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 April 15, 2011
You can find the current column HERE


Las Vegas - April 15, 2011
(one of Uncle Sam’s favorite days of the year)


Wes Winters

Winters' Tuxedo Concert Grand

Piano man/entertainer, Wes Winters has found himself a new home at Michael Gaughans’ South Point Hotel Casino and Spa. Beginning on April 21st, Winters will be performing in the South Point’s 150-seat Grandview Lounge (located in the southeast corner of the casino, next to the Race and Sports Book) on Thursdays and Fridays from 5 to 8 p.m. Winters has built himself an impressive and loyal fan-base in the years that he has been in Las Vegas. Since moving here from Kansas City in 2003, the personable Mr. Winters has been featured around the city, first in the Cabaret Showroom at the, now closed, Liberace Museum (for almost five years), at Carluccio’s Tivoli Gardens restaurant, and both the Suncoast and Sam’s Town hotel casinos. Whether it’s a solo performance, or a revue with Winters in the spotlight, this fellow knows how to get the audience going. The fact that he is booked for public, private and corporate events around the US and beyond, attests to that. In addition to his live performances, Winters can be enjoyed in the comfort of your own home, via his numerous recordings, that include familiar favorites as well as a number of his original compositions. The Grandview Lounge and Wes Winters should be a perfect fit. His beautiful nine-foot mirrored Tuxedo Concert Grand piano, embellished with his initials in Swarovski crystals, will sit on a stage for all to see, and a dance floor (many of Winters’ followers love to dance to his music) is waiting for future Dancing With the Stars wannabes. There is no cover charge to hang out in the Grandview Lounge, but audience members must be 21 or older. The South Point is located at 9777 Las Vegas Blvd. South. For additional information, call (702) 796-7111.

Before starting his South Point engagement, Wes Winters heads for San Diego, and the luxurious Grand Del Mar, where he will, for about the 20th year, provide the entertainment for Cecil Van Tuyl and about 300 of his nearest and dearest friends and employees. The Van Tuyl Group, Inc. manages the largest group of privately held automotive dealerships in United States. With offices in Arizona, Kansas, and Texas, the management group works with approximately 65 independently operated dealerships nationwide. The Van Tuyl Group supports its dealership clients by providing accounting, finance and insurance, risk management, legal, real estate, construction and technology-related services. The group has a history of pioneering innovative services and the latest technology, but its first priority has always been a dedication to hands-on customer service and training. The Van Tuyl family has had a long history with the automotive industry, starting with Cecil, who began managing a Kansas City Chevrolet dealership in 1955. Joined by his son, Larry, in 1971, they have built a world class management company based on the principles of hiring the right people and giving their dealership clients the right tools, training and support they need for success. "The better the people you surround yourself with, the better you're going to do, for yourself and the consumer," says the very wise, 83-year-old Van Tuyl. We wish that ALL business owners felt the same way.


Diane Ellis

Paul Stevenson

While the busy Wes Winters is in Southern California this weekend, the charming chanteuse, Diane Ellis, will fill in for him at his regular Sunday gig - the Mimosas & Music Brunch at ENVY The Steakhouse inside the Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel. Ms. Ellis, who is taking the day off from her role as Mother Superior Mary Regina in Nunsense, currently playing in the Las Vegas Hilton’s Shimmer Cabaret, will be accompanied by pianist Paul Stevenson. Diane will be singing selections from the Great American Songbook, some Broadway tunes and pop favorites. The Massachusetts-native has been a Las Vegan for about three decades. During that time, she has appeared, as a solo performer or as part of a vocal group, in just about every major hotel in the city, opened for Don Rickles, and been a cast member in a number of revues, including Steve Silver’s Beach Blanket Babylon at the Sands in Las Vegas, and Bill Moore and George Arnold’s Broadway Varieties at the Flamingo Hilton in Laughlin. Diane will be accompanied at ENVY by pianist Paul Stevenson. The twosome worked together at a number of local night spots, including Treasure Island, Nicky Blair’s and the top of the Polo Towers, while Stevenson has worked as a single at Fellini’s on West Charleston, and with other players at Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant and Lucio Ristorante. Envy The Steakhouse offers one of the best Sunday Brunches in the city. Taking place every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the tasteful event includes unlimited Sparkling Wine, Mimosas, Fruit Smoothies and a Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar, along with the decadent menu – created by ENVY’s acclaimed culinary team. Menu selections include:

