom, Saturday and Sunday, March 13th and 14th at 8 p.m. DeYoung, performing with his five-piece band, will produce a unique rock experience with a new power, feeling and edge to such classics as "Lady," "Babe," "Come Sail Away," "Mr. Roboto," and "Don't Let It End," along with solo works and new music. DeYoung was only 14-years-old when he and his brothers founded Styx in 1962 in the basement of their Chicago childhood home. Selling more than 35 million albums worldwide, DeYoung has written eight of Styx's top 10 singles. For more than four decades, Dennis has been a successful singer, songwriter, keyboardist and record producer. Recording seven solo albums, including Desert Moon, whose title track achieved Top 10 status, DeYoung and his band continue to tour around the world. In recent years, his songs have appeared in movies and television shows, including Sofia Coppola's Virgin Suicides, Adam Sandler's Big Daddy and 8 Crazy Nights, DreamWork's Old School starring Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn, Comedy Central's South Park, ABC's Still Standing and CBS' The King of Queens. Tickets are available now and are priced from $19.95, plus tax. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Box Office at (702) 365-7075 or visiting www.orleanscasino.com.
While over at the Suncoast, on the same days, Clint Holmes brings his powerful voice and magnetic stage presence back to the showroom, tomorrow and Sunday. Holmes' fans know him as more than just a singer. He's famous for making every performance an original and captivating audiences with his charisma and signature style. Among his many recordings is the Top 10 smash hit "Playground In My Mind (My Name Is Michael)." His album Edges produced many other standout songs, including "Feel Like Makin' Love," the romantic "Shouldn't It Be Easy By Now," the playful "Gotta Get Up" and the thought-provoking "Let My Son See Africa." With a long history of entertaining audiences in Las Vegas, Clint is known for his six-year run in at Harrah's. Named Las Vegas' "Best Singer" for four times and "Entertainer of the Year" three times by readers of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Holmes' fame stretches far beyond Southern Nevada. He was also Atlantic City's "Entertainer of the Year" three times, and starred in Clint Holmes' Sophisticated Rhythms, a dynamic stage show that traveled through music from the 1940s to the present. His 1996 critically acclaimed musical Comfortable Shoes, which opened in New Jersey and also had a run in Chicago, was a poignant and uplifting journey into Holmes' interracial family's struggle to find its identity. In 2002, an updated version of the musical opened at The Royal George Theatre in Chicago. Among the show's rave reviews, the Chicago Tribune called it "a night of fully realized theatrical entertainment." Holmes partners with long-time friends and entertainers, Susan Anton, Domenick Allen and Martin Nievera, for a showcase of solo performances, duets and group numbers as the wildly popular Vocal Soup. In a career that began with an invitation from Joan Rivers to be her sidekick and announcer on The Late Show, Clint Holmes has proven himself as a well-respected entertainer, even earning the honor of being the featured performer at the Democratic National Convention on the evening of Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential nomination. Also familiar to fans' ears, Holmes was the voice of Lowenbrau Beer for four years. Tickets are now available starting from $29.95, plus tax. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Box Office at (702) 636-7075, or by visiting www.suncoastcasino.com.
