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 July 22, 2011
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - July 22, 2011

Connie Stevens & Nelson Sardelli

Annie Gaybis Byner & Kenny Jones

Last Saturday night, we were at the Riviera to see Connie Stevens and John Byner in the newly renamed Starlite Theatre. Veteran comic/impressionist, Byner, opened the show doing some old favorites, including a very funny John Wayne bit. We wish that clever Byner had had a little more stage time. Connie's band was made up of her son-in-law, Byron Thames, on keys and acoustic guitar; Bill Fulton on keys; Dave Bronson (from Righteous Brother Bill Medley's band) on drums; Kenny Parks on percussion; Mike Clinco on guitar; and Rick Vittallo on guitar. Backup vocalists were Trisha Leigh Fisher (Connie's daughter), Jessica Williams, and Ray Ray Irwin. Stevens and the group performed standards and contemporary songs, including "Higher Love," made famous by Steve Winwood, Michael Buble's "I Just Haven't Met You Yet," Stevie Nicks' "Landslide," "Where Or When," Keith Urban's "Somebody Like You" and "Who Wouldn't Wanna Be Me," "How Do You Keep the Music Playing," "The Glory of Love," "A House Is Not a Home" and Do It On My Own." Tricia Leigh and hubby Byron teamed up for a country number from their new album. In addition to being an entertainer and business woman, Stevens is adding producer and director to her resume.

Saving Grace B. Jones, is an independent feature film, written, produced, and directed by Connie Stevens. Starring Academy Award-winner Tatum O'Neal, Michael Biehn (who we best remember as the obsessed fanatic, stalking Lauren Bacall in the movie, The Fan), Piper Laurie and Trisha Leigh, Saving Grace B. Jones will be in theaters in September.

We ran into Nelson Sardelli, Babe Pier and Rob Garrett, known as "The King of Diamonds," with pretty Shelly Powers, at the show on Saturday. Look for Hot August Night, Rob Garrett's Tribute to Neil Diamond, in The Club at the North Las Vegas Cannery on August 13th. Show time is at 8 p.m., with admission a more than reasonable $10 at the door.

During their stay in Las Vegas, John Byner's wife, entertainer Annie Gaybis, and his sisters visiting from New York, went to see Dick Feeney's The Rat Pack is Back at the Rio. A photographer snapped the accompanying photo of Annie and Kenny Jones, who plays Sammy, after the show.

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Jan Rouven & Cast of Illusions

Jan Rouven & Water Tank Illusion

Congratulations to Michele Tell and James Woodrow, and their hard-working staff at Preferred Public Relations, for the fine job they did launching magician Jan Rouven's Illusions show at a VIP media event at the Clarion Hotel on Tuesday night. Following a very nice pre-show cocktail party and meet and greet, the Fame Theatre at the Convention Center property filled up with about 300 people. Among the audience members, we spotted a number of familiar faces, including Michele's mother, Rita Tell; uncle, Michael Tell; Judy and Stephen Thorburn; Blair Farrington, Jackie Beer, Jeanne Bavaro and daughter, Angela Acosta; young magician, Joel Ward; Jackie Brett; Mel Carter; ZZ Zorn; Lorraine Markhem; Tom Bruny; Mark Richards; and Spike Measer. Following the show, like in days of long ago, Jan and his cast posed for photos. Illusions gives audiences front row seats into some dangerous acts, including Bed of Death, Fire Spiker, Hand Stab, where a volunteer from the audience plays Russian roulette with a sharp knife, and the heart-stopping Water Tank, where the illusionist faces the possibility of drowning while cuffed and chained underwater. Working with Rouven are five incredible, professionally trained dancers - Gene Lonardo, Porcia Hendrix, Johanna Grajales, Taylor Crosta and Spencer Baumgart - working to current hits, including those by Katy Perry and Adele. Bradley Cleary gets credit for the outstanding, imaginative choreography, and Blair Farrington's Imagination Costume can take a bow for the unique, contemporary costuming. Already a star in his native Germany and Europe, Rouven has been honored with some of the most important international awards of the entertainment industry, such as "Magician of the Year," following magic greats David Copperfield and Siegfried and 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, Rouven has performed for 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. Tickets for Illusions start at $49, and can be purchased by calling (702) 800-5888, online at Tickets are also available at the FAME Theater Box Office inside Clarion Hotel & Casino, Thursdays through Tuesdays from 1 to 7 p.m. The Clarion (formerly the Greek Isles) is located at 305 Convention Center Drive, walking distance to the north end of The Strip and the Las Vegas Convention Center.

