Claire Voyant's Las Vegas Gossip Column

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

Claire Voyant  

Note: This is a past column from January 13, 2012
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - January 13, 2012

Andrew Lloyd Webber & Brent Barrett

Kristi Holden

On Tuesday, the cast and crew of Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular learned that the show at The Venetian would be closing on Labor Day weekend. For those who haven't seen this wonderful version, or want to see it again in a most amazing theater, created just for this lavish musical, you have less than eight months to do so. The $75 million production, reuniting creator Andrew Lloyd Webber with original director, Harold Prince, opened in Vegas on June 24th, 2006, in a new $40 million theater, designed by David Rockwell, that replicated a Parisian Opera House, complete with a one-ton chandelier of hand-cut crystals. The 95-minute production combines the classic story and music with technological advances of the last two decades, including pyrotechnics. Phantom of the Opera, the story of love and love lost, premiered in London in 1896. In New York, the musical went on to sweep the 1988 Tony Awards, winning seven Tonys, including Best Musical as well as seven Drama Desk Awards and three Outer Critics Circle Awards. In January 2006, it became the longest-running show in Broadway history, surpassing another of Lloyd Webber's greatest hits, Cats. Many talented friends have or will be moving on to other shows in other cities. We will miss them. Among our favorite Phantom cast and crew members, past and current, are (in politically correct alphabetical order) our Phavorite Phantom, Brent Barrett (Chicago, Annie Get Your Gun, Grand Hotel, Kiss Me Kate), Sierra Boggess (The Little Mermaid, Love Never Dies), Doug Carfrae (Ragtime, City of Angels), Courtney Combs (Swing!, On the Town), Sarah Elizabeth Combs (Sweeney Todd, The Magic Flute), Jason Forbach (Les Miserables), Musical Director Jack Gaughan (Cats, 42nd Street, Evita), Benjamin Hale (Jekyll and Hyde, The Secret Garden), Paul Hansell (The Producers, Havana Night Club), Kristen Hertzenberg (Master Class, Hair), Kristi Holden (Mame, The Sound of Music), Elizabeth Loyacano (Oklahoma!, The Woman in White), Larry Wayne Morbitt (The Music Man, Fiddler On the Roof), Nicole Pryor (Children of Eden, Ragtime), Andrew Ragone (Evita, The Light In the Piazza), Rebekah Raun (Swan Lake, Crazy For You), Joan Sobel (Faure's Requiem, Der Freischutz), Rebecca Spencer (Sweeney Todd, Desert Song), Tina Walsh (EFX, Mamma Mia!), Scott Watanabe (Pacific Overtures, Kismet), and Donald M. Williams (Ragtime, Phantom). The 95-minute Las Vegas production, which includes every song from the original longer Broadway version, performs Mondays through Saturdays at 7 p.m., with added 9:30 p.m. shows on Saturdays and Mondays. Tickets for Phantom at The Venetian are available by calling the Venetian Box Office at (866) 641-7469 or (702) 414-7469, or online at Group tickets are available for groups of 15 or more by calling (866) 633-0195. For more information, please visit the official website at

What will take the place of Phantom at The Venetian? We can only guess, but we wouldn't be one bit surprised that, if by the beginning of 2013, a great big spider web was to envelop Sheldon Adelson's Five Diamond Strip property.

* * * * * * * *

Martin Nievera

Jasmine Trias

Acclaimed Philippine Super Star, and one of our personal favorites, Martin Nievera, will be giving a special benefit performance to raise money for the Philippines, to aid those affected by typhoon Sendong. Sendong ravaged the southern part of the country, killing more than 1500 people and displacing nearly 20,000 families. An Evening With Martin Nievera will take place this Sunday, January 15th, in the Golden Nugget Hotel's Gordie Brown Showroom at 6 p.m. Tickets for the event are $50 and $75, and are available at the Golden Nugget box office. You may also purchase online at, or by calling (702) 386-8100, or toll free at (866) 946-5336.

And speaking of the talented Martin Nievera, he will be joining the most entertaining Society of Seven and Jasmine Trias when they perform in the showroom at the Suncoast next weekend. The famed Hawaiian-bred group offers an energetic variety show that combines comedy sketches, celebrity impersonations, dance and live music performances, including popular standards, Top 40 hits and Broadway showstoppers. In what has been called an entertainment experience that rolls a classic Hollywood movie, Broadway show and Vegas spectacular into one, Society of Seven has been entertaining fans for more than 40 years.

