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.  

Claire Voyant  

Note: This is a past column from June 25, 2010
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - June 25, 2010

Rebecca Spencer & Philip Fortenberry

Nicole Pryor

Joel Rene

Summer has officially been here since Monday, but, no matter the season, things are always hot in Las Vegas!

Last Sunday was a music-filled day for us. In the afternoon, we were at the Flamingo Library Theater to see the Performing Arts Society of Nevada present Seattle resident Rebecca Spencer, accompanied by the brilliant Philip Fortenberry on piano perform Waitin.' In the evening, we were at the Liberace Museum where we saw RagTag Entertainment's Andrew Lloyd Webber: Encore. What can we say. Rebecca and Philip go together like peanut butter and jelly, burgers and fries, pickles and ice cream, unicorns and glitter (and have collaborative albums to prove that). Rebecca, who portrayed Madame Giry in Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular for two years, presented an eclectic selections of both poignant and humorous songs, written by Andre and Dory Previn, Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse, Jerry Herman, Frank Wildhorn, David Shire and Richard Maltby Jr., Marvin Hamlisch, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Stephen Flaherty, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Jule Styne, and Las Vegans, Nicole Pryor and Keith Thompson. Phantom cast member, Bruce Ewing, joined Rebecca on stage, singing two Wildhorn selections. Philip's two piano solo numbers ("Getting' Ready Rag" from Ragtime, and an incredible medley of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein tunes from The Sound of Music, South Pacific, Carousel, Oklahoma!, and The King and I, blended with snippets from Chopin and Mozart) brought the audience to its feet. If you haven't seen Fortenberry's (he's the Associate Conductor for Jersey Boys at the Palazzo) afternoon show at the Liberace Museum, do yourself a favor... Check the museum at (702) for the Liberace and Me summer schedule). Next month, Monday, July 26th, to be exact, Spencer and Fortenberry will perform together at New York's famed Birdland for the first time.

Encore, was the second Andrew Lloyd Webber program presented at the Liberace Museum by RagTag Entertainment. In March, the group performed selections from Another Suitcase In Another Hall at the museum. Accompanied by Angela Chan on piano, and Amanda Wright on cello, David Andino, Danyel Arianna, Charles Beraud, Sandra Huntsman, Aimee Wade, Alex Cheney, Michael Vojvodich, Joel Rene, Jacqueline Melendez, and Kara von Ashwege performed selections from Aspects of Love, Evita, Starlight Express, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Sunset Boulevard, Cats, Whistle Down the Wind and Jesus Christ Superstar, while Phantom's Kristen Hertzenberg, Ian Jon Bourg, Andrew Ragone and Sarah Elizabeth Combs introduced songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber's latest musical, Love Never Dies. Look here for details about RagTag's upcoming Sondheim concert, as well as their production of Jekyll & Hyde.

And speaking of Phantom, congratulations to the cast and crew who celebrated their fourth anniversary at The Venetian yesterday (June 24th).

Kristofer, Ali & Emerson Lila McNeeley

Vita Corimbi

And while still on the subject of the Liberace Museum (a pretty happening place when it comes to music), this weekend marks the official opening of Holding the Space, Kristofer McNeeley's Sunday afternoon shows in the Cabaret. A cast member of the hit show Jersey Boys at the Palazzo, Kristofer will be performing a 45-minute acoustic guitar/piano set that includes his interpretations of material by some of the great singer/songwriters of the '60s, '70s and '80s - Elton John, Billy Joel, John Denver, Leonard Cohen, Burt Bacharach and Fleetwood Mac, among others. Also included in Holding the Space will be original compositions influenced by these singer/songwriters. Listeners will enjoy an afternoon of mellow, relaxing, meditative musical reflection, and an intimate look into Kristofer's journey as an artist and the music which has shaped his work as a composer. Oh yes. There is a sweet explanation regarding Kristofer's solo show and its title. Kristofer, in fact, IS Holding the Space...for his wife, singer/ actress Ali Spuck, who usually provides the Sunday afternoon entertainment at the eastside museum. These days (and nights), Ali has another job that is keeping her very busy. For the next couple of months, this new job will take priority over singing for the public at the Liberace Museum. One week before Mother's Day, at 4:16 a.m. on May 16th, Ali and Kristofer became first-time parents when their daughter, Emerson Lila McNeeley, came into the world. (See accompanying photo.) Proud papa, Kristofer McNeeley, will be Holding the Space on Sundays at 2:30, through the summer, in the Cabaret Showroom at The Liberace Museum. Tickets are $15. For reservations, call (702) 798-5595.