We have been in Las Vegas long enough (almost 35 years) to remember when public relations companies really did a job in promoting their clients and their clients' products. Sadly, those days seem to have gone the way of rotary dial telephones and eight-track players. A gathering of media folks, like what Preferred Public Relations put together for Jan Rouven's Illusions, is a rarity. Gone are the days of invitations (even e-invites will do), meet and greets, cocktail parties, gift bags, and promo material, all done to create a fun event, goodwill, and a positive introduction to something new. In the "good old days," the hotels had their own departments to handle these things. Today, for the most part, the jobs are farmed out to agencies who frequently play games...and favorites. As we have said before (and will continue to do so), these get-togethers are not supposed to be popularity contests. The people who are invited to attend events such as this are not necessarily the friends you go to lunch with. They SHOULD be the people who can promote a product or personality through print or other forms of media, so the client doesn't have to spend a bundle on display ads or TV or radio commercials. There are a couple of agencies in the city who are doing their clients a great disservice. Hopefully, those who are being cheated will realize what is going on and take their money and business elsewhere.

Joel Ward

Jimmy Emerson in La Cage

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And speaking of PR and marketing, this is a match made in public relations heaven - a female impersonator show playing at the Four Queens in downtown Las Vegas. Actually, An Evening at La Cage, starring comic impersonator Jimmy Emerson, will have a few more than four queens. The new version of an earlier Las Vegas show, will actually feature six, not four, queens. In addition to Emerson, the boys will be girls cast members are Brent Allen (Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand), Ryan Zink (Reba McEntire), Carlos Rodriguez (Madonna, Jennifer Lopez), and Jay Sanchez (Lady Gaga, Carrie Underwood). Add Lane Lassiter as Michael Jackson, and the four lovely, real girl, La Cage Dancers, complete with eye-popping costumes and brilliant headdresses, and you have yourselves quite a show. Emerson has just announced that Frankie Kein will join the La Cage cast, portraying both Marilyn Monroe and Liza Minnelli. Quite a coup. An Evening At La Cage has been on hiatus from Vegas since it closed at the Riviera two years ago. The revue features talented female impersonators, celebrity look-alikes and tribute artists in a top-notch performance of nonstop music, dance and comedy. An Evening at La Cage is produced by Starr Pro Productions, with a special licensing agreement with longtime producer Norbert Aleman. La Cage star, Emerson, is an internationally known comedian and impressionist who was the lead and backup host for the show's previous Las Vegas incarnation. He is famed for outrageous characters, including his wicked Wynonna Judd and the queen of country-western trailer-trash, "Tammy Spraynette." Emerson has appeared in movies, TV and in his own shows as an actor, singer and dancer. An Evening at La Cage started in 1982 in Hollywood, following the huge success of the Jerry Herman Broadway musical, La Cage aux Folles. Producer Aleman teamed up with original creator, Lou Paciocco, to bring the show to Las Vegas in 1985, where it immediately captivated audiences. Other companies of the show have been seen in Atlantic City, Japan, Aruba, Great Britain, Brazil and Canada. Show times, for the six queens at the Four Queens, are 9 p.m., Wednesdays through Sundays. Tickets are $29.95, plus taxes and fees, for general admission, and $49.95, plus taxes and fees, for VIP seating. They may be purchased online at, or through the Four Queens box office. Call (800) 634-6045, or (702) 385-5175.

We have it on good authority that the cast of Frank Marino's Divas Las Vegas will be in the La Cage audience at the Four Queens, next Friday, Divas dark night.

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We meet the most interesting folks during late night visits to WalMart. Our recent encounter was with Fantasy's talented singer/dancer, Lorena Peril. Prior to going into the Anita Mann revue at the Luxor, Lorena was the star of Sunset Strip, a show band, which evolved into Sin City Bad Girls, and also played Christina Aguilera in the, now closed, American Superstars at the Stratosphere.

Lorena Peril

Keith Thompson is Kooky

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Keith Thompson's Kooky Tunes will fill the Clark County Library Theater, 1401 E. Flamingo, with laughter, on Sunday afternoon, July 24th, during one performance at 2 p.m. Presented by the Performing Arts Society of Nevada Brown Bag Concerts, the comedy/novelty songs of Keith Thompson, musical director for Jersey Boys, will be performed by the extraordinary musical and comedic talents of Jason Andino, Christine Hudman, Greg Kata, Renata Micatrotto, Vicki Van Tassel and special guest, New Yorker Jay Rogers. Tickets are $15 at the door, or call for reservations or advance purchase: (702) 658-6741 or online at [email protected]. We wouldn't miss it!