Appetizers & Salads

  1. Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad

  2. Antipasti Display and Crudités with Balsamic Ranch Dressing

  3. Fresh Fruit and Berries

  4. Smoked Salmon with Tomatoes, Red Onions and Capers

  5. Freshly Baked mini Bagels with Raspberry, Chive and Smoked Bacon Cream Cheese

  6. Butter Croissants, Fruit Danish, Mini Muffins, Cinnamon Rolls and Bear Claws

  7. ENVY Signature Fruit and Granola Parfaits

Stations & Entrées

  1. Soup of the Day

  2. Build Your Own Omelet Station

  3. Honey Maple Bacon and Breakfast Sausage

  4. Classic Belgian Waffle Station

  5. Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise

  6. Cheese Blintzes

  7. Vanilla Raisin Brioche French Toast

  8. Buttermilk Pancakes

  9. Chef's Carving Station

  10. Fresh Baked Breads

  11. Roasted Red Bliss Potatoes with Herbs de Province

  12. ENVY Seafood Station with Shrimp and Crab Legs

  13. Mini Gourmet Sandwiches

Decadent Sweets

  1. Warm Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce

  2. Chocolate Covered Strawberries

  3. Assorted Mini Pastries

If this doesn’t make you want to throw your diet plans out the window (at least for one day), we don’t know what will. The cost is $29.95 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Prices may vary on holidays for the Mimosas & Music Sunday Brunch. The Renaissance is located at 3400 Paradise Road, between Sierra Vista and Desert Inn. Reservations are recommended. Call (702) 784-5716. See you there.

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Frankie Randall

Pete Barbutti

A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants. We can guarantee the song. The dance, and the seltzer down your pants? Maybe not, but fun will prevail, when vocalist/ musician Frankie Randall and comic/musician Pete Barbutti take to the stage in Addison’s Lounge at the Rampart Casino, 221 N. Rampart in Summerlin. An Evening (and an afternoon) with Frankie Randall & Pete Barbutti will take place this weekend, with shows tonight and tomorrow at 8 p.m., and on Sunday at 4 p.m. Tickets are $15 at the Rampart’s main cage, and $20 at the Addison’s Lounge door (prices are all inclusive). For additional information, call (702) 507-5900.

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Hudson & Saleeby, the self-contained keyboard/vocal duo, based in Memphis, Tennessee, has been entertaining audiences throughout the country for more than thirty years. Chris Hudson and Doug Saleeby studied music from the age of four. In 1974, they started their career in Charlotte, while attending the University of North Carolina. They moved to Las Vegas in 1975 where they performed extensively, developing quite a following. In 1982, at the urging of TV game show personality, Wink Martindale, Hudson and Saleeby relocated to Memphis. They were the house entertainment at Martindale’s Overton Square restaurant and lounge for almost three years, until Martindale sold the establishment. The duo specializes in outstanding vocals with a spontaneous and entertaining presentation - a classy, upscale version of a dueling piano act. These days (and nights) Chris and Doug are musical fixtures in and around Memphis and also travel and perform around the country in both public and private venues. Next weekend, April 22nd and 23rd, the music men will be entertaining audiences at Tunica, Mississippi’s Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall. They will perform at Roxy’s Live, Friday and Saturday from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. The shows are free to the public. If you happen to be in the neighborhood, and are 21 or older, stop in to see and hear these two southern gentlemen. Tell them Cousin Claire sent you. Hudson and Saleeby Official Website


