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 July 29, 2011
You can find the current column HERE


Las Vegas - July 29, 2011


Jeff Jordan

Michael Grimm

Once again, as is the pattern in the Las Vegas entertainment community, when someone in show business is in trouble, the troupes band together to help in the way they best know how...by putting on a show. Local musician Jeff Jordan is in desperate need of financial help. A prolific saxophone player and budding film composer, Mr. Jordan was hospitalized for an aortic aneurism and other medical complications several weeks ago and is now facing a long road to recovery. Like so many musicians and self-employed people across the Las Vegas Valley, Jeff has no health insurance, and is looking at a medical and financial crisis. In direct response to this growing dilemma within the local arts community, coming to Jeff's emotional and financial rescue, will be a plethora of Vegas talent, including America's Got Talent winner and Sony recording artist, Michael Grimm. The Jeff Jordan All-Star Benefit will take place this Sunday, July 31st, at 4 p.m. in the Ovation Room inside Green Valley Ranch resort, once the home-base for Mr. Grimm. Michael is happy to return to Las Vegas and help a fellow musician and former band mate. In addition to Michael Grimm, the benefit will star emcee and local entertainment favorite, Chris Phillips, of Zowie Bowie, along with the following headliners: Mark Cohen, star of TV's Make Me Laugh on Comedy Central, and The Sarah Silverman Program; Broadway and television star Leigh Zimmerman, who most recently starred in Chicago on Broadway, and in The Producers at Paris Las Vegas; headliner Domenick Allen, former lead singer of Foreigner; Dave Perrico Group featuring Marley Taylor; Sean & John, twin tapping sensations from America's Got Talent and recording artist Beyonce's world tour; Broadway star and local favorite, Reva Rice, from Starlight Express, Chicago, and currently appearing in Vegas! The Show at Planet Hollywood; the cast of Dick Feeney's Rat Pack is Back, now playing at the Rio Hotel; Las Vegas' "First Lady of Jazz," Michelle Johnson, star of Nunsense at the Las Vegas Hilton, House of Blues Gospel Brunch, and various jazz venues; and Emmy-nominated band leader and perennial local favorite, Lon Bronson, leading a 17-piece big band. Station Casinos has graciously offered the beautiful Ovation Room at Green Valley Ranch as a venue for the two-hour concert. Tickets are $20, and may be purchased online at http://www.stationcasinos.com, or in person at any Stations Rewards Center. Doors open at 3 p.m. A PayPal account has also been set up to accept donations to the Jeff Jordan Fund.


Chris Phillips

Leigh Zimmerman

And speaking of Michelle Johnson, Sam's Town Hotel and Gambling Hall presents An Evening of Pop and Doo Wop inside the 750-seat Sam's Town Live! Venue, tomorrow night, Saturday, July 30th at 8 p.m. The evening of music stars Sonny Turner, former lead singer of The Platters; Terry Johnson's Flamingos, and Danny and the Juniors. Michelle will be performing with Turner in the Pop and Doo Wop show. Turner, who burst onto the national music scene in 1959, when he was chosen from among 100 prospects to replace The Platters' original lead singer, Tony Williams, gained popularity as the new sound of the group, with such hits as "I Love You 1000 Times," "With This Ring" and "Washed Ashore." He also re-recorded the groups' major hits, including "Only You," "The Great Pretender" and "The Magic Touch." In 1970, Turner left The Platters to pursue a solo career. In 2005, he received the Lifetime Excellence in Entertainment Award in Las Vegas. He was also inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame and Doo Wop Hall of Fame of America, for his musical contributions to The Platters. Terry Johnson brought his sound and talent to The Flamingos in 1956, with his first arrangement of music and vocals on "The Ladder of Love." He continued writing and arranging with "Lovers Never Say Goodbye," "Mio Amore," "At The Prom," "Heavenly Angel" and "You, Me and the Sea," along with his unforgettably beautiful production and arrangement of "I Only Have Eyes For You." Johnson arranged the music, vocals and sang tenor on all of the songs on the albums, Flamingo Serenade, Requestfully Yours and Flamingo Favorites. Johnson has parlayed his success, sound and legacy with Terry Johnson's Flamingos. The group is a member of the Grammy Hall of Fame and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Danny and the Juniors began singing together in the early '50s at ages 13 and 14 in Philadelphia, performing at school dances, local clubs and restaurants. Their first hit song, "At the Hop," made the group an international sensation, topping the pop, country and R&B charts. The song stands today as the No. 23 all-time biggest record according to Billboard magazine's list of No. 1 hits. Follow up hits include, "Rock And Roll Is Here To Stay," which became an anthem of the era, "Twistin' USA," and "Pony Express." These were the first of a string of 11-charted recordings. Their latest albums are the 1992 MCA' release, Rockin' With Danny and the Juniors, and the 1997 collectibles release, Danny And The Juniors - Classic Golden Greats. Showtime is 8 p.m. Reserved seating tickets are $19.95 and $24.95, plus tax and convenience fees. Tickets can be purchased at any Coast Casino Box Office, by calling (702) 284-7777 or by visiting www.samstownlv.com. Sam's Town Hotel and Gambling Hall, is located at 5111 Boulder Highway.


