For More Information:
Kala Peterson/Melanie Shafer, Kirvin Doak Communications: 702.737.3100
[email protected] / [email protected]
We understand that this campaign generated only a few hundred dollars. Are we surprised? Only that they raised even THAT much.
Damn the person who sits in the big chair, and was in charge of all of this, for allowing things to get so bad that closure of the museum seemed the only solution! Who was watching the store for the past few years? Why wasn't someone who knew what in the hell they were doing, and who REALLY cared about the museum and had no vested or conflict of interest issues regarding the moving of the museum and/or the sale of the East Tropicana property. Did we mention that, in 1996, the President of the Liberace Museum & Foundation, Jack Rappaport, formed R&R Commercial Real Estate Services, a full-service commercial real estate firm specializing in the areas of leasing, sales, build-to-suits and investment real estate? And to think, we had hopes for the museum, following the April 2009 departure of one R. Darin Hollingsworth (who, in our opinion, should have been ousted much sooner). Jack Rappaport had served as chairman of the Liberace Foundation & Museum's board of directors for two years and as a member of the board for four-and-a- half years. As president, he was supposed to guide the daily operations and management of the foundation and museum. What is it that they say about "the devil you know, versus the devil you don't"? This appears to be a perfect example of that. As for who we think should take most of the blame for the failure of the museum? We say it's the Liberace Foundation Board of Directors Chair, Jeff Koep, Dean at UNLV's College of Fine Arts. Can we say "more conflict of interest"? UNLV is one of the recipients of scholarship donations from the Liberace Foundation. We do not know Dean Koep, but we do know he is the common denominator in both Hollingworth's and Rappaport's employment at the museum. Where was he when all of this crap was going on? None of it happened overnight. Helen Keller could have recognized the signs a couple of years ago. All of these points are really moot, today, but there should be answers for all who loved and supported the Liberace Museum for more than three decades. We will miss the place. The "King of Bling" must be spinning in his grave.
To read much more on this subject, check Las Vegas Sun columnist John Katsilometes' (a fan and champion of the museum) at http://www.lasvegassun.com/blogs/kats-report/2010/sep/10/liberace-museum-closing-final-day-operation-longtm/, and this Wall Street Journal story at http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2010/09/10/liberace-museum-in-las-vegas-set-to-close-in-October/.
And, while still on the subject of Liberace, here are a few more items with connections to Mr. Showmanship. With the recent cancer diagnosis of actor Michael Douglas, plans for a movie based on the life of the showman, may be on hold. Douglas, who is dealing with stage four throat cancer, was scheduled to portray the flamboyant pianist in the Stephen Soderberg directed film. Matt Damon had been signed to play the role of Scott Thorson, Liberace's live-in companion of five years. No word on what will become of the plans for the motion picture.
Any conversation regarding the entertainment aspect of the Liberace Museum, has to include the name of Wes Winters. It was the Kansas-native who really launched, what is now known as, the Liberace Cabaret. Following his 2003 Liberace Play-A-Like Competition win, Wes conceived, wrote, produced and starred in A Musical Tribute to Liberace, which entertained museum attendees for almost five years. On September 3rd, following the opening night of Wes Winters' 88 Key Club at Sam's Town, Carole Gantz Fishman, a longtime fan of Mr. Winters, wrote this to the personable performer, "Every entertainer should have an opening night as you did tonight. It was without a doubt most successful. Good luck for many nights as fantastic as this one, not only for Sam's Town, but for your 'old' fans and all the new ones made." Last Friday night, more than 40 people were turned away from the club, as it was completely, totally sold out. We will be attending the festivities tomorrow night and will share our take on the 88 Key Club next Friday.