And then, there's one of the best kept secrets in Vegas (shhhh), the late night (starts around 10:30) monthly Composers Showcase that also takes place at the museum. Featuring the songs of local composers and songwriters, this Thursday's edition will play host to Ryan Beyer, Vita Corimbi and Phil Randall, Tish Diaz, Uli Geissendoerfer, Valeri Glava, Jason Martinez, Richard Oberacker, Aaron Ramsey, Lee Richey, Carly Thomas Smith, and Keith Thompson, whose works will be performed by Christine Hudman, Jamie Karen, Brandon Matthieus, Vusi Sondiyazi, Joan Sobel and other special guests. Instrumental accompaniment is provided by Eric Andrews, Darren Denman, Philip Fortenberry, James Harvey, Brycen Ingersoll, Jim McIntosh, Keith Nelson and Mark Pardy. The all important sound gurus are Richard Camuso and Mary McFadden. There is a $5 cover charge at the door (free with Student ID), an optional cash bar (no credit cards, please), and $5 specials at the Café. The mission of the Liberace Foundation is to help talented students pursue careers in the performing and creative arts through scholarship assistance.

Right after the showcase, next door at Carluccio's piano lounge, hang out for The Late, Late Show - where the music continues until 2 a.m. Enjoy drink specials (it's late, you're driving, drink responsibly), more music around the mirror-covered piano, and socializing with old and new friends in the retro establishment. Both the Liberace Museum and Carluccio's Italian Restaurant are located at 1775 E. Tropicana at Spencer.

* * * * * * *

John C. Brown, Ed McMahon & Bart Williams

Jimmy Hopper

When we ran the photo of Bart Williams, Dixie Evans and John C. Brown in last week's column, we did not explain who John C. Brown is. John is the director (Bart is the producer) of the new, as yet unreleased, documentary film, The Last First Comic. In our feeble attempt to make it up to John, we are running another photo with him in it - this time with Bart Williams and the late Ed McMahon, who was one of those interviewed and included in The Last First Comic.

* * * * * * *

We just got this information...If you happen to be in the neighborhood, IL Giardino Ristorante in Virginia Beach, Virginia, will present Las Vegas favorite, singer/musician Jimmy Hopper, for two nights only, tonight and tomorrow at 10. A $10 minimum cover charge will go to benefit the ALS Association. IL Giardino is located at 910 Atlantic Avenue. Reservations are strongly suggested. Call (757) 422-6464.

* * * * * * *

Greg London was greeted by a full house when his ICONS revue opened for previews at the Riviera on June 17th. Among those in the audience were Steve Rossi, of Allen & Rossi fame, and master celebrity impersonator, Rich Little. A newcomer to Las Vegas, London shattered records in Reno with his critically-acclaimed 'ICONS' show, which ran for nearly three years in Sammy's Showroom at Harrah's. The hit production also ran in London's West End before moving to the U.S. Greg does about 50 musical impressions during the course of his show and was thrilled to have Little, who he considers the King of the Impressionists, as a surprise guest at his debut in Las Vegas. Produced by Bob Byers, Greg London's ICONS - Entertaining the World One Impression at a Time runs Wednesdays through Sundays at 7 p.m. in the Mardi Gras Showroom at the Riviera. Regular ticket prices are $39.99, $59.99 (preferred seating) and $69.99 (VIP), plus taxes and fees. For more information, call the Riviera Box Office toll free at (877) 892-7469, or visit

Byers, Rossi, London & Little

Jerry Lee Lewis

* * * * * * *

Show business pioneer, 74-year-old rock and roller/country music singer and pianist, Jerry Lee Lewis, takes to the stage at the Rio's new 900-seat Crown Theater Las Vegas at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 30th. This "Mean Old Man" (Lewis' latest single, written by Kris Kristofferson) was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and his pioneering contribution to the genre has been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Lewis No. 24 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. In 2003, they listed his box set, All Killer, No Filler: The Anthology at No. 242 on their list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Last October, Lewis opened the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary concert at Madison Square Garden in New York. The American music legend, best known for his greatest hits " Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On " and "Great Balls of Fire," is currently being recognized in the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, Million Dollar Quartet. The new smash-hit is inspired by the famed December 4, 1956, recording session at Sun Records in Memphis that brought together four young rock 'n' roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Lewis for the first and only time, in what would be one of the greatest jam sessions ever. Tickets for Jerry Lee Lewis, aka "The Killer," at the Rio are $65.85. Purchase via

