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 September 03, 2010
You can find the current column HERE
Las Vegas- September 3, 2010
Leigh Zimmerman in Madonna's Jewels
Ariann Black & Friend
Wes Winters by Mary Millard
Here is, what I hope, is a scoop for Claire Voyant readers...
The talented and beautiful Leigh Zimmerman, who, among her many other impressive credits, played "Ulla" in the Las Vegas production of The Producers, made a quick trip to London, to play a part in the new Madonna written and directed movie, W.E. In the film, which tells of the love affair of Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII, Leigh portrays a high society New York heiress, attending a formal dinner. It seems that the writer/director did not care for the jewelry that wardrobe provided for Ms. Zimmerman, so the Material Girl brought in her own personal diamond collection for Leigh to wear for the scene...TWO MILLION DOLLARS worth of her personal bling! We were told that Leigh had to have a Security Guard stand next to her at all times (which made going to the loo a bit of a challenge), and she wasn't even allowed to leave the set for dinner. Sadly, the gems had to be returned to their rightful owner before Ms. Zimmerman headed back home to the U.S. On October 8th, Leigh goes back into the Broadway company of Chicago, where she will, once again, take on the role of "Velma Kelly." Last year, when she played Velma in London's West End production of the award-winning John Kander and Fred Ebb musical, it was TV's Jerry Springer who portrayed lawyer "Billy Flynn." If you have New York theater plans, Leigh will be dancing and singing on the stage of the Ambassador Theatre, into early April.
Look for a story on Leigh Zimmerman's hubby of almost 17 years, the multi-talented singer, musician, songwriter and actor, Domenick Allen, in next Friday's column.
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Although her show is called Secrets, we don't want to keep magician Ariann Black's upcoming plans secret. Her magical revue has closed at the Westin Casuarinas (the former site of the Maxim) on East Flamingo. It seems that a smart marketing decision took her name off the hotel marquee to promote a slot tournament at the property. If you were interested in participating in a tournament, would you go to the Westin, a place known mostly by business travelers for their comfortable beds? We think not. Once the Secrets name disappeared from the Flamingo Road signage, so did most of the little show's ticket sales. So much for corporate thinking. Luckily, Ariann has a place to take her production. It will be on the Strip, and is scheduled to open in late November. We will tell you exactly where her new home will be, and when it will open, as soon as we get the final details. Stay tuned.
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Tonight's the night! Sam's Town Hotel and Gambling Hall debuts Wes Winters' 88 Key Club at Sam's Town's Café in the Park this evening. The Boulder Highway property is putting a fresh spin on the "supper club," as it launches a new weekly entertainment and dining experience. Las Vegas showman, Wes Winters, will perform on Fridays and Saturdays, from 6;30 to 10:30 p.m. The award-winning musician may be best known in Las Vegas for A Musical Tribute to Liberace, an act he conceived, wrote, produced and starred in for five years at the Liberace Museum. Wes' signature one-man nightclub act, Wes Winters Live, also ran for five years at Liberace's Carluccio's Tivoli Gardens Piano Lounge. In order to get a seat for those weekly events, reservations had to be made weeks ahead as they were always sell-outs. In January, Winters debuted a new live show named after his most recent CD, Las Vegas Saturday Night, at the Suncoast. Thanks to the success of that show, in June, Wes was back at the Boyd Gaming property with a second weekend engagement, with Wes Winters All Keyed Up! With an extensive background in musical theater, for more than 20 years, the self-taught pianist has performed in cities throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and South America. In addition to his Las Vegas Saturday Night CD, Winters has six additional solo recordings - Piano Favorites, Wes Winters Live, Send Down an Angel, Wes Winters Christmas, Light the Lights and Curtain Up. Wes Winters' 88 Key Club will offer an exciting night out for dinner, cocktails, dancing, and the live artistry of Winters. Guests are welcome to reserve tables and order from a dinner menu with specialties including a variety of salads, steaks, chops and seafood selections. Wine or spirits and a specialty cocktail menu will offer a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Small plates (tapas) will be available, including crab cakes, bruschetta and tequila grilled shrimp, among other savory appetizers. Positioned center stage at a nine-foot grand piano, Winters will entertain guests in an intimate setting, drawing from a huge musical repertoire and bringing the one-of-a-kind showmanship and musical prowess for which he's become known. Through dynamic piano pieces and signature vocal arrangements, Winters will perform standards, Broadway, original tunes and the occasional audience request. The floor will be open for those inspired by the music to dance the night away. Doors open at 6 p.m. No cover. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made by calling (702) 454-8185. Discounts and special menus for groups of 10 or more are also available. For group reservations, call Carole at (702) 456-9253. For further information visit www.samstownlv.com.