Erich Bergen, who was a regular participant at the museum, in both Composer Showcases and his own show, will make his California club act debut, as he performs his new one-man show at the Magic Castle's Cabaret, this Wednesday, September 15th. Bergen is best known for playing Bob Gaudio in various companies of the hit musical Jersey Boys, including in Las Vegas, and most recently appeared in the Reprise Theatre Company's production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. In 2009, Erich co-produced, directed, and served as musical director for Las Vegas Celebrates the Music of Michael Jackson, a benefit concert, held at the Palms, which raised $118,000 for Music Education in Nevada public schools. Bergen will release his CD, The Vegas Sessions, on October 1st. It will feature new studio recordings of original compositions in the pop genre, along with live tracks recorded during three sold out Las Vegas appearances at the Liberace Museum in April, 2009. The disc will be available for purchase at the upcoming Los Angeles club date, and after October 1st, will be available at Amazon.com, CD Baby, iTunes and other digital music outlets. Doors for the Castle Cabaret open at 6:30 p.m., and the show runs from 8 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $15 for Magic Castle members and $25 for guests; there is VIP seating available for $50, which includes a copy of the CD, a post-show reception, meet-and-greet and a champagne toast. Reservations can be made at [email protected] or by calling (323) 851-3313, ext. 303. The Magic Castle is located at 7001 Franklin Avenue in Hollywood. Attire at the Magic Castle requires jackets and ties for gentlemen, and absolutely no denim.
Domenick Allen by Terra King
Earlier in the month, Philip Fortenberry, the critically acclaimed concert pianist and Broadway conductor, entertained in Long Beach, California, at The Queen Mary's historic Starboard Lounge. Fortenberry, who is currently the associate conductor for the Las Vegas production of the hit musical Jersey Boys at The Palazzo, has worked with a number of musical icons, including Eartha Kitt, Madonna, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Harry Connick, Jr. and Susan Stroman, on the Broadway production of Thou Shalt Not. Tomorrow night, Philip will join the Kansas City Symphony as the piano accompanist for the annual Symphony Ball. Hosted by the Symphony League, this annual event features a magnificent performance by the Symphony with special guests - The Broadway Tenors - Brent Barrett (our Phavorite Phantom), Kevin Spirtas and Brian Lane Green. The music director of the Kansas City Symphony is Michael Stern, son of the famed violinist, Isaac Stern. In addition to the concert, patrons to this black-tie gala, held at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center, will enjoy cocktails and a gourmet dinner, plus be able to bid on one-of-a-kind auction items. Mr. Fortenberry has been performing his Liberace and Me show at the museum, three afternoons a week, for almost two years.
And then, there is Domenick Allen. The versatile, multi-threat entertainer was a Liberace protégé, traveling around the world with him for about four years. Now a Las Vegas resident, Domenick Allen brings the beat to the completely redone Suncoast Showroom in It's All About The Music, Saturday and Sunday, October 2nd and 3rd, each evening at 7:30 p.m. In It's All About The Music, audiences will experience the high-energy impact of the diverse musical career of Allen. Backed by a nine-piece band, he will showcase several genres of music with his soaring vocals and virtuosity on a variety of musical instruments, including swing clarinet, jazz saxophone and guitar for the electrifying classic rock grand finale. Allen is a former member of the multi-platinum rock group, Foreigner, best known for such hits as "I Want To Know What Love Is," "Double Vision" and "Cold As Ice." In addition to Foreigner, Domenick recorded and performed with the legendary Buddy Rich Big Band. Allen is a professional actor, singer and musician, who has appeared on London's West End in several productions. On Broadway, he co-starred with Helen Reddy in the musical Blood Brothers. Daytime audiences will recognize Allen for his long run as the evil "Simon Prescott" on NBC's Days of Our Lives. Allen continues to partner with long-time friends, Clint Holmes, Susan Anton and Martin Nievera, as part of the popular Vocal Soup - featuring a showcase of solo performances, duets and group numbers. Vocal Soup has performed multiple engagements at The Orleans and Suncoast Showrooms. Tickets for Domenick Allen and It's All About the Music, which is being sponsored by Cadillac of Las Vegas, start at $19.95, plus tax and convenience fees, and can be purchased by calling the Box Office at (702) 636-7075, or visiting www.suncoastcasino.com. Save on convenience fees by purchasing the tickets in person at Coast Casinos.
