Claire Voyant's Las Vegas Gossip Column

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

Claire Voyant  

Note: This is a past column from January 21, 2011
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - January 21, 2011

Troy Adams/Obaloc Phillips

Obaloc Phillips/Troy Adams

Lainie Kazan

Now, about the ongoing COLABO horror stories we have been promising our regular readers...
As those who have been following this saga know, our initial "interest" in this operation occurred in the summer of 2008, when it was announced that a relatively new to Las Vegas theater group, calling themselves COLABO.BIZ, would be doing three different local productions - An Evening With Billie Holiday, Light My Fire - The Jim Morrison Story, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch - at the Family Music Center on West Sahara. Within a short time, we were getting ominous stories from local professional musicians who had been hired for the Billie Holiday gig, spent time rehearsing and then were unable to collect their pay. Most, if not all, of the original players saw the handwriting on the wall and jumped ship fairly early in the game. In addition to this red flag, was information in the promo for Billie Holiday that the show was "written by Lainie Kazan." We didn't buy it. Unfortunately for Mr. Adams (or whoever he is), listed as director, we knew how to get directly in touch with Ms. Kazan who confirmed our suspicions in a June 19th, 2008, e-mail, saying, "Boy, is this insane! I had absolutely nothing to do with this Billie Holiday project, except that I sing some of her songs. I intend to email the Director to find out whose producing the project, and, perhaps, sue them. Thank you for letting me know." Incidentally, most of the performances announced for the three shows, never took place. As for those who may have purchased advanced tickets for the productions, we do not know if they ever got their money back. And the plot thickens.

The man behind this COLABO operation is one Obaloc Phillips (COLABO is Obaloc, spelled backwards), who uses a number of aliasis in trying to cover his very questionable past. In Las Vegas, among the names he has called himself are Troy Adams, Obie Phillips and maybe, Paul Davis. For this ugly tale, we will refer to him as Troy Adams, as that seems to be how he most often identifies himself around these parts. Oh, did we mention that he changes his addresses about as often as he changes his names?

Although Adams claimed an extensive theatrical background in the San Diego area, we could find nothing about him on the Internet. And, oddly, even though he was scheduled to play the lead in Hedwig, unlike the other cast members who were supposed to be in the three shows, Adams had no photo with his online bio. Hmmm. Another warning sign. Until now, Mr. Adams has done a pretty good job of keeping his face out of the public eye, especially from people who he was seeking help from (theater critics, for instance).

We started asking questions about this fellow. People who should have known what he looked like, and perhaps met him face-to-face, didn't. People who should have known something, anything. about Troy Adams, didn't. Until. We contacted Las Vegas Review-Journal theater critic, Anthony Del Valle. Several years ago, Del Valle happened to be visiting in the Riverside County section of Southern California. He saw an ad for a production of "Hair" being advertised as "direct from Las Vegas." As Del Valle didn't remember any production of "Hair" here, he went to check it out. He reports that it was "awful." "Not just bad in the usual sense," said Del Valle, "but it was like -- well, a person would finish a song, and then he would stand on stage looking left and right, wondering what he was supposed to do next." Del Valle talked to the California theater owner, and told him he was from Vegas, and didn't remember this show ever playing there. The theater owner asked if our critic knew Troy Adams, to which Tony said no. The theater owner said that he was pulling the plug on the show that day, because "not only were entire audiences walking out, but Troy had disappeared without paying his theater bill." When Del Valle got back to Vegas, he found out that "Hair" had played for, he thinks, one or two nights at a small North Las Vegas casino. He then read a review by a critic in the Riverside Press-Enterprise, talking about how incredibly lousy the show was, and also, about how Troy had skipped out on bills. Del Valle contacted the Riverside critic, who said that Troy Adams was a name Riverside would never forget. Later, Del Valle talked to two actors who were in the production of "Hair." He had known the two for decades, and totally trusted them, referring to them as "reliable sources." They told Tony D. that they were hired by Troy and were promised a certain amount of money. They were also told they would be touring the country with the show. They played Vegas and Riverside, and nowhere else, and were never paid a dime. Del Valle asked for more details and to let him put their names on the record, but they both said the same thing, "Please. I don't ever want to talk about Troy Adams." At about the time the show closed, someone on TalkinBroadway's All That Chat, asked Troy about the actors not getting paid, and why the review was so bad. Troy got very upset, claiming the actors he hired were incompetent, and he had to teach them everything. Of course, at the time, Del Valle wondered, "Why did you hire them?," and thought it a bit tacky for a director to be bad mouthing his actors. The two actors told Del Valle that the brief gig in North Las Vegas (which was done with no publicity) was just an excuse to be able to go to other cities and claim, "Direct from Las Vegas!" Del Valle told us that when we first wrote something about Colabo, two-and-a-half years ago, he contacted Troy's assistant to get a reaction. That assistant, an actor named Chris Rogers, said we (sweet, helpful Claire Voyant) were an example of people who are negative all the time. Del Valle told Rogers that he did not believe that, as he had seen "Hair" and knew there were problems, and that the two actors he trusted were not negative people and they told Del Valle that Troy had screwed them out of money. Rogers told Tony that Troy was a good guy who just had no business sense. The next two times we wrote about Colabo, Del Valle asked Rogers for a comment and never got a response. Tony has been asked to write articles or reviews about Colabo, but has declined, because, as a man with a conscience, he does not want to advise people to spend money on a Colabo show. Students who take Troy Adams' acting classes (the tuition is not cheap) are automatically guaranteed a role in a show. Del Valle thinks it's perfectly alright to have paid classes where people are promised a crack at performing, he just doesn't feel comfortable reviewing those shows, especially when children are involved. "What parent wouldn't be willing to pay money to see their child perform?" asks Del Valle.