We have just learned that both tonight and tomorrow night's performances are completely sold out. The hotel cannot take any more reservations. We anticipate that this will be the norm (and we don't mean the one with the eye patch), so if you have any interest in taking in Wes Winters' 88 Key Club in a lovely supper club setting, make your plans, and reservations, early. A word to the wise...
You still have a few more chances to catch longtime local funnyman, Cork Proctor, at Bob Kephart's Comedy Stop at the Sahara. Proctor, along with featured comic, Hal Spear, and Steve Shaffer, wind up their laugh-filled week in the newly renovated Casbar lounge on Sunday. Show times for the Comedy Stop at the Sahara are 9 p.m. Tickets are priced at $19.95 for Las Vegans with proof of residency, $24.95 for General Admission, $34.95 for Golden Circle, and $39.95 for VIP seating. Applicable taxes and fees will be added. Must be 18 years old to attend (ID required).
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The REAL Neil Diamond
Jay White as Neil Diamond
Next, Friday, September 10th, Neil Diamond joins Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Natasha Bedingfield, The Edge, Delta Goodrem, Herbie Hancock, Kris Kristofferson, Lady Antebellum, Leona Lewis, Martina McBride, Aaron Neville, Orianthi, Dave Stewart, Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson of Heart, and Stevie Wonder, to perform on a TV Special titled Stand Up To Cancer. The show will air commercial free on the four major broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX, as well as on a number of cable channels. Check your local TV listings for the exact time. Here is a link to a commercial which is currently airing to promote Stand Up To Cancer... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbEIYpGSiP4. Watch for other spots, as the date approaches.
And speaking of Neil Diamond, Las Vegas-based Diamond tribute artist, Jay White, is one of the stars of a new independent film called Beautiful Noise (which, coincidentally, just happens to be the name of a Neil Diamond album and song). Produced and directed by Steve Tatone, who also wrote Beautiful Noise, the movie is described as "a rollicking, modern-day musical/ drama featuring pop standards, original songs and vibrant performances delivered by the film's multi-talented cast." The Sarasota, Florida-based Tatone spent more than thirty years as an independent concert promoter, presenting such diverse artists as Beatle, Ringo Starr, The Beach Boys, B.B. King, Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, The Monkees and Lynyrd Skynyrd, among many others. Jay White has been portraying Diamond for more than 25 years, including 20 years in Vegas. In 2008, Jay made his feature film acting debut playing the role of 'Neil Diamond' in director Ron Howard's Academy Award-nominated film, Frost/Nixon. Cast as the Diamondesque "Noah" in Beautiful Noise, Jay brings his remarkable performance skills to the film, as he sings both original songs and pop standards. Also appearing in the upcoming film is Las Vegan King Errisson. As a session musician, King has worked with a very diverse group of artists representing a wide variety of musical styles. He has been praised as "the unsung hero behind Motown" by Raynoma Gordy Singleton in her book, Berry, Me, and Motown, as well as by Berry Gordy, in his book, To Be Loved, for his work with artists such as Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson, the Jackson Five, and many others. He was a featured member of the Incredible Bongo Band and has been a member of Neil Diamond's touring band since 1976. As an actor, King has appeared in the movies, Uptown Saturday Night (with Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier), and on television in Abe Vigoda's Fish series, The Watcher, the 1980 remake of The Jazz Singer with Neil Diamond, and the movie Thunderball, with Sean Connery. King also stars in a music video of the song Mountains of Love. In addition to playing the congas, Errison sings and dances.
And still speaking of Mr. Diamond...
The talented Rob Garrett, who also pays homage to the Solitary Man in his shows, will present his Neil Diamond tribute at the at the Starbright Theatre in Sun City Summerlin on Saturday, September 11th at 7 p.m. In 2008, Rob, known across the country as the "King of Diamonds," was awarded the "Male Music Tribute Act of the Year" in Las Vegas marking the first time a Neil Diamond tribute act has won such an honor. Tickets for Rob Garret's show are $12 for Sun City Summerlin residents, and $15 for non-residents. They may be purchased at the Desert Vista, Mountain Shadows and Pinnacle community centers, or you can call (800) 595-4849. The Starbright is located at 2225 Thomas Ryan Blvd. (go west on Lake Mead off Rampart to the top of the hill, about three miles, and left on Thomas Ryan). For up-to-date information on Starbright Theatre shows, call (702) 240-1301.
