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 June 24, 2011
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - June 24, 2011

Jim Caruso & Billy Stritch

Bob Flanigan

We are VERY excited to announce that, beginning Wednesday, August 24th, and Thursday, the 25th, the Alexis Park All Suite Resort will launch the first in a monthly series of cabaret shows. Presented by Dennis Ritz, the series will lead off with Jim Caruso's Cast Party. Cast Party has been a wildly successful weekly staple at New York's Birdland for the past eight years. Dozens of entertainers and professionals take part in the festivities. So many headliners have performed at Cast Party that the Wall Street Journal was prompted to say, "Cast Party has more stars than there are in the heavens." Who will show up to perform at Cast Party is always a complete surprise, and Las Vegas, as The Entertainment Capital of the World, is the perfect second city for this wild evening of stars, cast members and others joining in the fun, song and unexpected events. Jim Caruso, is host for the evening's music and mayhem, lending his wit and swinging baritone voice to the proceedings. Billy Stritch, adds his renown piano accompaniment and sophisticated humor to the soiree. Together, Caruso and Stritch offer show business comments, comedy bits, adlibs and duets, playing off one another like Hope and Crosby to hilarious results. Alexis Park, a non-gaming property, is located at 375 East Harmon Avenue, just south of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. We will have more details about the cabaret series - including show times, ticket prices, and future performers - in the coming weeks.

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On Tuesday afternoon, we attended the tribute to Bob Flanigan, original lead singer of the famed Four Freshmen vocal group, who passed away on May 15th at the age of 84. Family members (three generations strong), friends and Freshmen fans, gathered in the showroom at the South Point Hotel Casino in Las Vegas, filling the room with memories and music. Among those who shared their personal experiences, involving Flanigan and the Freshmen, were former FF members, Rod Henley, Gary Lee Rosenberg, Autie Goodman, Greg Stegeman, Kirk Marcy, Mel Meyer, Pete Barbutti, Cork Proctor and Flan's grandson, Ryan Turner. Representing the late Freshmen member, Mike Beisner (who died in 2008 at the age of 53), was his former wife, Connie. Musical highlights included, classic film footage of the 63-year-old group; an ensemble of a dozen trombone players performing Freshmen favorites, and numbers from the current FF members, Curtis Calderon, Brian Eichenberger, Bob Ferreira and Vince Johnson. A highlight of the event was a video sent by Beach Boy, Brian Wilson (Wilson has always credited the Four Freshmen, and specifically Bob Flanigan, for his love of music and his career path), of he and his group of musicians singing a beautiful Freshmen-recorded tune, the Bobby Troup-penned, "Their Hearts Were Full of Spring." (FYI...Troup also wrote FF favorites, "Girl Talk" and "Route 66.") Among the approximately 325 attendees, we spotted Diane Ellis, Corky DiFini, Carme Pitrello, Sherry Newby, Don and Gloria Hill, Linda November, Toni Sandoval, Teri Klover, Doug Taylor, Terry Dickinson, Molly Morrell, Toni Andrews, Roberta Mann, Ed Foster, Jillean Williams, Nelson Sardelli, Tommy Deering, Gus Mancuso and Maggie Peterson Mancuso, Judy Coco, and Greg and Dottie Woolridge in the crowd. Our only complaint was a statement made by one of the speakers at the afternoon event. We took it personally when the gentleman told the crowd that, "No one wrote about the memorial service." The fellow felt that if there had been more publicity, there might have been an even bigger turnout. We can't argue with the point that this free, music-filled ceremony should have been given more local coverage. Bob Flanigan was not only a longtime Las Vegas resident, he was also a worldwide recognized and respected musician. Some entertainment writers, who should have provided information about this ceremony, did not do so, but to say that "no one" wrote about it is incorrect. We know, for sure, that Cousin Claire wrote about it on a number of occasions. As far as the turnout? We think Bob Flanigan would have been very pleased.