Another reader, who is quite familiar with Obaloc Phillips writes, "I have volumes of information about this scumbag (Troy Adams or whatever his name is today), and why he had to 'flee' San Diego from arrests, etc. Went to Canada until the statute of limitations ran out. Of course he doesn't want his picture shown. This scam artist should never be allowed to set foot inside a theatre or be allowed to interact with children."

And from the Allegro Dance Theatre in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, comes this e-mail. "In the month of June of 2009, I rented some costumes for Alice In Wonderland to Troy Adams. Because I didn't read your column first, I did not realize what a crook he was. According to the costume contract that he signed, he was to send these costumes back to me (to be used by other youth around the US) by the 1st week of August. As you have guessed, I have not been able to get Mr. Adams to send these costumes back to me. Music Theatre International is the renting organization for the scripts/scores foremost of the Broadway Junior musicals (however, I am not sure that he had the rights to do Alice from them as they list all who have the rights on the website under the show name). MTI has a community resource area where different theatres can list their costumes/props etc...some to sell, some to rent. I had my costumes listed there. Up until this incident, I have had no trouble renting the costumes to the various schools that might be doing the shows."

Anyone who may have seen these high quality children's costumes, especially the Alice In Wonderland cards that were hand made and quilted by a professional costumer, are strongly urged to contact their owner, through us. A reward for information leading to their return is being offered.

And yet another reader says, "I had an experience with Obaloc Phillips of Colabo Productions. I think Las Vegas needs to be aware that this guy is still out there. '

Our most recent communiqué came from a representative for the commercial property owner who leased Mr. Phillips and his partner female partner space for a children's acting school on Durango. Not only were they behind on rent, the space was misused, and children were allowed to play on the roof of the building.

None of these e-mails were sent by anonymous people (we never deal with anonymous snail or e-mail). We have the names and addresses of all who contacted us. We urge those who have been victims of this man (and/or any of his cronies) to contact us or the proper officials. Do not give or lend this man money. Do not give or lend this man your property. Chances are you will never see any of it, or him, again. We know he is still around here, as last month he was promoting A Christmas Carol, that was supposed to take place at the Cashman Theater in downtown Las Vegas. We weren't one bit surprised to learn it was cancelled. We spotted this ad: MUSICIANS NEEDED FOR (LAS VEGAS). Date: 2011-01-07, 11:51 AM PST. Reply to: [email protected] [Errors when replying to ads?]. SEEKING PROFESSIONAL MUSICIANS FOR THE R&B / SOUL CLASSIC "THE WIZ" NEEDED ARE: 2 KEYBOARDS, GUITAR, BASS, DRUMS, SAXOPHONE, TRUMPET, TROMBONE, FLUTE. SHOW OPENS FEB 12 @ THE CASHMAN THEATER. ONGOING RUN. Compensation: $250 PER PERFORMANCE running on Craigslist. This is not a person who you want coming in contact with young, impressionable children. If you are the parent or grandparent of a talented youngster who would enjoy and/or benefit from acting experience, we suggest getting in contact with the well-established, nationally recognized Rainbow Company Youth Theatre. A program of the city of Las Vegas, the Rainbow Company offers affordable drama classes for ages four through 18 at Reed Whipple and at Charleston Heights Arts Center. Enrollment is open now for classes, which begin in mid-March, and for a spring break drama workshop offered April 18th through 22nd, for ages eight through 12. The weeklong workshop costs $135 and culminates in a dramatic presentation on the Charleston Heights Arts Center stage April 23rd. Charleston Heights Arts Center is located at 800 S. Brush St. For more on Rainbow Company classes, go to or call (702) 229-6553 or (702) 229-6383.