Rob Garrett as Neil Diamond
Emerson Lila McNeeley
Shea Mitchell Satterwhite
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And now, for the next generation of entertainers, we present (drum roll, please), Emerson Lila McNeeley, three-and-a-half-month-old daughter of Ali Spuck and Kristofer McNeeley, and Shea Mitchell Satterwhite, the almost two-year-old daughter of Kristen Hertzenberg and Dana Satterwhite. With their genetic background - Emerson's daddy is a Jersey Boys cast member, while her mother is a singer/actress (see her one-woman show, Here I Am, in the Cabaret at the Liberace Museum), and Shea's mommy is "Christine" in Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular - we wouldn't be surprised to see the names of these two young ladies on a Vegas marquee in about 20 years.
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Some comments on TV's Americas Got Talent...
We enjoy seeing the variety of performers competing on the popular reality show, but what we don't like, and think should be eliminated, are the sad, sympathy-generating "back stories" about the contestants... some of which aren't even true. The voting should be based on the merits of the acts, not on the fact that they have had three kidney transplants, are homeless, suffering from a serious genetic disease, or supporting their grandparents. A couple of seasons ago, a female contestant told about "putting her desire to sing on hold while she raised her daughters as a single mother." She went on to say that when she turned 40, she knew it was mamas' turn to pursue her lifelong dream. The truth of the matter is that Queen Emily Baloney (that really is/was her name) had been making her living as a singer/performer for some time...including in the long-running San Francisco hit, Beach Blanket Babylon. (FYI...Former Las Vegas performer, Kenny Mazlow, is artistic director at BBB.) Although Ms. Baloney didn't win the big prize on AGT, she did win a spot in the Las Vegas version of Menopause the Musical, even getting her name on all the print advertising at the time. Then there is the case of 10-year-old singing phenom, Jackie Evancho. Whereas many of the regular competitors on AGT are professionals who already make at least some of their living as entertainers, we thought the young soprano from Pittsburgh was supposed to be an "undiscovered" YouTube talent. That is not the case with Jackie. Not only has she appeared in concert with star-maker/producer, David Foster, she released her debut CD last year. Perhaps we misunderstood what this special category was all about. This little lady has talent, no doubt, but will she be like Charlotte Church, who as a child with a grown-up voice was a novelty, but today is pretty much forgotten? Will this be a case of too much, too soon for Jackie Evancho?
On the plus, plus, very positive side...Wednesday night's America's Got Talent show presented a great plug for Wynn Las Vegas, when cast members of LeReve, the Cirque-inspired production, made a guest appearance and brought the audience to their feet with the show's incredible gymnastic-type performers. What a terrific commercial for Wynn and LeReve.
As for the 10 finalists competing for the million dollars on America's Got Talent, in addition to Jackie Evancho, they are magician, Michael Grasso; performance artist/singer, "Prince Poppycock" (created by 32-year-old John Andrew Quale in 2006); Las Vegas-based singer/musician, Michael Grimm; Jeremy Vanschoonhoven, stunt bicyclist; singing sisters, Christina and Ali; Fighting Gravity, male dance group; singer, Taylor Matthews; dance crew, Studio One; and young ballroom dancers, Anna & Patryk.
And, here's who you will be watching (and cheering or booing for) on this season's Dancing With the Stars...singer, Michael Bolton (57); comedienne Margaret Cho (41); former NBA Lakers player/actor (and ex-husband of Vanessa L. Williams), Rick Fox (41); the late Patrick Swayze's "Baby" in Dirty Dancing, Jennifer Grey (50); former star of TV's Knight Rider, Baywatch, America's Got Talent and, our personal favorite, 'Snapper Foster" on The Young and the Restless), David Hasselhoff (58), who played "Roger DeBris" in the Las Vegas production of The Producers, before the role was taken over by the REAL "Roger DeBris," Tony-nominee, Lee Roy Reams; "Carol Brady" in the Bunch, Florence Henderson (76); Kyle Massey (19), actor/rapper; singer and former America's Got Talent judge, Brandy Norwood (31); Sarah Palin's daughter, Bristol Palin (19); The Hills, Audrina Patridge (25); Jersey Shore's, Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino (29); and Super Bowl-winning quarterback, Kurt Warner (39). DWTS premieres Monday, September 20th at 8 p.m. on ABC.