* * * * * * *

There are a number of interesting entertainment offerings taking place this weekend in Las Vegas (too much talent, too little time to see it). Music and dance fans will have to make some tough decisions. Among the things to choose from are Danny Wright and Susan Haller in Red Silk, in the Cabaret at the Liberace Museum (there's that name again) tomorrow, June 26th at 7:30 p.m. According to what we have read, pianist Danny has sold more than five million CDs since his debut album in 1986. Twice named by Billboard Magazine as a Top 10 artist in his genre, three of Wright's albums are included in Billboard's Top 10 New Age Albums. Susan has composed more than 200 original songs, as well as a number of network TV commercials, voiceover scripts, ads and media releases. As an accomplished performer, she has written and starred in numerous live stage productions, cabaret musicals and radio and TV commercials in the Seattle and Las Vegas markets. Tickets are $20 in advance, and $25 at the door. The museum is located at 1775 East Tropicana Avenue (at Spencer). For reservations, call (702) 798-5595, ext. 114.

Susan Haller

Frank Marino

Michael Kessler & Melinda Jackson

Also on the Saturday the 26th, it's Frank Marino and Friends in a 3 p.m. show at the Clark County Flamingo Library, 1401 E. Flamingo, followed with another performance the next afternoon at 3, this time at the West Charleston Library, 6301 W. Charleston. Both of these shows are being done in conjunction with GLBT Pride Month and are FREE. If you have wanted to see Frank and the boys (as girls) but haven't gotten over to the Imperial Palace to see Divas Las Vegas, don't miss this chance for an afternoon of adult fun. Seating is on a first come, first served basis. Get there early!

And on Sunday, at 3 p.m., it's the husband and wife team of Michael Kessler and Melinda Jackson and the M&M American Dance Theatre, a company of 10 dancers, actors and singers, in Dance With Me - Love Songs & Dances and Back Stage Stories, at the Starbright Theatre in Sun City Summerlin. Featuring Music Director, Keith Thompson of Jersey Boys, and his band, the program presents an intimate look at the creation of original song and dance numbers, with music from the Great American Songbook including Gershwin, Porter, Berlin and Kern, to contemporary tunes by Sam Cooke and Tim McGraw. Dance With Me combines great music, dynamic, romantic partner dancing, and humor, to create an afternoon of fun. "Genuine romance... top notch entertainment," says the Las Vegas Review Journal, while the New York Times called Kessler and Jackson's show, "...lively...acrobatic...elegant... an evening of fun...skillful craftsmanship." "Showstoppers!" is how the Las Vegas Sun described the music and dance program. Tickets are $17 for Sun City Summerlin residents, and $22 for non-residents. All shows at the Starbright, located at 2215 Thomas Ryan Blvd. in Sun City Summerlin, are first come, first served with no limit on the number of tickets purchased. Saving seats is prohibited. Get your tickets early so you don't miss out! If an event sells out, every attempt will be made to provide additional show times, if possible. Show tickets may be purchased at Desert Vista, Mountain Shadows and Pinnacle. All ticket prices include Live Entertainment Tax. Tickets are non-refundable. Starbright Theatre shows are open to everyone ages 12 and over. All ticket sales are check or cash (exact change required). No credit cards accepted. For up-to-date information on Starbright Theatre shows, call (702) 240-1301.

Saturday and Sunday evening (June 26th and 27th) at 7:30, the energetic vocal quartet, Fifth Avenue, bring their smooth and stylistic harmonies to the Suncoast Showroom. Fifth Avenue members Rob Hyatt, Jerry Jones, Bryce Robinson and Jeff Celentano, bring together an eclectic infusion of music styles including jazz, pop, doo-wop, classic rock and roll and barbershop. They have worked with entertainment legends, Bob Hope, Bill Cosby and Jerry Lee Lewis, as well as Las Vegas icon Clint Holmes who says of the group, "Fifth Avenue swings in the most musical way. They will surprise you at every turn... Wherever they sing, I'll be there!" With brilliant vocal arrangements by Rob Hyatt, the quartet has performed in concert halls, clubs and college campuses, and as featured guest artists at major jazz festivals throughout the country. Fifth Avenue offers up refreshingly original four part vocal arrangements of timeless jazz standards, with wonderfully crafted singing...if you like the Four Freshmen, The Hi-Lo's, Manhattan Transfer, Take 6, or Singers Unlimited, you'll love Fifth Avenue. Their most recent recording 4 the Fun of It blends their signature sound with well-known standards and clever original tunes. The group is currently working on a follow-up project. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available starting from $19.95, plus tax and convenience fees and can be purchased by calling the Box Office at (702) 636-7075 or visiting Save on convenience fees by purchasing the tickets in person at any Coast Casino. The Suncoast Showroom is a 500-seat venue featuring booth and table seating.