Flanigan Tribute at South Point by Ed Foster

Mary Wilson

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The Supremes founding member, Mary Wilson, goes back to the Vegas-days-of-old, as she performs in the Starlite Theatre at the Riviera Hotel, for a limited engagement. Wilson was a consistent member of the most important girl group of the 20th century, during its 18-year hit-making tenure. Today, Mary enjoys a successful solo career, touring around the world, performing Supremes favorites as well as songs from the Great American Songbook. In recent years, she has penned three autobiographies - Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme, Supreme Faith: Someday We'll Be Together, and Dreamgirl & Supreme Faith: My Life as a Supreme. Mary Wilson will perform at the Riviera through July 3rd (no shows on Mondays and Tuesdays), with shows at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $29.95, $39.95 and $59.95. To purchase, call 702-794-9433.

Former Las Vegan, Lucy Shropshire, is singing backup for Mary Wilson, and would love to have old friends come by and see the show. Among her many local gigs, Lucy, who now lives in New York, was a principal in Ted Lorenz's production, Enter the Night, at the Stardust.

Lucy Shropshire

Brent Barrett & Jenn Harris

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The Award-Winning Fringe Hit is Back With a Vengeance! Rookie FBI agent "Clarice Starling," played by Lucille Lortel Award-winner, Jenn Harris (Modern Orthodox, original production of Silence! The Musical), matches wits with the brilliant but insane "Dr. Hannibal Lecter," played by Broadway favorite, Brent Barrett (Chicago the Musical, Annie Get Your Gun, Kiss Me, Kate, Grand Hotel, Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular), to catch the serial killer known only as "Buffalo Bill." A chorus of tap-dancing lambs narrates the action, as singing serial killers, songs with unprintable titles, and cheerful show tunes about the most horrific of subjects, come charging at you with gleefully unstoppable bad taste. Fueled by a rabid cult following, Silence! The Musical shattered every box office record at the 2005 FringeNYC Festival, and won the Best Musical Award. After a critically acclaimed, sold-out run in London, Silence! returns to New York City with its whip-smart dialogue and shocking songs to captivate seasoned fans of the movie and FBI rookies alike. Silence! The Musical, produced off-Broadway by Victoria Lang, Rich Affannato ("Carmen Ghia in the Las Vegas production of The Producers) and Donna Trinkoff, opens tonight, at Theater 80, 80 St. Marks Place in Manhattan, and runs Fridays at 8 p.m.; and Saturdays at 8 and 10:30 p.m., through August 13th (only 24 performances). Tickets are $38, and $48 for Premium seats, and are available by calling (212) 352-3101, or through

And speaking of Mr. Barrett...We have to take issue with something Robin Leach wrote in his June 22nd Vegas DeLuxe online column. In his article, about the 2,000th performance of Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, Leach stated that Tony Award-winning lead actor, Anthony Crivello, has played the dark and mysterious Phantom every night since the show opened in 2006. That is simply not true. Our Phavorite Phantom, Brent Barrett, shared the role of the tormented masked opera house resident, for the first two years of the Andrew Lloyd Webber production's Venetian run.

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This Sunday, June 26th, Golden Rainbow celebrates their 25th year with Ribbon of Life, a spectacular production, made up of more than 300 performers from nearly every show in Las Vegas, to mark the occasion. Since its inception, Golden Rainbow has been committed to providing housing and direct financial assistance to Southern Nevadans living with HIV/AIDS. Their plans for 2011 include increasing the number of rental units in answer to the continuing demand for housing. They are able to accomplish that goal, only with the help of the community and fundraisers like the annual Ribbon of Life event. The show takes place at 1 p.m. in the Paris Las Vegas Theatre. Tickets are $35, $50, $100 and $200, and may be purchased at the Paris Box Office. For reservations and/or additional information, call (888) 746-7784. An after-show gathering will take place at the hotel's Chateau Nightclub.