And speaking of Michael Bolton (sans the long, unruly hair), look for him to play the Sunset Station Amphitheater, with his One World One Love tour, on September 19th. Show time is 8 p.m. Sunset Station is located at 1301 W. Sunset in Henderson. Call (702) 547-7777.
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Time for the September F.I.O.R.E. meeting. You remember those Fun Italians Organizing Ridiculous Events. They are the men's group, with no purpose and no goals...other than to just have some fun for a few hours every month. If you're not Italian, they don't care. If you're not driving a Lexus, they don't care. If you're a grumpy spoil-sport, THEN they care! Nelson Sardelli, president (all the members are presidents) and co-founder and organizer (not all the members are organizers) of the group, informs us that the September lunch meeting will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday the 9th (YOU figure out the month), at the Italian American Social Club, 2333 E. Sahara, east of Eastern. This month's guest speaker will be F.I.O.R.E. president and co-founder, Conrad Villella, whose topic will be, Journey into the world or Art, Sex, Money, War and NYC Society, and that is only in the first eight minutes. Please RSVP, ASAP, to Gene Vitale at [email protected].
Make note: Next month (the exact date might be announced at this Thursday's meeting) is the annual Halloween party. Last year's event was very successful and this year's is sure to be one of the social events of 2010. Invite your friends (if you have any). Costumes are suggested but not mandatory...although if you don't wear one, prepare to be mocked and taunted.
F.I.O.R.E.'s Conrad Villella
Raj Rathor & Diana Smith
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Is this any way to win friends and influence future support and interest? After reading our plug for the middle-age musical, I Know I Came In Here For Something, some friends of ours called the phone number displayed in their ads, to reserve tickets for last Sunday's four-person comedy revue at the Summerlin Library. They were told to pay for and pick them up at the library the day of the show. The two ladies did as they were told...went there, bought their tickets and THEN were told, "Sorry, we oversold the show and we'll give you a refund." The ladies were NOT happy. They were very much looking forward to their anticipated afternoon. "The lady in charge, I think her name was Carol, was very rude and abrasive," said one of the disappointed show goers. "I asked her (when she finally LET me talk), what is the sense of reserving tickets if the people who did NOT have a reservation are now seated and we have to settle for a refund? She was a bit perplexed and very embarrassed. I won't go on, as she did, but wanted you to know." This doesn't really surprise us. You can't really expect professional results when you are dealing with amateurs. If this show has any merit at all, it's because of the performers and in spite of the producers. In good conscience, and to protect our trusting readers from incompetence, we will no longer promote their projects.
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If you were looking forward to seeing the unique and talented entertainer, Jimmy Hopper, at Green Valley Ranch's Ovation on Sunday (September 5th) and again on October 3rd, the plans have changed. Due to a scheduling conflict at Ovation, Hopper has agreed to postpone both his September and October dates at Green Valley Ranch until after the first of the year. Jimmy is still on schedule to perform here at The Mirage for New Year's Eve.
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Sunday night, September 5th, the Raj Rathor Quartet, featuring Diana Smith, will perform at the Straight Up Gaming and Martini Lounge, 4970 Fort Apache Road. Enjoy the group from 7 to 10 p.m., for what is expected to become a weekly Sunday night event.
For additional information, call (702) 367-9360.
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We weren't able to attend last Saturday's Michael Bublé sold out concert at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, but our friends, Tom and Joni Illi, were there, and this is some of what Joni had to say..."WOW!!!!! This was definitely the concert of the decade," the enthusiastic fan states. She goes on to say, the opening act, Naturally 7, were amazing. They do all their own instruments by voice and are fabulous singers, as well as great harmony singers. We'll hear a lot more from them, I'm sure. They had the place screaming. Then Michael Bublé came out and it was magical. He is without a doubt the most incredibly selfless entertainer I have ever been fortunate enough to see. He has the utmost respect for his band. After introducing them, he gave them a song without him singing . The things he did all night showed what a humble and appreciative human being he is. Totally charming and more charisma than I've see in my life from a singer to his audience. He said we were like family. He absolutely LOVES his audience and shares everything with them. He is a true entertainer and so funny. He could easily be a movie star and I'll bet we see him in the future in movies. He's generous to a fault.