Note: As we approach our deadline (and, yes, we are running late), we have learned that both the Saturday and Sunday shows are completely and totally sold out!
Look for news about the final Composers Showcase taking place in the Liberace Cabaret. We will also have information about where their next home will be. Fear not, showcase fans and participants, the showcase will continue.
Due to the length of the Liberace Museum tale, and things related to the entertainer who once commanded the highest salary ever paid to a Strip headliner (in 1955, as the first headliner at the brand new Riviera, Liberace was paid, at that time an unheard of $50,000 a week), we are cutting the length of some other stories and moving, those that we can, to next week.
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John "Prince Poppycock" Quale
We are sure that Judy Alberti, Vice President of Entertainment for Station Casinos, is over the moon with the fact that singer/musician, Michael Grimm, is one of America's Got Talent's four finalists. Grimm is a regular performer at Green Valley Ranch's Ovation, which Alberti books. The other three competitors vying for the big prize are, 10-year-old singer, Jackie Evancho; dance group, Defying Gravity; and, our personal favorite, singer/ performance artist, John "Prince Poppycock" Quale.
Also at Green Valley Ranch, on Tuesdays at Hank's Fine Steaks & Martinis, it's Frankie Moreno (not to be confused with Frank Marino, the guy in a gown and stilettos who does his thing at the Imperial Palace) playing piano from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. If you miss Frankie Moreno at Green Valley Ranch, you can also catch him at the downtown Golden Nugget.
And speaking of the guy in the Bob Mackie gowns and Manolo Blahnik stilettos, apparently, Brian Keith passed the test when he filled in as MC for Frank Marino's Divas Las Vegas show in March. Brian will be back, Saturday, September 11th, through Thursday, the 16th, while Frank takes some time off.
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Tony Davich, former principal singer in Ted Lorenz's Enter The Night production at the Stardust, and a regular with the popular Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns, is appearing with cover band Phoenix at Mandalay Bay through September, while Jennifer Page, also of Enter The Night, and Les Miserables, Storm, and her alternative rock band, The Screaming MeeMees, is now performing with Paris Red as the duo lead singers in Cirque Du Soleil's Zumanity, at New York-New York.
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This years' Kennedy Center Honors recipients were announced on Tuesday. The honorees, for the 33rd annual event, are Broadway composer and lyricist Jerry Herman; musician and former Beatles member Paul McCartney, dancer, choreographer and director Bill T. Jones; country singer-songwriter Merle Haggard; and TV host Oprah Winfrey. The event will be held in Washington on December 5th and recorded for broadcast as a two-hour prime-time special on CBS, to air on December 28th.
Brooks and Dunn
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Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren, Marty Allen and Steve Rossi, Sandra Bullock and Jesse James, Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon, Madonna and Sean Penn, Al and Tipper Gore, and Brooks and Dunn - all teams we thought would be together forever. Now, after almost two decades, Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn, who became the most commercially successful duo in popular music, have decided to go their separate ways. Is nothing sacred? Can't we all just get along, and stay together?
