Claire Voyant's Las Vegas Gossip Column



Displaying keen perception and great insight.  
She's a little bit naughty. She’s a little bit nice.  
She calls ‘em like she sees (and hears) ‘em.  
She’s...

Claire Voyant  

Note: This is a past column from December 31, 2010
You can find the current column HERE


Las Vegas - December 31, 2010


Lee Roy Reams & Leslie Caron

Travis Cloer & Frankie Valli

Regarding last Friday's report on the death of actress Marcia Lewis, we received the following correspondence. From Broadway's Lee Roy Reams comes this follow-up information...
Marcia was a registered nurse when she came to the University of Cincinnati to get a nursing degree. I was then Vice President of the Mummers Guild on campus and saw her waiting outside the office for a couple of days. I asked her if she wanted to join and she said she was trying to get up enough nerve. She joined and got a walk on in Skin Of Our Teeth as a hooker saying, "Going to the party, Big Boy". She got a big laugh and a star was born. Two years later she left for New York and didn't complete her degree. She worked at Mt. Sinai Hospital in the pediatric unit at night so she could audition during the day. After my graduation, I stayed with her at the nursing apartments. There was only one bed and it was never cold...I was in it at night and she was in it during the day. She was a natural talent and was loved by everyone she worked with in cabaret, TV and Broadway. I never heard her say a bad thing about anyone. She was my Sister. I loved her and she will be missed.

And, Los Angeles transplant and current Las Vegan, acting coach Gerald Gordon, we received this news...I saw your coverage of Marcia Lewis' death which came as a shock to me as I had lost touch with her since her marriage a few years ago. Your coverage of her career left out her L.A. appearances which surprised me. Her only stage performance in Los Angeles was for me at Mayfair Music Hall in Santa Monica. This was in 1974 and I cast her in one of the four shows I directed there. When Marcia was here in Vegas in Chicago, I took her up to Mt. Charleston where she had never been even though she had worked for Breck Wall in Bottoms Up years before. We even visited with him a few times and had a ball. In 1974, I had been hospitalized at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles and Marcia came to visit and kept me company every single day that I was there. She also had introduced me to the magnificent Ethel Merman and I was planning a revival in Los Angeles of Annie Get Your Gun to star Miss Merman and to be at the Lindy Opera House on Wilshire Blvd. The TV version aired one evening with Ms. Merman and the next morning she called me from Palm Desert to say in her very Mermanesque voice "Hey Gordon - didja see that last night? Well that wasn't Annie Get Your Gun it was Granny Get Your Gun! Sorry I ain't doing it". And that ended that, much to my disappointment. Thought you might have some interest in this bit of trivia. Marcia was a dear friend and I know many, many people will miss her.

And here is some more Lee Roy Reams news...
On December 15th, he was with actress Leslie Caron (Daddy Long Legs, An American in Paris, Lili, Father Goose, Gigi) as she signed her new book, Thank Heaven: A Memoir, at the National Arts Club in New York's Gramercy Park. She was interviewed and film clips were shown. While there, Lee Roy took the opportunity to have Ms. Caron sign his French An American In Paris poster. Reams reports that the 79-year-old star of MGM musicals, "was articulate, charming and I loved every moment of it!!"