Hudson & Saleeby

Cory Benway

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Regular attendees of the Suncoast showrooms will probably be quite surprised, and very disappointed, to learn that the showroom manager, Scott Humphries, is no longer there. Humphries, a Coast Casino employee since 1997 (first at The Orleans, then the Suncoast), had the difficult job of efficiently and politely seating show goers, some who can often be a bit difficult to deal with. Count Cousin Claire among those mourning the loss of this good employee. What this city, that depends on the art of hospitality to survive and thrive, needs is more people who know how to handle the public, not fewer.

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In what has become an annual event, some of Las Vegas' top entertainers donned aprons and wielded scoops on Tuesday as they dished out ice cream for Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day. For the 33rd year, the national ice cream chain treated customers around the country for the charity event. Among the local celebrities who lent a hand for the occasion were cast members from the Palazzo’s Jersey Boys, the Excalibur’s Thunder From Down Under, Absinthe at Caesars Palace, and Fantasy at the Luxor, along with Harrah’s Las Vegas Defending the Caveman‘s Kevin Burke, and Peepshow at Planet Hollywood‘s, Josh Strickland. Tips for the scoopers went to a number of local charities , including St. Jude’s Ranch for Children in Boulder City and Nevada Community Learning Centers. Whenever there is a community need, the local entertainers can usually be counted on to pitch in and help. We are a city with heart.

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Leave it to the Onyx to bring the unusual and the unexpected in theater experience to Las Vegas. Off Strip Productions presents Cory Benway starring in I Am My Own Wife - One Actor. 36 Characters. One String of Pearls. This is Benway’s third show at the theater in Commercial Center. He previously starred at the 93-seat Onyx Theatre, in both The Rocky Horror Show and Hedwig and the Angry Inch. This time around, Benway plays all 36 characters in Doug Wright’s award-winning play. I Am My Own Wife is based on Wright’s conversations with German transvestite, Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, who was caught up in the great European dramas of the 20th Century. Unlike many contemporaries, von Mahlsdorf survived the Nazi regime and its replacement in East Germany, the Soviet-dominated Communist dictatorship. This one-man play premiered off-Broadway, in 2003, at Playwrights Horizons, and opened on Broadway later that year, going on to win the 2004 Tony Award for Best Play, and the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. I Am My Own Wife was developed with Moisés Kaufman and his Tectonic Theater Project. Kaufman also served as director of the piece. Joe Hynes, who also directed The Rocky Horror Show and Hedwig, directs this production of I Am My Own Wife. The play opens at the Onyx tonight, and runs through April 30th, with performances on Friday and Saturday nights (the 15th, 16th, 22nd, 23rd, 29th and 30th) at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15. The Onyx Theatre is located inside The Rack, at 953 E. Sahara #16. For reservations or additional information, call (702) 732-7225.

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Corky DiFini

Janis Ian

Birthday greetings to Aries (March 21 through April 20) celebrants (all with a Las Vegas connection) - Steve Schiffman, Danny Calico (Colica), Marty Allen, Benny Hollman, Susan Meinhold Sobel, John Encinio, Christopher Hassell, Leigh Zimmerman, Mary Flanigan, Henry Shed (Shead), Mary Marcella Schwartz, Vita Corimbi, Carole Fishman, Havanna Gallagher, Corky DiFini, Ervin Drake, Jackie Brett, Barbara Ciarlantini, Grace “Bambi Jr.” Morley, Lisa Dawn Miller, Jimmy Emerson, Michael Cohen, Arthur Shafman, Luke Manfredi, Eddie Money, Stephen Sondheim, George Benson, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Chaka Kahn, John Pinette, Bob Mackie, Louie Anderson, Elton John, James Caan, Diana Ross, Vicki Lawrence, Kenny Chesney, Mariah Carey, Fergie, Reba McEntire, Lady Gaga, Eric Clapton, Celine Dion, Debbie Reynolds, Wayne Newton, Tony Orlando, Bobby Vinton, Merle Haggard, Janis Ian, Shecky Green, David Cassidy, Loretta Lynn, Brad Garrett, Roy Clark, Jimmy Osmond and Carmen Electra.