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The Price is Right - Live stage show at Bally's Las Vegas welcomes special celebrity host Joey Fatone for an exclusive limited run, September 14th through the 25th. The show, from FremantleMedia, producers of American Idol and The Price Is Right , features such fan-favorite games as "Plinko," "Cliff Hangers," "The Big Wheel," and of course, "Showcase Showdown." Fatone will enlist audience members to play for their chance to win thousands of dollars in cash and prizes. "The television show is legendary, everyone knows of it and I'm so excited to bring it to life on stage," said Fatone. "It's a great to chance for folks to ‘come on down' and play the same games they see on TV for money and prizes right there - live." Perhaps best known as a member of the wildly-popular musical group,*NSYNC, and as a Dancing with the Stars contestant, Fatone is a multi-talented singer, actor, dancer and television personality. Previously the red carpet host at major award shows for TV Guide Network, Fatone was also the host of NBC's cirque competition series, Celebrity Circus. He produced his first cable television series, The Singing Office, a tongue-in-cheek singing competition for TLC, and co-hosted the show alongside Melanie Brown. He also served as host of NBC's international hit series, The Singing Bee, and, in late 2007, hosted the Australian version of the successful series. Fatone's feature film credits include Homie Spumoni with Whoopi Goldberg, Donald Faison (NBC's Scrubs), and Jamie-Lynn Sigler; the critically-acclaimed The Cooler, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. His Broadway credits include starring as "Seymour" in the Broadway musical, Little Shop of Horrors, and playing the role of "Mark Cohen" in the hit Broadway musical, Rent. Presently, Fatone has taken on the announcer role of the current FremantleMedia production of Family Feud, which tapes in his hometown of Orlando, Florida. The Price is Right - Live, at Bally's Las Vegas, is presented Tuesdays through Thursdays and Saturdays at 2:30 p.m., and on Fridays at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $54.50 and are available at the Bally's and Paris box offices, by calling (702) 967-4567, or toll free at (877) 374-7469. Tickets can also be purchased via www.ballyslasvegas.com.There is no age requirement for ticket holders. Contestants must be 21 years of age or older.
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Robert Schimmel, who performed often in Las Vegas clubs and theaters and frequently referred to his recovery from cancer in his unvarnished stand-up act, died last Friday night from injuries he suffered Thursday after a car accident near his home in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was a passenger in the vehicle with his 19-year-old daughter, Aliyah. Robert Schimmel was 60.
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Geveryman Productions and the Onyx Theatre present Steven Fales in Missionary Position, Part Two in The Mormon Boy Trilogy, and is based on Fales' journals and adventures as a young Mormon missionary in Portugal. "What goes on in a mission, stays in a mission. Until now!" Will serving an LDS mission finally make "Elder Fales" straight? Missionary Position goes behind the scenes of this unique Mormon rite of passage as "Elder Fales" de-mystifies the Mormon machine - from regimented mission life in the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah, to the religious highs of the Celestial Room in the Mormon Temples. But the play is poignant, as it mines humor and tenderness in the relationships and experiences that define anyone coming of age in a rigid world where they don't quite fit in, no matter how hard they try.
Steven Fales' autobiographical tale not only takes a timely look at the consequences of extreme religious devotion and modern-day religious colonization, but verges on high camp during entertaining fantasy sequences where "Elder Fales" tries to suppress his sexuality while getting converted by conquistadors in Portugal and porn czars in New York. It all culminates in a climactic showdown where Fales tries to save his 19-year-old self from a conscripted straight Mormon life during the sacred Mormon Temple Ceremony where, for the first time, all the rituals are exposed in more ways than one. Fales once swore under penalty of death never to divulge these secrets. Parental Advisory: Contains Mormon Swearing and Full Frontal Nudity! Adults 18 and older only. Tickets are $25, and shows are tonight, and tomorrow at 8 p.m., and Sunday, the 12th, at 5 p.m. The Onyx Theatre is located inside The Rack in the Commercial Center, 953 E. Sahara Ave. Phone (702) 732-7225 for more information.
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Neil Diamond tribute artist, Rob Garrett, performs at the Starbright theater in Sun City Summerlin, tomorrow, Saturday, September 11th, at 7 p.m. Known across the country as the "King of Diamonds," Rob's portrayal of the legendary performer is unparalleled. You can't get any closer. In 2008, Rob 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 are on sale at Desert Vista, Mountain Shadows and Pinnacle community centers. Cost is $12 for Sun City residents, and $15 for non-residents. The Starbright Theatre is located at 2215 Thomas Ryan Blvd. For up-to-date information on shows, call (702) 240-1301.
