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 August 20, 2010
You can find the current column HERE
Las Vegas - August 20, 2010
Maurice Hines Sr.
Hines, Hines & Dad
A (sort of) religious experience is about to take place at the Las Vegas Hilton. Beginning on September 15th, the musical comedy, Nunsense ,will move into the Shimmer Room at the hotel casino. The tale of the Little Sisters of Hoboken is a clever and fun one, and the Vegas cast is a knockout! Our longtime friend, Diane Ellis, will play the "Mother Superior Mary Regina," with Kelly Clinton as "Sister Mary Amnesia," Michelle Johnson as "Sister Mary Hubert," and Janien Valentine as "Sister Robert Anne." Dan Goggin's (he wrote the book, music and lyrics) original production opened December 12, 1985, and ran for 3,672 performances, becoming the second-longest running off-Broadway show in history (after The Fantasticks).
By the time it closed, Nunsense had become an international phenomenon, translated into at least 26 languages with more than 6,000 productions worldwide. More than 25,000 women have played in Nunsense productions - including Edie Adams, Kaye Ballard, Honor Blackman, Pat Carroll, Peggy Cass, Phyllis Diller, Georgia Engel, Mimi Hines, Darlene Love, Rue McClanahan, Lee Merriwether, Sally Struthers and JoAnne Worley - and the revue has grossed more than $300 million worldwide. The production won four Outer Critics Circle Awards, including best off-Broadway musical, best book and best music, and has spawned five sequels. Goggin adapted both Nunsense and Nunsense 2 for television productions, with onetime Las Vegas resident, Terri White, played "Sister Mary Hubert." Terri has also appeared on Broadway in Ain't Misbehavin', Barnum, Welcome to the Club, Bubblin' Brown Sugar, revivals of Finian's Rainbow and Chicago, and Fela. She frequently performs with Liza Minnelli. Hilton performances of Nunsense will be at 4 p.m., Wednesdays through Mondays (dark on Tuesdays). For ticket prices and reservations, call (702) 732-5755. Be forewarned, Nunsense can be habit forming.
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We are saddened to report the death of Maurice Robert Hines, the father of performers Maurice Hines Jr. and the late Gregory Hines. The family patriarch, who had lived in Las Vegas for more than 30 years, died in a local hospice-care facility on July 27th following a brief illness. He was 88 years old. Hines was born February 9th, 1922, in North Carolina. His mother, Ora Hines, was a dancer at Harlem's famed Cotton Club in the 1920s. He never knew his father. During World War II, the senior Hines joined the Merchant Marines. He met his future wife, Alma, through her brother, who served in the Marines with him. Maurice and Alma married in 1942, and settled in Harlem where Hines worked for a while as a bouncer. Their first son, Maurice Jr., was born December 13th, 1943, in New York City. Gregory was born on Valentines Day, 1946. As very young children, the brothers studied tap at the Henry LeTang Dance Studio in New York City. Henry LeTang recognized their extraordinary talents and was soon choreographing numbers specifically for Maurice and Gregory. In the 1950s, the brothers started performing in nightclubs and theaters, including the famed Apollo, as The Hines Kids. In 1954, when Maurice Jr. was 10 years old, he and Gregory appeared in the Broadway musical comedy The Girl in Pink Tights. Following in the footsteps of the famed Nicholas Brothers, they soon began appearing on stage throughout the country. They toured as the opening act for such headliners as Lionel Hampton and Gypsy Rose Lee.
By 1963, Gregory and Maurice decided to emphasize singing in addition to dancing and asked their father to join the group. The elder Hines had been a salesman for White Rock soda when he taught himself to play the drums and joined his sons. The act than became known as Hines, Hines and Dad. They gained national prominence when Johnny Carson discovered the act at the Playboy Club in Chicago, and put them on his show. The trio performed to rave reviews in nightclubs in New York, Las Vegas and Europe, and made television appearances on The Pearl Bailey Show, Hollywood Palace and appeared 35 times on The Tonight Show.