You have been warned.

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Domenick Allen in Liverpool

David Pomeranz

Following a sold out weekend at the Suncoast last October, Domenick Allen returns to the Rampart and Alta property for another go-round of It's All About the Music, next Saturday and Sunday, January 29th and 30th, with shows at 7:30 p.m. With Allen, it IS all about the music. Lots of music. Music of many genres. Whether vocally or instrumentally (he plays numerous instruments, including piano, guitar, clarinet and saxophone), Allen handles it with professional expertise. Backed by a dynamite nine-piece band, plus special guest, tuba player Ginger Bruner, Domenick will showcase his diverse musical career, covering material from his days with the multi-platinum rock group Foreigner, known best for such hits as "I Want To Know What Love Is," "Double Vision" and "Cold As Ice." The singer, actor, musician also recorded and performed with the legendary Buddy Rich Big Band, toured the world with the legendary Liberace for four years, and appeared on London's West End in a number of productions. On Broadway, Allen co-starred with Helen Reddy in the musical Blood Brothers, and on television he had a long run as the evil Simon Prescott on NBC's Days of Our Lives. Allen is also one-quarter of the talented musical ensemble known as Vocal Soup, made up of his friends, Clint Holmes, Susan Anton and Martin Nievera. Next weekend, it's all about the music and all about Domenick Allen. If you missed the October show, and don't want to miss this one, we urge you to make reservations right away. Tickets start at $19.95 plus taxes and fees. For reservations, call the Suncoast at (702) 636-7075.

And in Florida, on Saturday, January 29th at 8 p.m., another one of our favorites, singer/ songwriter/musician David Pomeranz, will be performing at the Ruth Eckerd Hall (in the Murray Studio Theater), 1111 N. McMullen Booth Road, in Clearwater, Florida. He's NOT Barry Manilow, but David does Write the Songs for him (the No. 1 hits, "Tryin' To Get The Feeling Again" and "The Old Songs"), as well as for scores of other major artists, including Cliff Richard, Clay Aiken, Lea Salonga, Kenny Loggins, Bette Midler, Freddie Mercury, Richie Sambora (of Bon Jovi), Harry Belafonte, Isaac Hayes, Edgar Winter, Petula Clark, Anna Nalik, Sir Laurence Olivier, Leo Sayer, Mel Brooks, Richard Harris, Richard Marx, Kenny Rogers, John Denver, Phoebe Snow, The Hollies, Kathie Lee Gifford, The Carpenters, Lillias White, The Muppets, Billy Dean, Andrea Marcovicci, Grover Washington, Jr. and hip-hop artist Missy Elliott who sampled David's music for her chart-topping hit single, "One Minute Man." Pomeranz's original musical, based on the life of Little Tramp, Charlie Chaplin, should have a place to perform in Las Vegas. We're working on trying to make that happen. If you are in or around that coast, tickets to see David Pomeranz are $25. For reservations, call (727) 791-7400.

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Tierney Sutton Band

Rob Garrett - King of Diamonds

The Tierney Sutton Band will perform in a concert at the Charleston Heights Arts Center on Saturday, January 29th at 2 p.m. Wisconsin-born singer Tierney Sutton is a three-time Grammy-nominee for "Best Jazz Vocal Album." She was educated at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, and the famed Berklee College of Music in Boston. For the past 16 years, Sutton has fronted the Tierney Sutton Band featuring pianist Christian Jacob, bassists Trey Henry and Kevin Axt, and drummer Ray Brinker. They tour throughout the world and have headlined in recent years at Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, the Kennedy Center and Jazz at Lincoln Center. The band has also appeared on the CBS Early Show's Second Cup Café. For 11 years, Sutton taught in the Jazz Studies Department at the University of Southern California. In 2008, she became the Vocal Department Chair at Los Angeles Music Academy in Pasadena. Tickets for the Tierney Sutton Band are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Call (702) 229-6383, Wednesdays through Saturdays, between 12:30 and 9:30 p.m., for reservations. The Charleston Heights Arts Center is located at 800 S. Brush Street, near Charleston and Decatur.

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Neil Diamond tribute artist, Rob Garrett, will help Mr. Song Sung Blue celebrate his 70th birthday with a concert in The Club at the North Las Vegas Cannery tomorrow night (Neil is the one turning 70 on Monday, not Rob) at 8 p.m. This weekend, "The King of Diamonds," as Garrett calls himself, will perform Diamond favorites, such as "Cherry Cherry," "Sweet Caroline," "Song Sung Blue," "Cracklin Rosie" and many more. Rob Garrett has always idolized Neil Diamond and his music. He had his dream come true when he was cast as the Neil Diamond impersonator in the "Legends in Concert" show in Honolulu, Hawaii. Garrett only expected to appear as Neil Diamond for two months but ended up performing for three years. Since his gig in Hawaii he has traveled all over the world appearing as Neil Diamond. In his time touring he developed the name "King of Diamonds" and has become one of North America's most popular Neil Diamond tribute artists. In 2008, Rob Garrett received the "Male Musical Tribute Artist Award" by the Entertainment Network at the Celebrity Impersonator Convention in Las Vegas, making him the only Neil Diamond tribute artist to win that award. Garrett offers a good time for all Diamond fans. Admission is $10 at the door.