Nievera is a popular recording artist with several platinum albums, including Martin...Take One, The Best Gift, Forever, and its sequels, Forever Forever and Return to Forever. Known as "The Concert King" in the Philippines, Nievera has appeared in 11 films and seven television series and specials, including Penthouse Live!, Martin and Pops Twogether, and Martin After Dark, which ultimately became Martin [email protected]. Hawaiian-native, Trias, rose to national fame on Season Three of American Idol, where she finished in third place, thanks to strong support from residents of the Islands. Her self-titled album was released in both the United States and the Philippines (where it reached platinum status). Formed in Hawaii and perfected in showrooms throughout Las Vegas and the Islands, Society of Seven, Martin Nievera and Jasmine Trias perform Saturday and Sunday, January 21st and 22nd in shows at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available starting from $15.95, plus tax and convenience fees, and can be purchased at any Coast Casinos box office, by visiting, or by calling (702) 636-7075 or

* * * * * * * *

RagTag Entertainment presents Leading Ladies, in the Ovation showroom at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, January 17th. Leading Ladies features Francesca Camus, Sandra Huntsman, Stephanie Sanchez, Kellie Wright and Latoya Holman. Tickets are $10.

Stephanie Sanchez

Author Stu Michaels

* * * * * * * *

The Las Vegas Media Group is holding their monthly luncheon meeting, this Monday, January 16th at 11:30 a.m. Author of You Can't Make This Up! Cops, Crooks, and Celebrities from Brooklyn to Las Vegas, Stu Michaels, is the featured speaker. Mr. Michaels will share tales about the good (and very bad!) days of Las Vegas. The meeting is at The Wedding Room at 3601 West Sahara, on the southeast corner of Valley View. If you know where the Gallery of History is (was?) located, and/or The Cellar, then you know where it is; Mariana's Grocery Store on one side and Kaplan College on the other. There is a handicap entrance through the alley between the college and The Wedding Room. The phone number for any questions or directions is (702) 362-6712. Lunch is $15.00 and the food is great! You do not have to be a media member to attend, but RSVPs are required. Contact Lisa at (702) 245-9206, or e-mail [email protected].