The act broke up in 1973, when Gregory Hines quit to form a jazz-rock band. After Hines, Hines and Dad broke up, the senior Hines attended maitre d' school and ran the gourmet room at the Thunderbird Hotel in Vegas. He later served as maitre d' in the showroom at the Tropicana. Gregory went on to find fame on stage and screen, winning a Tony Award for his starring role in the musical Jelly's Last Jam, and appearing in such movies as White Nights, Running Scared, Waiting to Exhale, and Tap. Young Hines also starred in his own situation comedy, 1997's The Gregory Hines Show. Maurice Jr. also starred on Broadway in Jelly's Last Jam, as well as Sophisticated Ladies and other musicals, earning himself a Tony nomination for his performance in Uptown, It's Hot, which he conceived, directed and choreographed. Maurice Jr. sang and danced in the role of "Nathan Detroit" in the hit musical National Touring Company of Guys and Dolls with Debbie Allen and Richard Roundtree. He created a sensation in the hit Broadway musical Eubie, which also starred his brother Gregory and was choreographed by Henry LeTang. In 1981, Hines returned to Broadway with his performance in Bring Back Birdie with Chita Rivera. That same year, he also appeared in Sophisticated Ladies. In 1984, Gregory and Maurice Hines reunited for The Cotton Club movie, playing dancers Sandman and Clay Williams. Maurice Sr. served as consultant to the film. In the late 1990s, Maurice Jr. was one of the rotating (along with Susan Anton and Paige O'Hara) featured guest stars in The Great Radio City Music Hall Spectacular featuring the Rockettes, at the Flamingo in Las Vegas. Gregory died of cancer at 57 in 2003. In his later years, the elder Hines often golfed. His nephew said he was "a great cook, precise about everything" and a "great dresser" who "always had a hundred pairs of shoes." Besides his son, Maurice, he is survived by his second wife, Gloria J. Hines, and his grandchildren, Zachary and Daria.
Gregory Hines, Henry LeTang & Fayard Nicholas
Alma Kilfoyl (she remarried after her divorce from Hines), who formerly managed the careers of her singing, dancing sons, Gregory and Maurice, for almost 20 years, died December 30th, 1999, at the Odyssey Health Care hospice in Las Vegas following a three-month illness. A Las Vegas resident for 27 years, Alma was 82 at the time of her death.
Dancer, teacher and Tony Award-winning choreographer (for 1989's Black & Blue), Henry LeTang and his wife, Ellie Epps LeTang, moved to Las Vegas in 1992, where they ran a dance studio in the Commercial Center. Henry had a Broadway history as choreographer for Eubie! (1978) and Sophisticated Ladies (1981). In film, he worked on The Cotton Club (1984) and Tap! (1989). Among LeTang's dance students were Debbie Allen, Hinton Battle, Harry Belafonte, Milton Berle, Lenny Bruce, Lola Falana, Savion Glover, Joey Heatherton, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Betty Hutton, Lee Marvin, Bette Midler, Chita Rivera, Ben Vereen, Clifton Webb, and Flip Wilson. In 2003, Henry received the American Choreography Educator Award, presented to him by Gregory Hines and Fayard Nicholas of the famed Nicholas Brothers. (See accompanying photo.) Ellie died in 2002 at the age of 62. Henry passed away in 2007. He was 91
And speaking of Maurice Jr., we just received this announcement from Feinstein's at Loews Regency in Manhattan...On Monday, August 23rd at 8:30 p.m., world-renowned entertainer Maurice Hines pays tribute to the great Nat King Cole in an intimate evening to benefit Ronald McDonald House® New York and The New York Pops Education Programs. Backed by a swinging band and joined by special guest, Tony Award-winner (for Cy Coleman's The Life) Lillias White, Tony-nominee Hines performs the American standards that made Nat King Cole a legend of song and dance. The New York Pops residency at Ronald McDonald House® New York helps children fighting cancer discover their creative voice by teaching basic musical, creative writing and instrumental techniques. With those ideals in mind, the Ronald McDonald House band, Bad Habit, has been writing and performing songs for two years. This year, The New York Pops has also been leading a weekly class in vocal and piano performance, resulting in the first-ever Ronald McDonald House Choir. Call (212) 339-4095 or (212) 339-4045 for prices and reservations, or visit Ticketweb.com.
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Regarding our brief item on the death of Polly Peluso in last week's column, weekly reader, actress, singer, dancer, Annie Gaybis (Mrs. John Byner), writes...
I was so saddened to read about the passing of my former modeling agent, Polly Peluso. I was just shocked to read this and I am forwarding it on. Tell me, I remember that Polly used to bruise easily and she never could figure out why. I remember when she was with Cosmo, her boyfriend, who later became her husband would always carry her camera like a medallion hanging from his neck for those "just in case shots." Claire, I would like to know if she is survived by her husband. Please let me know the details of her passing. Polly Peluso had many girls in her agency that went on to becoming well known. You could tell Polly anything and she would not bat an eye. Before I got with her, the NBC newscaster Kelly Lange was with her. I remember giggling with Patty Kotero after she came back from screen testing with Prince and her telling me he renamed her, Apollonia. She went on to co-star with him in Purple Rain. I remember being in "US" Magazine in an evening gown, where about eight of us were holding Polly up in this large two page picture as she lay across our hands, and they did a big story about her. Suzanne LaRusch, who was always called in to do skits with Carson, is now "the official Lucy." About a year ago, she did her one woman show, directed by Lucie Arnaz, at Desi Jr's Boulder Theatre, and has been touring the performing arts centers ever since. Rhonda Shear, USA cable TV‘s "Up All Night Girl," getting all excited when her full length poster came out. Rhonda is now a comedienne and constant presence on one of those home shopping channels selling her lingerie line. And there was Lindsay Bloom, who landed the role of the secretary in the Mike Hammer series, starring Stacy Keach. And me, touring numerous convention arenas as spokesmodel for Car Shows, Boat Shows and Trucking Shows, and sneaking on smaller heels that I would make to look similar to the wardrobe that they gave me as the day wore on, and trying not to get nauseas when I was talking and slowly revolving on those turntables for three - five days. There is a thin line between friendship and business, and Polly walked that line beautifully.