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On Wednesday, it was announced that "The Rhinestone Cowboy," country music star Glen Campbell, was suffering from Alzheimer's disease. That explains the difficulty that Campbell appeared to be having during recent performances. The Country Music Hall of Famer had pop and country hits with "Gentle on My Mind," "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," and, perhaps his most famous song, "Rhinestone Cowboy." He also had his own TV show on CBS. The 76-year-old entertainer plans a Goodbye Tour before he retires. His newest CD, Ghost on the Canvas, is scheduled to be released at the end of August.

Glen Campbell

Larry Raben

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Yesterday, June 23rd, at an employees luncheon, Richard Iannone, chairman of the board for the Nevada Hospitality Alliance (NHA) and owner of the Longhorn Casino, presented local Fatburgers with the Restaurant of the Year award for their no workman's comp claims and highly trained employees. "Fatburger's safe working environment prevents accidents, and their management training meets and exceeds the high standards that are set within the insurance industry," said Iannone. Fatburger was founded in Los Angeles, California, in 1952, and today has 95 outlets in its chain of both company-owned and franchised restaurants. Fatburger is a subsidiary of Fog Cutter Capital Group Inc. "NHA and their members are affiliated with the Las Vegas Hospitality Association (LVHA), a premier association in the travel and tourism industry since 1962. The NHA offers discounts to gaming and travel and tourism companies that meet the standards in insurance," said LVHA board member, Mary Thomas.

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Lon Bronson tell us that the Lon Bronson All-Stars will be at Green Valley Ranch from 9 to 11 p.m., next Thursday, June 30th. Mark your calendars and tell all your friends about this onetime schedule change. See you at Green Valley Ranch next week!

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Latest news from the Larry Raben/David Engel camp informs us that David is directing and choreographing Forever Plaid at the Moonlight Amphitheatre in Vista, California (North San Diego county). The production opened on June 15th and will run through July 2nd. Tickets range from $27 to $50. To order by phone, call (760) 724-2110. Engel then moves on to Indianapolis where he will direct The Andrews Brothers. In the meantime, Larry is directing the regional professional premiere of The Wedding Singer for Musical Theatre West in Long Beach. Performances run from July 8th through 24th in the Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 E. Atherton Street, on the Cal State Long Beach campus. Tickets start at $30, and can be purchased by calling the theater box office at (562) 856-1999. The talented twosome then head for New York where Larry will direct and David will choreograph Sunset Boulevard, after which Engel returns to Southern California, and San Diego, where he will portray "Corny Collins" in Hairspray. Forever Plaid the Movie, which stars Raben as "Sparky," Engel as "Smudge," Stan Chandler as "Jinx," and Daniel Reichard as "Francis," is currently airing on local PBS stations around the country. Will it be shown in Las Vegas, or, like the Independent Lens documentary of Daddy & Papa, and Mitzi Gaynor - Razzle Dazzle the Special Years, will the local powers that be, in their infinite wisdom, decide it should not be available to Southern Nevada viewers? We intend to find out.

David Engel

Marilyn's Multi-Million Dollar Dress

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$4.6 million. No, that's not the price for a Beverly Hills mansion or the settlement that Arnold will have to pay Maria. It's the amount that someone paid for the famous white halter neck dress, worn by Marilyn Monroe in that memorable subway grate scene from The Seven Year Itch. In the first phase of the Debbie Reynolds Collection of movie memorabilia auction, held last Saturday, June 18th, that iconic dress sold for an astounding $4.6 million, more than double what it was expected to bring. Wonder what the price would have been if we weren't in the midst of an economic depression. The second phase of the auction will take place in December. Start saving your pennies.

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Busy week and weekend...
Sunday afternoon, we were at the Flamingo Library, for Philip Fortenberry and Brenda Currin's homage to author Eudora Welty. We saw a number of familiar faces at the program, put on by the Performing Arts Society of Nevada. Among the audience members were Nancy Gregory, Tempest Storm, Carole Fishman, Spencer Baker, Garold Gardner, Jerry Ritholz, Katrina Sumner, Frank Leone, Tony Arias and Aaron Schave.