* * * * * * * *

On January 2nd, in Sue Matsuki's Views, Reviews & News (Stu Hamstra's Cabaret Hotline Online), Sue gives her top 10 cabaret picks from the time she began writing reviews for Cabaret Hotline. Without any rating of 1 -10, here are my top 10 picks of shows that I have seen since I started to review. I am just going to list them in the order in which I saw them and I'm going to print a bit of what I wrote about each of these wonderful shows. Thank you to all of you for making my 1st year reviewing such an incredible experience! If you see these performers listed, GO TO SEE THEM! Her Top Ten favorites follow. (We are not making any changes or spelling corrections in this part of the column.)
in THE KID INSIDE ... AN EVENING OF SONGS, PATTER, PUPPETS AND PROFANITY at Don't Tell Mama. Last night at Don't Tell Mama, I saw art in Cabaret again. To be clear, this was more like a theatre piece done in a Cabaret room but it reminded me of the shows we used to see back in the day and also reminded me of how wide the Cabaret Umbrella is. The word that comes to mind when I try to think of an adjective to describe Alissa, the show, her voice, her concept, her puppetry, her puppets and tech crew, her Musical Director (Steven Katz), her Director (Warren Kelley), Bobby Kneeland's work on lights/sound is a resounding... STUNNING! I was literally breathless trying to tell my husband about the show when I got home. Column: 10/8/10
ZOE LEWIS in CONCERT at The Laurie Beechman Theater. Zoe Lewis is affectionately known as "the band in a body". What I want to say to you all is the next time this gal comes to town, if you do not see her show, YOU will be missing one of THE most joyous, creative, brilliant singers/ songwriters/musicians of our day. Many of you commented on the tunes that I did in my last show, "Aware" and "Prince of Love". You raved over Hector Coris's and Joan Crowe's renditions of "The Day Snow White Said the F Word" and on Joan's version of "Eyelashes"... Zoe is a wealth of great, fresh, new material and you can pick these tunes up but you have to see her and hear her first to know what tunes speak to you. I am hard pressed to find a tune that I DON'T want to do! She's really that good folks! Column: 11/15/10
A SWINGING BIRDLAND CHRISTMAS with HILARY KOLE, JIM CARUSO, BILLY STRITCH & AARON WEINSTEIN at Birdland. OMG! OMG! OMG! This show is so AMAZING that I literally walked into my house and fired up the computer to write this review so that I could post it tomorrow so that you can all go! No where else will you get to hear Billy, Jim, Hilary and Aaron do a show like this. Their voices, the arrangements done by both Billy and Aaron, the band (Paul Gill, bass & Tony Tedesco, drums with Aaron on violin), the harmonies, the song choices, the fun, the balance of funny, up, heartfelt and oh, a special guest by the name of Christine Ebersol ... it was all there in that room tonight at 6:00 pm. Please trust me, you do not want to miss this show my friends. Column: 12/21/10
THE MUSIC OF SCOTT EVAN DAVIS: Cautiously Optimistic at Don't Tell Mama. Firstly, every single voice that sang this evening should be in a Broadway show and a few of them are. I predict that Scott Evan Davis will have a show on Broadway in 10 years time (5 if he makes the right connections). He himself is a lovely, sweet man and a fine singer who told us the most wonderful stories of how songwriting literally just came to him which, if he can write a script as well as he can write music, IS the Broadway show he should write. There was one highlight after another and with only 11 tunes in the show, Scott's stories on how the songs came to be became equally as compelling as his tunes making it just a wonderful night of Cabaret with show tunes featured. Column: 1/17/11
GABRIELLE STRAVELLI at The Laurie Beechman Theater. If you think you are a jazz singer, come to see Gabrielle Stravelli and see what the real deal is and then ask yourself if what you do is jazz. She is not a huge scatter in terms of how she sings but she does scat very well. It is a tool in her arsenal of jazz techniques. What she does do though is play with time; she bends melodic lines; she allows space to "speak"; she has a dead on tone that goes right to the nucleus of a note and she has the ability to still interpret a lyric while using all these jazz tools and styling effects. She's more connected to her lyrics on her ballads but she always knows what she's singing about. In a word, she is IMPRESSIVE! Column: 5/2/11
ERIC MICHAEL GILLETT in CAST OF THOUSANDS: THE SONGS OF CRAIG CARNELIA The Laurie Beechman Theatre. 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 (for just $20!) 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. My favorite line in the entire show was in "What a Song Should Say" where he sings: "We should be IN the song." While this simple phrase is used in a different context in the song, I heard him loud and clear because he is, in fact, always and completely "IN" his music. He's an inspiration to me as a singer. PLEASE see this show. It is one of my top 10 shows all year (and ya'll know how many shows I see!) STUNNING WORK! Column: 6/27/11
SHAYNEE RAINBOLT & TERESE GENECCO in A 95TH BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE TO RUSS GARCIA - Celebrating a Living Legend! at The Iridium. If you do not think you know Russell Garcia, you do. Google him. If you have ever heard the big band arrangements of Mel Torme, Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis Presley, Louis Armstrong, Frances Faye, Judy Garland, Anita O'Dea, Oscar Peterson Jr. and hundred of others ... you know this man. If you were at the Iridium last night, not only would you have gotten to know his music, incredibly presented by Shaynee and Terese with a band that can only be described as "from the heavens", you would not have missed a show of a lifetime. Ladies, what you pulled off here is a BIG DEAL. Amazing. What a show! What a concept which all started from Shaynee trying to research a song called "Go Slow" which was done by Julie London which led her to Julie's arrangement which led her to contact Mr. Garcia. A CD, a CD show tour and shows all around the world including in New Zealand, they landed at the Iridium last night to celebrate Mr. Garcia's 95th Birthday. Tonight we were T-R-E-A-T-E-D to one of the best shows I have seen all year. Column: 11/7/11
NOTE: Sadly Mr. Garcia passed away only two weeks after he was able to see this live show happen via Skype. His music lives on in these women.
MARK NADLER in LET'S MISBEHAVE: A COLE PORTER SOIREE!at The Green Fountain Inn, Waupaca, Wisconsin. What can anyone say about Mark Nadler that hasn't already been said by reviewers from every major publication that I can now say here on Cabaret Hotline to make you understand just want a phenomenon Mark Nadler is? A program of all Cole Porter only made this evening that much more enjoyable because Mark's love of music and for this composer in particular was clear from the moment he took the stage. His knowledge of all of the people he chooses to tribute is always the most informative patter you could ever hope to hear in a show BUT, the difference here is that Mark just delivers it like it's all right off the top of his head. (It probably is because, if you know Mark, you know he is a walking encyclopedia of knowledge, musical and otherwise.) He is truly one of THE most talented and intelligent men I have ever had the privilege of knowing. Column: 11/21/11)
JULIE REYBURN in WINTER SONGS at Feinstein's at the Regency Hotel. I just returned from Julie's opening night of her new show at Feinstein's and it was just SO totally charming. It's a collection of fabulous tunes (many original songs by NY's best writers) about life and family and winter through a child's eyes and then through a parent's eyes and then through a lover's eyes ... it was so haunting at times and then side splittingly funny in the very next moment. Julie has become not only one of the best voices in the business (she's always been a wonderful singer) but she is now one of the best actresses as well. She knows her way around a lyric and gets every single nuance and/or joke that a song has to offer. The other thing that Julie is, is the "IT" girl for original songwriters. She's a standard maker." Column: 11/28/11
MARK NADLER in CRAZY 1961 at The Laurie Beechman Theater. Yes, he gets TWO spots because, well, the man is a genius! How's THAT for a review?! This is an AMAZING piece of theater and it will be coming back for 3 dates in January: the 15th, 22nd and 29th at 1:00 (the brunch menu is FANTASTIC by the way!). This is how a show done folks. There is simply no one like Mark Nadler and if I won the lottery, I'd produce him in a one-man show on Broadway with him doing a new show every month because every single show I have ever seen of his is a FUN history lesson (go figure!) and as I've said time and time again, he is a MASTER CLASS to us all on how to put the ultimate theatrical/cabaret experience together. I have awarded him my "Freak o' Nature" award in that he is the total package of what it is to be an "entertainer". He just knocks my socks off! Column: 12/18/12