Thank you for sharing your memories with us, Annie.
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As we mentioned in last Friday's column, Sam's Town Hotel and Gambling Hall is putting a fresh spin on the "supper club" idea, as it launches a new entertainment, dining and dancing experience with Wes Winters' 88 Key Club, beginning Labor Day weekend. On Fridays and Saturdays, launching September 3rd, from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m., Wes Winters, positioned center stage at a nine-foot grand piano, will entertain in an intimate setting, drawing from a huge musical repertoire and bringing his one-of-a-kind showmanship and musical prowess for which he's become known. Guests can reserve tables and order from a dinner menu with specialties including a variety of salads, steaks, chops and seafood selections. Those who would like to enjoy a glass of wine or spirits and small plates are also welcome. Tapas will be available including crab cakes, bruschetta and tequila grilled shrimp, among other savory appetizers. A specialty cocktail menu will offer a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Located at Café in the Park inside Sam's Town, doors for Wes Winters' 88 Key Club will open at 6 p.m. No cover. Reservations are highly recommended for individuals and groups and can be made by calling (702) 454-8185. For further information visit www.samstownlv.com.
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God Lives In Glass
When the daytime temperatures are in the triple digits, it's hard to think about the winter holidays, but in August, the Hilton is definitely thinking the upcoming cool nights. Not only are they thinking about it, they already have Andy Williams and his Christmas show booked for December 23rd and 24th, and are taking reservations. Like last year's show, singer, impressionist Bob Anderson will be part of the musical festivities. Anderson, who lived and entertained in Las Vegas for almost 30 years, currently makes his home in Branson. We know that he misses our city and would love the opportunity to return, on a long-term basis. We will keep you posted.
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Broadway Bound Children's Theatre presents the Seattle premiere of God Lives In Glass, a new musical, born out of the tragedy of September 11th, 2001, that promotes unity, acceptance of diversity, inter-faith dialogue and connection with spirituality and the world at large. God Lives In Glass, with book and lyrics by Robert J. Landy, and music and additional lyrics by Las Vegan Keith Thompson (musical director for Jersey Boys at the Palazzo), features a cast of 28 teen artists, a 16-piece orchestra from the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra, and dancers from SD/Prism Dance Theatre. Directed by Jimmy Nixon and choreographed by Sonia Dawkins, the original production is co-conceived by Greg Ganakas. Shows are tonight, Friday, August 20th at 7 p.m., tomorrow, the 21st, at 2 and 7 p.m., and Sunday, the 22nd, at 2 p.m., at the Paul Robeson Performing Arts Center at Rainier Beach High School, 8815 Seward Park Avenue South. Tickets to God Lives In Glass are $5 in advance on brownpapertickets.com, or "pay-what-you-can" at the door. For more information about God Lives In Glass and the South Seattle Arts Festival, visit broadwaybound.org. We have had the privilege of seeing a couple of productions of God Lives In Glass in Las Vegas. It is a wonderful and inspirational event and we urge you not to miss it.
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Fans of Jimmy Hopper will be pleased to know that the entertainer has some upcoming Las Vegas dates between September 5th and New Years Eve. On September 5th, and again on October 3rd, Hopper, who in addition to singing everything from operatic arias to pop tunes by Sting, also plays piano and guitar, will perform at Ovation at Green Valley Ranch, where he will be joined by talented violinist Mira Khomik, and guitarist Gary Bruno. On New Year's Eve, Jimmy Hopper, accompanied by his full orchestra, will provide the entertainment for party guests at The Mirage. We will provide more details on the New Year's Eve festivities in a few months.