And happy anniversary to Sandy Hackett and Lisa Dawn Miller Hackett, Buddy Greco and Lezlie Anders Greco, and Tom and Joni Pettitt Illi.


Buddy Greco & Lezlie Anders Greco

Jane Ann Morrison

And speaking of the Grecos, the former Las Vegas and Palm Springs residents, who currently make their home in London, report that their production of Fever, with Lezlie singing the music of Miss Peggy Lee, and Buddy accompanying on piano, is to open on the West End in the fall.

Get well wishes to the above mentioned Danny Colica. Danny, who sings with the above mentioned Diane Ellis, and Corky DiFini, as the vocal group, Chazz, suffered a mild heart attack earlier this week. He is on the mend after surgery, and expects to go home in a few days.


* * * * * * * *

The next luncheon meeting of the Las Vegas Media Group will take place at the Wedding Room, 3601 W. Sahara, located on the southeast corner of Valley View. If you know where the Gallery of History is (was?) located and/or The Cellar, then you know where the Wedding Room is (Mariana’s Grocery Store on one side and Kaplan College on the other). This month’s speaker is Jane Ann Morrison, General Interest Columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, who will share her background and some great stories with the group. Lunch is $15, and RSVP’s are necessary to make sure that everyone has a meal to eat. Please RSVP to Lisa Gioia-Acres at (702) 245-9206, as soon as possible. For those who need it, there is a handicap entrance through the alley between the Kaplan College and The Wedding Room. For additional information on the Wedding Room, call (702) 362-6712.

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Kenny Wizz as Michael Jackson

Harry Shahoian as Elvis

Kenny Kerr & Kit Smythe

Creative Jimmy Emerson, who just chalked up another birthday, is more than just another pretty face. The comic/female impersonator is also a producer, with credits including shows such as Naked Boys Singing and Christopher Peterson’s Eyecons listed on his extensive resume. In addition to Murder On the Menu, taking place this weekend at Tony Roma’s on East Sahara, Emerson’s most recent project is The Two Kings. The production, which sold out a 1700-seat showroom at the River Cree Resort & Casino in Edmonton Alberta, Canada, last weekend, combines the amazing live vocal talents of critically acclaimed and award-winning celebrity impersonators, Harry Shahoian as Elvis Presley, and Kenny Wizz as Michael Jackson, with a state-of-the-art multimedia presentation, The Two Kings delivers an uncanny evening that has audience members believing that neither Jackson nor Elvis have left the building. Past generations, and those yet to come, will always know the tale of the two boys born into poverty, who beat the odds by using their unique, unequaled musical abilities to overcome trials and tribulations, and keep their personal demons at bay, at least for a little while, to become The Two Kings...Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson. Good going, Jimmy!