It's almost unbelievable how much love and passion he has for his music and his fans. He makes us feel like friends not fans. Everyone was standing for the last five songs. I could go on all night about every song, but I won't. Suffice to say that after his first exit (which he didn't make people wait too long before he came right back on), Michael came back to uproars from the crowd and sang a beautiful ballad from one of his first albums and had us sing along with him on the chorus. Then he sang Me and Mrs. Jones, which I love. At the end, he spoke from the heart and told us how he loved each and every one of us, and that he "wanted to take showers with all of us." He was so very funny all night. After thanking us profusely, he said this song is for all of you, and said he always closes with it to show his appreciation to his audience. It was the Leon Russell/Carpenters', "A Song For You." Halfway through, he took off his mic and the band stopped, the curtains closed and he sang the last verse and chorus to 13,000 totally silent people in awe. A few couldn't restrain themselves from screaming, but Michael quickly calmed them down. At the end, of course, the crowd went wild. Now that's a successful gig! I was just so moved," says Joni, "that I wanted to share this experience with all my music friends. Hopefully others saw and felt the magic for themselves." Las Vegas was the last stop on his Crazy Love Tour.
For those who don't know anything about the Canadian, who turns 35 on September 9th, we can tell you that Michael Bublé (pronounced Boo Blay) has won a number of awards, including two Grammys and multiple Juno Awards (the Canadian version of the Grammys). Michael's first album reached the Top 10 in the UK and Canada. He found worldwide commercial success with his 2005 album, It's Time, and his 2007 album, Call Me Irresponsible, was an even bigger success, reaching No. 1 on the Canadian Albums chart, the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, the Australian ARIA Albums chart, and the European charts. Michael Bublé has sold more than 25 million albums worldwide.
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Larry "Wild" Wrice
KT Sullivan & Mark Nadler
At 83, veteran musician, Larry "Wild" Wrice, is keeping quite busy here at home. Drummer Wrice performs with the Chicago Blues Busters, made up of anchor man Ernie Cosse on bass, Jim Snodgrass on sax, and guest Gold Top Bob on guitar and vocals, at The Bar, 1987 Nellis Blvd., near Lake Mead in the Food4Less shopping center. You can see and enjoy the Chicago Blues Busters on Fridays, from 8 p.m. until midnight. We understand that the service is friendly, the drink prices are very reasonable, there is plenty of convenient parking...AND there is no cover. Drink. Don't drink. But do enjoy the music. Call (702) 938-2272. And tomorrow, Saturday, September 4th, from 7 to 10 p.m., the Chicago Blues Busters will be at The Hitching Post Steakhouse & Saloon, 3640 Las Vegas Boulevard, between Lamb and Cheyenne. We hear that Hitchin' Post chef, Scott Kolen prepares some mighty tasty dishes. Pay the place a visit, for both the music and the food. Call (702) 644-1220 or check out www.hpsslv.com.
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Using the Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons' hit, "Walk Like a Man," as inspiration, the folks involved with Jersey Boys at The Palazzo celebrated their one-thousandth performance in Las Vegas by offering 1,000 free show tickets to people who brought in and donated a new pair of children's shoes. The shoes will go to help the local Boys & Girls Club. The original idea quickly fell by the wayside, due to the tremendous public response. As a result, instead of just one night (Saturday, August 28th), the idea was expanded to three nights, Saturday, Sunday and Monday (for shows 1000, 1001 and 1002). For each pair of shoes brought in, one free ticket was given to the donor (limit two pair of shoes per person). Following the drive, Jersey Boys cast members made a special trip to personally deliver the shoes to the children. The mission of the Boys & Girls Club of Las Vegas is to enable all young people, especially those who need the most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. We love to report about the generous deeds done by the members of the city's entertainment community
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We thoroughly enjoyed the husband and wife performing team, Lisa and Ron Smith, in last Sunday's Back to Broadway concert at the Clark County Flamingo Library Theatre. The duo performed songs from old favorites, such as Fiddler On the Roof, 42nd Street, The Music Man, My Fair Lady, Showboat, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, Gypsy and Guys and Dolls. There were also selections from Stop the World, I Want to Get Off, Sunday In the Park with George, Little Shop of Horrors, Follies, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Smokey Joe's Café, Chicago, Dreamgirls, and Mack and Mabel. From contemporary Broadway, Ron and Lisa presented numbers from Spamalot, Wicked, Tick, Tick, Boom!, and Songs For a New World. Lisa and Ron sang touching songs and funny songs, together and individually, all done with feeling and very well. If you like the history of Broadway, told in stories and music, see the Smiths in Back to Broadway when the opportunity next presents itself.