Also, this weekend, on Saturday, July 23rd at 7 p.m., and Sunday the 24th at 2 p.m., the Starbright Theatre, at 2215 Thomas Ryan Blvd. in Sun City Summerlin, presents Rich Rizzo's Las Vegas Follies - The Best Ticket in Town. Get ready for the stylized choreography of Rich Rizzo and the infectious enthusiasm of a cast of talented senior performers. This dazzling production show is pure entertainment - a fusion of music, singing, comedy and dancing. Rizzo has gathered an impressive group of showgirls and dancers to 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, songstress Teresa Cushman, and special guest star, Wes Winters. Tickets are $15 for Sun City Summerlin residents, and $17 for non-residents. They 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 reservations and up-to-date information on Starbright Theatre shows, call (702) 240-1301.

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If you think that the manic-looking man in the Ticket Busters TV commercial looks a bit like your dentist, you may not be losing your vision...or your mind. The harried looking fellow pitching Ticket Busters, is, in fact, local dentist, Dr. J.D. Smith, whose offices are located at 3663 East Sunset Road #507. When he isn't filling teeth, J.D. can often be seen on a stage or television screen around these parts.

Wes Winters by Mary Millard

Dr. J.D. Smith

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We are sad to report the death of former entertainment attorney, William "Willie" Watters, who passed away in Las Vegas on July 6th at the age of 53. Willie, who was born in Glendale, California, excelled academically as an Honor Roll member of Burke High School (1976), with a BA in Political Science from the University of Nebraska (1981) and graduated from Creighton Law School (1984). His education went far beyond school. From an early age, William was infatuated by performers, especially Frank Sinatra, and committed himself to becoming an expert in matters concerning modern performance. At 18 years old, he was the youngest contestant to ever appear on television's Name That Tune, winning a total of $100,000. As a law student, he wrote and hosted the syndicated Sunday with Sinatra radio show. With his law degree in hand, he moved to Las Vegas to work in the Clark County District Attorney's Office, became a Deputy Public Defender, worked as a Hearing Master in District Court and as a Deputy Judge at the North Las Vegas Municipal Court. When he realized that the practice of law did not suit his passions, he took off into the entertainment business at full throttle. Las Vegas was the city he loved. For short periods of time he worked in Branson, Missouri, Hollywood, California, and Atlantic City, New Jersey, but he always returned to his home. For 25 years, he worked with many stars and shows in the Entertainment Capital of the World. One of his projects was at the Sands in 1991, when he served as producer of Salute to the Copa starring singing impressionist, Bob Anderson. Writing novels and screenplays became Willie's writing passion. The King of Diamonds: The Magical Life of Darin Diamond was the first of three interrelated magic-themed novels written by Willie. Three screenplays for TV pilots were recently completed with high interest being shown on all three. Watters was much more than a writer. He was a mentor who made things happen. He helped people move from where they were, to where they wished to be. The more he shared, the more he received in return. He preached, prodded, coached and urged anyone he worked with that "the future belongs to those of us who believe in the beauty of our dreams and that your story is still unfolding." His legacy for many will be the inspiration, support and encouragement he gave to them. "Anytime you hear Frank Sinatra, Jason Mraz or Jackson Brown, think of me... remember me. I don't want you to forget me. As I look up at the night sky, I just know that at the right time, I'll merge into the starlight. Last night I was asked how I wanted to be remembered and I quickly said, 'In light.' Sun or stars, but neon's cool, too."
---- William Watters