* * * * * * * *

Tomorrow, Saturday, April 16th, we hear there just might be some rumbling on the rails. The notorious Railroad Pass Gang is once again in the area, and that could mean trouble. The Southern Nevada Railway will be transporting the payroll for the Railroad Pass Hotel & Casino. It is said that this could be the largest amount of money ever carried by the Union Pacific. The cash is scheduled to be transported on the final day of the Boulder City mayoral race, and both candidates will be aboard in an attempt to gather last minute voter support. The local sheriff reports that members of the gang - identified as “Lightning Rick,” “Molly B. Outlaw,” “Lester P. Larceny,” “Buffalo Kid,” “Reverend Cole,” “El Rooster,” “Cody the Woman Killer,” and “Crazy Jackson” - have been seen in the Valley. In anticipation of trouble, the payroll will be traveling under the watchful eyes of heavily armed United States Marshals. Earlier in the week, “Marshal Gunman” was quoted as saying, "If an attempt is made, we'll be ready for a fight!" The trains will be departing from Boulder City’s Nevada State Railroad Museum, 600 Yucca Street, right behind Taco Bell, at 10 and 11:30 a.m., and 1 and 2:30 p.m. Adults can travel for $10, children from four to 11 ride for only $5, and children under four are free. Appropriate western attire is encouraged. Ride in your choice of an open air car, or air conditioned / heated Pullman coaches. And yes, we are wheelchair accessible. Before or after the train ride, stop by the Railroad Pass Hotel & Casino for a bite to eat, and to meet all of the people contributing to this fun day. Be sure to bring cameras. Be aware, it will be noisy as the guns will be fired by the actors. For more information, go to www.nevadasouthern.com.


Union Pacific On Track

Hash House a Go Go's Salmon Benedict

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For those who have been wondering what Kenny Kerr, the onetime star of the long-running Boy-Lesque, has been up to lately, we can tell you. Last Friday night, he was at the Borrego Springs Resort & Spa, in Borrego Springs, California, and on Monday and Tuesday nights, he was at the Spa Casino Resort in downtown Palm Springs. No, Kenny was not taking advantage of the spa facilities, he was working. All three shows played to full houses. Included in the show’s lineup, Kenny brought out one of his seldom-seen characters, “Princess Saphronia Johnson,” direct from the Cooking Channel, who demonstrated how to properly cook and eat a chicken. Kenny's new co-star in this run of shows was Kit Smythe. Kit Played “Ginger” in the unaired pilot episode of Gilligan's Island before it was recast and the role was given to Tina Louise. In a bit of trivia, Kit‘s character was originally supposed to be a secretary, not a movie star like Louise‘s character. Ms. Smythe appeared in a number of popular 1960s and 1970s TV series, including Bewitched, Burke’s Law, Gunsmoke, The Bob Newhart Show and Police Woman. She also had a four-year run as a lead singer in the popular Palm Springs Follies revue.

* * * * * * * *

The nationally recognized Hash House a Go Go has come up with another clever marketing ploy. Just for today, Tax Day, customers can get $10.40 off their check on a minimum $35 total bill (tax and gratuity not included). This applies to dine in only at any of the three Southern Nevada locations - the free-standing 6800 West Sahara restaurant, and the dining spots inside the center Strip Imperial Palace, and the south Strip M Resort. Comfort food, great value and the Hash House a Go Go “twist” - what more can you ask for? The offer expires at 10 p.m. tonight (we would have let readers know about this last Friday, if we had gotten the information by then). Call (702) 804-4646. Congratulations to this fun restaurant, for their win as the 2011 Las Vegas Review-Journal Reader's pick as the Best Place for Breakfast in the city!

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A bouquet of roses to the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s media critic, Steve Bornfeld, who calls ’em like he (and lots of other folks) sees ‘em. We have so enjoyed his honest assessment of the embarrassing (both personal and “professional“) former Channel 3 entertainment “reporter.” Not only were her stories presented in a cloying, contrived way, many of them were taken, word-for-word from the Internet or written news reports. Then, there was that interview with her then bad-boy rocker boyfriend. This 44-year-old girl/woman’s departure is no loss for our local NBC affiliate. Bornfeld’s Mediaology column appears in Thursday’s Neon section of the R-J. Check him out.