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Lorene Yarnell, a dancer who became half of the Shields and Yarnell comedy mime team that came to fame in the 1970s and briefly starred in their own TV variety series, has died. She was 66. Yarnell died of a brain aneurysm on July 29th while watching television with her husband, Bjorn Jansson, at their home in Sandefjord, Norway, said Robert Shields, her former husband and show business partner. We are using much of a story written by Dennis McLellan of the Los Angeles Times. "I'm devastated by her death," Shields told The Times. "Lorene was an incredibly gifted and magical person." The Los Angeles-born Shields, who received a scholarship to legendary mime Marcel Marceau's school in Paris in 1970, went on to become a street mime in San Francisco's Union Square, where he was known as one of the city's top tourist attractions. Yarnell, who was born in Inglewood, was a dancer on The Carol Burnett Show, The Dean Martin Show, and other top TV variety programs. She and Shields met when they worked on Fol-de-Rol, a 1972 Sid and Marty Krofft TV special that marked Shields' first TV appearance. "After I met her, I went back to San Francisco, and I took her with me," Shields recalled. "It was one of those crazy things; we fell in love, and she left her [dancing] career behind." "It was destiny," Yarnell, who taught Shields to dance while he taught her mime. In October 1972, the two white-faced mimes donned matching bandleader costumes and were married in a pantomimed ceremony in Union Square. The wedding included fire eaters, belly dancers, snake charmers, clowns and mimes, and generated such a large crowd that the streets around the square were blocked off. After working together and separately as mimes in San Francisco - he passed the hat performing in Union Square and she did the same in Ghirardelli Square - they moved to Los Angeles in 1975 and their career took off when they became regulars on The Mac Davis Show. A stint as regulars on CBS' The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour, led the network to give them their own show in 1977. A successful half-hour summer variety series, Shields and Yarnell, was a blend of mime, dancing and comedy sketches, most famously including recurring sketches in which they played a robot couple called the Clinkers. The show returned to CBS in January 1978, but was opposite the top-rated Laverne & Shirley on ABC, and was dropped after two months of low ratings. After their series ended, Shields and Yarnell continued to appear on TV shows and specials, as well as in commercials, and headlined in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, Reno and Atlantic City. Although they were divorced in the mid-1980s, they worked together on and off until 2009. The fact that they were opposites is what made their professional partnership work, Shields told the Arizona Republic in 2004. "I think of Lorene as someone like Chita Rivera, a dancer's dancer," he said. "I'm a clown. But we complement each other. Between us, we give the audience a good show." Onstage, Yarnell said in the same interview, "we're very similar people. I've always said that Robert is the artist and I'm the performer, but I have the heart of a clown in me. I'm a very silly, funny person. It's work for me, though, hard work. Robert, that amazing man, just gets up and does it. After all these years, I'm still in awe." Born March 21, 1944, Yarnell began studying dance when she was four and was already established as a dancer by the time she was 15. Gene Kelly once described her tap dancing as "flawless." "She could tap dance like nobody's business," Shields said. "Besides that, she was incredibly funny. She was a mime, yes, but a great clown. Look on YouTube and you'll be amazed." Shields, who lives in Sedona, Arizona, has a second career as a painter, sculptor and jewelry designer but continues to perform. Yarnell, who turned up in Mel Brooks' 1987 comedy Spaceballs (she was the robot "Dot Matrix," whose voice was supplied by Joan Rivers), owned a dance studio in Sandefjord, Norway, where she taught jazz, tap and ballet. In addition to Jansson, her fourth husband, she is survived by her brother, Richard. Her brother Bruce Yarnell, a veteran of Broadway musicals who also sang with the San Francisco Opera, died in 1973 when the single-engine plane he was piloting crashed near Gorman.
Shields & Yarnell
Matt Goss & Mya
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Okay, all of you Society of Seven fans, and we know there are many of you, here is what the group is up to these days. For the Hawaiian crowd, we might say, The Boys are Back!, and this time they have a girl with them. After nine years of starring in Las Vegas - at the Aladdin (now Planet Hollywood), Bally's, Golden Nugget, Flamingo and Gold Coast - the original SOS Classic is returning to its island home, the SOS Main Showroom at Outrigger Waikiki, with a five-week opening run starting on Tuesday, August 24th. Hawaii's top-rated, longest-running show band will perform Tuesdays through Saturdays 8:30 p.m. After September 25th, the SOS Classic will alternate nights, and perform with their protégées and current showroom regulars, the SOS LV (with LV standing for Latest Version, not Las Vegas), formed in 2001, who will be launching a new "Hot, Hot, Hot" show. "Las Vegas has been great to us. We received many awards such as the Best Show Award in January this year and the Las Vegas Walk of Stars Award; the star is in front of the Flamingo Hotel next to Bobby Darin's," says Tony Ruivivar, who has been with the SOS Classic since the group started entertaining as The Fabulous Echoes in the 1960s. "But whenever we perform on the Mainland, Canada, or anywhere in the world, we always promote Hawaii and try to live up to the standard that Hawaii set in our hearts. We're so happy to be coming home because, even though we've enjoyed our Mainland gigs and expect to continue performing in other cities, Honolulu is where it all began more than 40 years ago." The SOS Classic first opened at the Outrigger Showroom in February 1969. "The difference between the Classic SOS before and now is that, after nine years in Las Vegas and the mainland, we've polished and tightened our show. We're more seasoned performers who're offering our audiences great singing, dancing, and comedy, and of course good clean fun," Ruivivar continues. "We're now hoping to continue the SOS legacy by highlighting our tradition of showcasing exciting new talent on stage." Special guest performer will be 15-year-old Farrington High school student, Arshiel, who was featured on an Oprah "Most Talented Kids" segment, and delivered a powerful "Star Spangled Banner" during the celebration of Hawaii's statehood at the State Capitol last year. She performed with the SOS Classic in Las Vegas last May. "We are hoping our return to the SOS Showroom will not only showcase the SOS brand of entertainment, but also talented entertainers from all over the world, including the Philippines, Korea, China, Europe, and mainland USA," Ruivivar says. The SOS Classic, composed of co-founders Ruivivar and Bert Sagum, Hoku Low, Wayne Wakai, Vince Mendoza, Roy Venturina and Elika Santos (the lead vocalist is currently taking the place of Michael Laygo), were last seen in Honolulu in 2008 when they teamed up with the SOS LV, for three shows at the Outrigger Showroom. They appeared in full concert form at three sold-out performances at the Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall in 2006. After performing on stages in Hong Kong and Asia, the band began their Hawaii entertainment career at the Ilikai Hotel's Hong Kong Junk and Duke Kahanamoku's at the International Market Place. They have been on many national television shows including the Ed Sullivan Show, Mike Douglas Show, Dinah Shore Show, and more. Celebrities, from Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Louis Armstrong, to Earth, Wind and Fire, Olivia Newton-John, Bette Midler and Celine Dion, are among those who have enjoyed SOS shows. Kamaaina can watch the SOS Classic for $29.50, including free parking at the Ohana East. Regular rates are $45. For reservations and information, call (808) 923-SHOW (7469).
Society of Seven, presented by Paul Stone, returns to play the Suncoast, November 19th through 21st. Tickets start at $29.95, plus tax and convenience fees (you can save those fees by purchasing tickets in person at the Suncoast, The Orleans, Gold Coast or Sam's Town). Call the Suncoast box office at (702) 636-7075, or (877) 636-7111. Notice: The Box Office will be closed for construction until Monday, August 23rd.
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The Onyx Theatre does it again. Naked Boys Singing! Mommie Queerest. Confessions of a Prairie Bitch. This time, through special arrangement with R&H Theatricals and Off-Strip Productions, the little theater that could, presents [title of show], a musical about two nobodies named Hunter and Jeff who decide to write a completely original musical starring themselves and their attractive and talented lady friends, Susan and Heidi. Their musical, [title of show], gets into the New York Musical Theatre Festival, and becomes a hit. Music and lyrics are by Jeff Bowen, with book by Hunter Bell. [title of show] opens tonight and runs through September 4th. Show times are August 20th, 21st, 26th, 27th and 28th at 8 p.m.; August 29th at 5 p.m.; and September 2nd, 3rd and 4th 2nd, 3rd & 4th at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25. The Onyx is located at 953 E. Sahara #16, inside The Rack clothing store in Commercial Center. For additional information, call (702) 732-7225.
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No bad luck here. Last Friday, the 13th mind you, singer-songwriter Mýa was in the audience at Matt Goss' Caesars Palace show. Mýa joined Matt onstage for The Beatles classic, "Let it Be." It was announced that on October 19th, Goss will make a return visit to the famed Royal Albert Hall in London, where he will once again perform.
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Happy birthday to these Leo (July 23-August 23) celebrants: Will Collins, Kristen Chenoweth, Mick Jagger, Dorothy Hamill, Rod Russell, Kevin Spacey, Bobbie Gentry, Woody Woods, Peggy Fleming, Paul Anka, Kevin Spirtas, Donna Booth Koger, Tom "Ziggy" Wilson, Robert Allen, Tony Bennett, Mike Straessley, Lana Cantrell, Raul Malo, Angelo Tolentino, Esther Williams, Judy Thorburn, Eric Carmen, Sally Porter, August "Kid Creole" Darnell, Buddy Greco, Martin Kreloff, Spencer Baker, Lou Toomin, Bob Flanigan and Lee Roy Reams.