Willie Watters

Jerry Ragovoy

Entertainer Bob Anderson, who lives in Branson, had this to say about his friend and onetime business partner...
I first met Willie at the Top Of The Dunes in 1976. He came in and sat in a booth for my late show. He introduced himself to me and we became instant friends. One thing never changed about Willie and that was his greeting...a big smile, a bounce in his step and a "hey man!" No one and I mean, NO ONE, new more about Frank Sinatra and his music than William. When I went into the Copa Room at the Sands in Las Vegas, I went to Willie and asked him to help me with the show. It was called "Salute To The Copa Starring Bob Anderson." Produced by William Watters. I never saw him so happy. A few days before opening he took me to the bungalows in the back of the property. He opened the door to a suite and said, "Hey Man... this is your suite." He got me the Sinatra suite. I never saw him so happy as he was on our opening night. My whole family loved Willie. My son Matt was so amazed with his knowledge of show business. Willie loved coming to my house and eating with my family. We loved having him. I just recently saw him at my show at the Rampart Hotel. I was at rehearsal and he came walking through the casino...a spring in his step, a giant smile and his famous greeting, "hey man!" We hung out every night during that engagement. I loved him. Willie had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and I will see him again in Heaven. We had plans to meet at rehearsal for my show at UNLV with the Symphony on Oct. 22. Willie was in the middle of writing my show for that engagement when he passed. We used to try to top each others choice for Sinatra's best recording. As of now, mine was " All My Tomorrows," and Willies was "Indian Summer." William was full of Love, he may be sent back to this world as an Angel, to do what he always someone in need.

No services were planned. Letters of condolence may be sent to The Watters Family, 11208 Fowler Avenue, Omaha, Nebraska 68164. Donations in Williams honor maybe made to the Las Vegas Humane Society

Grammy-winning songwriter Jerry Ragovoy died of complications from a stroke on July 13th. He was 80. Ragovoy composed a number of hit songs including Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart," and "Time Is On My Side," made famous by The Rolling Stones. He also penned tunes later recorded by Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Barry White, B.B. King, Bette Midler and Faith Hill. Ragovoy won a Grammy in 1973 after producing the score for the musical revue, Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope. Jerry Ragovoy is survived by his wife Beverly, and twin daughters, Melissa and Gillian.

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On Tuesday, singer Engelbert Humperdinck, who has been performing in Las Vegas since 1968, received a Key to the City from Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman. "Please don't change the lock in a hurry," joked Humperdinck following the ceremony. Engelbert Humperdinck performs in the Theatre at Paris Las Vegas, tonight through Sunday. Showtimes are at 7:30. Call (702) 946-4567 for reservations.

Engelbert Humperdinck

Ina Jo Donovan

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Real life sisters, Lisa Donovan and Ina Jo Donovan, are now playing sisters on stage. No, not the sibling-type sisters, but the Little Sisters of Hoboken-type sisters. The talented ladies have joined the cast of Nunsense, playing in the Shimmer (or "Shimmy") Cabaret at the Las Vegas Hilton. Lisa has taken over the role of Mother Superior Mary Regina, originally played by Diane Ellis. Ellis has returned to Boston to be closer to her family, and Lisa has stepped into the role and is making it her own. As for Ina Jo, she is currently filling in for Kelly Clinton Holmes, who is once again out with an injury. Kelly and Ina Jo portray Sister Amnesia (although, not at the same time), the scene-stealing nun. It should come as no surprise that the Donovan sisters are doing excellent jobs, as both of the gals have long lists of professional credits. We dare not say, "Break an anything," as there has already been enough of that in this fun production. It would be a sin to miss Lisa, Ina Jo, Michelle Johnson, Kathryn Arianoff, Robin Berry Vincent, Amanda Kaiser, Natalie Carson, or any of the alternating cast members, in this Nancy Gregory-directed musical comedy. Show times for Nunsense are at 4 p.m., Saturdays through Thursdays. Call (800) 222-5361 for reservations.

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The July 18th issue of Greenspun Media Group's VEGASINC, features Gay Las Vegas as the cover story, saying that Las Vegas is "Late to the party," when it comes to businesses targeting the gay community. "Vegas has finally gotten it: Gays and lesbians have money to spend and they should be spending it here. We have to wonder, what took so long?" Not to say there isn't an open and active gay community in the city. Of course, there's the, lovingly called, "Fruit Loop," a cluster of primarily gay bars along Paradise Road just north of Tropicana. Also, there is the Blue Moon Resort, off West Sahara and the Freeway. Krave nightclub and the attached Harmon Theater caters specifically to the gay crowd, and the SinCityQSocials bills itself as the premier social network for GLBT professionals and friends in Las Vegas, with more than 6,000 active, local members. And how many remember the attempt to open a large gay hotel, just off the Vegas Strip on East Tropicana. The place opened for a short time, without a gaming license. Today, the property is run as Hooters. You can read the VEGASINC cover story by going to