Sonny Turner

Vicki Van Tassel

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There was almost a full-house for the Las Vegas debut of Keith Thompson's musical comedy, Kooky Tunes, at the Clark County Flamingo Library Theater on Sunday. What a lovely day brightener! We doubt that anyone left the theater without a smile on their face. Singing the clever Thompson songs (like Jerry Herman, Keith writes both the music and the lyrics) were Jason Andino, Christine Hudman, Greg Kata, Renata Micatrotto, Vicki Van Tassel, and special guest, New Yorker Jay Rogers, who came in just for the one performance. The musical cast was accompanied by Thompson (he is the musical director at Jersey Boys) himself at the piano. Among the smiling folks thoroughly enjoying the afternoon, we recognized Will Adamson, Tony Arias, Jeanne Bavaro, Travis Cloer, Fred Crescente, Evan and Sandi Davis (Sandi was celebrating her birthday with Kooky Tunes), Tish Diaz, Carole Fishman, Philip Fortenberry, Lou Garcia, Paul Hansell, Joni and Tom Illi, Christopher Lash, Dee Mormon, Gary Oakes, Richard Oberacker, Steve Pound, Jerry Ritholz, Michael Sharon, Joey Singer, Joan and Laurence Sobel, Connie Solazzo, Tempest Storm, Katrina Sumner, Scott Watanabe, Dr. Mark Wherry, and Wayne Weiswasser. If you weren't among the almost 300 folks who saw Kooky Tunes last weekend, you missed something special. If you see or read that the revue is within driving distance, we urge you to go. Note: We almost didn't recognize Jay Rogers, when he walked out on stage for his first number. With longer and curlier hair, glasses, and a moustache and short beard, Jay looked very different from the last time we saw him here. Rogers describes his current look as, perfect for playing "old coots and old queens." However he looks, and whatever he's playing, we are fans of this performer.

On Sunday evening, at the invitation of Curt Thompson, we headed out toward Boulder City and the Railroad Pass Hotel & Casino, to have dinner with a longtime friend in the Conductor's Room. No wonder Thompson, Director of Operations at the Railroad Pass, is proud of the restaurant. It's the best kept secret in town and a hidden treasure. With our personable and knowledgeable (we'll get to that part later) server, Steve, to guide us, we started our adventure in gluttony by sharing a King Crab Cocktail appetizer ($14). One of us ordered an entrée of New York Steak ($14), and the other had the Conductors Cut of Roast Prime Rib of Beef ($24). With a choice of soup or salad, we had a Caesar Salad, prepared tableside, and Cream of Artichoke Soup (who knew there was such a thing as Cream of Artichoke Soup?). Garlic Mashed Potatoes for one of us, and Baked Potato for the other, and Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce for both. We have NO idea how much the portion of prime rib weighed (more than two pounds, without a doubt), but the word that best described the slab of beef is "obscene." We could not stop laughing. If it had been a set up for Candid Camera, or we were being "punked" by Ashton Kutcher, it would have all made sense. What went home in a "doggy bag," was enough for days of leftovers. Being fools, and in an experimental mood, with our to-go boxes packed, we ordered dessert. Slices of cake (Carrot, Red Velvet, etc.) were huge! We opted to share something called Chocolate Lava Cake. Delicious. The fact we were stuffed from what we ate of our dinner, did not keep us from polishing off most of the decadent dessert. Neither of us are drinkers. With ice teas (for two) and coffee, the bill came to a little more than $70. Quite a bargain for what we had, which was all very good.