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Mark Nadler, who songwriter Ervin Drake ("Good Morning Heartache," "I Believe," "It Was a Very Good Year") describes as "the most talented man on the planet," and cabaret performer/ actress KT Sullivan will be presenting Always: The Love Story of Irving Berlin to the audiences of Lincoln and Brownville, Nebraska, on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, September 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th. On the 9th, at 7:30 p.m., Mark and KT will be at the Rococo Theatre, 140 North 13th Street (Southeast corner of 13th and 'P' Streets), in Lincoln. For tickets, call (402) 476-4467 or go to www.etix.com or www.rococotheatre.com. On Friday and Saturday nights, the 10th and 11th at 7:30, and Sunday the 12th at 2 p.m., the talented twosome will be at the Brownville Concert Hall, corner of Atlantic and 2nd Streets in Brownville, where they will repeat their most awarded show, Always: The Love Story of Irving Berlin. For tickets, call (402) 825-3331 or (402) 274-3661, or connect to www.BrownvilleConcertSeries.com.
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Our sympathies go out to former Vegas dancer and Bottoms Up cast member, Betty Bunch (Rosenthal), on the death of her son, Daniel Jonathan Rosenthal, who passed away last Saturday, August 28th, at the age of 40, following a long illness. Danny loved everybody and everybody who knew him, loved him. He earned his BS at UNLV in hotel administration, in 1998. He was preceded in death by his father, Joel Rosenthal. Danny is survived by his mother and his brother, Rick Rosenthal. Services were held yesterday in Las Vegas, at the Center for Spiritual Living on East Harmon.
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Abbey Umali, MDA Goodwill Ambassador
Dave Pierce, Emmy Winner
As regular readers probably know, we are not fans of the obnoxious longtime host of the annual Labor Day Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, but we do have special feelings for Eddie Foy III, the show's Executive Talent Consultant for more than 35 years; Candi Cazau, who does PR for the host; and many of the performers who give of their time to make the almost 22-hours of television tolerable. Then, of course, there is the cause itself and the goal of the weekend, so, with that in mind...
The Tucson headquarters for the Muscular Dystrophy Association announces that this year's live show is going to be "spectacular." The telethon, which starts on Sunday, September 5th at 9 p.m. EDT, and concludes Labor Day, September 6th at 6:30 p.m. EDT, will originate live from the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas. Eleven year old Abbey Umali, daughter of Joel and Wendi Umali, who is in her third term as National Goodwill Ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and is making her fifth appearance on the telethon, will make history as the first child to open the National MDA broadcast. The show will feature live remotes, amazing dance and production numbers, sensational music performances from artists including American Idol's David Archuleta, Enrique Iglesias, Lynyrd Skynryd, WAR, John Ondrasik, OneRepublic, and Barry Manilow, side-splitting comedy, and dramatic appeals by some of America's most popular entertainers. Telethon co-hosts, including Alison Sweeney (host of NBC's Biggest Loser and Days of our Lives star); Nancy O'Dell, Emmy-winning entertainment personality, author and entrepreneur; independent producer, and Emmy-winning entertainment journalist Jann Carl, will lend their time, along with special guest co-hosts, Nigel Lythgoe (executive producer of American Idol and co-creator, executive producer, and judge for So You Think You Can Dance); dramatic actor and comedian Richard Belzer (Law & Order); former American Idol competitor, Grammy-nominated songwriter and star of Broadway's Hair, Ace Young; actor Brandon Barash (General Hospital); and actor/comedian, John Pinette, will add their talents to the show. With an extraordinary show opening being choreographed by Tyce Diorio, the Emmy winning choreographer and guest judge for So You Think You Can Dance, the telethon will grab dance and production fans. As the variety show unfolds, there will be numbers from Broadway's Memphis, Rock of Ages, and Million Dollar Quartet. These incredible moments will be reinforced by equally outstanding numbers from Las Vegas show favorites, Cirque du Soleil's Viva Elvis, and Vegas! The Show (the Planet Hollywood version). An eclectic group of top bluegrass and jazz bands, gospel groups, virtuoso violinists, country, rock and popular music artists will be presented. Music icons, including Tony Orlando (who's also hosting the New York City telecast of the telethon), Taylor Dayne, Maureen McGovern, Charo and Jack Jones will perform, and laughs will be abundant throughout the show. Las Vegas headliners, Carrot Top, Terry Fator and George Wallace are returning to join funny men Bob Zany, Jeff Trachta, and comedic legends Norm Crosby and Charlie Callas. Cast members from the television hits GLEE and The Doctors; Ray Romano; Don Francisco ("Sábado Gigante"); Patrick Duffy; Ken Howard; Lou Ferrigno; and Olympic Gold medalists, Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci, will also participate. MDA is the nonprofit health agency dedicated to curing muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases, by funding worldwide research. The Association, which is the first nonprofit to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Medical Association ("for significant and lasting contributions to the health and welfare of humanity"), also provides comprehensive health care and support services, advocacy and education.