Geechy Guy

We traveled from the library to The Orleans, where we saw Lily Tomlin's one-woman-show, on the last night of her three performance run. Looked like an almost full house for the 800+ seat Orleans showroom. On the night we were there, we saw comic Grandma Lee, Jimmy Emerson, the Supreme Mary Wilson, and Geechy Guy in the audience. We heard from friends who were at The Orleans on Saturday, that Cork Proctor, Bruce Vilanch and Kathy Walker, were in attendance. When Kathy Walker's daughter shouted out from the audience that her mother did a great "Edith Ann" impression, Tomlin invited the very talented Ms. Walker up on stage. Comic impressionist, Kathy (who with her brothers, Bill and Greg, entertained around these parts as The Walkers), blew both Lily and the audience members away. Kathy Walker should be a regular fixture on the Las Vegas Strip. When one comic raves about another, that is probably the sincerest form of flattery. Comic Proctor rated Lily as "marvelous."

And speaking of Geechy, the comic made it through the America's Got Talent auditions and got to hear the three judges - Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne, and Howie Mandel - say those magic words, "You're going to Las Vegas!" This funny Guy doesn't have very far to travel, as he already lives and works in Vegas, co-starring in The Dirty Joke Show at Hooters.

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Father's Day at Nevada Veterans Home

The performers who traveled to Boulder City to entertain former male and female military personnel at the Nevada Veterans Home on Father's Day, report the late morning/afternoon event was a smashing success. It's hard to say who got more out of the four hours, the residents of the home or the visitors. No matter. A good time was had by all.

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Clint Holmes brings his powerful voice and magnetic stage presence back to the Suncoast Showroom for 7:30 p.m. performances next Saturday and Sunday, July 2nd and 3rd. Holmes' fans know him as more than just a singer. He's famous for making every performance an original and captivating audiences with his charisma and signature style. Among his many recordings is the Top 10 smash hit "Playground In My Mind (My Name Is Michael)." His album, Edges, produced many other standout songs, including "Feel Like Makin' Love," the romantic "Shouldn't It Be Easy By Now," the playful "Gotta Get Up" and the thought-provoking "Let My Son See Africa." With a long history of entertaining audiences in Las Vegas, Clint is known for his six-year run in Clint Holmes at Harrah's. Named Las Vegas' "Best Singer" for four times and "Entertainer of the Year" three times by readers of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Holmes' fame stretches far beyond Southern Nevada. He was also Atlantic City's "Entertainer of the Year" three times, and starred in Clint Holmes' Sophisticated Rhythms, a dynamic stage show that traveled through music from the 1940s to the present. His 1996 critically acclaimed musical, Comfortable Shoes, which opened in New Jersey, was a poignant and uplifting journey into Holmes' interracial family's struggle to find its identity. In 2002, an updated version of the musical opened at The Royal George Theatre in Chicago. Among the show's rave reviews, the Chicago Tribune called it "a night of fully realized theatrical entertainment." Holmes has partnered with long-time friends Domenick Allen, Susan Anton and Martin Nievera as Vocal Soup - a showcase of solo performances, duets and group numbers. In a career that began with an invitation from Joan Rivers to be her sidekick and announcer on The Late Show, Clint Holmes has proven himself as a well-respected performer, even earning the honor of being the featured performer at the Democratic National Convention on the evening of Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential nomination. Also familiar to fans' ears, Holmes was the voice of Lowenbrau Beer for four years. Tickets are available, starting from $15.95, plus tax and convenience fees, and can be purchased by calling the Suncoast Box Office at (702) 636-7075, or visiting