Jay Rogers

Conductor's Room Prime Rib

On Monday, the Railroad Pass Hotel & Casino will be celebrating a very impressive milestone. The property, now owned by MGM Grand, turns 80 years old and holds the record for the longest continuously licensed operating casino in the United States! A week of festivities is planned, beginning with about 80 community and statewide VIPs, lawmakers and others who will gather at Railroad Pass on Monday, 11 a.m., for a private ceremony. Railroad Pass officials will accept government proclamations, and individuals who have played a role in the property's success will make brief speeches. Throughout the week, guests will enjoy 80-cent hot dogs, 80-cent beer, $31 hotel room rates, and $19.31 dinner specials. Commemorative t-shirts will be awarded to Player's Junction Club members earning 10 points or more.

Now, about Steve, our server. Because we have been learning a lot about the interesting history behind the Railroad Pass (thanks to longtime Nevada publicist, Norm Johnson, and Mr. Thompson), we put Steve to the test to see just how much he knew about the place where he works. The man, who is a relative newcomer to Southern Nevada, passed our test with flying colors. Steve knew how long the Railroad Pass had been in operation (that was an easy one). He knew about the safe that used to hold the payroll for the dam (not damn) workers, and that they would travel to the location, where gaming was legal, but drinking was not, to collect their salaries. Incidentally, that safe has not been opened for years, and it is unknown what may, or may not, be inside. Sounds like a possible Geraldo Rivera special. Steve also knew about the small houses on the hill behind the original casino. It seems that "ladies of the night" lived in those buildings. Steve even knew about the ghost of a schoolteacher that makes her presence known inside the Railroad Pass on a regular basis, and he has, in fact, like many others, seen her. We suggest a trip out to the Railroad Pass Hotel & Casino, touring the Heritage Room Museum (open 24/7), and having dinner in the Conductor's Room. Tell them that Claire Voyant sent you.

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Today's Four Freshmen

RIP Bob Flanigan (1926-2011)

It's Four Freshmen weekend at the South Point. The current Freshmen, made up of Curtis Calderon, Brian Eichenberger, Bob Ferreira and Vince Johnson, will fill the Showroom at the South Point with vocal harmonies and instrumental favorites, including "Day By Day," "It's a Blue World," "The Day Isn't Long Enough," "Mood Indigo," "Route 66," "In This Whole Wide World," "Graduation Day" and many others. When the Freshmen played the South Point last July, original lead singer Bob Flanigan introduced the group. Flanigan passed away on May 15th at the age of 84. He was remembered at a music-filled memorial service in the South Point Showroom on June 21st. Flan's presence will surely be missed this weekend when the Freshmen play the familiar hits. Showtimes for The Four Freshmen are at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 29th, 30th and 31st. Tickets are $15, $20 and $25. For reservations, call (702) 797-8055, or visit SouthPointCasino.com.

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The final eight competitors from the hit TV series, The Voice, including the first season's big winner, Javier Colon, will perform live in the MGM Grand Garden Arena, tomorrow night, Saturday, July 30th, at 8. The Voice runner-up, Utah-native Dia Frampton, lived in Las Vegas for a while, where she graduated from Shadow Ridge High School in 2005. Tickets for The Voice Live On Tour cost $36.05 to $68.55, and all ages are welcome when accompanied by an adult. For reservations, call (702) 891-7777.