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Stomp Sweeps Up

Scott Land & Anne Hathaway (Princess Diaries)

If you like pushing a broom (but not cleaning ashtrays), and making lots of noise (but not waking the neighbors), perhaps you, or someone you know, might want to audition for Stomp. The international sensation, which had a run in Las Vegas a few years back, is holding auditions for extremely athletic men and women between the ages of 18 and 35 for the New York City company and the national tour. Stomp is a non-union percussion and movement piece. However, members of Actors Equity and other unions are not excluded from auditioning. Percussionists who move well, dancers with percussion skills, and actors with either dance or drumming skills are ideal. Auditions will begin Monday, April 25th, at The Orpheum Theatre, 126 Second Avenue (between East 7th & St. Mark's Place) in Manhattan. Sign up takes place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. You must sign up on Monday to audition; no late sign up will be accepted. Wear loose, comfortable clothing. Boots or shoes with hard soles. No heels, sneakers, or taps. BE PREPARED TO MOVE. People auditioning must meet U.S. employment eligibility requirements and should be prepared to stay in the NYC area at their own expense through April 30th, as callbacks may last this long. For continued updates, be sure to visit this website often. If you are unable to attend these dates and would like to be considered for future auditions, please send your headshot and resume to: Vince Liebhart Casting, 70A Greenwich Avenue #102, New York, NY 10011, or www.facebook.com/Liebhart-CastingNYC.

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Reminders…
Lots of fun things going on this weekend. Tomorrow night, beginning at 7, there is Murder on the Menu at Tony Roma’s on East Sahara. Enjoy an interactive mystery along with those delicious ribs that Roma’s is so famous for. The price of dinner and show is $69, which includes all Tony Roma’s favorites and several drink specials. For reservations, call Tony Roma’s, 702-733-9914. All major credit cards accepted.

And, up at the Starbright Theatre, in the hills of Sun City Summerlin, Paul Stone’s Variety Live show - featuring the talents of comedy magic by The Great Tomsoni & Co, Michael Goudeau (comedy juggler and guest star for 15 years in the Lance Burton show at the Monte Carlo), Hawaii’s Jasmine Trias (American Idol finalist), Ben Stone (England's new singing sensation), and Scott Land (Master Marionette Man). Scott Land and his incredible marionettes, who were was accidentally omitted from the lineup in last week’s column (Cousin Claire DOES make an occasional goof every now and then), have performed with and/or entertained many well-known personalities, including Rodney Dangerfield, Oscar-winner Roberto Benigni, Barbra Streisand, Heather Locklear, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Martin Sheen, Magic Johnson, Whoopi Goldberg, Chevy Chase, Maria Shriver, Laura Dern, Steven Spielberg, Julie Andrews, Rob Reiner, Paul Reubens (Pee-wee Herman), Clint Eastwood, Joe Mantegna, Pamela Anderson, Rachel Hunter, Gilbert Gottfried, Rod Stewart, Sylvester Stallone, Jennifer Flavin, Rebecca De Mornay, Danny DeVito, Kid Rock, Tom Hanks, Leonard Maltin, Angela Lansbury, Garry Marshall, Meg Ryan, Paul Reiser, Lou Diamond Phillips, Scott Bakula and The Amazing Carl Ballantine. Shows are tomorrow at 7 p.m. and

Sunday, April 17th at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 for residents and $17 for non-residents. All ticket sales are check or cash (exact change required). No credit cards accepted. For up-to-date information on Starbright Theatre shows, call (702) 240-1301.

And if you are in Northern Nevada, be sure and check out legendary comedy icon, Marty Allen, who celebrated his 89th birthday last week, and his talented stage partner, singer, musician, Karon Kate Blackwell, at Catch a Rising Star, located inside the Silver Legacy Resort Casino on Virginia Street in downtown Reno. The talented husband and wife duo are there through Sunday, April 17th, with performances at 7:30 p.m. tonight, and a second show added at 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are available at Catch a Rising Star's Web site, or at the Silver Legacy Resort Casino by calling (775) 329-4777.