Clint Holmes

Joseph Gabriel & Katalin

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Although they don't come around with quite the regularity that they used to, and the locations are subject to change, the popular monthly (once upon a time) Composers Showcase is still in existence. We can say it's alive, but not as well as it should, or could, be. The closing of the Liberace Museum, in October of last year, took care of that. Because of certain requirements - some involving the Musicians Union, some involving the need for certain equipment (mainly a piano), some involving the late night hour (starting after theater, at about 10:30), this wonderful local treasure can't be held just anywhere. On Wednesday (the showcases have always taken place on Thursdays), July 6th (they have always been late in the month, not in the beginning), the Composers Showcase will hold court at Garfield's Restaurant, at 2620 Regatta Drive, on the Lake at Desert Shores. Hailed as "Las Vegas' best kept secret," this performance will be the third since the closure of the Liberace Museum, and the first at Garfield's idyllic water-front Grand Atrium 150-seat concert venue. The evening will be presented by PK Music and Outlaw Brothers Entertainment, and will benefit the nonprofit Creative Studios with the mission of creating live performance possibilities in Las Vegas. Guests will enjoy a beautiful lakeside cabaret setting with entertainment by some of Vegas' premiere songwriters and composers, performed by some of the city's finest musical talent. This round of the Composers Showcase will feature the songs of local composers and songwriters, Jolana Adamson, Michael Brennan, Kelly Clinton-Holmes, Vita Corimbi and Phil Randall, Tish Diaz, Rick Faugno, Wayne Green, Clint Holmes, Benoit Jutras, Richard Oberacker, Keith Thompson, Tyler Williams and more, plus the delightful song stylings and vocal powers of Travis Cloer, Christie Copeland, Bruce Ewing, Kristen Hertzenberg, Kristi Holden, Nicole Pryor, Brandon Singleton and Joan Sobel, plus the amazing instrumental chops of Mike Clark, Philip Fortenberry, Jenny Massey, Don Meoli, Jeff Neiman, Mark Pardy, Rebecca Ramsey, Michito Sanchez, Rob Taylor, Eric Tewalt, Geri Thompson, Moonlight Tran and John Wedemeyer. Mary McFadden handles the sound. A $10 donation gets you in the door, and a cash bar and late night menu will be available. Proceeds benefit the non-profit Creative Studios LV- Imagine/Create/Perform. Seating is limited to 150, and advance reservations are strongly recommended. Call Garfield's Restaurant at (702) 240-5216. For more information, visit the Composers Showcase Web site at

And speaking of Keith Thompson, we are very excited to inform readers, especially fans of the musical director for Jersey Boys, and the creative force behind God Lives in Glass and IDAHO!, that Las Vegas will finally get the chance to see and hear a good sampling of his original musical, Kooky Tunes. Although regular Composer Showcase attendees have had the privilege of hearing some of the songs from the revue (we LOVED visiting New Yorker Jay Rogers' interpretation of "Yes, This Is My Real Voice"), Kooky Tunes has never been performed here. All of that will change on Sunday, July 24th, when the Performing Arts Society of Nevada presents a slightly condensed version of Kooky Tunes as part of its Brown Bag Series. We will have more information about this program in upcoming weeks.

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If you want to know where to spot a lot of local celebrities before and after their work hours, you don't necessarily have to hang out at the fancy malls, or any of the popular designer restaurants or nightclubs. On just a few late night WalMart shopping trips (we aren't saying WHICH WalMart), we saw the Amazing Johnathan, Gus Mancuso, magic man/puppeteer Joseph Gabriel and his lovely partner/wife Katalin, and a Michael Jackson impersonator (in full Jackson regalia). Only in Las Vegas, folks. Only in Las Vegas.