Dia Frampton & Sister Meg

LaToya Jackson

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If you are reading this early enough, you can join singer Mark Giovi, with LJ Harness on drums, in the Tempo Lounge at the Las Vegas Hilton, tonight, Friday, July 29th, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. The Las Vegas Hilton's high-energy lounge is the ultimate gathering place. This pulsing lounge features a splendid mix of '70s, '80s, '90s, and contemporary Top 40 hits, plus sexy servers and perfect cocktails. The Tempo Lounge has a $10 cover charge that includes a complimentary drink.

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On Wednesday, the ladies of The View (Whoopi Goldberg) announced that LaToya Jackson, who was pitching her new book on the show last week, was not being truthful when she announced that the Jackson family was not getting any money from the Michael Jackson estate. According to a letter read by Whoopi, the Jackson family has gotten millions from the estate, including enough to pay off the family home in Encino, California. The compound, on Hayvenhurst, has been the Jackson home for many decades, but it is not surprising that lots of money was still owed on the property. In our opinion, LaToya, one of the two most embarrassing Jackson offspring, should not be allowed to speak in public. You know how you can tell when the 55-year-old woman/child is Making %@it Up (sorry, Wayne Brady, for borrowing your Venetian show title)? When her lips are moving. Stay home, LaToya.

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Amy Winehouse

Wes Winters

Will the death, last Saturday, of 27-year-old English singer/songwriter, Amy Winehouse, be enough to shake up some of the other young performers who seem headed for disaster? Twenty-five-year-old Lindsay Lohan comes immediately to mind. This young lady, who has been given way too many chances to change (correct) her behavior, is on the road to self-destruction. Much like Winehouse, with her black beehive hairdo and tattoos, Lohan's personal life has overshadowed any talent she may have. Coincidentally (or not), Winehouse is just one of a number of musicians who didn't live to see their 28th birthday. Among the other celebrities who also died at 27 are Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Rolling Stones member, Brian Jones. The picture is grim. Perhaps it is time for judges, doctors and other "professionals," to stop giving these young people a pass (or a Get Out of Jail Free card). It might save some lives.

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Beginning next Friday, August 5th, there will be new days and new show times for Wes Winters in the Grandview Lounge at the South Point. Entertainer Winters will perform in the Grandview on Fridays and Saturdays from 6 to 9 p.m., instead of Thursdays and Fridays from 5 to 8. The multitalented Mr. Winters has been doing great business in the cozy, 150-seat performance space since opening there in April. The Grandview Lounge includes, not one, but two, dance floors and a raised stage that showcases Wes and his nine-foot mirrored concert grand piano to full advantage. Winters offers a tremendous selection of music, including everything from Barry Manilow, Bobby Darin, Liberace, Michael Buble, Frank Sinatra, and Andy Williams, to Patsy Cline, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Archies, Broadway selections, Rachmaninoff, original tunes, and more. If Winters doesn't come up with your favorite style of music, it's your fault, not his. Michael Gaughan's South Point Hotel Casino and Spa is located at 9777 Las Vegas Blvd South, at Silverado Ranch Blvd. The Grandview Lounge is at the south end of the casino, near the Race and Sports Book. Guests must be 21 or older to be in the Grandview Lounge. There is no cover charge. For additional information, call (702) 796-7111.