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Las Vegas Improvisation Players

Celebrate National Humor Month with the Las Vegas Improvisation Players, next Saturday, April 23rd, at the American Heritage Academy, located at 6126 South Sandhill Road. It’s no joke. April is National Humor Month and the Las Vegas Improvisation Players are celebrating it with a brand new show of hilarious improvised comedy. The “all new, every time” comedy improv show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are only $10 and available for purchase at the door which opens at 6:40 p.m. As one of the area’s longest running improv troupes, the Las Vegas Improvisation Players have provided quick-witted, spur-of-the-moment comedy to thousands of Las Vegas valley residents over the years. Inspired by suggestions from the audience, the troupe creates on the spot hilarious new scenes, songs and poems in a format similar to the popular TV program “Whose Line is it Anyway?” Keeping the comedy swift, fun and clean, these shows provide an enjoyable and suitable evening for the whole family. Founded in 2001 by John Kinde, the Las Vegas Improvisation Players perform “clean-burning” improvised comedy shows full of fun, laughter and music. The troupe regularly performs in venues throughout the Las Vegas area. The Players are also available for private functions, meetings and banquets. Weekly workshops are also offered for anyone interested in tapping into their improvisation skills, or just looking to have a good time. For more information, visit our website at www.lvimprov.com, or contact Paul Lirette at (702) 405-0192 and at [email protected].

Special Note: The Las Vegas Improvisation Players is not affiliated with the American Heritage Academy.

Shown in the accompanying photo are (from left to right): S. Frank Stringham, Linda Evans, Paul Lirette, Jim Spero, Kim Spero, Greg Bruce, Carolyn Pelletier, Jeremy Webster, Michelle Phipps, and Jeff Crews.

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Sidney Lumet

Sidney Lumet, the award-winning director of such acclaimed films as Network, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, The Verdict, and 12 Angry Men, died on April 9th. Lumet, who had suffered from lymphoma, was 86. A Philadelphia native, Lumet moved to New York City as a child, and it became the location of choice for more than 30 of his films. He was nominated four times for directing Academy Awards, and although he never won, Lumet did receive an honorary Oscar in 2005 for lifetime achievement. He also received the Directors Guild of America's prestigious D.W. Griffith Award for lifetime achievement in 1993. Network (1976), a scathing view of the television business, proved to be Lumet's most memorable film and created an enduring catch phrase, when crazed newscaster, played by the late Peter Finch, urged his audience to raise their windows and shout, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!" Network won Academy Awards for Paddy Chayefsky for best screenplay, Finch as best actor (presented posthumously) and Faye Dunaway as best actress. Although best known for his hard-bitten portrayals of urban life, Lumet's resume also included films based on noted plays: Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night, Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge, and Tennessee Williams' Orpheus Descending, which was made into The Fugitive Kind. He also dealt with such matters as the Holocaust (The Pawnbroker), nuclear war (Fail-Safe) and the convicted Soviet spies, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (Daniel). Lumet also directed a highly successful Agatha Christie mystery, the all-star Murder on the Orient Express. Other popular Lumet films include Running On Empty, Equus, Family Business, and The Wiz. The director was born June 25, 1924, in Philadelphia to a pair of Yiddish stage performers, and he began his show business career as a child actor, appearing on radio at age four. He made his Broadway debut in 1934 with a small role in Sidney Kingsley's acclaimed Dead End, and he twice played Jesus, in Max Reinhardt's production of The Eternal Road and Maxwell Anderson's Journey to Jerusalem. Lumet continued directing features into his 80s, and in 2001, he returned to his television roots, creating, writing, directing and executive producing a cable series, 100 Centre Street, filmed in his beloved New York. In 2006, he brought out Find Me Guilty, based on a true story about a mob trial in New Jersey, and starring Vin Diesel. Lumet’s final film was 2007's Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke and Marisa Tomei. Lumet’s marital history is almost as interesting as his film career. Among his four wives, were actress and documentary film maker, Rita Gam; heiress Gloria Vanderbilt, and the late Lena Horne’s daughter, Gail Jones. In 1980, he married journalist, Mary Gimbel, who survives him.



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