Mark Nadler

Lisa Donovan

* * * * * * * *

Songstress/actress Lisa Donovan gets out of the habit - the multi-talented lady portrays the Mother Superior in Nunsense at the LVH (formerly known as the Las Vegas Hilton, and before that the International) - for a special performance in the Ravello Lounge at the M Resort Spa Casino Saturday, January 21st at 6:30 p.m. From television's Face the Music and The Young and The Restless, to Broadway (Babes In Arms, directed by Ginger Rogers), to Las Vegas show rooms, appearing with the likes of Ray Charles, Norm Crosby, Billy Crystal, Bob Hope, Rich Little, Jan Murray, Donald O'Connor, Don Rickles, Mickey Rooney, Mel Torme, and Jerry Van Dyke. In 1994, when George Burns was 98-years-of-age, Lisa was his opening act at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and Tahoe. As a result of a fall in his home that same year, those performances turned out to be Burns' last. Lisa's appearance at the M will include major parts of her one woman shows - Judy! Judy! Judy! Lisa Sings Garland, and It's About Broadway: Lisa Sings the Showstoppers - that have played in venues around the world. Before and after her M Resort show, you can see Lisa Donovan in Nunsense in the Shimmer Cabaret at LVH. Showtimes are at 4 p.m., dark on Fridays. For reservations, call (702) 732-5755.