VegasInc Cover

Kathy Bates

And, on this subject, Las Vegas' MGM Resorts has announced that it will hold a special extended-weekend of events for LGBT visitors, from August 4th through 7th. According to the press release, The LGBT community will own Las Vegas once again as Gay Nights Las Vegas, presented by MGM Resorts International, raises the neon rainbow flag for an indulgent four-day party weekend August 4-7. Gay Nights will offer special events and promotions at several MGM Resorts properties including ARIA Resort & Casino, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, New York-New York, Luxor and Crystals at CityCenter. Guests can now visit to plan their experience from a complete list of events, which includes spectacular LGBT pool and nightclub parties, exclusive meet and greets with Cirque du Soleil performers and Dine OUT, the ultimate social dine-around. "We are excited to bring Gay Nights Las Vegas back for a third year," says Thomas Roth, president of Community Marketing, Inc. (CMI). "Our research indicates the LGBT community loves Las Vegas and we are happy to work with MGM Resorts International to create this special event weekend."

Guests who book a Gay Nights package will receive the Gay Nights VIP Access card, gaining them complimentary cover and/or line passes to MGM Resorts' LGBT events, Dine OUT restaurant discounts, access to all Gay Nights private events, plus discounts at some of the most celebrated designer shops inside Crystals at CityCenter. "No destination knows how to throw a party better than Las Vegas and we are thrilled to be home for the Gay Nights 2011 celebration," said Scott Voeller, vice president of brand strategy and advertising for MGM Resorts International. "Our properties have been planning for months to ensure a phenomenal experience for our LGBT guests during this very special weekend. We look forward to rolling out the red carpet and having a blast." The Gay Nights Hot Spot will be the center of attention each event night from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at eyecandy sound lounge & bar at Mandalay Bay. Here, guests will have convenient access to concierge services, an opportunity to mix and mingle with other Gay Nights guests as well as enjoy Fabulous Hour - featuring delicious drink specials - each day from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. At the Gay Nights Hot Spot, guests will be able to make their Dine OUT reservations for some of Las Vegas' best restaurants including UNION Restaurant & Bar at ARIA, FIX Restaurant & Bar at Bellagio, Border Grill at Mandalay Bay, STACK Restaurant & Bar at The Mirage and BRAND Steakhouse & Lounge at Monte Carlo.

A gay weekend in Vegas would not be complete without spectacular shows, and Gay Nights will not disappoint. Cirque du Soleil will take center stage with special pricing for Viva ELVIS at ARIA, KA at MGM Grand and Zumanity, The Sensual Side of Cirque du Soleil, at New York-New York Thursday through Saturday. As an additional perk, Gay Nights guests will have three rare opportunities to mingle with the artists at some of the hottest lounges and clubs on The Strip. Gay Nights guests will receive VIP access at Las Vegas' most popular LGBT nightlife and pool events - Closet Sundays at The Beatles REVOLUTION Lounge at The Mirage and Temptation Sundays at Luxor's North Pool. Gay Nights also will partner with some of the LGBT community's leading publications to host exclusive parties at Mandalay Bay's Landshark Lagoon Pool - the Sexy Splash Pool Party hosted by Frontiers Magazine party Friday, Aug. 5 and the Q Splash Pool Party by Curve Magazine and QVegas Magazine Saturday, Aug. 6. Las Vegas locals who wish to join the fun can pick up their Gay Nights VIP Access cards at the Gay Nights Hot Spot at eyecandy sound lounge & bar at Mandalay Bay on event days from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Visit for more information and to make reservations. For event updates, photos and news, follow @GayNightsLV on Twitter and visit Gay Nights Las Vegas on Facebook. MGM Resorts is one of the top gay-friendly U.S. hotel chains, earning an 85 on the 2011 Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index. It is also a member of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association. You are welcome.

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Monday night's rerun of the pilot episode of last season's Harry's Law, reminds us just how much we liked the award-winning David E. Kelley's (Picket Fences, Chicago Hope, The Practice, Ally McBeal, Boston Public, Boston Legal) series. Harry's Law, airing on NBC, stars Oscar-winner (for Misery), Kathy Bates, as grumpy Harriet "Harry" Korn, a former patent attorney. When she is fired from her job at a big law firm, "Harry" and a group of interesting characters rent a space and open for business as Harriet's Law and Fine Shoes. The writing is top-notch, as is the acting. The supporting cast doesn't include a lot of big names, but it does include big talent. The show, with both funny and touching storylines, has been picked up for a second season (a good sign in this day and age). We recommend taking a peek, if you haven't already gotten hooked on Harry's Law.