And speaking of the Cannery...Please note that the Dwight Yoakam concert, scheduled for the Eastside Cannery's Event Center on Saturday, February 19th, is starting at 9 p.m., NOT at 8 p.m. as indicated in some publications.

The Nevada Ballet Theatre honors Priscilla Presley as its 2011 Woman of the Year at the annual Black & White Ball on Saturday, January 29th, at Aria Resort & Casino inside CityCenter. Since 1985, the Black & White Ball has allowed the Nevada Ballet Theatre to present professional company dance productions to the Las Vegas community, provide quality dance instruction within its affiliated Academy, and expose students in at-risk communities to the art form of dance through its well-known outreach program, Future Dance. Past honorees at the Black & White Ball include Debbie Reynolds, Chita Rivera, Celine Dion, Bette Midler and Marie Osmond. Tickets start at $600. Call (702) 243-2623 x222 for more information and reservations.

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Paula Poundstone

Kathleen Madigan

If you want or need some laughs, there are two funny ladies performing here this weekend who should be able to fill the bill. It's Paula Poundstone at The Orleans. Attending a Paula Poundstone performance will leave you marveling at her ability to interact spontaneously with audience members. In conversations bound to garner riotous laughter. Armed with nothing but a stool, a microphone and a can of Diet Pepsi, Paula's ability to create humor on the spot has become the stuff of legend. Little wonder people leave Paula's shows complaining that their cheeks hurt from laughter, and debating whether the random people she talked to are "plants" - which, of course they never are. Show times are tomorrow and Sunday, January 22nd and 23rd, at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $19.95 plus tax and convenience fees. Save convenience fees by purchasing tickets in person at The Orleans box office, open from noon to 10 on Fridays and Saturdays, and noon to 8 Sundays through Thursdays. For additional information, call (702) 365-7075, or (888) 365-7111. And over at the South Point, tonight through Sunday, January 21st through 23rd, is comedian Kathleen Madigan in Gone Madigan. After returning from a USO Tour of Iraq and Afghanistan earlier this year, where she performed for the troops with Kid Rock, Lewis Black and Kellie Pickler, Madigan learned she's entirely too short to be involved in combat, and that being in the military is nothing like the commercials on television. Jay Leno calls Madigan "one of the funniest female comics," and she has appeared on Dr. Phil as a special correspondent with her comedic reports on various topics. She also appeared this summer as one of Cheri Oteri's clients in the AMC interstitial program, Life Coach, and recently completed writing, producing and performing on Lewis Black's The Root of All Evil for Comedy Central. The American Comedy Award winner for "Best Female Comedian" appeared on shows for VH1 and TV Guide Network, as well as the Joy Behar Show and Wanda Sykes Show. In 2004, Madigan was the only comedian ever to go unchallenged on NBC'S Last Comic Standing, and in 2007 was a talent scout during the show's fifth season. Other television appearances include stints on E!, ESPN, CNN, 10 appearances on The Tonight Show, five appearances on David Letterman, Conan O'Brien, and on her own HBO, and Comedy Central specials. The St. Louis, Missouri-native defeated the ever-popular Larry the Cable Guy and other notable funny comics to win the 2007 Sirius Radio Comedy Cup. She has performed around the world at comedy festivals and in theaters, and a writer for Garry Shandling in 2004 and 2005 when he hosted the Emmys. Show times at the South Point are at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15, $20 and $25. Must be 18+ to attend. Call (702) 797-8055 for reservations.

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Grammy Award-Winning singer and songwriter, Jon Secada, performs in concert in the Tiffany Theater at the Tropicana Hotel, with 9:30 p.m. shows through Sunday. Secada brings his fusion of Latin percussion, soul, pop and funk music to Tropicana Las Vegas for a limited engagement in Tiffany Theatre. Jon Secada was born in Havana, Cuba, and raised in Hialeah, Florida. He has won two Grammy Awards and sold 20 million albums since his English-language debut album in 1992, made famous for his Gold Single, "Just Another Day." His music fuses funk, soul, pop and Latin percussion. Secada has performed with opera legend, Luciano Pavarotti, recorded a duet with the late Frank Sinatra on "The Best Is Yet to Come" and starred on Broadway as Danny Zuko in 1995's hit musical Grease. Secada also has appeared as a songwriter for Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, Mandy Moore and other performers. General admission tickets are $55, $60, and $65, plus taxes and fees' and $75 plus taxes and fees for VIP seating. Call (702) 739-2222 for tickets and additional Information.