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Clarence Clemons & Bruce Springsteen

Frankie Laine by Maurice Seymour

Clarence Clemons, the saxophonist in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, whose jovial onstage manner, soul-rooted style and brotherly relationship with Mr. Springsteen made him one of rock's most beloved sidemen, died Saturday at a hospital in Palm Beach, Florida. He was 69. The cause was complications from a stroke, which he suffered about 10 days ago, and which we reported last Friday. From the beginnings of the E Street Band in 1972, Clemons played a central part in Springsteen's music, complementing the group's electric guitar and driving rhythms in songs like "Born to Run" and "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" with muscular, melodic saxophone hooks that echoed doo-wop, soul and early rock 'n' roll. But equally important to the group's image was the sense of affection and unbreakable camaraderie between Bruce and his sax man.

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Sorry. This is just too easy to let it pass with out comment...
Recently, local papers covered a story of Wayne Newton taking in a number of homeless, or soon to be homeless, lovebirds. Based on the way Newton has sounded for the past decade, we could best say that the onetime Mr. Las Vegas has gone to the birds. Obviously, we would be wrong. It would be more correct to say that the birds have gone to Mr. Las Vegas. Here is another observation that seems pretty obvious, but if not, we will be more than happy to point it out. We have to wonder, who is making the entertainment decisions at the Las Vegas Hilton these days. Based on what is going on over there lately, it's almost hard to remember that the 1,500+ seat showroom at the Paradise Road hotel is where major stars such as Elvis Presley and Barbra Streisand, as well as the likes of Johnny Mathis, Tony Bennett, Frankie Laine, Olivia Newton-John, Paul Anka, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Perry Como, Liberace, Engelbert Humperdinck, Bobby Darin, Tom Jones, Ann-Margret, Juliet Prowse, Shirley Bassey, Bill Cosby, Kenny Rogers, and Barry Manilow, once performed (of course, it is also where Matt Dusk took a risky shot). Then, there was Triumph. Who thought that Triumph was going to be a triumph? And now, more "magic," in the guise of Steve Wyrick? Much like the doomed-before-it-opened disappearing magic show, Wyrick has announced a change in opening dates. The show, called Ultra Magician, originally announced to open on June 29th, has now been pushed to July 9th. Elvis must be spinning in his grave. There is more exciting stuff going on in the Shimmer Cabaret, than in the Hilton showroom. Check out Nunsense, Greg London, Trent Carlini and any number of the comics that rotate through the room.

Then, there is this bit of brilliant scheduling. Liza Minnelli, with special guest Jeff Tracta (more on that in a second), has show dates at the Hilton on October 7th and 8th. Does anyone at the place have access to a calendar? If they did, or if they cared, or if they thought about it, the Hilton powers-that-be might realize that the holiest, most solemn of Jewish holidays is not a great time to bring in an act like Liza with a Z. Yom Kippur falls on those October dates. In the big opening number of the most recent Tony Award show, Neil Patrick Harris sang that "Broadway Is Not Just For Gays (or Jews) Anymore." That may very well be true, but take the gays and Jews out of the equation, and ticket sales for Broadway musicals and/or the stars of said musicals in New York, AND in the Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and all the showrooms and cabarets around the world, the cash registers, and the pockets of the producers, could be looking mighty empty.

Liza Minnelli

Jeff Trachta/Tracta

As for Liza's special guest during her October Las Vegas engagement, in a move that is bound to cause nothing but confusion (especially for media folk), soap actor/variety performer, Jeff, has decided to change the spelling of his last name. Billed as Jeff Trachta during his years as an actor, as well as for live shows, like the one where he headlined at the Rio during 2007, Jeff now wants to be known as Jeff Tracta. Before making that decision a permanent one, perhaps Mr. Tracta/Trachta should talk to Dionne Warwick/Warwicke and/or Janie Frick/Fricke, who both changed the spelling of their last names in mid-career. The ladies soon learned the error of their ways and returned to the already familiar-to-the-public (and press) original spellings.