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Queens of Tart

Eric Michael Gillett

Big Al's Comedy Club at The Orleans Hotel and Casino presents the hilarious all-female comedy trio, The Queens of Tart, August 4th through 28th. The host of The Queens of Tart, Anna Lane, is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area. She began entertaining at the tender age of six, telling jokes to her stuffed animals. She now performs in comedy clubs throughout the U.S. and has appeared on television and in several films. Jody Ferdig is no stranger to comedy, working her way through the Houston outlaw comedy circuit before tackling Hollywood. This bawdy redhead has opened up for numerous comedy legends, including Rodney Dangerfield, Dave Chappelle, Ron White, George Lopez, Margaret Cho, Mitch Hedberg, and Ralphie May. Jody co-starred on SITV's Funny is Funny, in the award-winning documentary, Red, White and B****, about life as a female comic, performed . She has also been featured on My Life on the D-List with Kathy Griffin. Lang Parker moved to Los Angeles from Wisconsin to pursue a career telling jokes about her dysfunctional upbringing on a Muskegon dairy farm. Lang came to national attention on the Emmy-nominated NBC show, Last Comic Standing, where she impressed judge Buddy Hackett with her tomboy persona and comedic timing. Lang has appeared in more than two dozen national commercials and was crowned California's Funniest Female in 2008. Big Al's Comedy Club headliner show times are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Every Sunday from 9 to 11:30 p.m. is open mic night, for which there is no cover charge. Tickets for The Queens of Tart are $39.95 and $49.95, plus tax and convenience fees, and can be purchased by calling the Box Office at (702) 365-7075, or by visiting www.orleanscasino.com.

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Okay you New York residents and/or visitors...If you haven't seen the show yet, Cast of Thousands: Gillett Sings Carnelia has been extended at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, with new dates starting Tuesday, August 2nd. Eric Michael Gillett, who lived and performed in Las Vegas a bunch of years ago, tells us that the show, directed by Arthur Masella with musical direction by Jeff Cubeta, will play on Tuesdays in August, on the 2nd and 23rd, and Wednesdays on September 14th and 21st, and October 12th and 26th. All performances are at 7 p.m. If you are not familiar with performer Gillett and/or songwriter Craig Carnelia, and you are in the area of the Beechman, we suggest checking out this program. Here are some examples of what the critics are saying...
"A cowboy, a housewife, a retired widower, 1940s movie stars and kids of all ages: these are among the host of characters who people "Cast of Thousands: Gillett Sings Carnelia," a one-man musical at the Laurie Beechman Theater. Its variety of humanity brings to mind the world of Lily Tomlin. The verb "sings" is really inadequate to evoke the acute empathy with which Eric Michael Gillett transformed theater songs by Craig Carnelia into lived experience. Not only do you see the world through the characters' eyes, but you also feel it through their nervous systems via Mr. Gillett's theatrical shamanism. (Mr. Carnelia is) a meticulous miniaturist with an exquisite sense for detail and emotional nuance." Stephen Holden, NY Times


Craig Carnelia

Rachel Juillerat, Mrs. United States 2010

"The original Cast of Thousands, performed some 15 years ago by Eric Michael Gillett, has been honed, revamped, heightened and enlightened with the addition of songs from Carnelia's other scores for Is There Life After High School?, Working & Three Postcards. The result is a magical pathway into the hearts and souls of ordinary, and some not so ordinary, people . . . the human condition." Sandi Durell, Times Square Chronicles

"To describe Eric Michael Gillett's revival of a show that was magnificent in its inception fifteen years ago, Cast of Thousands, that adjective, 'awesome,' seems exactly right. The creative marriage of Eric Michael Gillett with Craig Carnelia is, to risk a cliche, one made in heaven. Carnelia's brilliant lyrics and clearly defined melodies as well as the depth and subtleties of his themes find their counterpart in Eric's talents. One of the Carnelia's achievements is to hold equally poised reality and dreams, so that he creates an infinite realm of potentiality." Barbara Leavy, Cabaret Scenes

"In "Come on Snow" and "Flight," Gillett soars - not for the first time or last. Baritone at full throttle, his is a voice that conjures wonder. Strong, deep, unwavering and joyful, its full measure is simply splendid. The economy of Carnelia's words and the nuanced sincerity of Gillett's performance is a match made in theatrical heaven. Craig Carnelia, treasured in cabaret and musical theater circles for his deceptively simple, graceful, and direct expression, is more than worthy of an evening. The pleasure of hearing so much deft, moving Carnelia performed by perhaps his ultimate interpreter, is a genuine treat." Alix Cohen, Woman Around Town