Jon Secada

F.I.O.R.E. Honoree Jim Marsh

Gary Anderson

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From Las Vegas resident, newsman Harley Akers, comes this report from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, dated January 18th...
A Reporters Notebook
As the one-year anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince arrived, The Haitian capital has improved, but not as much as residents might have hoped. Millions of Haitians are still living in makeshift settlement camps. In Port-au-Prince the hustle and bustle has returned to the streets but reminders of the destruction are everywhere, most notably in the shell-shocked population. Huge makeshift settlement camps still dot the city. A year ago, the makeshift dwellings in the camps consisted of nothing but frail wooden posts draped with sheets, tablecloths, anything that could block out the sun and the dust. Protection from the elements has improved slightly. Today, roofs are made from thick canvasses supplied by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). But despite these improvements, it's alarming that an estimated two million Haitians still live in these camps. In the streets downtown, the silence that petrified me on my last visit a year ago has evolved into a bewildering din of people , goats, dogs, chickens, cyclists, cars and trucks. The result is a cacophony of shouts and barnyard braying overlaid with the rhythms of Haitian zouk (typical Haitian music). On every corner, there seems to be an improvised flower shop. Yet stubborn traffic jams sill renders the air unbreathable. Scars from the destruction have not been erased, but are simply masked by the bustle of daily life in the capital. Even the local newspaper is operating again amidst the ruins. The over 300,000 people killed in the quake have long been buried, and it's a new chapter now. But the fear lives on. "In recent days, people have been saying they can feel shaking," Francios Charlier, another news correspondent in Haiti, told me. "People are paranoid as the anniversary has arrived. They stop you in the street and ask: "Did you feel anything? But the shaking they feel is only in their heads." In this traumatized population, conversations about death are very off-handed. Hurgon Laennec, a sociologist in met in Port-au-Prince says he often disturbed by them. "Every week, I learn about acquaintances that died, often through conversations that are oddly blasé," says Laennec. "On Monday, I met a friend and asked about her sister. "Oh she died," she said. "It wasn't the best death." She spoke in a disaffected tone before moving on to another topic. For me, this lack of emotion, after one year, is not a good sign." Meanwhile, a burdensome atmosphere still blankets Port-au-Prince. As if the trauma from the earthquake were not enough, Haitians have been coping with a cholera epidemic for the past four months. Add to this the suspected fraud during the presidential elections of 28 November, and the palpable lace of confidence toward NGOs and the UN is perhaps understandable. And to add one more problem in the frenetic mix, former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier made a surprise return to his homeland for the first time Sunday, after fleeing some 25 years ago, amid the continuing power vacuum of that disputed presidential vote. Duvalier will hold a news conference today (Tuesday) to finally acknowledge his presence and his reason for coming back to Haiti from exile. When we arrived in Port-au-Prince also on Sunday, we were told in no uncertain terms, to not venture into the slum and camp area after 6 p.m. The Haitian police said they would not be responsible. That we were on our own. We were also told that moving around anyplace in the capital after dark might result in being shot. Not by police, but by anybody just wanting the shirt off our back. So, one year on, the energy in the capital may be quixotic, but earthquake survivors- whose resilience so impressed me a year ago - now seem exhausted and defeated.

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On Thursday, January 13th, the presidents of the non-club club, F.I.O.R.E. (Fun Italians Organizing Ridiculous Events) presented their first ever Wilted Flower Award to auto dealer/casino owner Jim Marsh, during a luncheon at the Italian American Social Club. More than 100 people showed up at the event to honor and acknowledge Marsh for his generosity. Mr. Marsh recently donated more than $20,000 to a member of the entertainment community so she could get some much needed surgery. The most impressive thing about Marsh's good deeds, is that he does these things very quietly, with no fanfare and no desire for publicity. We do think he was very moved by the turnout of friends and strangers that felt he absolutely should be acknowledged for his compassion. We couldn't begin to list everyone who attended the afternoon gathering, but among some of the notable presidents in attendance, we spotted Nelson Sardelli, Don Hill, Rolando Larraz, Conrad Villela, Artie Schroeck, Dr. Lonnie Hammargren, Danny Tarkanian, Babe Pier, Lou Toomin, Norm Johnson, Felix Silla, Paul Campanella, Kid Cary, Pier Marini and Harley Akers. Funnymen, Cork Proctor and Peter Anthony, roasted Marsh with some good-natured verbal jabs, while impressionist, Babe Pier, brought back some familiar heavenly voices via a handful of dearly departed Vegas favorites, including Frankie Dee, Bernie Allen, Freddie Bell, Sonny King and Jimmy Caesar. The presidents and first ladies (this was a co-ed event) had a good time, and anxiously look forward to the next get-together. That will be the annual Valentine's Day event to be held next month. Look for details in next week's column.