* * * * * * *

A number of our talented local friends are among those up for BroadwayWorld.com 2010 Las Vegas Awards. The BroadwayWorld.com 2010 Las Vegas Awards are intended to reflect all that is entertainment in this most unique city. Whether it is strictly entertainment - concerts and shows - or those facets of Las Vegas that people come to see - the fabulous theme hotels, the trend-setting hotel architecture, the extravagant only-in-Las-Vegas attractions - here it's all about entertainment. So, in recognizing this City of Entertainment, the BroadwayWorld awards take it all into account. There is nowhere else like Las Vegas and these awards hope to, in some way, celebrate that. Among the entertainers looking for your votes are: (Best Performance By a Lead Actor in a Musical) Travis Cloer, Jersey Boys; (Best Performance By a Lead Actress in a Musical) Kristi Holden and Kristen Hertzenberg, Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular; Kelly Clinton-Holmes and Janien Valentine, Nunsense; (Best Performance By a Featured Actor in a Musical) Andrew Ragone, Phantom; Deven May, Jersey Boys; Jeff Leibow, Jersey Boys; Josh Strickland, Peephow; Jason Martinez, Jersey Boys; Larry Wayne Morbitt, Phantom; (Best Performance By a Featured Actress in a Musical) Tina Walsh and Joan Sobel, Phantom; Carly Thomas-Smith, Jersey Boys; (Best Band) Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns; (Best Choreography in a Strip Show) Sergio Trujillo, Jersey Boys; Gillian Lynne, Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular; Jerry Mitchell, Peepshow; Garth Fagan, The Lion King; Shannon Holtz, Human Nature; Jabbawockeez; Ben Lokey, The Rat Pack Is Back!; Mic Thompson, Bite; (Best Impersonator) Larry Edwards, Divas; Frank Caliendo; Frank Marino, Divas; Drew Anthony, Dean Martin The Rat Pack is Back; Gordie Brown; Steve McCoy (Tom Jones); Doug Starks (Sammy Davis, Jr. in Sandy Hackett's Rat Pack); Sharon Owens (Barbra Streisand); Sebastian Anzaldo (Frank Sinatra); Joey Curatolo (Paul McCartney). Voting ends on January 15th. To vote for your favorites, go to http://lasvegas.broadwayworld.com/vote2010lasvegas.cfm. All results will be tabulated, and will be audited at the conclusion of the voting process to remove fake, duplicate and other invalid votes.

* * * * * * *

If you are reading this early enough, and want to celebrate with fireworks away from the madding Strip and downtown crowd, Lake Las Vegas area will usher in the new year with a pair of firework spectacles at midnight tonight. One display will be at The Village at Lake Las Vegas, and the other will light up the sky near the Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort. Both events are free and open to the public. A seat on the grass in the middle of The Village should provide "an amazing view" of both shows, said Andrea Day, events manager for The Village at Lake Las Vegas. The restaurants in The Village will be preparing special menus with a variety of festive dishes for the holiday.

Reminders...
The Lon Bronson All-Stars rock in the New Year tonight at Green Valley Ranch's Ovation Showroom. If you haven‘t purchased your tickets before now, they will cost you $34.95, plus taxes and fees, at the door.


Dan "SpiderDan" Goodwin

Jake Ehrenreich by Charlotte Nation

And speaking of New Year's Eve...
A few weeks ago, we wrote about the possibility of Dan (aka "SpiderDan" and "Skyscraper-Man") Goodwin, scaling a Las Vegas high-rise on New Year's Eve. Due to the weather, it was decided to postpone the plans until early Spring. We will keep you posted.

* * * * * * *

The Suncoast Hotel Casino, in conjunction with the Jewish Repertory Theatre of Nevada, presents, direct from the heart of Broadway, Jake Ehrenreich's A Jew Grows In Brooklyn, Saturday, January 8th at 8 p.m., and Sunday the 9th at both 2 and 7 p.m. The show is described as a touching, poignant, and hilarious new smash musical comedy about a family and a young boy's quest for the American Dream through baseball and pop music. A Jew Grows in Brooklyn played to sold out standing ovations on the East Coast. The New York Times called it "Dazzling, funny, sweet, touching, affectionate, beautiful, a lot in common with Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays. Completely non-sectarian!" The Daily News cheers, "A Jew Grows in Brooklyn is a ball! Show stopping!"; WOR radio states, "A delightful journey down memory lane, packed with all the joy, tenderness and heartbreak of being a Jew," while Bloomberg Radio simply says "Sensational." Join the author/star as he takes you on a musical journey of his life; from his parent's survival of the Holocaust, to stickball in Brooklyn, to his career in the Catskills and then onto Broadway. Tickets are $25, $35, and $45, with VIP seating at $50. For reservations, call (702) 636-7075.

Look for Lena Prima's Tribute to Her Legendary Father Louis Prima at the Suncoast, January 15th and 16th.