Fifth Avenue

Larry Raben

* * * * * * *

If you, like us, had wondered about what appeared to be the successful Las Vegas career of magician Steve Wyrick, wonder no more. Check out Rick Lax's story on Wyrick in the June 17th issue of Las Vegas Weekly (if you can't locate a hard copy of the magazine, you should be able to find the tawdry tale online). We are thinking of nominating Mr. Lax for a Pulitzer Prize for his honest look at the "rise" and fall of Mr. Wyrick. For some time, one of our big questions has been, "How did this mediocre magician manage to fool so many people (investors, entertainer/tenants who rented space in his theater at Planet Hollywood), for so long?" If you have been reading this column for any length of time, you know that we had been keeping a running tab of the legitimate, talented entertainers and productions - including Ronn Lucas, Martin Nievera, Wes Winters, Aga-Boom, Lord of the Dance, Fan Yang's Mega Bubble Show, Tom Dane, Trent Carlini, Andrew Dice Clay and Rockstar: The Tribute - that came and went from the space over the almost three years the place was open. We even warned some of those thinking of taking a shot in that doomed facility. Did they listen? Hell no. Everyone thought they could be the act that broke the curse. What they failed to realize was that the "curse" was Wyrick himself. There was not one success story to come out of the Wyrick Entertainment Complex, not even the landlord himself. We met Wyrick before his first Vegas show launched at the now shuttered Lady Luck Hotel downtown. He was placing an ad for a stage crew and magician's assistants for a soon-to-open magic act. When we asked who the magician was, he responded, "Steve Wyrick." "Who is Steve Wyrick?", we inquired. "I am," informed the man from Plano, Texas. It was eye-rolling time. As far as we could see, this fellow displayed none of the qualities one would expect to find in a headliner. Wyrick lacked the charisma, enthusiasm or looks (not quirky enough to challenge a Doug Henning, or Ed Alonzo, or Kevin James, or handsome enough to give Hans Klok a run for their money) to compete with a city full of magicians, yet he survived, moving from one venue to another. A few months ago, he created his finest illusion...that of disappearing from the Vegas entertainment scene. What he left behind were lots of empty promises and piles of debt. And no one saw this coming? Someone told us they heard that Wyrick was performing magic in Canada. We hope to learn more on that subject in the next week.

* * * * * * *

It's another fundraiser for Family Promise and It's All About Love. That's the name of a concert by Michael Miele, taking place at 7:30 tonight on the lawn at the Boulder City Library Amphitheatre, 701 Adams Blvd. in the city by the darn. Attendees are encouraged to take a lawn chair, picnic dinner or snacks. Tickets are $20. Call Family Promise at (702) 638-8806 or (702) 339-9082.

* * * * * * *

Talented Larry Raben, who played Leo Bloom in The Producers at Paris Las Vegas, is wearing his director's cap these days. Larry will direct Falling for Eve... and on the eighth day, it got complicated, at The York Theatre Company (Theatre at Saint Peter's), 619 Lexington Ave. at 54th Street, July 6th through August 8th. The steamy new musical offers a second look at the world's first love story. Creation is going perfectly. Eve, curious about what lies beyond the Garden of Eden, and obsessed with the notion that something is forbidden, bites the infamous apple. Then Adam doesn't. How exactly they'll get together to create the human race is anybody's guess. Falling for Eve is a fresh and unconventional retelling of the most famous romance of all time, filled with unexpected twists and turns as Eve and Adam realize that "paradise" may not be a place after all... The book, based on David Howard's Adam Alone, is by Joe DiPietro (2010 Tony winner for Memphis), with music by Bret Simmons and lyrics by David Howard. Kim Steiner serves as music director and choreography is by Lee Martino. Falling for Eve features Jennifer Blood (Susan and God), Krystal Joy Brown (Hair), Nehal Joshi (Les Miserables), Adam Kantor (Next to Normal), Jose Llana (Spelling Bee), and Sasha Sloan (Ragtime). For ticket information, call (212) 935-5820, between noon and 6 p.m. You might be able to save a few bucks by using the code: EVEMOD.