And speaking of TV, we admit it...we're Gleeks. We are sorry to learn, but understand why, that cast members Lea Michele (Rachel Berry), Chris Colfer (Kurt Hummel), and Cory Monteith (Finn Hudson) are leaving Glee. The show will be looking for some fresh new faces to take over the halls of William McKinley High School. If the writers didn't make these changes, it would be like the "Sweathogs" (with John Travolta among them) on Welcome Back Kotter, who grew old as high school students on the sitcom that ran from 1975 to 1979 on ABC. Glee co-creator, Ryan Murphy, stated that Michele, Colfer and Monteith will be graduating at the end of the show's third season, saying that they are "not going to be back at all for Season 4." The series' third season premieres September 20th on FOX.

Chris Colfer

Chef Rick Moonen

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The Las Vegas Hospitably Association (LVHA) will hold a buffet breakfast meeting with Chef Rick Moonen at his famous RM Seafood Restaurant in Mandalay Bay on Thursday, July 28th, 2011, at 8 a.m. Chef Moonen will be speaking about his success in the restaurant business, his passion for sustainable seafood, and his experience on Bravo's "Top Chef Masters."

Moonen will have copies of his cookbook, Fish Without A Doubt: The Cook's Essential Companion, available for purchase. He will donate a portion of the proceeds of the sale to Three Square, a local non-profit organization with many programs to feed the less fortunate in our community. In addition, LVHA will be holding a Three Square food drive. Attendees who bring a bag of non-perishable, child-friendly foods, such as Vienna Sausage, single serving cereal boxes, fruit cups, trail mix, breakfast bars, etc., will get a raffle ticket for prizes that day.

Cost is $35 for members and $45 for non-members. People can go to the LVHA Website:, to RSVP. Founded in 1962, the Las Vegas Hospitality Association is a non-profit state association made up of more than 500 working professionals in the hospitality industry. The LVHA encompasses a broad spectrum of companies supporting the tourism, convention and hospitality fields in Southern Nevada.

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The talented husband and wife musical duo, Eric Comstock and Barbara Fasano, present Summer Standard Time, a warm weather cocktail of lazy days, blue skies, exotic lands, and the songs of Joni Mitchell, Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, Jerry Herman, Billy Strayhorn, Bruce Springsteen, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and more, for two shows only, 7 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday, July 26th and 27th, at the Laurie Beechman Theatre in the West Bank Cafe, 407 West 42nd Street in Manhattan. There is a $25 cover. Call (212) 695-6909 for reservations.

Barbara Fasano

Rebecca Spencer

And also happening in New York...
From July 27th through August 17th, Rebecca Spencer, who portrayed "Madam Giry" in Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, will be starring as "Dorothy Brock" in the classic backstage musical, 42nd Street, directed by Brett Smock, at the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse. The Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, widely known as "Broadway in the Finger Lakes," is located in Emerson Park in Auburn, NY, and is nationally recognized for the quality of its musical theatre productions. The not-for-profit professional theatre company produces six musical productions annually. The 2011 Season, sponsored by M&T Bank, includes: Anything Goes, Hairspray, Cooking with the Calamari Sisters, Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?, and The Marvelous Wonderettes. Under the leadership of the Merry-go-Round's Producing Director, Ed Sayles, the organization is also spearheading the 2012 debut of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival, a multi-venue musical theatre festival that hopes to draw more than 150,000 visitors annually to the Finger Lakes and Central New York Region. The Festival is designed to be one of the top destinations for summer musical theatre in the nation and in the process to have a transformational economic and entrepreneurial impact on Upstate New York. Legendary producer David Merrick's 1980 $3 million production based on the 1933 Warner Bros. film musical won the Tony Award for Best Musical and became a long-running hit. It was directed and choreographed by Gower Champion, whose instinct for showstoppers made him an ideal choice for the dozen production numbers in the show; a jazzy, noisy paean to the transcendent joys of Broadway. The Great White Way's most brilliant director, "Julian Marsh," is preparing his biggest show yet, "Pretty Lady," in the depths of the Great Depression. He is faced with one obstacle after another, especially when his leading lady, Dorothy Brock, breaks her ankle at the last minute; of course, young chorine Peggy Sawyer is pushed unexpectedly center stage and becomes a surprise star on opening night.
For 42nd Street information or tickets, call (800) 457-8897.