"SPECTACULAR SHOW! Interesting, beautifully sung, intelligent - a MUST SEE! If you want to see how to put a show together in a way that is worthy of an Off-Broadway run and hear a voice from the heavens sing it, please mark your calendars today to make sure that you do not miss Eric Michael Gillett in this amazing show. STUNNING WORK." Sue Matsuki, Cabaret Hotline Online

"This was my very first introduction to Eric Michael and to the music of Craig Carnelia and let me say I was impressed by both! Eric Michael woos his audience and commands the stage with his seductive vocals and even bigger belts! From the moment he opened his mouth to sing, the audience was entranced and Eric Michael sizzled for the 90 minute performance! Craig Carnelia's music is diverse, fun, and at times heartbreaking, but Eric Michael knew just how to interpret each song perfectly!" Adam Rothenberg, adaumbellesquest.com

"Carnelia's special gift is capturing the essence of people's lives in song - for example, "Joe," a retired man who loves to attend fires; "The Mason" and "Just a Housewife," self-portraits from Working; "Come on Snow," a child's delighted encouragement of the elements to shut down school; "The Picture in the Hall," a remembrance of family; "Just Where They Should Be," a quiet celebration of household items that represent a relationship; and "Life on Earth," a discovery excitedly reported by an alien in space. Eric Michael Gillett is a MAC and Bistro award-winning actor-singer, sought-after cabaret director, and considered the foremost interpreter of Carnelia's work. It's a one-man tour de force, one of the finest, most moving and most magnetic shows that cabaret has offered." Peter Haas, Comedy Beat

The Laurie Beechman Theatre is located at the West Bank Café, 407 W. 42nd Street at 9th Avenue, in Manhattan. There is a $25 music charge, and a $15 food/drink minimum. For reservations, call (212) 695-6909.

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This year, the National Mrs. United States Pageant will move from its longtime home at The Orleans Hotel, to the larger showroom at the Las Vegas Hilton. The pageant, billed as "The Premiere Pageant for Married Women," is celebrating its 25th year. The Silver Anniversary Pageant promises to be extraordinary, as Executive Producer, Isabella Illaqua, plans on bringing back all 25 prior Mrs. United State's winners. The 2011 pageant team is made up of Master of Ceremonies, Jay Joseph; choreographer, singer/dancer, Natalie Carson; Joseph Pier, official photographer; Sheila Strassberg, responsible for hair and makeup; and Catherine Bernard, Administrative Director for the Mrs. United States Pageant. Howard Jochsberger, the Judges Chairman for the past two decades, along with a panel of four celebrity judges - Paula Shugart, active member of the Directors Guild of America and Producers Guild of America; Emmy-winning TV host, Jim Gibson; cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey Roth; and Dawn Gibbons, former First Lady of Nevada - has the daunting task of selecting the next Mrs. United States from the 50 State delegates. Private judge's interviews will be held on Tuesday, August 2nd. The preliminary pageant will be held on Wednesday evening, August 3rd, and the Mrs. United States 25th Anniversary Pageant will take place on Thursday, August 4th in the Las Vegas Hilton showroom. For tickets and information, contact the Las Vegas Hilton box office.

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Season tickets for Broadway Las Vegas at The Smith Center went on sale last Tuesday. Seats for the four initial shows range from $99 to $309. The Center is scheduled to open on March 10th of next year. The Color Purple will run from April 3rd through 8th; Disney and Cameron Mackintosh's Mary Poppins, from May 22nd through 27th; Million Dollar Quartet from June 12th through 17th, and Memphis, July 18th through 22nd. The much anticipated Wicked will play The Smith Center in August 2012. Single tickets, starting at $24, will go on sale in November. For more ticket information, call (702) 982-7805.