* * * * * * *


Art Vargas

Sinbad

It's Art Vargas & The Swank Set Live in Roxy's Lounge at Sam's Town, from 7 to 11 p.m., Sundays, January 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th. Calling his show "Vintage Vegas," Vargas re-creates the performances, reminiscent of the legendary stars of the good old days in the city.

Hoofers are invited to dance to the swinging sounds of Vargas and company. Sam's Town is located at 5111 on the Boulder Strip.

* * * * * * *

Comic Sinbad, whose reports of his death in 2007 were greatly exaggerated, is at The Orleans tomorrow and Sunday, January 1st and 2nd. It was falsely reported that the actor/comedian had died of heart failure on March 14th. The online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, even added the mis-information to their site. The news was picked up by an internet fan of Sinbad‘s (real name, David Adkins), who then forwarded the announcement to other fans of the comedian. A cascade of emails followed, which were accompanied by Web site entries and links back to the Wikipedia article about the death. The internet was soon in a state of wide-spread mourning for the comedian, who was not only alive and well, but actually on a comedy tour in the United States. Sinbad first learned about the Wikipedia rumor from his daughter, who encountered the false posting through an internet web site. The comedian was bombarded with phone calls, emails and text messages by the hundreds. Sinbad, ever the comic, took the incident in stride, and laughed when he was asked if he was upset. The folks at The Orleans weren't laughing, until they learned the rumor was untrue, as the funnyman was scheduled to perform in their showroom, March 23rd through 25th.


RIP - John Davis Chandler

RIP - Steve Landesberg

Among those from the world of entertainment who, unfortunately, have passed away during 2010: Beverly Aadland, Jerry Adler, Corey Allen, Jerry Bock, Tom Bosley, Solomon Burke, Claiborne Carey, Jean Carroll, Dixie Carter, John Davis Chandler, Jill Clayburgh, Gary Coleman, Robert Culp, Tony Curtis, Sir John Dankworth, Jimmy Dean, Cherie DeCastro, Blake Edwards, Robert Ellenstein, Eddie Fisher, John Forsythe, Harold Gould, Kathryn Grayson, Corey Haim, Peter Haskell, Bobby Hebb, Dennis Hopper, Lena Horne, Coleman Jacoby, Betty Lou Keim, Steve Landesberg, Marcia Lewis, Abbey Lincoln, Art Linkletter, James MacArthur, Johnny Maestro, Joe Mantell, Tena Marie, Kevin McCarthy, Rue McClanahan, Mitch Miller, Patricia Neal, Merlin Olsen, Fess Parker, Teddy Pendergrass, Arthur Penn, Dorothy Provine, Corin Redgrave, Lynn Redgrave, Frances Reid, Pernell Roberts, Zelda Rubinstein, Robert Schimmel, Glenn Shadix, Jean Simmons, Gloria Stuart, Joan Sutherland, Shannon Tavarez, Art Van Damme, Ali-Ollie Woodson, Lorene Yarnell, and from the film, Airplane!, Barbara Billingsley, Peter Graves and Leslie Nielsen.


RIP - Patricia Neal (shown with biographer Stephen Michael Shearer)

RIP - Glenn Shadix



RIP - Robert Schimmel

RIP - Lorene Yarnell (shown with Robert Shields)

* * * * * * *

Cindy Doumani sure knows how to throw a party! Although we weren't there, we got reports on the lavish December soiree. Among the entertainers who lent their talents to the evening were pianist/entertainer, Wes Winters; singing caterer, Joe LaVigna, getting an assist by burlesque queen, Tempest Storm; and America's Got Talent finalist, Prince Poppycock. We were a bit disappointed to learn that the singing Prince had three security guards keeping gusts a safe distance away. Since this was a private house party, it causes us to wonder, how Poppycock would have behaved if he had been the winner.