* * * * * * * *

We are saddened to report the January 3rd passing of Natale J. "Todd" Bavaro, father and grandfather of Las Vegans, Jeanne Bavaro and Angela Acosta, respectively. Mr. Bavaro, a longtime resident of Niles, Illinois (about 15 miles north of downtown Chicago) was 81. Todd was a former Village of Niles Trustee, retired Director of Code Enforcement and a charter member of the Northwest Italian-American Society among others. Up until his unexpected death, he bowled four times a week and was at the casino daily. In addition to Jeanne and Angela, Bavaro's survivors include his beloved wife, the former Lorraine Calderone; children Nick, Donna, and Natalie Hartman; extended family Bill Acosta, Diana, Tom, Patti and John; devoted Papa of Nina Abuja, Todd Bavaro, Michael Acosta, Kayla and Julia Hartman; cherished great-grandfather of Ava; dear brother of Jack, the late Frank Bavaro, and sister Loretta Esposito; and special uncle to many nieces, nephews and godchildren. Visitation was held last Friday at Skaja Terrace Funeral Home, 7812 N. Milwaukee Ave., in Niles. The funeral was held the following day at St. John Brebeuf Church. More than 500 people attended the services, and a police escort lead the funeral procession. Donations in Bavaro's memory may be made to Women of Mt. Saint Joseph Lake Zurich or Alzheimer's Association.

Angela Acosta & Papa Natale "Todd" Bavaro

Jill Haworth

Actress, Jill Haworth, a British-born film ingénue in the 1960s who made her only Broadway appearance as the original Sally Bowles in Cabaret, died on January 3rd, at her home in Manhattan. She was 65. Ms. Haworth was just 14 when she was signed to appear, along with Paul Newman, Eva Marie Saint and Sal Mineo, in Exodus (1960), Otto Preminger's adaptation of the Leon Uris novel about the birth of the state of Israel. She made two other films with Preminger, The Cardinal and In Harm's Way, before auditioning and winning the role in Cabaret.

Authors Leon Uris (Battle Cry, Trinity) and Herman Wouk (The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War, War and Remembrance), were both Tucson, Arizona, winter visitors at different times during the 1950s. They stayed at a kosher guest ranch in the north part of the city, where someone close to Cousin Claire used to baby sit their children during the evenings. Don't think she appreciated the connection in those days.

* * * * * * * *

On Thursday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams shared this bit...
Concertgoers at the New York Philharmonic Tuesday night did not have to be musicologists to work out that the marimba was not part of the famous work. Conductor Alan Gilbert halted the performance of Mahler's Ninth Symphony when the offending iPhone ringtone sounded -- and persisted. Just minutes from the end of the hour and a half-long piece, Gilbert turned to the phone's owner, seated close to the front of Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall in New York City, according to an eyewitness account published by "Superconductor" blogger Paul Pelkonen. "The symphony ends incredibly quietly so there was literally no way that we could go on, Gilbert told NBC News. "So I stopped the music and I asked the general vicinity where the sound was coming from ‘please turn off your cellphone.' And I had to ask several times..."
In the ensuing pause, some in the audience reportedly called for blood, shouting: "Kick him out!" and "$1,000 fine!" the witness recounted. Gilbert quietly employed shame until the offender -- described as an elderly man by another blogger -- confirmed that the phone was off. Before continuing with the concert, Gilbert apologized and explained that normally it's best to ignore such disturbances, but he said this was "so egregious that I could not allow it." This was the first time Gilbert has stopped the orchestra for a violation of the "cell-phones off" rule, a media contact at the symphony said, but at least the second time that it has happened in the symphony's history. For classical music buffs who witnessed it, there was some satisfaction to be gained from the incident, which occurred in what is otherwise a quiet and mesmerizing part of the Mahler work.

Unfortunately, this isn't the first time something like this happened in a theater situation and it won't be the last. We have been in the audience twice when similar things occurred. In 2009, while performing in The Orleans showroom, Broadway star Patti LuPone hadn't finished the intro to the song "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina," when she signaled to her orchestra to stop the music because an audience member was doing something that really upset her. Anyone who keeps up on these things, will remember when, earlier that same year, at the second to last performance of Gypsy, in the middle of "Rose's Turn," she stopped the show because an idiot in the audience was taking flash pictures. LuPone loudly demanded that he be removed from the theatre. "You heard the announcement in the beginning, you heard the announcement at intermission! Who do you think you are?" she yelled at him. After he was removed, LuPone restarted her number. The event was recorded by another audience member, who released it on YouTube. Patti later claimed that such distractions drive "people in the audience nuts. They can't concentrate on the stage if, in their peripheral vision, they're seeing texting, they're seeing cameras, they're listening to phone calls. How can we do our job if the audience is distracted?"