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Diane Ellis as Mother Superior Mary Regina
Nunsense, the international hit musical comedy celebrating its 25th anniversary, opens in the Las Vegas Hilton's Shimmer Cabaret on Wednesday, September 15th. The hysterically funny show, about a group of nuns putting on a fund raiser, has entertained people around the world. After its record-breaking, 10-year run in New York, Dan Goggin's musical comedy has been presented in more than 8,000 productions. Nunsense is comprised of an outstanding cast of the most talented musical comedy actresses in Las Vegas. Diane Ellis has performed with Don Rickles and has done voice-over work for Ice Capades, Carnival Cruise Lines, Tom Jones and Paul Anka. Michelle Johnson has been featured on HBO, TBS, MTV, and all of the major television networks. She has also appeared on Broadway and has recorded, toured or appeared with artists such as Elton John, Gladys Knight, Slash, Sheena Easton and Paul McCartney. Her Broadway credits include Some Americans Abroad, at the Vivian Beaumont Theater. Janien Valentine has appeared in Hair, Starlight Express, Notre Dame De Paris, and Men Are from Mars Women Are from Venus. Franco Dragone, of Cirque du Soleil fame, cast her in the title role of the world premiere musical, Carmen, at the La Jolla Playhouse. Kelly Clinton-Holmes was born in Palisades Park, New Jersey, and has been living and performing in Las Vegas since she was a teenager, first with her own band, then singing with Wayne Newton and Engelbert Humperdinck. Robin Berry Vincent has appeared in lead roles in Chess, Grease, A Chorus Line, and South Pacific, and as the opening act for Lionel Richie and The Doobie Brothers. Kathryn Arianoff has performed and recorded internationally. Natalie Carson started singing, dancing and acting professionally at age 10, when she was cast as the lead in the musical, Annie. Her recent theater credits include, West Side Story, Rocky Horror Picture Show and Grease. These exceptional actresses are all under the talented direction of award winning director-choreographer, Nancy Gregory. A former professional ballerina, Gregory has directed, written and choreographed everything, from more than 40 television specials, to dozens of films, music videos and commercials, to three Super Bowls. Plus she has created "live" production spectaculars around the world for companies such as Fox, Disney and Warner Bros. Her theatrical stage shows include The Wiz, Vanities, and the premiere of Ray Bradbury's "The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit" She has directed shows at the Kodak Theater, Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden and the Pasadena Playhouse, and has worked with such recording artists as Ricky Martin, Diana Ross, Julio Iglesias, Jose Feliciano and Jennifer Lopez. The Nunsense production team includes Stuart Ditsky and Adam Ditsky, who are currently producing The Addams Family musical on Broadway, and veteran producer Jay Harvey, who produced Love Letters, starring Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers, at the Desert Inn and Sands Hotel, plus he has produced several TV shows featuring Tom Jones, Don Rickles, Bo Derek, Johnny Mathis, Jerry Seinfeld, Gene Kelley and The Righteous Brothers, among others. "Nunsense makes perfect sense for the Las Vegas Hilton," said Ken Ciancimino, executive vice president administration at the Las Vegas Hilton. "The exceptional cast and expert production team will provide yet another outstanding show to our already amazing entertainment lineup." In the words of the New York Times, "Nunsense raises the human spirit." Join the Sisters for all the hand-clapping, foot-tapping, belly-laughing, singing and dancing joy. Nunsense is one bet you can't lose. It would be a sin to miss it. Shows are daily at 4 p.m. (dark Tuesday). Tickets start at $39 (plus tax and service charge), and can be purchased at the Las Vegas Hilton box office, online at www.lvhilton.com, www.vegas.com, www.ticketmaster.com, or by calling (702) 732-5755, or (800) 222-5361.