And Broadway musical fan, Performing Arts Society of Nevada's John Meren, shares this information with likeminded theater buffs...
The Kennedy Center's brand-new production of this iconic masterwork was standing-room-only this summer. Now, this lavish and landmark new staging of James Goldman and Stephen Sondheim's Tony Award�-winning musical Follies comes to Broadway for a historic limited engagement, complete with a 28-piece orchestra and a cast of 41, led by such Broadway babies as two-time Tony-winner Bernadette Peters, four-time Tony-nominee Jan Maxwell, two-time Tony-nominee Danny Burstein, three-time Emmy-nominee Ron Raines, and Olivier Award winner Elaine Paige. Past and present, dreams and reality collide, as a troupe of follies performers reunite for one triumphant, haunting and unforgettable night. This is the ground-breaking show that defined musical theatre for a generation. So come spend the night at Follies, where you'll live, laugh and love as never before. Limited engagement, from August 7th through October 7th. Playing at the Marquis Theatre, 46th Street, between Broadway and 8th, in New York City. Order through, or call (877) 250-2929.

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Gary Lewis & The Playboys

Joey Gian

Gary Lewis & The Playboys with special guest Dennis Tufano, the original lead singer of The Buckinghams are performing in the Starlite Theatre at Riviera Hotel & Casino through July 31st. Gary Lewis found fame at a young age. While playing in their first job at Disneyland, Gary Lewis and The Playboys were discovered in the summer of 1964 by producer Snuff Garret. Soon after, they produced their first hit single "This Diamond Ring." Continued success ensued for Gary Lewis and The Playboys, with several more Top 10 hits, including "Count Me In," "Save Your Heart for Me," "Everybody Loves a Clown," "She's Just My Style," "Sure Gonna Miss Her" and many more. In addition to appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show, American Bandstand, Hullabaloo, and The Tonight Show, Lewis was named Cash Box magazine's "Male Vocalist of the Year," winning the honor against nominees Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra in 1965. As a part of the great '60s band, The Buckinghams, Tufano had a string of Top 10 hits, including "Kind of a Drag," "Don't You Care," "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy," "Hey Baby, They're Playing Our Song," "Susan" and "Back in Love Again." Following his success in The Buckinghams, Tufano was part of the song-writing duo, Tufano and Giammarese, and recorded three albums with Lou Adler's custom label, Ode Records. He has also performed and co-written with Elton John's lyricist, Bernie Taupin, and renowned composer and musician, Tom Scott. Tufano continues to perform with a 'tip of the hat' tribute to Bobby Darin in I Remember Darin. Shows will run nightly Wednesday through Sunday at 7:30 p.m. in the Starlite Theatre. Tickets are $39.95 for preferred seating and $59.95 for VIP seating. As a special offer, locals will receive 50 percent off tickets. All prices are exclusive of tax and fees. To purchase tickets, visit, call (702) 794-9433 or visit the Riviera Box Office. For additional information, please call (702) 734-5110, or visit

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From Andrew Wright comes this news. On Tuesdays, July 26th, and August 2nd, at 8 p.m., RagTag Entertainment will present Side by Side by Sondheim in the Ovation Room at Green Valley Ranch. Done cabaret style, the musical revue will feature Kara von Aschwege, Francesca Camus, and Michael Strelo Smith, with Tony Lasorsa on piano and serving as Musical Director. The sophistication, wit, insight, heart and genius of Broadway's most innovative and influential artist is at the center of this tribute to composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim. This dazzling array of some of Sondheim's best-known songs features numbers from landmark shows - Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, A Funny Thing Happened On the Way To the Forum, and Anyone Can Whistle - not to mention the classics - West Side Story, Gypsy and Do I Hear a Waltz? - written with musical theater giants, Leonard Bernstein, Jule Styne and Richard Rodgers, that revolutionized the musical theater with their masterful craft and astounding creativity. Also included in Side by Side by Sondheim are delectable rarities from the television musical, Evening Primrose, and the hit revue, The Mad Show. Tickets are $15, with proceeds benefiting Golden Rainbow.