* * * * * * *

Sardelli & Barbutti at Veterans Home

Sardelli, Keller & Toomin at Veterans Home

Organizer Nelson Sardelli reports that last Sunday's Father's Day show at the Nevada Veterans Home in Boulder City was the best one ever. Some of those participating (performing or lending a hand or moral support) in the fifth annual event included Pete Barbutti, Michaelina Belleamy, Paul Campanella, Diane Ellis, Vince Falcone, Mundane the Grate (Jac Hayden), former sheriff Jerry Keller, Linda November, Gary Olds Trio, Babe Pier, Cork Proctor, Charly Raymond, Ronnie Rose, Artie Schroeck, Charlie Shaffer, Jeannie Snow, Larry Taylor, The Great Tomsoni & Co. (John and Pam Thompson), Tommy Thompson, statesman Lou Toomin, Allen Tramont, and Fielding West. Everyone involved - Veterans Home residents and employees, and visitors alike - had a great time.

And speaking of Ronnie Rose, the singer/musician will be doing his first gig at the Roma Grill, 9570 S. Eastern near Silverado, on Wednesday, June 30th, from 7 to 10 p.m. Ronnie will be backed by Vince Falcone on piano, Chris Gordan on bass, and Ryan Rose (no relation to Ronnie) on drums. Reservations are suggested if dinner is on your agenda. Call (702) 837-5600. Busy Ronnie and Vinnie Falcone can also be seen and heard at Daddy Mac's, 2920 N. Green Valley Parkway, Thursday July 1st - call (702) 272-0913; BB King's Restaurant & Nightclub at The Mirage, tonight and tomorrow night from 6:30 to 9 p.m.; and Mandalay Bay's House of Blues, tomorrow night from 8 to 11 (the horn section is back).

Ronnie Rose

Adam Lambert

Lost In Reflection by Ed Dominguez

* * * * * * *

American Idol's Adam Lambert, with special guest, Orianthi, will perform at Mandalay Bay Beach on July 31st. Tickets are (or were, as they may be sold out by the time you read this) $40...for standing room only.

* * * * * * *

The public is invited to the Concrete & Sparkle: Influences Of Las Vegas Signs and Architecture Exhibit, opening on Thursday, July 1st. Meet the artists in the gallery, located next to the auditorium in the historic Fifth Street School, located at 401 S. Fourth St. The exhibit will include paintings, traditional photographs and digitally manipulated photographic work. The works of several artists who have explored the visuals of local signs and architecture will be included. The artists are sponsoring the reception. Other than during the Thursday reception, the exhibit will be open only during special events through October 24th. Featured artists will include: Linda Alterwitz, Randa Bishop, Catherine Borg, Diane Bush, Ed Dominguez, Darius Kuzmickas, Jerry Misko, Atsuko Parker and Merri Stevens. For more information about this exhibit, call (702) 229-1012.

* * * * * * *

The Las Vegas Media Group had a great meeting at their new location on Monday morning. Thirty-eight people showed up for the first gathering held at The Wedding Room, 3601 W. Sahara. Lisa Gioia-Acres reports there were 38 people in attendance for the luncheon get-together. Andy Martello filled in for the regular MC, Rich Friedland, and did a fine job. An unexpected treat was the presence of 85-year-old actor, Tony Curtis, who came with his friend, Gene Kilroy. Curtis, who makes his home in Henderson's Sun City Anthem, shared some of his life and career stories and had the attendees mesmerized with his anecdotes. Next meeting is Monday, July 19th. For information about the Las Vegas Media Group, call Lisa at (702) 245-9206.

Tony Curtis & Rollie Gibbs

Sugar Ray

Mary Oliver

* * * * * * *

For those who were curious about the results of the Rubio's Big Burrito giveaway on June 3rd, PR/Media Gal, Michele Tell of Preferred Public Relations, informs us that it was a smashing success! Almost 15,000 Big Burritos Especials found their way into the tummies of those Las Vegans with enough patience to brave the long lines. For those that waited, the rewards were worth it. (Those Big Burritos normally sell for around $6.) The Las Vegas promotion results topped anyplace else in the country, by about 2,500...a record breaking number for the Rubio's company. There were lines out-the-door, from opening until the 10 p.m. closing. For those who were already Rubio's patrons, there was no question that they would wait in line. For the "newbies," who had never experienced the joys of Rubio's before, most of them have indicated they would return for MORE...and happily pay the bill.