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The Danny Roque Here We Go Again show, Orange County Edition, will be at the Curtain Call Dinner Theater, at 690 El Camino Real, in Tustin, California, on Wednesday (September 15th). It's Showmaniapalooza time again, with Danny, and his amazingly talented group of family and friends, presenting another night of fun and foolishness, featuring his own songs. The "cast" is made up of Danny, with Nora, Chris and Angelica Roque, and Dina Bennett on vocals; Las Vegan Tish Diaz on piano; Duane Benjamin on bass; Michael Sims on guitar; Jimmy Ford on drums; Dwain Roque playing percussion; Gerry Higbie on banjo; and special guest fiddler, Grammy-nominee Lisa Haley. Some of Danny's band members have played for American Idol, Aretha Franklin, Jersey Boys, Don Rickles, Lionel Hampton, Andy Williams, The Cypress Hill Gang, and Harry Connick Jr., to name a few. The response to the show has been fantastic, and all of their LA shows have been sellouts. The beautiful Curtain Call Dinner Theater is a big place, so there should be more room this time, but you must call the theater at (714) 838-1540 for reservations to secure a spot. Doors open: 6:30 p.m. and show time is at 7:30 p.m. There is a $20 cash cover, with bar, beverages, appetizers and desserts available for purchase. The show is guaranteed fun.
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Cassandra "Elvira" Peterson
Happy birthday wishes to these Virgo (August 24th through September 22nd) celebrants - Eric Gillett, Gail Lucas, David Kancsar, Bill Moore, Fielding West, Vera (Mrs. Robert) Goulet, Van Morrison, Laura Blackburn, Dr. Phil McGraw, Lenadams Dorris, Steve Schirripa, Gary Olds, John Neeland, Pip Merald "Bubba" Knight, Robbie Howard, Michael Feinstein, Sharon Prier, Oliver Richman, Joe Pellegrino, Montel Brian "Gooch" Williams, Melissa Miles, Bart Williams, Melissa Miles, Michelle Rohl, Paul Hansell, Nelson Sardelli, Bruce Mickelson, Bob Newhart, Lamonte McLemore, Carol Lawrence, Raquel Welch, Cassandra "Elvira" Peterson, Rita Rudner, Bill Medley, Paul Williams, and Norman Kaye.
And happy anniversary wishes to Hugh and Janet Elizabeth Wood Lovelady, and Bruce and Debbie Zarka (who are celebrating their 40th).
Norman Kaye of The Mary Kaye Trio
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Infamous celebrity roaster and sharp-tongued comedian, Vinnie Favorito, is keeping his edgy style and impromptu, comedy genius at Flamingo Las Vegas for an additional six years after the end of his current contract which runs until 2011. Known nationwide for his masterful ability to improvise and crack off-the-cuff jokes, Favorito will continue his run in Bugsy's Cabaret at the Flamingo through 2017. "How lucky am I to be able to hurl insults and poke fun at people for a living?" said Favorito. "The Flamingo has been so welcoming and encouraging and I'm ecstatic to continue my run with them for another six years." Favorito has been making audiences laugh in Las Vegas for more than a decade. He recently marked his fifth year anniversary and 3,000th performance with Harrah's Entertainment. Over the years, the comic has roasted many well-known celebrities including Tom Arnold, Larry King, Jerry Springer, and Magic Johnson, earning him the well-deserved reputation in Hollywood for being among the best celebrity roasters. Favorito's comedy genius plays on current events and preys on the audience. With no pre-planned skits or notes, Favorito relies on his stellar memory and quick wit to keep the show going and the audience roaring with laughter. Each audience member provides potential comedy fodder. "Vinnie's shows are never the same, yet they each result in the same hysterical laughter," said Rick Mazer, president of Flamingo Las Vegas. "We look forward to sharing his playful and entertaining irreverence with our guests for another six years." Favorito performs inside Bugsy's Cabaret at the Flamingo Las Vegas, nightly at 8 p.m. Tickets are $54.95 or VIP $65.95 (all inclusive). Purchase tickets at the Flamingo Las Vegas box office, by phone at (702) 733-3333 or by visiting www.flamingolasvegas.com.