Clint Holmes by Jerry Metellus
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It's the Crackseeds of Comedy - Mel Cabang, Andy Bumatai, Paul Ogata, and Kathy Tanaka - at the Silverton Casino Lodge Events Center, tomorrow night, March 13th at 8. Between February 10th and March 6th, Bumatai was special guest with Society of Seven Las Vegas. Oddly, Society of Seven Las Vegas does NOT perform in Las Vegas, but at the Outrigger Main Showroom in Waikiki, while on the other hand, Tony Ruivivar, Bert Sagum, Michael Laygo, Hoku Low, Vince Mendoza, Roy Venturina, Wayne Wakai, and Jasmine Trias, DO perform in Las Vegas - Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 7 at the Gold Coast on West Flamingo. But, back to Bumatai. One of Hawaii's favorite comedians, Andy began his career opening for popular Hawaiian comedian, Frank De Lima, and filling in for the late Rap Raplinger in Booga Booga. Bumatai went on to perform stand up comedy in the Islands and on the U.S. Mainland. His film credits include The Whoopee Boys, A Man Called Sarge, and Aloha Summer. He recorded numerous comedy albums and garnered a Na Hoku Hanohano Award for "Most Promising Artist" and three more for "Best Comedy Performance." Bumatai is currently the Executive Producer of Nighttime Productions and produces and stars in his own online talk program, The Andy Bumatai Show. Tickets for Crackseeds of Comedy, $26 pre-sale and $31 the day of show, are on sale at the Silverton Casino Lodge box office or can be charged by phone at (866) 866-6868. Or, click here to purchase tickets online. Tickets are non-refundable. Dates and times are subject to change. Guests under 21 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
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Thalia Dondero will receive the 5th Annual Women's Hall of Fame Pioneer Award from the Women's Chamber Foundation, next Friday, March 19th, at an 11:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. luncheon at Morton's The Steakhouse. Dondero's award will be presented by last year's recipient, The Honorable Lorraine Hunt-Bono, with FOX 5 anchor John Huck as master of ceremonies. This year's Hall of Fame inductees are: Lorrinda Gray-Davis, Director of Diversity, Perini Building Company; Marissa Hawkins, president of Facelogic and Massage Envy (Young Professional); Ann McGee, president of Miracle Flights for Kids; Melanie in the Morning radio personality at Sunny 106.5FM; Debra Nelson, MGM Mirage, Vice President of Corporate Diversity & Community affairs; Paula Bell-Saxton, President of Sacon Construction; and Y. Caryl Suzuki, principal Clark County School District. Thalia Marie Sperry Dondero has lived in Nevada since 1942. She was the first woman elected to the Clark County Commission in 1974, and in 1996, she won election to the Board of Regents. Dondero was born in Greeley, Colorado, and moved to Bakersfield, California, with her family in 1930. After finishing junior college, she worked with the Basic Magnesium Industries in Sacramento, before she was transferred to the Las Vegas area in 1942. She met Harvey Dondero, a teacher at Las Vegas High School, and they married in 1946. The couple resided in Carson City from 1946 to 1948 while Harvey worked for the U.S. Department of Education; then returned to Las Vegas where Dondero resumed his career as an educator and assistant superintendent of the Clark County School District. The mission of the Women's Hall of Fame is to honor all the nominees and recipients from the ATHENA Awards and women in performing arts, entertainment and media for their achievements, community support, and education to insure the continued achievements of women and young professionals in Nevada. At this event, money from the raffles will go towards the educational scholarships for young professionals and grants for women. The scholarships will be given out on November 11th, at the 7th Annual ATHENA Awards. All inductees are honored in the Women's Hall of Fame Alumni Program, listed in all chamber printed material, "Women In Power" magazine, and the Women's Hall of Fame Web page. Morton's The Steakhouse is located at 400 East Flamingo in Las Vegas. The cost is $45 for WCCNV members, $55 for non-members and $70 for VIP seats. To make a reservation, e-mail: [email protected] or call the Women's Chamber at (702) 733-3955, where you can also learn about becoming a sponsor.
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The 2010 Las Vegas PRIDE Parade Committee is excited to announce that the internationally acclaimed and legendary celebrity impersonator, Larry Edwards (also known as Hot Chocolate), has been named the 2010 Las Vegas PRIDE Parade Celebrity Grand Marshall. Larry is an entertainer's entertainer whose career has taken him far beyond the stage. With past appearances on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Entertainment Tonight, and Oprah, Larry has entertained millions and become one of Las Vegas' favorite celebrity impersonators. He was even awarded the key to the city of Las Vegas by one of the country's most famous mayors, Oscar Goodman. In spite of this success, Larry says, "the highlight of my career was appearing in the Academy Award nominated film, What's Love Got To Do With It - The Tina Turner Story. He can also be seen in the hit movie, Miss Congeniality 2 starring Oscar-winner, Sandra Bullock. Currently, Larry entertains as a cast member of Frank Marino‘s Divas Las Vegas, portraying Tina Turner and Beyonce, at the Imperial Palace. As Hot Chocolate, Larry is well known for his role as Mood Director and VIP Host at Piranha Nightclub where he gives guests the grand VIP treatment. Larry is well-known for his dedication to his community and has often found ways to participate with local and out-of-town nonprofit organizations, assisting them with entertainment and fundraising. "Larry is all heart," says Jake Naylor, President of Las Vegas PRIDE, "and his willingness to represent and serve his community over the years has made a world of difference not only for PRIDE, but many other organizations as well." Congrats, Proud Larry!