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Arnold Pierce, the music teacher at Lewis E. Rowe Elementary School in southeast Las Vegas, and his wife, Elaine, are mighty proud parents. Their son, Calgarian David Pierce, the music director for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies in Vancouver, was announced last week as the winner of an Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Direction. Dave is best known for his fresh approach to orchestral writing, and is as equally comfortable conducting a 100-piece live studio orchestra as he is producing a midi-score using computers and samplers. His sound has been described by Film Score Monthly as "son of John Williams meets Jerry Goldsmith". Critically acclaimed across music genres, Pierce's style spans from big band to cinematic infused scores. An alumnus of Berklee College of Music (1992), Pierce regularly works in all major markets; New York, L.A., Nashville, Toronto and Vancouver. He orchestrated music for Andrew Lloyd Webber's Concert Tour and Jesus Christ Superstar Gospel, and has worked with legendary entertainment producers to develop many successful projects, including The Calgary Stampede's Evening Grandstand Show, Radio City Music Hall's Christmas Spectacular featuring The Rockettes, NBC's Macy's Parade, and many television award shows, including the ACMA's in USA and the Gemini Awards in Canada. Dave has worked on re-orchestration for both Broadway's Moving Out, based on the music of Billy Joel, and Come Fly Away, set to the music of Frank Sinatra. In 2010, Pierce was the Music Director and Composer for the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games. His scores accompanied the Opening, Medals and Closing Ceremonies which were viewed by a television audience of 3.5 billion people. The Olympic project entailed scoring more than five hours of original music, producing sessions, developing creative concept with the ceremonies team, and conducting more than 500-hours of orchestra, choir and big band recordings. Often referenced by the media as "Canada's next David Foster." Pierce has arranged music for a multitude of artists, among them, Bryan Adams, Carrie Underwood, Michael Bublé, Nelly Furtado, Jann Arden, Tommy Tune, Sarah McLachlan, kd lang, Alanis Morissette and Petula Clark. He has produced gold and platinum selling recordings, including EMI released CDs for the Opening and Closing of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, featuring Nickelback, Avril Lavigne, Donald Sutherland, Hedley, Simple Plan, K-OS, Joni Mitchell, Measha Brueggergosman, Ben Heppner, and Nikki Yanofsky. In 2005, Pierce was commissioned to compose a new work for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, featuring a symphony orchestra and one-thousand voice choir. Symphony Orchestras across North America regularly perform Pierce's music. As for his receiving the Emmy for Outstanding Music Direction, thirty-seven year-old Pierce was up against some mighty stiff competition. Other nominees included Andrea Bocelli and fellow Canadian, David Foster, for a PBS Great Performances Christmas Special titled My Christmas; David Downes for the PBS Special, Celtic Woman: Songs from the Heart (more on Celtic Woman below); Sheila Escobedo (also known as Sheila E.) for the "Performance at the White House: Fiesta Latina;" Marc Shaiman and Hamish Hamilton for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards; and Susan Stroman for the CBS Special, "The Kennedy Center Honors." David Pierce has conducted performances with Paul Brandt, Jann Arden, Carrie Underwood, Billy Joel, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Frank Sinatra, the Calgary Stampede, Broadway (Come Fly With Me), and the Boston Pops Orchestra. The Emmy Awards show, hosted by Jimmy Fallon, aired from Los Angeles on August 29th in prime time on NBC.
And speaking of Celtic Woman (mentioned above), the all-female Irish ensemble will bring its unique sound to the outdoor Henderson Pavilion, 200 South Green Valley Parkway, on Sunday, September 5th at 8 p.m. The five-member group, that has gained international acclaim, was founded in 2004 by David Downes, musical director for the famed Riverdance stage production. Celtic Woman has debuted two albums in the Billboard Top 200, earned an Emmy nomination and performed on ABC's Dancing with the Stars. Tickets are $35, $45 and $65.