The Smith Center

Chris Morris by Chris Morris

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UNLV Department of Film Graduate, Robin (Quinn) Whittaker (class of 2005), was recently nominated for two Emmy Awards for her work as music editor on the HBO series, Game of Thrones, as well as music editor for the PBS miniseries, Any Human Heart. The Emmy Awards will be held on Sunday, September 18th. Whittaker's categories include Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series (Thrones) and Outstanding Sound Editing for a Miniseries, Movie, or Special (Heart). Some of Whittaker's other credits include the films Casino, Michael Collins, Evita, Lost in Space, Die Another Day, Tomb Raider, Phantom of the Opera, Cody Banks and Basic Instinct II. Congratulations, Ms. Whittaker.

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Once again, Steve Wyrick's opening date at the Hilton has been put on hold. Originally scheduled to open on July 7th, then postponed until July 27th, the Hilton's site now indicates an August 5th launch for the magician. Hmmm. This sounds awfully familiar. Remember another magic show, Triumph (which was anything but...)? There were opening dates that were announced and then changed. The show actually made it to the stage, maybe a couple of times, before closing and disappearing (perhaps their best illusion). Now, it's Wyrick's turn...again. His first Las Vegas engagement was at the downtown Lady Luck. From there, he moved to the Sahara, followed by a stint at the Aladdin/Planet Hollywood. Then it was into his own theater in the shopping mall at Planet Hollywood. Wyrick wound up bankrupt, owing about $54 million, and his theater and show both closed. The space, in the Miracle Mile Mall, was taken over by David Saxe, and now houses Vegas! The Show. Only time will tell how the Wyrick/Hilton marriage will fare. Ticket prices for Wyrick's Ultra Magician show are listed at $39.95, $59.95, $79.95 and $125, plus taxes and fees. Hocus. Pocus.

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The Rainbow Company Youth Theatre will celebrate three theatrical classics during the 2011-2012 season, as well as its 35th anniversary of providing theatre training classes to youth as a program of the city of Las Vegas. Rainbow Company has relocated to a new home, the Charleston Heights Arts Center, located at 800 S. Brush St., where all three of the classic productions will be performed. The first show of the season will be Charlotte's Web, featuring literature's most remarkable spider. Charlotte never fails to fascinate and charm, as she saves Wilbur the pig from an untimely demise. The show will run October 7th through 16th. The second show will be the perennial choice for all musical theatre lovers, Oliver! A young orphan, made famous by author Charles Dickens, comes to life, enchanting audiences of all ages. The musical will run December 9th through 18th. The third show is a gleeful version of the age-old tale, Sleeping Beauty, to be performed April 27th through May 6th, 2012. It features a weapons-wise, no-nonsense heroine, who combats a malevolent wizard and his bumbling sidekick. Tickets for all three shows may be purchased online at www.artslasvegas.org, or by calling (702) 229-6383. Prices are $7 for adults, $5 for teens/seniors/military, and $3 for children ages 12 and younger. Season tickets may be purchased at considerable savings by calling (702) 229-6553.

A variety of new fall drama classes, taught by award-winning Rainbow Company instructors, will be offered at Charleston Heights Arts Center. Improvisation, acting skills and creative drama are available for children from 4 to 12 on Saturdays. On Wednesday evenings, an acting class for teens is offered. On Tuesday evenings, there are several different classes: Song Performance; Musical Theatre Dance; and, for more advanced students, Stage Management and Improvisation with Mini-Monologues. Registration begins August 1st for classes that start the middle of September. Class costs range from $70 to $100 for a 10-week course. For more information, or to register for Saturday and Wednesday classes, call (702) 229-6383, or go online at www.artslasvegas.org. Only telephone or in-person registration is available for Tuesday classes; call (702) 229-6553.