Prince Poppycock

Michelle Rohl

* * * * * * *

Vegas Flash Back! Longtime Las Vegas entertainers, Michelle Rohl and Robyn (Lewis) St. Romain, will be hosting an upcoming Playboy's Girls of Rock and Roll 25 year reunion party. The revue opened in December of 1985 at the Maxim Hotel, on Flamingo just east of the Strip (it's now the Westin Casuarina), moved on to the Dunes and Sands hotels for a six-year run, and then went on as an International touring company through 1996. The show had a reputation for having the best pop and rock singers, Playboy Playmate/singers, comedians and specialty acts from across the country. Among the budding celebrities who were featured in the revue were comic George Lopez, Val Valentino "The Masked Magician," and musician and onetime talk show host, Jenny Jones. The former producer, Dennis Levinson, and director, Donny Lee Moore (American Superstars producer), along with cast members David Gee, Valentino, Michelle, Robyn, and Playmates Cynthia Brimhall, Luann Lee, Teri Weigel and Simone Eden, are expected to be on hand to reminisce about this great show. There will be a dinner, and musicians, singers, comedians, specialty acts and Playmate/singers who will perform the music that was originally featured during the run of the show. We hope to get photos for inclusion in an upcoming column.


Robyn (Lewis) St. Romain

Val Valentino "The Masked Magician"

* * * * * * *

We attended a fun Christmas Eve party at the residence of Martin Kreloff and Tim Olsen. Among the interesting guests enjoying themselves in the art-filled (Marty is a superb artist) home, were Michael and Karan Feder of Fame Farm (the Liberace greeting cards are "gems"); Rich Little's pianist and musical director, Chuck Hoover, and jewelry designer Cynthia Robins; Lawrence Furniture's design consultant, Frank DuMond; philanthropists, Josh and Roberta Gordon; TV personality John Daly and wife, Teri; Las Vegas Weekly writer, Kristen Peterson; Richard Hooker, local art maven, and partner, Tony Cavazos; interior designer, Joseph Sacco, and partner, Victor Finley-Brown; and artists, Tony Bondi, Denise Duarte and Marlene Adrian. Not to say that the other guests weren't interesting...

* * * * * * *

And here is a tip of the Santa cap to Siegfried and Roy. Even though the two magicians are no longer performing, don't count them out when it comes to being generous members of the Las Vegas community. The two made a large donation to the Shade Tree Shelter, including providing new mattresses for the many women and children who live there.


Siegfried & Roy

Philip Fortenberry

* * * * * * *

Las Vegan, Philip Fortenberry, will present his solo piano cabaret concert, Give My Regards..., at The Metropolitan Room in New York, on Saturday, January 8th at 7 p.m. Appearing with Philip will be special guest vocalist, singer/actor (Phantom of the Opera, Sweeney Todd and Copacabana on stage, and The Godfather III on film) Franc D'Ambrosio. About Fortenberry, who currently serves as associate conductor for Jersey Boys at The Palazzo, LivingLasVegas.com said, "This is one of those concerts, the kind you never forget. From the moment his fingers hit the ivories, we were in his world. Fortenberry surrounded us with his music, his talent, and his personal journey..." The Metropolitan Room is located at 34 W. 22nd Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues). There is a $25 cover, and two drink minimum for Fortenberry and D'Ambrosio. For reservations (which are suggested), call (212) 206-0440.

* * * * * * *

Michelle Johnson, who plays Sister Mary Hubert in Nunsense at the Las Vegas Hilton, will be the featured act for opening night, January 7th, at the new "Jazz in Tempo Lounge" series at the Las Vegas Hilton.