The multi-platinum band, Smash Mouth, takes the stage at the Henderson Pavilion on Saturday, September 11th at 8 p.m. Their music appeals to audiences of all ages with songs being featured on movie soundtracks, such as Shrek, Can't Hardly Wait and Made of Honor. Smash Mouth has collectively sold more than 10 million albums worldwide. Along with their number one hits, "Walkin' on the Sun" and "All Star," the garage band from San Jose, California, has consistently impacted radio with other recognizable hits like "Then the Morning Comes" and "Can't Get Enough Of You Baby." They are also well-known for performing a dynamic and eclectic cover of The Monkees classic, "I'm a Believer," which was prominently featured on the Shrek movie soundtrack. Smash Mouth, led by lead vocalist, Steve Harwell, continues to establish itself as the ultimate true-to-life California band. Additional band members include bassist Paul Delisle, guitarist Greg Camp, keyboardist Michael Klooster and drummer Michael Urbano. Tickets for Smash Mouth are $10, and can be purchased online at www.HendersonLive.com or by calling (702) 267-4849 or (702) 267-2171. Gates open at 7 for both shows.
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The stage is set for a night full of exciting, one-of-a-kind events as Las Vegas' premiere retail destination, The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, celebrates Fashion's Night Out next Friday, September 10th, from 6 to 11 p.m. A number of Las Vegas' most popular celebrities and entertainers, including Rita Rudner, Robin Antin, members of Thunder From Down Under, along with Lorena Peril and the ladies of Fantasy, will be on hand to take part in special activities, in-store events, product demonstrations, parties and promotional giveaways in support of this global shopping extravaganza.
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Jazz lovers, unite! The UNLV Liberace Scholars Jazz Quartet will perform a free, yes, we said, FREE, concert at the Clark County Flamingo Library Theatre, 1401 E. Flamingo, Wednesday, September 8th at 7 p.m. Seating is on a first come, first served basis, so show up early.
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If you are in the San Francisco area, it's singer/songwriter Mark Winkler and Manhattan Transfer's Cheryl Bentyne at the Hotel Nikko's Rrazz Room, September 7th and 8th. From the 9th through the 12th, in the very same room, it's singer Bobby Caldwell ("What You Won't Do For Love") in the spotlight. For those who have been around here for a while, they may remember that, about 10 years ago, recording artist Caldwell played the Frank Sinatra role in the David Cassidy/Don Reo produced The Rat Pack is Back at the Desert Inn (now buried under Wynn Las Vegas). One never knows when this information might prove valuable.
Mark Winkler & Cheryl Bentyne
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Lynn Ross will be singing your favorite standards and vintage pop tunes, tonight (Friday, September 3rd) from 7 to 10 p.m. at The Onyx inside Bugsy's, 7770 W. Ann Road (at I-95). Do a little dining. Do a little dancing. Do a lot of listening. Phone (702) 658-0579.
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Who says you can't go home again? Tonight, September 3rd, Zowie Bowie makes their return to Red Rock Resort. Back by popular demand, once again, the duo brings its unique blend of today's hottest dance, hip-hop and Top 40 music to audiences at Rocks Lounge every Friday. Zowie Bowie features the musical talents and unbridled energy of Chris Phillips, Marley Taylor and a high-voltage band that creates a sizzling and sexy sound that has become a Las Vegas mainstay. The two moved to Vegas in 2006 from Scottsdale, Arizona, to open and perform weekly at Red Rock Resort. They quickly went on to become city favorites. After three years, the pair moved to the Strip where they performed both their nightclub dance concert and their dream of an authentic Vintage Vegas show. Though it was their dream, the couple realized that performing for the locals at Red Rock Resort was really where they wanted to be. "It was amazing getting to perform on the Strip, however we missed the fans that our shows at Red Rock brought in week after week," said lead singer Chris Phillips. "After hearing an overwhelming response from locals that they too missed us at Red Rock, we realized that is where we truly belong and the move back just feels right." "We're excited to have Zowie Bowie back at Rocks Lounge," said Judy Alberti, vice president of entertainment for Station Casinos. Zowie Bowie will perform every Friday night at Rocks Lounge, Red Rock Resort's intimate 150-seat venue. Doors open at 10 p.m. and the show will start at 11 p.m. The show is open to adults 21 years or older, and there is no cost for admission. VIP bottle service is available upon request. Entry will be first come, first served and based upon venue capacity. Named by Condé Nast magazine as one of the world's best new hotels in their 2007 Hot List issue, Red Rock Resort is one of Las Vegas' premier off-Strip luxury resorts. Located 10 miles west of the Strip, the resort features more than 800 guest rooms and suites, a 25,000-square-foot spa and adventure spa program, 10 restaurants, a spectacular pool area, movie theatres, bowling at Red Rock Lanes, and a full array of gaming. To learn more about Red Rock Resort, please call (702) 797-7777 or visit www.redrocklasvegas.com.
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