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Paige O'Hara is an artist in more than one field. O'Hara is widely known as Disney's heroine, "Belle," in the critically acclaimed, Oscar-winning animated film Beauty and the Beast. Her many stage appearances include playing "Ellie May Chipley" in the Broadway revival of Showboat starring Donald O'Connor; as "Fantine" in the award-winning Les Miserables on Broadway; and as "Edwin Drood" in both the Broadway and national tour of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. She starred as "Nellie Forbush" in the Australian tour of South Pacific, and reprised the role, opposite Robert Goulet, in the states. In concert, Paige has appeared on stage in Sitting Pretty, The Cat and the Fiddle, Oh Boy, and Lady! Lady!, all at Carnegie Hall, as well as One Touch of Venus at Town Hall. She has toured Japan as a Special Guest Star with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and was the Special Guest Star/Host in The Great Radio City Music Hall Spectacular at the Flamingo Hilton. As a concert soloist, Paige has guest-starred at the Hollywood Bowl, the Boston Pops, and the Turrin Opera House. Her many recordings include Jerome Kern's Sitting Pretty; Mack and Mabel in Concert, recorded live in London; and a new and complete version of South Pacific .Two other recordings, Showboat and Of Thee] Sing, were nominated for Grammys in the Best Show Album category. Paige's love of painting began when she was a child. Her father was an architect - so drawing and painting was very much a way of life. Although Paige found much success with her singing, painting was always her escape. Much of her time was spent studying and learning from the masters, such as Turner, Sargent, Da Vinci, and although she does not have formal training, her years of practice are evident. When she first moved to New York, she helped support herself by selling her works on the street. As her stage career flourished, she painted for her own enjoyment. Since the success of Beauty and the Beast, Paige had done a few renderings based on her character, and is thrilled to have the opportunity to present a series of originals through Collectors Editions and the Disney Fine Art collection. Most recently Paige was seen in Disney's new DVD release of Peter Pan singing Richard Sherman's never recorded ballad "Neverland," and appeared in the feature film Enchanted. Paige continues to record various projects for Disney and can be seen as the "Soap Star" in the long running hit Menopause The Musical, now playing at the Luxor in Las Vegas. We will have more about Menopause the Musical in next Friday's column.
Belle by Paige "Belle" O'Hara
Samantha Lauren Carr at Disneyland
In a coincidence (if there are such things), we just received a photo of adorable Samantha Lauren Carr, the four-year-old daughter of PR lady, Lisa Keim-Carr. Surprise. Surprise. Looking like a little princess herself, Sam is posed with one of her favorite Disney princesses, Belle, during a recent trip to The Happiest Place On Earth, Disneyland.
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This Sunday, March 14th, international opera singer, Madelene Capelle, and pianist, Miriam Brickman, will combine their talents in a 3 p.m. concert at the Trinity International School, 2525 Emerson Avenue. Be enthralled as Ms. Capelle performs well known Puccini and Verdi arias, complete with "over the top" costumes. Be the first to preview her new upcoming one-woman show, The Undone Divas. Ms. Capelle is a consummate artist with a great comedic flair. Pianist Brickman will dazzle our audience with her vast repertoire including Gershwin, Beethoven (with Shakespeare), Liszt and Chopin. This program, presented by Gateway Arts Foundation and Gateway Gallery, should be a fabulous event. For information and reservations, please call (702) 255-0695, or e-mail to [email protected].
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Claire Voyant's portrait by Charlie Frye