Talented Gary Anderson, who lives in Vegas when he isn't working somewhere else on the planet, provided the music for the Jim Marsh tribute hosted by the FIORE group last week. He didn't have much time to rest up afterwards, as he was off to Chicago, and the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, for the annual musical celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King. An 80-piece orchestra, and chorus of more than 100 voices, made this performance of "Too Hot to Handel: A Jazz-Gospel Messiah," just the right thing to warm up January in the Windy City. Here is some of what Mike Thomas of the Chicago Sun Times had this to say in his story...
Before attending a performance of the often inspired and inspiring "Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah" at the Auditorium Theatre (and you should think about doing so when it's in town next), immerse yourself in a couple of good traditional renditions around Chicago or on CD. Or maybe you've done that already. Being at least vaguely familiar what Handel wrote, and how the orchestra and chorus portions typically sound, will make your experience all the more rewarding. This sweet, soulful and rollicking variation by composers Gary Anderson and Bob Christianson stands pretty solid sans context. Featuring soloists Alfreda Burke (soprano), Karen Marie Richardson (alto) and powerhouse tenor Rodrick Dixon, "Too Hot to Handel" also stars scores of enthusiastic choristers (who swayed on occasion as if in a Faygo ad) and an orchestra populated by several virtuosos - on sax, piano and bass in particular. They're all kept on track by the able conducting of Suzanne Mallare Acton. As the Auditorium's executive director, Brett Batterson, told a packed house shortly before Saturday's concert began, "This is the Messiah on steroids!" There were plenty of high­lights... Dixon's rendition of "Every Valley" was rife with vocal acrobatics and even had him mimicking a trumpet. His operatic scat singing emerged in various movements as well. And the Burke-led "For Unto Us a Child is Born" rocked to such a rousing culmination that whoops and hollering from the audience began even before it ended. The smoky "For Behold Darkness Shall Cover the Earth" and the Part One-capping "Glory to God" were similarly captivating. But the true zenith of the program (repeated Sunday), came post-intermission - after N'Digo publisher Hermene Hartman introduced a photo/musical montage of Martin Luther King Jr. that focused on his work in Chicago, after alto Richardson delivered a fine gospelized "He Shall Feed His Flock" and after "Surely He Hath Borne Our Griefs" kicked it hard samba-style. Sitting at what appeared to be a 29-foot-long black grand, pianist Alvin B. Waddles tickled, banged, caressed and generally lorded over the ivories during an extended cadenza that blended a number of numbers, including bits of the original "Messiah," James Brown's "I Got You (I Feel Good)," Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" and the well-known civil rights anthem "We Shall Overcome." That dazzling display alone was worth the price of admission. The famed "Hallelujah Chorus," which usually comes well before the end, was actually a swell and swelling finale - if not as moving as the great Amen of Handel's last movement. In one of the evening's relatively few traditional moments, the crowd even rose to its feet and remained standing throughout. Not that tradition had much, if anything, to do with it.

Congratulations, Gary Anderson.

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Funny Bones Comedy Jam

Sammy & Pauly Shore

Palms Casino Resort and famed comedian royalty Sammy Shore will hit a funny bone for animals with the Second Annual Funny Bones All-Star Comedy Jam taking place at 3 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, January 30th, in the Palms Ballroom at the Palms Casino Resort. The Funny Bones Comedy Jam, benefiting local dog rescue organizations, boasts an all-star cast, emceed by the talents of Sammy Shore, founder of LA's famed Comedy Store and opening act for Elvis Presley; co-hosted by Bobby Slayton, The Pitbull of Comedy; and featuring George Wallace, who calls himself the New Mr. Vegas; Sammy's son, comedy star of television and film, Pauly Shore; Vinnie Favorito, Geechy Guy, Dennis Blair, James P. Connolly, Doug Starks, and Kenny Kerr. The show will also feature soap opera actress and Broadway star, Catherine Hickland, DJ Ben Harris of the Terry Fator Show, special musical guest, Domenick Allen, and other surprises. The funds raised from this year's event will go to the Funny Bones Foundation. Funny Bones is an organization formed expressly to benefit animal rescues in need of assistance in the Las Vegas area. They generate funds through comedy events and other money-raising functions. Behind Funny Bones are two passionate men, Sammy Shore, who, through a personal loss, was spurred to dedicate his life to dogs in need, and Dr. Matthew Brooks of Town Center Animal Hospital in Las Vegas, along with dedicated people who believe in helping the local animal community: Sammy's wife Suzanne Shore, show producer and director James D'Arrigo, Palms Casino Resort, Shanon Moore, Jean McCusker, Catherine Luce, Jocelyn Arter, Deb Pietro and volunteers. Tickets for the January 30th event are $39.95, plus taxes and fees. They can be purchased at the Palms box office, from noon to 7 p.m. daily. Please call (702) 944-3200. For additional information, check or