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Tickets are now on sale for comedian, actor, and bad boy, Russell Brand, who will do his stand up act with shows in the Mandalay Bay Theatre, at 10 p.m. on Friday, July 22nd. We know that the 36-year-old Brit is married to Katy Perry, and that he recently starred in a remake of the 1981 film, Arthur. We think Arthur did more for Dudley Moore's career than it did for Brand's. The Web site had this to say about his performance, "An irritating, unnecessary remake that demonstrates the libertine charm Russell Brand exudes in supporting roles turn against him when he's star of the show." Peter Rainer, of The Christian Science Monitor, noted, "Russell Brand has been recruited for this "reinvention," and his presence in the film confirms my belief that a little of him goes a long, long way." Forget all that. Here's our big question...does Mr. Brand own a comb or have access to any hair product? Leave the kiddies at home for this show.

Russell Brand

Brooke Shields as Morticia Addams

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On Broadway, come June 28th, Brooke Shields will take over the role of "Morticia," when Tony-winner, Bebe Neuwirth, departs the cast of The Addams Family Musical. Long ago, Shields proved she was more than just a pretty face, moving from a career as a child model, to winning accolades for her roles in Grease, Wonderful Town, Chicago and Cabaret. In addition to Ms. Neuwirth ("Lilith" on TV's Cheers and Frazier), who performed here at UNLV in 2006, as part of New York Stage & Beyond series, other actresses who have played the vamp Morticia, are Angelica Huston in the Addams Family movies, and the late actress, Carolyn Jones, who, in the 1960s TV series, introduced the character as a living, breathing entity.

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The Tommy Thompson Project will be performing at Gordon Biersch, Sunday, June 26th, from noon to 3 p.m. On Saturday, July 9th, from 7 to 10 p.m., the ensemble will be providing the music for Jazz Under the Stars at Lake Las Vegas. Check them out.

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Kiss Me, Kate will play at the St. Louis MUNY, America's Oldest and Largest Outdoor Musical Theatre, from June 27th through July 3rd. When that bawdy bard, William Shakespeare, and the wickedly witty composer, Cole Porter, join forces, you get Kiss Me, Kate - two shows for the price of one. A troupe of actors, performing Taming of the Shrew, find that their tempestuous real lives have a romantic and musical way of reprising their stage lives. A captivating score and delicious double plots make Kiss Me, Kate truly "Wunderbar"! Among the popular Porter gems in Kiss Me, Kate, are "Another Op'nin', Another Show," "So In Love," "Too Darn Hot," "I Hate Men," "From This Moment On," "I Hate Men," and "Brush Up Your Shakespeare." The cast is made up of Lisa Vroman, Tom Hewitt, Curtis Holbrook, James Anthony, Joneal Joplin, Zoe Vonder Haar, Max Kumangai, Andrea Chamberlain, Conrad John Schuck (Rock Hudson's mildly slow-witted assistant, "Sgt. Charles Enright," in the 1970s crime drama, McMillan & Wife), and, our friend Lee Roy Reams (Oh. THAT'S why Cousin Claire is mentioning a show in St. Louis!). And, while we are at the MUNY, from July 6th through the 14th, the theater will feature Disney's The Little Mermaid, based on the animated film and hit Broadway musical. The cast includes, Patti Murin, Paul Vogt, Ken Page, John Riddle, Francis Jue, Elizabeth Teeter, Lara Teeter, Matthew Braver, Gary Glasgow, and, surprise, our favorite "Roger DeBris," Lee Roy Reams! So, sue us.