* * * * * * *

The Silverton Casino Lodge kicks off summer with hot headliners for July. The Silverton is the perfect place for great music, delicious food and a weekend escape from the hustle and bustle of the Las Vegas Strip. First up for July is Sugar Ray, performing on Saturday, July 3rd at 8 p.m. From Orange County, California, Sugar Ray began as a funk metal band and eventually morphed their sound, mixing pop/rock with funky hip-hop and reggae grooves. With huge hits such as "Fly," "Someday" and "Every Morning," Sugar Ray has reached triple platinum levels, played Woodstock '99 and has continued to maintain their summer-loving, laid-back sound as a mainstream force since the '90s. Ticket prices are $30 plus tax and applicable fees and can be purchased at the Silverton Casino Lodge, by calling 702-263-7777 or by logging onto

* * * * * * *

The 2009 blockbuster film, Avatar, written and directed by James Cameron, will kick off the Freakin' Frog's Summer Movie Fest series on Monday, June 28th at 9 p.m. Enjoy freshly popped popcorn and a must-see flick every week on the Frog's big screen all Summer long! When his brother is killed in a robbery, paraplegic Marine Jake Sully decides to take his place in a mission on the distant world of Pandora. There he learns of greedy corporate figurehead Parker Selfridge's intentions of driving off the native humanoid "Na'vi" in order to mine for the precious material scattered throughout their rich woodland. In exchange for the spinal surgery that will fix his legs, Jake gathers intel for the cooperating military unit spearheaded by gung-ho Colonel Quaritch, while simultaneously attempting to infiltrate the Na'vi people with the use of an "avatar" identity. While Jake begins to bond with the native tribe and quickly falls in love with the beautiful alien Neytiri, the restless Colonel moves forward with his ruthless extermination tactics, forcing the soldier to take a stand - and fight back in an epic battle for the fate of Pandora. In the future, Jake, a paraplegic war veteran, is brought to another planet, Pandora, which is inhabited by the Na'vi, a humanoid race with their own language and culture. Those from Earth find themselves at odds with each other and the local culture. (Summary courtesy of IMDb). The Monday night movies (and popcorn) are free and open to the public. The Freakin' Frog is located at 4700 S. Maryland Parkway. For further information, call (702) 597-9702.

* * * * * * *

Will the mostly senior crowd, who has been showing up at Sam's Town on Thursday afternoons to sit through the taping of the Dennis Bono radio show, follow Bono to his new home at the South Point, or will they continue to go to Sam's Town on Thursdays for Ed Mathews' new Variety Toast of the Town? Variety is a musical show featuring a full live band and Las Vegas celebrities, and is free to all Coast Club slot members. Doors open at 1 p.m., and the show begins at 2. For its first show, yesterday, Clint Holmes and Domenick Allen from Vocal Soup served as hosts. Next Thursday, Ronnie Rose and Mary Oliver will act as hosts. Among the featured guests will be Suzanne Goulet and Denise Rose, who cleverly and creatively portray Liza Minnelli and Judy Garland, respectively. This Thursday, Jeff Neiman will serve as musical director. At this time, Variety Toast of the Town is scheduled to run Thursdays, through August 26th.

* * * * * * *

The Onyx Theatre is proud to announce that June marks the one year anniversary of the wildly outrageous smash hit, Naked Boys Singing! Put on your birthday suits and join them for a good time and a good cause. Clever and poignant, this fun-filled, full frontal musical revue leaves little to the imagination, as eight hunky singing and dancing men take to the stage wearing nothing but smiles for an unforgettable night of entertainment. Sixteen original songs explore and exploit the wonders of the male anatomy, physically and musically, from the hilarious opening number "Gratuitous Nudity," to the silly "Perky Little Porn Star," to the heartwarming, "Kris Look What You've Missed." Now in its 11th year in New York, this hilarious off-Broadway musical continues to be a runaway success in Las Vegas since locally premiering in 2009. Naked Boys Singing! is a huge hit with adult audiences from all walks of life, and has become the No. 1 destination for "girls night out" and bachelorette parties. In honor of Naked Boys Singing! celebrating its first year, the Onyx Theatre is donating 10% of all June ticket sales to Aid for AIDS of Nevada (AFAN). Don't miss this great opportunity to support your local arts and help the fight against AIDS!