Lee Roy Reams
And speaking of Lee Roy Reams (and we frequently do), the actor that Liz Smith calls "Broadway's Darling," will play the role of "Wilbur Turnblad" in the Paper Mill Playhouse production of Hairspray. Winner of eight Tony Awards including "Best Musical" and "Best Original Score," the show Variety described as an "infinitely spirited, bubblegum-flavored confection" launches our new season aerosol-style. You'll tap your feet to the beat as Tracy Turnblad and friends triumph over high school bullies, racism and enemies everywhere of big girls with big hair. Founded in 1934, Paper Mill Playhouse, located in Millburn, New Jersey, raised the curtain on its first performance in 1938, opening with a production of Spanish playwright Martinez Sierra's The Kingdom of God. Due to a fire in 1980, Paper Mill was forced to close. Like a phoenix, it rose from its own ashes as a new theater in 1982. Since reopening, Paper Mill has continued to produce an extraordinary array of plays and musicals attracting more than 450,000 people annually. Paper Mill Playhouse was one of the first to begin the regional theater movement in the United States. It has grown to be one of the most acclaimed non-profit professional theaters in the country. In 1972, Gov. William Cahill proclaimed Paper Mill the "Official State Theater of New Jersey." The theater has been cited as a State Center of Artistic Excellence and as a Major Impact and Distinguished Arts Organization by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Hairspray, which opens on September 22nd, was originally scheduled to close on October 17th. Even before its opening, it has been held over until October 24th. We will have more on this production, including photos, closer to the opening date. For reservations or additional information, call (973) 376-4343.
And speaking of Kid Creole...In the ‘80s, Barry Manilow was performing at the Hilton in big Broadway-type production shows with names like The Big Fun Tour and Swing Street. There was a story line, dancing and talented supporting players including Debra Byrd, who went on to be a vocal coach on American Idol, and Kid Creole, who with his band and back-up singer/dancers known as the Coconuts went on to build his own career, even performing in the lounge at the Desert Inn in the late 1990s. We thought they were great and hoped they would return to Vegas at another venue. It seems that the Kid spends much of his time working overseas.
And speaking of Raul Malo...
Three years ago this month, we ran this story...
A little less than a year ago, Cousin Claire got a call from a fellow music-lover who had just heard a version of At Last played on his car radio. Since he was traveling at the time, he couldn't devote all of his attention to catching the name of the singer, but he had liked what he heard. He was hoping that, maybe, with a few clues, we could help him determine who the mystery vocalist was. The main thing to go on was the song title, "At Last." A hit for Etta James in 1961, the song is considered by many to be a timeless classic. That day's "At Last" was sung by a man. A new album was mentioned, and the name of it "might be Only the Lonely, or something with the word 'lonely' in it." The funniest part was that our dear friend thought the radio announcer called the singer "Real Elmo." With the "clues" and an hour or so on the computer, the mystery was solved. When we called our friend and told him that we had figured out who it was that he had heard, his response, like many times before, was an amazed-sounding, "I don't believe it." The album, as it turned out, was called You're Only Lonely (released last July), and the artists' name was not Real Elmo (we knew that couldn't be right), but Raul Malo. Cousin Claire had never heard of Raul Malo before doing the detective work. Timing is everything. If not for that out-of-the-blue phone call, the advertisement announcing that Malo was coming into Boulder Station last November would have meant nothing. Of course, under the circumstances, Cousin Claire and the music man were going to have to go see this Real Elmo fellow at Boulder Station. The reservations were made and the plan was that the new Raul Malo fan would come from California for the November 10th concert and we would go see it together. It is something we were so looking forward to. But the gods had other plans. Our friend, John Buonomo, was too ill to make the trip from California. We attended that concert without him. We know he would have loved it. Dear John died at the Veterans Hospital in Loma Linda eight days later, the victim of the cancer he had fought so hard to beat. Hearing the name or the music of Raul Malo, the onetime lead singer of The Mavericks, still stirs bittersweet memories.
And speaking of Martin Kreloff...
Last Saturday night, we had the privilege of helping Marty celebrate his 66th birthday. With 30 of his nearest and dearest friends in attendance, some traveling from California and Florida for the occasion, the fun group went to see Frank Marino's Divas Las Vegas at the Imperial Palace. Among the partygoers were Tim Olsen, Fame Farm's Michael and Karan Feder; artist, Barbara Farrell and Jim Blake; art director, Bambi Nicklen, and Brad Zucroff, photographer; Justin Gottmann, animator; art gallery owner Laura Henkel, Roberta and Josh Gordon; interior designer, Frank DuMond (Lawrence Furniture Gallery); Kristen Peterson, art reporter for the Las Vegas Sun and Las Vegas Weekly, writer and Lori Hutchings, artist; Tony Cavazos; writer Cynthia Robins; Richard Hooker, a member of the Las Vegas arts community; Donald Draper and Howard Feldman; artist Denise Duarte and Documentarian, Marlene Adrian; and attorney Michael Becker. The birthday boy was delighted that Barbara Farrell, his pal of 40 years, could be present. Barbara and Marty shared a studio in Grad School at University of Miami. The twosome conducted Art Tours together for the Miami Metropolitan Museum & Art Center, lecturing in New York, the UK, and Russia. Marty states, "Barbara is an incredible artist, and one of my dearest friends." Barbara and her friend Jim Blake, who live in Florida, have spent the past two months traveling around in their incredible motor home. They are accompanied on their journey by a pair of adorable Yorkie pups and a cockatiel.