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Jan Rouven

Peter Falk

Illusionist Jan Rouven, "The Man With Nine Lives," opens his new show, Illusions, at the Fame Theater inside the Clarion Hotel & Casino, 305 Convention Center Drive. Direct from Europe, the world-renowned magician brings a hair-raising, death-defying show to Las Vegas, beginning on July 1st. Rouven has been mesmerizing audiences all over the world with his one-of-a-kind illusions. Using many dangerous creations, he has devised to build an intense atmosphere, fans simply watch in awe, and fear, as he continues to cheat death many times in one show. This drive to go close to the edge brought him to the attention of Germany's Pop-star, Michelle, who decided he would become her opening act. Never before had an illusionist opened for a singer and just like his act, Rouven broke boundaries, touring more than 35 cities to sold-out crowds. Rouven was a hit. Soon after, he began performing his own longstanding show at Europe's biggest revue-theatre, the legendary Royal Palace in Alsace, France. The show became known as "The Man With Nine Lives." Accolades followed as Rouven has been honored with some of the most important international awards of the entertainment industry, including the "Magician of the Year," following magic greats David Copperfield and Siegfried & Roy; "Audience Award Monte Carlo Magic Stars," presented by Princess Stephanie of Monaco; and "Entertainer of the Year," which is selected by more than 37,000 members of the biggest magic society worldwide. During the past 10 years of his career, Rouven has performed to audiences of up to 20,000 people. More than three million spectators have seen him live, and approximately 55 million people have been able to view his many television appearances. Jan Rouven's new show gives audiences front row seats into the imagination of a master illusionist. Featuring some of the most dangerous and thrilling acts of the day, and combining heart-thumping music with uniquely styled costumes, Jan Rouven and his cast of five professionally trained dancers will cross many boundaries. Magic, mystery and imagination, set to current hit music such as Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" and Katy Perry's "ET," will transport the audience on an unforgettable journey into his world of Illusions. The seamless ride will include acts such as the Bed of Death, Fire Spiker, Hand Stab, where a volunteer from the audience will play Russian roulette with a sharp knife, the Water Tank where the thrill level rises even more when the illusionist nearly drowns cuffed and chained underwater, and many more you just have to see to believe. The lure of danger and the penchant to create highly risky acts will surely be a crowd pleaser. "A show in Las Vegas is the ultimate dream for most performers, and after appearing at Fremont Street Experience for the past two years, I knew a permanent show had to be in the cards," said Rouven. "After touring Europe for many years, Illusions will allow me to reach a whole new audience and I am confident that my new show will be a crowd-pleasing production that will leave audiences in awe, and a little frightened." Already a star in his native Germany and Europe, Master illusionist Rouven is hoping to now conquer Las Vegas. Showtimes are Thursdays through Tuesdays (dark Wednesdays) at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $49, and can be purchased by calling (702) 800-5888. For those that do not know, the Clarion is located on Convention Center Drive, between the Strip and Paradise.

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We just learned that actor Peter Falk died yesterday, June 23rd, at the age of 83. Falk was probably best known for his portrayal of the bumbling, mumbling detective, Lt. Columbo, a character he played, on and off, for more than 30 years. Columbo, in his trademark rumpled trench coat, was a favorite of impressionists, both for his look and his recognizable voice. Just one more thing...What many people don't realize, is that Falk was a fine artist. Many Hollywood-types are "hobby" artists, who, because of their familiar names, manage to sell their works for large sums of money. Then, there are the handful of really talented artists - Henry Fonda, Claire Trevor and Falk among them.

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Tracy Lynn Rodgers

More late breaking news...
Reigning Mrs. Nevada United States, Tracy Lynn Rodgers, was critically injured Thursday morning after her red Camaro rear-ended a Chinese tour bus on Interstate 15 near Moapa. According to news reports, the driver of the U.S. Asia Casino Tours bus was attempting to make an illegal U-turn, when 41-year-old Rogers struck him. Not only was the driver making an illegal U-turn, but a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration spokesman said the bus company, based in California, was not supposed to be on the road. USDOT (the United States Department of Transportation) reports that the bus company's operating authority was revoked on June 13, as they failed to provide proof of insurance. Rodgers was taken to University Medical Center by helicopter and is still in critical, but stable, condition. Eight passengers on the bus were also injured. The bus driver was unharmed. Howard Jochsberger, 20-year chairman of the Mrs. United States judging panel, tells us that Rodgers was set to compete in the upcoming competition at the Las Vegas Hilton in August. We wish Mrs. Rodgers a speedy and full recovery and will keep readers posted on all of this.

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