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According to veteran American Idol judge, Randy Jackson, who was a guest on the Jimmy Kimmel show Tuesday night, Wayne Newton approached Idol reps about possibly becoming a judge on the popular reality show. As viewers saw, earlier this week, Season 10 of American Idol launched with two new faces sitting at the judges table, and neither one of them was Mr. Newton. Joining Jackson, are singer, actress, Jennifer Lopez, and Steven Tyler, front man and lead singer of Aerosmith. This early in their run, it's hard to tell if Lopez and Tyler will toughen up on the competitors. Personally, we felt they were a little too nice. That will have to change, or the show will never whittle down to a Top 10.

2011 American Idol Judges

Greg London

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Some "crazy musicians" will jazz up the Winchester Cultural Center Theater, Sunday, January 23rd, launching the 2011 World Vibration Concert Series. Meshuggina Klezmorim completely sold out the theater a year ago, and last-minute concert-goers were turned away, so fans are urged to buy tickets in advance. The band's name means "crazy musicians" in Yiddish; the music they play is Klezmer, the wild, exuberant music often called "Jewish jazz." Lee Schreiber is the band's violinist and manager. As a Las Vegas musician, she has performed on the Strip with a raft of stars, such as Tim McGraw, Clint Black, Gloria Estefan, Celine Dion, Eddie Fisher, Al Martino, Tony Bennett, Jerry Lewis, Elton John, and Dudley Moore. Her favorite experience was performing with opera legends Andrea Bocelli, Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo. She is a member of the Nevada Chamber Symphony and a member of the Las Vegas Philharmonic since its inception. Schreiber also performs locally for area synagogues. Meshuggina Klezmorim has performed for numerous valley wide events such as Israeli Independence Day, Menorah lighting on Fremont Street honoring Mayor Oscar B. Goodman, Hanukkah concerts, the Folk Life Festival, and previously for the County's World Vibration Concert Series. Daniel Philippus plays clarinet, an essential klezmer instrument. Daniel graduated from UNLV and has spent nearly two decades as a professional, playing many of the Strip productions as Schreiber. Drummer Brett Barnes has performed in all of the major hotels on the Las Vegas Strip as well as the House of Blues, The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. D. J. Sinai plays keyboards and sings; he also graduated from the UNLV Music Department and is currently the music director at Temple Beth Shalom. Irv Weinberger, a USC graduate who has composed and arranged Jewish Music since 1994, plays guitar. Clark County's World Vibration series presents music from all the world's cultures at Winchester Cultural Center, 3130 S. McLeod Drive. Residents are invited to the concert, which starts at 2 p.m. at the cultural center. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $7 for seniors, and may be purchased by calling the center at (702) 455-7340, or by visiting the Web site.

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Impressionist Greg London is on the move again. A longtime headliner in Northern Nevada, last year, London moved to Las Vegas to perform at the Riviera. Beginning on January 31st, London and his cast of characters take to the stage in the Shimmer Cabaret at the Las Vegas Hilton. Impressions That Rock!, will play Saturdays through Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. London will astound audiences as he impersonates dozens of musical and pop culture icons in this fast-paced and energetic show. Winner of Nevada magazine's 2009 "Entertainer of the Year" award, the dynamic performer has received critical acclaim for his spot-on impressions of Ozzy Osbourne, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Jim Morrison, Elvis, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and yes, even Tina Turner! Add dozens more to the list, and you will see (and hear) why he broke records during his two-and-a-half year engagement at Harrah's Reno and appeared in London, England's famous West End. A talented singer and musician in his own right, London is backed by a rockin' live band and three striking female dancers. The entertianer cleverly uses music from decades past and present, with some of his career history interwoven in the mix to deliver almost 50 celebrities. London says, "The show blends all genres and offers something for all ages. One moment we are doing impressions from the Rat Pack era, the next we switch into a country mode with Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson and then we move on to Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan." The show is produced by Bob Byers, Jr., Frank Visco and David DeLorenzo, along with Ross Vannelli and SPI Entertainment. Tickets for Greg London-Impressions That Rock! are $39.99 general; $59.99 premium and $69.99 VIP plus tax and service charge. They can be purchased at the Las Vegas Hilton box office or by visiting or calling (702) 732-5755 or 1-800-222-5361.