* * * * * * *

ABBA The Music performs some of the greatest hits in history on Sunday, June 27th at 7 p.m. at the Casablanca Event Center in Eastside Cannery Casino & Hotel. The band will have guests jumping out of their seats to sing and dance along with their favorite songs from the Swedish pop phenomenon. As one of the world's best selling bands, ABBA enjoyed international success with smash hits including "Mamma Mia," "Dancing Queen," and "Take a Chance On Me." Topping the charts throughout the 1970s and '80s, ABBA released eight studio albums and enjoyed 26 No. 1 singles and numerous awards. Other hits include "One of Us," "Fernando," "Knowing Me, Knowing You" and "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)." The popular Broadway musical "Mamma Mia" is based on the music of ABBA and was made into a movie version with Meryl Streep in the lead, resurging worldwide attention to the pop group. Recently, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Created by Camilla Hedren and Katja Nord, ABBA The Music had their breakthrough when they won a European sing and look-alike competition. With a number of original ABBA band members they have been touring the world selling out arenas such as Hollywood Bowl, Royal Albert Hall and Wembley Arena in London. The Official International ABBA Fan Club described the group as the "absolutely best ABBA since ABBA." Tickets are available now in two levels: Prime at $24.95 and Reserved at $17.95. To purchase tickets, call (702) 856-5470, visit, or go to Eastside Cannery's box office located at the front desk. Ticket prices do not include tax and applicable fees. Must be 5 years or older to attend.

* * * * * * *

Martin Kreloff Stars & Sumos

Matt Donnelly

Reminder...Artist Martin Kreloff, a favorite of ours, opens his Stars and Sumos show at the Laura Henkel Fine Art Gallery, 107 E. Charleston, Suite 100, on July 1st. The exhibit, which will run through August 21st, will feature celebrity portraits and, of course, sumos. What's not to understand? Go. Have fun. Enjoy. After all, to quote Mr. Kreloff, "There's No Business Like Sumo Business."

* * * * * * *

Matt Donnelly's Executive Monkeys show takes over The Lounge at the Palms Casino Resort for a celebrity studded month of Wednesdays, beginning on June 30th at 9 p.m. The show, which features celebrity guests, presents some of the most supreme improv comedians hailing from Upright Citizens Brigade, Second City, Improv Olympic, Peoples Improv Theatre and Improv Vegas, performing a two-act 70 to 80-minute show. Bringing a new and dynamic style of improv comedy to the stage, Donnelly's Executive Monkeys is sure to deliver big laughs to the Palms Lounge every Wednesday. Unlike any other show in Vegas, the first set calls upon audience participation, encouraging the audience to use social media outlet Twitter via their cellular phones as the performers create characters and sketches based on the pictures and words from the tweeting audience. The suggestions are tweeted and are broadcast to an on-stage screen to keep the audience up to speed. The second act offers a comedic tarot reading of a celebrity guest that will result in spontaneous sketches created around the reading. This Wednesday, the celebrity guest will be actress, professional poker player and all-around hottie, Shannon Elizabeth. Additional celebrity guests will be announced soon. Donnelly began improvising at the age of 15 in his hometown of Red Bank, N.J., in a show called Improv Jam. Since then, he has enjoyed a rich life as an improv comic, performing with seminal improve groups in New York City since 1996, and traveling around the world. Most recently, Matt finished a run with Wayne Brady's "Making $#!t Up" at The Venetian. Before moving to Las Vegas, Matt was performing and teaching in New York City with the Upright Citizens' Brigade before really making a name for himself at the Peoples Improv Theatre in Manhattan. In addition to Brady, Matt has worked with the best in modern improv including Amy Poehler, "Truth in Comedy" author Charna Halpurn, "Improvise author Mick Napier, Improv Guru's Armando Diaz and Miles Stroth as well as many others. Tickets for Executive Monkeys are $25 and can be purchased at the Palms Box Office, open daily from noon until 7 p.m. For more information on upcoming shows, please call (702) 944-3200. Executive Monkeys is expected to run through July 28th.