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The talented caricature artist, Chris Morris, who has won prizes for his work in the pages of the Las Vegas Sun, resigned from the paper on July 13th. Morris will become an Art Director at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, starting in early August. However, he has signed a deal with the Sun as a freelancer, so he will be providing about 10 illustrations per month for them. His work will still be in the Sun, but he won't be on staff. Chris will illustrate for VegasINC and all Greenspun Media Group publications, as needed. His status is changing - from full-time employee to a hired contractor. We hear, that after the news broke, regarding the change in Morris' status, his boss at the Sun was fielding calls from people asking if they were going to replace Chris. Morris describes his current work situation as "...a win-win for both sides. They won't lose what I bring, and I can base some side work with them. But it's a departure." He says, "This arrangement allows the Sun to keep a strong visual style that I drove over the years, yet do so for less overhead. I like it because I love that paper and its sister pubs, and we can keep doing strong visual journalism and conceptual illustration, even though I'm not 'in' the newsroom." The Morris family, that has been based in Dallas, will be moving to Ohio. We are a fan of this young man, and look forward to adding a book of Chris Morris illustrations to our shelf, where it will sit next to our Robert Risko book and our collection of Al Hirschfeld tomes.

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The Las Vegas Men's Chorus has announced some changes for their upcoming 2011/2012 season. There is a new director, a new schedule, and a new direction. Bruce Ewing, currently performing in Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, has been chosen as the new Musical Director/Conductor of the chorus. Rehearsal times have changed, and now will be held on Sunday afternoons, from 12:30 to 3, at the Community Lutheran Church on East Tropicana, between Pecos and Sandhill. "We hope that this new schedule will open up our membership -- that more people will be able to join us, and be part of this amazing group of singers," stated David Pohl, LVMC Board Treasurer. Along with a schedule change, the LVMC is looking forward to expanding their visibility in the community, and begin providing educational outlets for young singers. Aaron Shave, LVMC Board President, shares, "As the school district has made many cuts in Arts Education Programs, we would like to offer some educational support to the talented youth in the Las Vegas Valley." For those interested in joining the Las Vegas Men's Chorus, there will be an informational meeting and placement appointments on Sunday, July 31st, at 12:30 at the Community Lutheran Church. Rehearsals will begin the following Sunday, August 7th, with the first concert of the season on Sunday, November 27th at 2 p.m. For more information, please call (702) 594-3393, or visit the Web site at www.LVMensChorus.org.

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Polly Platt, who was nominated for an Oscar for art direction for Terms of Endearment, died in New York on Wednesday as the result of Lou Gehrig's disease. Platt was 72. She started working in movies with her then husband, writer-director Peter Bogdanovich. Following their divorce in 1971, Platt went on to produce Broadcast News, War of the Roses and Say Anything, in collaboration with James L. Brooks. Polly Platt is survived by two daughters and three grandsons.

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Sebastian Anzaldo & Sharon Owens

Sharon Owens and Sebastian Anzaldo, who make up the show, Barbra & Frank - The Concert That Never Was, had a successful run in the Riviera's LeBistro before departing the place about a year ago. Since then, the talented twosome have taken their tribute to Streisand and Sinatra traveling. Next weekend, Saturday, August 6th at 7 p.m. and Sunday, the 7th at 3 p.m., the twosome will perform at the Starbright Theatre in Sun City Summerlin. It is unlikely that the two of the most recognized voices of the century would have ever shared the same stage... until now! Frank and Barbra never actually worked together, although they did turn up together on the same album - 1993's Frank Sinatra Duets, where George and Ira Gershwin's "I've Got a Crush On You" was taped in separate recording sessions, combined and released as a duet. Music-lovers can only dream of what it would have been like, had the two legends really teamed up for a concert tour. The Concert That Never Was... includes segments in which Streisand and Sinatra create masterful duets of "Somewhere," "Something Stupid" and "New York New York." A highlight of the show is a delicate blending of two of their signature songs, as Sinatra croons verses from Ervin Drake's "It Was A Very Good Year," intertwined with Streisand's memorable "The Way We Were." Don't miss the best concert that never was.
Tickets are $15 for Sun City Summerlin residents, and $18 for non-residents. The theater is located at 2215 W. Thomas Ryan Boulevard. For reservations, please call (702) 255-0695.

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Congratulations to Donn Arden's Jubilee!, celebrating its 30th anniversary tomorrow, Saturday, July 30th. The spectacular plays at Bally's, Saturdays through Thursdays at 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. The 7:30 show on Saturdays is covered, making it suitable for youngsters.



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