* * * * * * *

Christopher Peterson's one man, many woman extravaganza, EYECONS, has arrived in Las Vegas. "I am more than excited to be back in Vegas", says Christopher. "It seems like ages since I was grand marshal Susan Anton's special guest at Gay Pride 2002, and hosted the Beaux Arts Ball at MGM's Studio 54. This time, I'm staying. I've bought a home here in town and I am looking forward to a long lucrative run, beginning in January at the venerable and cutting edge Onyx Theatre." The show is a 90-minute hilarious, irreverent and sometimes poignant look at the great ladies of 20th century showbiz and a peek or two at some of those shaking it up in the 21st. (Can you spell Lady Gaga?) Spot-on impressions of Marilyn Monroe, Carol Channing, Joan Rivers, Reba McEntire, Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand, Julie Andrews, Lucille Ball, Bette Davis, Liza Minnelli, her mama Judy Garland, and the whitest Tina Turner you ever saw, are all performed live, (no lip sync here folks), and all the changes are done right before your eyes. A Dora Award (Canadian Tony) winning star in Canada for Brad Fraser's hit play Poor Superman, and a scene stealing Lucy alongside Cuba Gooding Jr. in Jerry Zucker's film, Rat Race, Christopher has wowed crowds up and down the East Coast for a decade. From sharing a playbill with the likes of Victor Borge and Ben Vereen at the Westhampton Centre for the Performing Arts, to restoring the art of cabaret in Key West, Florida and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, Christopher has built an extensive fan base. His most recent sold out shows, with the Heartland Men's Chorus of Kansas City, only further served to extend his reach nationally and cement his reputation as the undisputed king, that is queen, of his profession. Don't miss this opportunity to catch the heir to the thrones of such greats as Charles Pierce, Jim Bailey and Craig Russell. You've seen the rest, now come see the best. Previews January 6/7/8 at 8 p.m. For tickets and information go to www.onyxtheatre.com or call (702) 732-7225 or drop by the box office at The Onyx Theatre 953 East Sahara Ave in the Commercial Center on Sahara. Unlike some female impersonator/ impressionists who claim to use their own voices for singing, Christopher Peterson is the Real Deal. We will have more on this talented gentleman next week.


Christopher Peterson as Reba

Brenda Epperson & Michael Tylo

* * * * * *

It appears that there is as much, if not more, unscripted drama going on when it comes to Broadway's Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. According to news reports, cast member, Natalie Mendoza, who suffered an offstage concussion during the first preview of the show on November 28th, has left the production, effective immediately. Mendoza, who played the sorceress/spiderwoman, Arachne in the much troubled $65-million mega-musical, was hit in the head with a backstage rope and was out two weeks before returning to the show December 16th. She was in the show for only a few days, before leaving again on December 20th, the night her friend and fellow cast member, Spider-Man stunt double, aerialist Christopher Tierney, fell 30 feet off a platform. Tierney, the fourth actor hurt in the show, suffered from multiple injuries, including broken vertebrae that required surgery. A show spokesman reported that Mendoza was out on "vocal rest." Her character appears in six major numbers, sings the title song and has some moderate aerial work. The much-delayed musical, which has a score by U2's Bono and The Edge, is attempting to work out its problems in sold-out previews at New York‘s Foxwoods Theatre.

* * * * * *

When it was mentioned, in a recent local column, that "Soap opera star Brenda Epperson of The Young and (The) Restless was at Nathan Burton's comedy magic show at the Flamingo on Wednesday with her two children," perhaps it might have also mentioned that the singer/actress, who portrayed Ashley Abbott on Y & R for about seven years, was married to movie director/developer, Lorenzo Doumani, son of Las Vegas hotel man (Tropicana, El Morocco, La Concha), Edward Doumani, and nephew of Fred Doumani. Brenda is shown in the accompanying photo with her former Young and The Restless co-star and current UNLV Theater Department faculty member, Michael Tylo.

* * * * * *

The upcoming season of NBC's Celebrity Apprentice should prove to be quite entertaining. The 4th installment of the popular reality series will start in March, and feature (once again, in politically correct, alphabetical order), actor Gary Busey, actor/singer David Cassidy, Baseball star Jose Conseco, Playboy Playmate Hope Dworaczyk, Survivor-winner Richard Hatch, singer/songwriter La Toya Jackson, Grammy-winning rapper Lil Jon, former co-host of The View Star Jones, Reality TV star Nene Leakes, Grammy winning rock star Meat Loaf, Oscar- winning actress Marlee Matlin, Sugar Ray front man Mark McGrath, Country singer John Rich, Soap actress/reality TV star Lisa Rinna, Supermodel Niki Taylor, and Grammy winning singer Dionne Warwick. Celebrity Apprentice 2011 will air on Sundays, from 9 to 11 p.m. ET/PT.