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Loretta Holloway

Bruce Zarka

Happy Birthday to Cancer celebrants (June 22 through July 22)...
From A to Z - Bill Acosta, Ed Ames, Pamela Anderson, John Argent, Lucie Arnaz, Peter Asher (Peter & Gordon), Jeanne Bavaro, Drake Bell, Mel Brooks, Betty Buckley, John Byner, Michael Cagle, Vikki Carr, Diahann Carroll, Steven Lee Cowart, Billy Davis Jr., Sandi Davis, Phyllis Diller, Ronnie Fabre, Michael Flatley, Philip Fortenberry, Joey Gian, David Alan Grier, Deborah Harry, David Hasselhoff, Jerry Herman, Loretta Holloway, Julianne Hough, Scott Humphries, Chris Isaak, Cook E. Jarr, Kris Kristofferson, Michelle Kwan, Cyndi Lauper, Steve Lawrence, Huey Lewis, Richard Lewis, Steve Lippia, Jon Lovitz, Louise Mandrell, Damian Marley, Skye Dee Miles, Deano Noto, Julie Newman Olds, Alan Osmond, Kellie Pickler, Lee Plotkin, Jennifer Porter, Cork Proctor, Della Reese, Martha Reeves, Linda Ronstadt, Jan Rouven, Toni Sandoval, Carlos Santana, Jeanette Shead, Carly Simon, Ringo Starr, Twyla Tharp, Denyce Tuller, Hunter Tylo, Mike Tyson, Jerry Vale, John Waite, Jimmie "JJ" Walker, Robin Williams, Gretchen Wilson, and Bruce Zarka. And happy anniversary to Marvin and Linda Lashever, and Steve and Ronnie Fabre Golden.

And speaking of birthdays...
You can celebrate birthdays at Morton's The Steakhouse, where the birthday celebrant will get dessert, courtesy of Morton's. Since the special day only happens once a year (although, after a certain age, they seem to come around more frequently), Morton's wants to make sure that this significant time of year is commemorated with the right amount of excitement and extra perks. With this in mind, Morton's offers guests a personalized evening that will make the day memorable. "We have been celebrating the birthdays of locals and tourists for a long time and, when it comes to birthdays, Morton's is all about creating an unforgettable experience. With the entire staff getting involved to create a festive atmosphere it can become an all-restaurant affair," said Daniel Hurst, general manager. "That is what we are all about... providing a great experience for our guests that they have come to expect." When planned ahead, guests with birthdays will be treated to one complimentary dessert and a birthday song serenade by the Morton's staff. A photo of the party, taken at the table, will also be presented to the birthday celebrant, along with a Morton's picture frame to take home as a remembrance. Morton's The Steakhouse is located at 400 E. Flamingo Rd, at the corner of Paradise. Morton's is open daily, Mondays through Thursdays from 5 to 11 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays from 4 to 11 p.m., and Sundays from 5 to 10 p.m. For reservations or inquires on private dining spaces, please call (702) 893-0703. Morton's Restaurant Group, Inc., is the world's largest operator of company owned upscale steakhouses. Morton's have remained true to its founders' original vision of combining generous portions of high quality food, prepared to exacting standards, with exceptional service, in an enjoyable dining environment. The company owns and operates 77 Morton's steakhouses located in 64 cities in 26 states, and Puerto Rico, and six international locations (Toronto, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, Shanghai and Mexico City). They also own and operate Trevi, a Las Vegas Italian restaurant, located in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace.

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Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds

Following a popular engagement last November, multiple award-winning hit maker, songwriter, producer and recording artist, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, returns to The Orleans Showroom, July 30th and 31st, with shows both evenings at 8 p.m. A 10-time Grammy� Award-winner, with 11 solo albums to his name, Edmonds has produced and performed multiple chart-toppers, including "When Can I See You," "Tender Lover," and "Love Makes Things Happen." His work in songwriting and producing has partnered him with music royalty, garnering hundreds of hits, including 16 No. 1s. Successful collaborations include work with Toni Braxton ("Breathe Again," "Another Sad Love Song," "You Mean The World To Me"); Eric Clapton ("Change the World"); Whitney Houston ("Exhale [Shoop Shoop]" and "I'm Your Baby Tonight"); Mariah Carey ("Never Forget You"); Brandy ("Sittin' Up In My Room"); Boyz II Men ("Water Runs Dry" and "I'll Make Love To You"); Pink ("Most Girls"), and Madonna ("Take a Bow"), among countless others. Edmonds is the recipient of numerous awards in addition to the Grammys. He has received Soul Train Music Awards, BMI Awards and American Music Awards for his work. Edmonds was the recipient of the third BET Walk of Fame Award (previously awarded to Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston), for his work in the music industry and his philanthropic outreach. He was also named BET "Entertainer of the Year" at the first ever BET Awards Ceremony. Earlier this year, Edmonds received a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. Tickets for Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds are available, starting from $49.95, plus tax and convenience fees, and are available at any Coast Casinos Box Office, by calling (702) 365-7075, or by visiting

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