Tim Olsen, Marty Kreloff, Frank DuMond & Frank Marino
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Barbara Kenig, who does the PR for the Freakin' Frog on Maryland Parkway, reports that
Freakin' Music Thursday regular, Topher Koza, won't be at Freakin' Frog this week.
The popular Pittsburgh-native piano man, with Billy Joel's style and Bruce Springsteen's grit, has been wowing the club's crowds with innovative covers (how many 21-year olds go from Clash to Leonard Cohen?) and original tunes for several months. This week, he's off taking his shot at American Idol stardom. We hope Topher remembers Thursday's Freakin' Frog's acoustic songwriters night when he hits it big.
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Sunday night, August 22nd, it's Norah Jones and special guest Corinne Bailey Rae (NOT Corrine, as it has been spelled in most of the local publications), at The Palms Pearl Concert Hall. This stop is part of Jones' 2010 U.S. tour in support of The Fall (2009) and follows a string of festival performances including Bonnaroo in Tennessee, Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland. Her unique blend of jazz, vocal pop, bluesy country and contemporary folk, is what sets Norah Jones apart from other songstresses and has earned the vocalist and pianist multiple accolades. Released in early 2002, her debut CD, Come Away With Me, garnered much public attention, eventually going multi-platinum, selling 18 million copies worldwide, and winning Jones eight Grammy awards. In 2004, Jones released her highly anticipated follow-up album, Feels Like Home, leading to success once again. Her third studio release, Not Too Late, was released in 2007, and 2009 saw Jones' return in a big way with the release of The Fall, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Rock Albums chart. For those who don't know, Norah Jones is the daughter of Indian sitarist, Ravi Shankar, and dancer, Sue Jones. Corinne Bailey Rae, described as a neo-soul songstress, released her self-titled debut album in 2006. The album, which included the heavily rotated single "Put Your Records On," reached No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and earned Rae three Grammy nominations. Her sophomore release, The Sea (2010), is a personal album, heavily affected by the March 2008 death of Corinne's husband, Jason Rae (a saxophonist for the Haggis Horns). Upon its release, The Sea was the highest new entry in the U.K. charts and debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard Top 100. The Pearl Box Office is open from noon to 7 p.m. daily. Doors will open at 7 p.m. and show time is at 8. Tickets are $59 and $69, plus any additional service fees. Please contact any Ticketmaster location, call (800) 745-3000, or visit www.ticketmaster.com< to purchase tickets.
Hash House A Go Go - Imperial Palace
Rebekah Raun in Hope 3
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During our Saturday night outing at the Imperial Palace, and following Divas Las Vegas, and a meet and greet with the show's star/host, Frank Marino, we decided to check out the Hash House a Go Go that opened their second Vegas location at the IP last December. Since we had no idea exactly where on the property the restaurant was located, we sought out someone who looked official. We lucked out by encountering Imperial Palace Casino Manager, Dean Notley. Mr. Notley did not just point in a direction, he actually escorted us to the elevator and took us to Hash House a Go Go's second floor space. Don't know which impressed us more, the personal attention by Mr. Notley, or the new Hash House digs. Let's call it a draw. The space is very large, with areas for large and small private parties, a bar, and plenty of room to handle the Hash House fans. Sophisticated food in a comfortable atmosphere and large portions is what puts Hash House A Go Go on the map. This casual dining restaurant features "twisted farm food"-- a delicious selection of breakfast, lunch and dinner options made from fresh ingredients. Try items like the sage fried chicken and waffles, with an intoxicating aroma and righteous crunch. Other options include crispy salads, comforting meat loaf, chicken pot pie and gigantic flapjacks in flavors like brown sugar banana and apple cinnamon. The restaurant has garnered dozens of local and national accolades and has been featured on the Food Network, "Martha Stewart," "Dr. Phil" and most recently, the popular Travel Channel program, "Man v. Food." Hash House A Go Go is sure to satisfy your cravings for well-done casual fare inside the Imperial Palace hotel. And here is even more good news, Sundays through Thursdays, the restaurant is open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. On Friday and Saturday nights, they stay open until 2 a.m.! Check out this place. Go hungry and make space in your refrigerator for the leftovers. There will be leftovers!
Hash House A Go Go will open its third Las Vegas location at the M Resort Spa Casino in mid-October.