Tito Jackson

Morag Veljkovic

And speaking of the Jackson family, Tito Jackson, is set to headline the largest New Year's Eve celebration in the southeast - the 22nd Annual Peach Drop in Atlanta, Georgia. The Jackson 5's quiet, guitar-playing member, will unveil two new songs from his debut solo album, So Far, So Good, at his New Year's Eve gig in Atlanta. Regarding the album, scheduled to be released early in 2011, Tito says it is long overdue, going on to state, "The only people who haven't done one are my mom and dad and the family dog." Tens of thousands of New Year's revelers are expected to pack Underground Atlanta to witness and of course to ring in the New Year. It will take less than a minute for the 800-pound peach to drop, ushering in 2011. Tito, now 57, will also perform a number of original Jackson family classics. His mother, Katherine Jackson, will join him on stage, along with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed to welcome 2011 at midnight. A few years ago, Tito Jackson and his band performed on Fremont Street.

* * * * * *

Morag Michie (Cattanach) Veljkovic, 71, of Aventura, FL, died Dec. 13 at Aventura Hospital and Medical Center following a lengthy battle with myasthenia gravis. Ms. Veljkovic was born in Burma (Myanmar), on July 29, 1939, to William Petala Cattanach, an executive with Burmah Oil, and Mary Ann Movor (Michie) Cattanach, of Scotland. Morag graduated from Kingsley School, Surrey, England, and trained at the Audrey de Voss School of dance in London. Following work in Paris, she moved to Las Vegas in 1961 as a dancer with the Folies Bergere at the Tropicana. She also performed in three editions of the Casino de Paris show at the Dunes Hotel and was a featured dancer in Vive les Girls, also at the Dunes Hotel. As a choreographer, she won numerous awards in Atlantic City, NJ, and at the Treasury and Marina hotels in Las Vegas. In Las Vegas, she also taught ballet and modern dance at the Backstage Dance Studio. In the 1970s, she was the Las Vegas correspondent and feature writer for the entertainment magazine, After Dark, and a contributor to Dance Magazine. Ms. Veljkovic was highly regarded in the entertainment and cruise industry. She trained and employed hundreds of dancers and vocalists, and was known for the range and quality of her onboard production shows. She directed the entertainment departments at Royal Viking Line, Royal Cruise Line and Silversea Cruises. In 1991, she founded Morag Productions, creating and producing innovative entertainment for Cunard Line, Asuka Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line and Holland America Line, among other lines. She hired the best dancers, singers, costumers and musicians and became one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the cruise ship industry. Morag is survived by her brother, Ian Cattanach, of Eastbourne, Sussex, England; a nephew, Henry Cattanach, of France; and a niece, Annarose Cattanach, of London. Private services were held in Aventura, Florida. Interment is scheduled to take place in Scotland. A memorial in Las Vegas is pending. Donations may be made to Career Transition For Dancers at The Caroline & Theodore Newhouse Center for Dancers in New York (www.careertransition.org).

* * * * * * *


Liberace Greeting Card

Krenn Scott's Vegas & Reno

As we come to the end of an interesting year, filled with lots of highs and lows, we would like our regular readers to know that we have some unfinished business to deal with. Be assured that there are a few important subjects that you have not heard the last of - two of which are the currently closed Liberace Museum, and another being the scam artist behind COLABO anything. It doesn't matter whether this man is using the name Troy Adams, any other aliases, or his real name, Obaloc (Colabo spelled backwards) Phillips, he is bad news. Although he may move around (he came here from San Diego), and change his name, one thing that will be a little more difficult to alter is his face. He has been very careful not to have photos readily available (even with his lengthy theatrical bio), but we have secured some pictures of him, in spite of his efforts to keep them under wraps. Look for them, and more terrible tales regarding this man, in the next couple of weeks.

And, just to show that our heart is in the right place (we only diss people and places who have earned and deserve it), we like to regularly feature sweet stories, and cute photos of children and pets. In keeping with that goal, we are ending the year by including pictures of some adorable felines, belonging to folks we know.


November & Schroeck's Stanley & Oliver

Kreloff & Olsen's Sondheim

* * * * * * *

HAPPY, HEALTHY NEW YEAR TO (MOST OF) OUR READERS!


Las Vegas New Year


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


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

Claire Voyant's portrait by Charlie Frye