* * * * * * *

"The Legend Returns." Just Imagine, starring Tim Piper in a tribute to John Lennon, opens in Planet Hollywood's CHI Showroom on Wednesday, June 30th. Piper, a multi-faceted, musician, actor and songwriter, has traveled the world performing music made famous by The Beatles. From his early teen years in Southern California, Piper played in numerous original and Top 40 'cover' bands, while honing his skills as a guitarist, bass player, singer and songwriter. In addition to being a member of various Beatle Tribute bands, including Revolution, Piper has distinguished himself as the pre-eminent John Lennon, with roles in the CBS production, The Linda McCartney Story, E! Channel's production of The John Lennon Story, Beatle Wives, and, more recently, as the singing voice of John Lennon for the NBC-TV Movie of the Week, In His Life -The John Lennon Story. With his band, Tim has performed at numerous special events, such as Tom Hanks' 10th wedding anniversary party, a private party for Irwin Winkler (producer of Rocky), and a pre-screening performance for the re-release debut of Yellow Submarine. Piper's other credits include, Legends In Concert (both in Las Vegas, and Internationally), Shea Stadium concert for a Mets baseball game, and even a Bob Hope Worldwide Television Special. Tim was invited to attend the inaugural "Adopt a Minefield" Charity Benefit in Beverly Hills, where he met with Beatle-legend Paul McCartney and his, then, wife, Heather Mills-McCartney, in support of their charitable efforts. McCartney told Tim and his band, "Keep up the good work, lads!" During the first week, limited seating at $39 is available. Call (702) 785-5000 for ongoing Just Imagine show schedule and ticket prices.

Tim Piper as John Lennon

James Taylor & Carole King

Shelley Stepanek

* * * * * * *

The Carole King and James Taylor Troubadour Reunion Tour lands at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday, July 17th, with show starting at 8 p.m. This tour marks the first time in 40 years that the two beloved singer/songwriters have shared a stage together. Joining the legendary recording artists are original band mates guitarist Danny "Kootch" Kortchmar, drummer Russ Kunkel and bassist Lee Sklar, known in their own right as The Section. Carole and James' performance together at the Troubadour in November 1970 heralded her transition to solo artist after penning 22 Top 40 hits for acts including Aretha Franklin "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," to The Monkees' "Pleasant Valley Sunday," while James, who appeared on last Sunday's Oscars telecast during the in-memoriam tribute, was supporting his self-titled Apple Records release featuring classics such as "Carolina in My Mind" and "Something in the Way She Moves." King and Taylor are both multi-platinum-selling artists, Grammy winners and members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Call (702) 891-7777 to purchase tickets.

* * * * * * *

Shelley Stepanek has been reelected to represent the Destinations Services Association as president for two additional years. Stepanek, who owns Stagedreams, Ltd., was originally elected to the leadership position in November 2007 after having served as vice president. Stepanek said her goals are, "Establishing a close inner working relationship between all the members and opening new doors for them." Stepanek began her hospitality career as the casino-tour manager for the Dunes office in San Diego, Calif., and from 1971-1988 was a junket operator for numerous Las Vegas Strip hotels. She has owned a 1,500-passenger daily gambling ship in Biloxi, Miss., owned restaurants in San Diego and the biggest one in the state of Iowa, built and owned a Days Inn Motel in Iowa, and owned and been marketing director for a for a start-up casino company with two high-speed casino ferries between San Diego and Ensenada, Mexico. More recently, Stepanek has been an entertainment agent since 2005, co-produced shows in Aruba and Macau, and produced and co-owned the Las Vegas production of "From Russia With Love" in 2005. The following directors are also elected to serve two-year terms: Vice President, Mel Carter Greenspun Media Group; New Memberships, Monica Broglia 33 Group; Treasurer, Jan Johnson WOW Marketing/LV Catering; Web site, Dianna Arnson, CityWide Entertainment; Secretary, Harriet Bernard Ladies Day Out; and Speakers, Brenda Turner Andrea's VIP Production. Destination Services Association (DSA) is a non-profit state association made up of more than 130 working professionals representing a broad spectrum of gaming and non-gaming companies in the Southern Nevada hospitality industry.
Originally founded in 1974 as Receptive Operators Association (ROA) and later RODSA, the association's mission is to create unity among all local tourism entities, educate members, uphold the highest business ethics, and provide one voice to protect and serve the industry's future.

* * * * * * *

If our columns seems a bit "music heavy," that's because we like music. To quote Harry Chapin's song about "Mr. Tanner," Music was his life, it was not his livelihood, and it made him feel so happy and it made him feel so good. And he sang from his heart and he sang from his soul. He did not know how well he sang; It just made him whole., and Clint Holmes said it all in his beautiful song, "I Sing," when he sang "music heals my soul."

Have a question about Las Vegas? Want to make a comment (be nice, now)?
If so, drop an e-mail and ask. Click Here
Cousin Claire will do her best to find the answer for you.
You can find Past Columns HERE

     Like to be notified when Claire Voyant's next column is available?
Then join Claire Voyant's announcement mailing list!
Enter your email address below, then click the 'Join List' button:

Claire Voyant's portrait by Charlie Frye