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Dancers from the cast of Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular will present HOPE 3: An Afternoon of Classical Ballet, at the Clark County Flamingo Library Theatre, next Saturday, August 28th at 2 p.m. This one day concert event will benefit Family Promise of Las Vegas, a local non-profit organization that assists Las Vegas homeless families to get off the streets and back into homes. The library is located at 1401 Flamingo, just east of Maryland Parkway. Tickets to the event are $20 and are in limited supply. They may be purchased by calling (702) 245-0992, or through the Web site at www.familypromiselvtickets.com. You can also mail a check or money order to Family Promise, PO Box 270128, Las Vegas, NV 89127-4128. All tickets will be held at Will Call for pickup on the day of the concert, unless otherwise requested. For a sample of what awaits you, check
And, as we have mentioned before, the very next afternoon at 2, at the very same venue, the Performing Arts Society of Nevada Brown Bag Concert presents, Lisa and Ron Smith, starring in Back To Broadway. The talented couple will perform songs from Classic Broadway shows, like The Music Man, 42nd Street, and Les Miserables, and introduce you to some of the most popular musicals of the last few years, such as Wicked, Smokey Joe's Café, and Songs for a New World. Filled with poignant and witty stories from the Broadway world, and featuring so many of your all-time favorite tunes, Back to Broadway is a show that appeals to everyone. Tickets are $15 and may be reserved by calling (702) 658-6741. They may also be purchased at the library box office one hour before the performance. The Performing Arts Society of Nevada is a 501 ©(3) Corporation.
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Lance Burton & Friends will host a benefit for the Zelzah Shrine Temple (The Shriners) at 4 p.m. this Sunday, August 22nd. Tickets are $35, $30 and $25 for the event and can be purchased at the Zelzah Shrine Temple at Mesquite and Rancho, or call (702) 382-5554. Comedy magician Fielding West is on board, along with singer Clint Holmes and magician Rory Johnston.
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Rob Garrett as Neil Diamond
After four successful engagements at the North Las Vegas Cannery, including his last one in January, Rob Garrett returns there for the fifth time in his Neil Diamond tribute, on August 27th. Garrett tells us that this particular show promises to be the biggest tribute to Neil ever. The show will feature his 8-piece band which includes back-up vocalists Michelle Rohl and Elisia Tutt Notermann. Rob informs that Elisia's dad is legendary drummer, Ron Tutt, who, aside from being Neil's drummer for the last 30-years (as if that wasn't enough), is well known by Elvis fans as being The Kings' drummer during the 'live' concert years (1969-1977). Next weekends Hot August Night-Vegas" concert will spotlight selections from BOTH "Hot August Night" albums recorded at the Greek Theater in LA by the 'Solitary Man' himself. Admission is a mere $10 for the 8 p.m. show...more than reasonable for a diamond.
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Grammy-nominated artist and international recording icon, Engelbert Humperdinck, brings his legacy of love, sensitive interpretation of lyrics and distinct charm to The Orleans Showroom stage, tonight (Friday, August 20th), tomorrow and Sunday, with shows at 8 p.m. Although born Arnold George Dorsey in Madras, India, it was more than four decades ago that Engelbert Humperdinck emerged as one of the foremost entertainers in the world. Growing up with nine siblings, Dorsey had a passion for the saxophone and scrimped and saved for weekly lessons. By the time he was 17, he found himself on stage singing and became quite popular in the United Kingdom. After a military hiatus, he again emerged on the music scene with a new image and the name of a noted 19th century German composer. Thus, Engelbert Humperdinck was born and a phenomenon began. Once called "The premier voice of the 20th century" by the London Times, Humperdinck first hit the charts with his smash hit "Release Me (And Let Me Love Again)," which went to No. 1 in 11 countries. The next decade brought such hits as "After the Lovin'," "Winter World of Love," "Am I That Easy To Forget," "There Goes My Everything," "This Moment In Time," and "A Man Without Love." As a seasoned performer and singer extraordinaire, Humperdinck continues to captivate audiences with his ultra smooth charisma and inspiring collection of ballads. He has recorded more than 80 albums in his 40-year career, including many multi-language versions, selling more than 150 million records worldwide, including 64 gold and 24 platinum albums. Humperdinck has performed for Her Majesty the Queen, several Presidents, and many Heads of State. In 1978, he received many accolades including the "Georgie Award" from the American Guild of Variety Artists recognizing him as "Entertainer of the Year." In 1988, his performance of "One World" was seen by more than five-billion people around the globe, kicking off the Seoul Summer Olympics. He has also used his fame to raise funds for numerous charitable causes. Showtime at The Orleans is 8 p.m. Tickets are available starting from $54.95, plus tax and convenience fees, and can be purchased by calling the Box Office at (702) 365-7075 or visiting www.orleanscasino.com. Save on convenience fees by purchasing tickets in person at Coast Casinos.
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Claire Voyant's portrait by Charlie Frye