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Laura Taylor

Maurice Hines Jr.

Tomorrow, Saturday, January 22nd, at 2 p.m., Vegas Jazz presents Have Mercer On Me - A Tribute to the Great Johnny Mercer . The concert, held at the Winchester Community Theater, features vocalist Laura Taylor, with Dave Loeb and Bob Rozario on piano; Bob Sachs, bass; Mike Meecham, drums; Lenny Lopez, vocals and percussion; and special guests. At the age of 17, Laura was awarded a scholarship to study opera. After two years, she moved into the world of commercial and jazz music. She was heard as the solo voice on national ad campaigns for United Airlines' ("Fly the Friendly Skies of United") and Buick ("Wouldn't you Really Rather Have a Buick?"). Forming the Laura Taylor Trio, she moved to New York City where she performed at the St. Regis Hotel, the Oak Room in the Plaza, and had a six-year contract at the Waldorf Astoria. During this time, Laura also appeared in concert at Carnegie Recital Hall and with the legendary Joe Henderson Quartet. Opening for comedian Don Rickles in Atlantic City soon led to a long term engagement at the Starlight Theater in the Desert Inn Hotel. While continuing to live in Las Vegas, Ms. Taylor has actively pursued her career. Listed among the many events and concerts to her credit are performances on the Four Queens Monday Night Jazz/NPR jazz series hosted by Alan Grant; Las Vegas Jazz Society concerts; appearances at the Riviera Hotel's Monday Night Jazz with Don Menza, with the Walt Boenig Big Band, at Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall, the Bootlegger Bistro; the Dennis Bono show and at the Jonathan Club in Los Angeles. Many of her recordings have received critical acclaim and national airplay, among them her CD: Mountain Greenery with Jack Sheldon, the Candoli brothers, Joe Lano and Red Holloway, and "My Funny Valentine" a tribute to Chet Baker featuring Lewis Nash, Eddie Gomez, and Steve Kuhn. Her songwriting talents have been featured on Diana Ross' "Think I'm in Love" on her Why Do Fools Fall in Love? CD, for which Laura received a platinum album, and on Joe Henderson's performance of her "Lovelight " and "Spellbound" compositions. The concert features songs from Taylor's next CD, which is devoted to songs of Mercer. Taylor plans to perform a number of Mercer's tunes in the Great American Songbook, including "Blues in the Night," "Autumn Leaves" and fittingly, "Laura." The center is located at 3130 McLeod Drive, just north of Desert Inn Road. General admission is $12, and $10 for Vegas Jazz members. Tickets may be purchased in person at the Winchester. No credit card phone orders. Open seating, so plan to get there early. For more information, call the center at (702) 455-7340 or visit the website at

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On January 29th, Feinstein's at Loews Regency, 540 Park Avenue in New York City, presents Maurice Hines performing To Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra with Love at 8:30 p.m. Maurice is the son of the late Maurice "Chink" Hines, who lived in Las Vegas for many years before passing away in July of last year. His brother, entertainer Gregory Hines, died in 2003 at the age of 57. Maurice Jr. was one of the alternating headliners in the Great Radio City Music Hall Spectacular when it played here at the Flamingo. If you are in Manhattan, and want to see the show, call (212) 339-4095 or (212) 339-4045, for ticket prices and reservations.

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Las Vegas Follies

Rich Rizzo presents the premier performance of Las Vegas Follies, The Best Ticket in Town, Saturday, January 29th at 7 p.m. at the Starbright Theatre in Sun City Summerlin, 2225 Thomas Ryan Blvd. Get ready for Rizzo's stylized choreography and the infectious enthusiasm of a cast of talented senior performers. The dazzling production show is pure entertainment - a fusion of music, singing, comedy and dancing. It is the brainchild of Rizzo, known for his direction and choreography of the world famous Lido de Paris in Paris, France, and Jubilee!, currently at Bally's Las Vegas. Rich has gathered an impressive group of senior showgirls and dancers who light up the stage with the glitz and glamour of a true show biz experience. "The Best Ticket in Town" includes the exhilarating performance of internationally acclaimed impersonators, Frankie Kein and Manuel Arte and their special friends Marilyn, Liza and Joel. A special tribute to burlesque, features Frankie as Gypsy Rose Lee. Sensational songstress Teresa Cushman is also featured in the Follies debut. She sparkles! She shines! She is absolutely divine! Tickets, at $15 for Sun City Summerlin residents and $17 for non-residents, are on sale at Desert Vista, Mountain Shadows and Pinnacle community centers. All ticket sales are check or cash (exact change required). No credit cards accepted.

For additional information, call (702) 240-1301.

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