When the amazing Mark Nadler (who will be performing in Las Vegas next month) was in the middle of a beautifully lit, dramatic moment, playing Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" during a concert at the Charleston Heights Arts Center a few years ago, it happened again. Someone in the audience's cell phone started ringing...and ringing...and ringing. The jerk was probably hoping others wouldn't know who to be upset at, if he didn't make a move, so he did nothing!

Bathed in blue lights, Nadler froze, his hands high above the piano, waiting for the ringing to stop. When it finally did, he continued with the number. At the final note, the audience burst into applause - not just for the wonderful piano work, but because of the way the artist handled the problem.

We think the thoughtless offenders should get a "one strike you're out" deal. Either turn your phone to vibrate, or shut it off completely, when you are in church, at a funeral or in a theater (movie or live). Anyone who can't be without a phone for an hour or two, should just stay home.

* * * * * * * *

We messed up a bit, last Friday, when we wrote that a group called Social Distortion was performing, along with Save the Swim Team, Burning Agrestic and Hard Pipe Hitters, in a concert in the showroom at the Aruba Hotel on Las Vegas Blvd. The group was not Social Distortion (which is the name of a band), but punk band Social Control. Guess we were a little too Social and a bit out of Control. So sorry. Thank you to our more than patient web man/boss, who sent out a correction to Claire Voyant subscribers. Hope no one was too inconvenienced by the error.

Social Control

Eric Comstock, Hilary Kole & Christopher Gines

* * * * * * * *

Our Sinatra: A Musical Celebration, a musical offering reuniting the original cast of Eric Comstock, Christopher Gines and Hilary Kole, plays Feinstein's Loews Regency, 540 Park Avenue and 61st Street in Manhattan, January 17th through 21st. The trio of top talent playfully interact with one another, sharing their joy passion for this great music as they lovingly sing the hits of Frank Sinatra, individually and in combination, taking the audience back to relive their memories. The show includes more than 50 songs - from the classic ballads of the ‘40s, to the swinging songs and all time hits - interspersed with witty banter and humor. Our Sinatra first opened at the Algonquin Hotel's famed Oak Room in August of 1999 before it was expanded as an off-Broadway show at the Blue Angel Theatre in December of 1999. By the time it finished its run in July 2002, it had amassed more than 1,000 performances. It played at the legendary Birdland, from November 2003 through March 2004. In addition to the New York productions and two sold out national tours, Our Sinatra has played at numerous theaters around the country. The New York Times calls Our Sinatra "An utterly winning tribute to Ol' Blue Eyes," and "Superior Entertainment." Showtimes at Feinstein's are at 8 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, with added 10:30 p.m. shows on Friday and Saturday. Tickets range from $50.08 to $99.08. For reservations, call (212) 339-4095.

And speaking of Sinatra...If you are reading this early enough, Judy (Garland) and Frank (you-know-who), in the guise of Denise Rose and CJ 'Frank the Voice' Sinestro, will perform tonight, Friday the 13th, at Lucky's Lounge, 7345 S. Jones at Warm Springs (just off the 215), beginning at 5 p.m., and going until "around 9ish." There is no cover charge. Call (702) 896-2515 for reservations.

* * * * * * * *

This week's entertainment lineup, through Sunday the 15th at the Gold Coast's Vegas Magic Theatre, is made up of personable Matt Marcy, who "presents comedy magic for smart people;" Michael Goudeau, comedy juggler unicyclist, and Lance Burton's longtime guest star; 20-something year old Australian magician/ entertainer, Trigg Watson; and host/magician/singer Ben Stone. Tickets for Paul Stone's Vegas Magic Theatre are $14.95 plus taxes and fees. In addition to the stage show, beginning and hour before the performance, folks get a free pre-show in the lounge adjacent to the showroom. Showtimes are at 7 p.m., Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. On Saturdays, performances are at 5 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the Gold Coast Gift Shop.
Photo of Producer Paul Stone, Gold Coast General Manager Kerrie, and Boyd Gaming Chairman Bill Boyd, at Vegas Magic Theatre media night, by Stephen Thorburn.

Paul Stone, Kerrie Burke & Bill Boyd

Michael Goudeau

Accomplished author and Comedy-Magician, Mac King, announces the launch of his latest book, Mac King's Magic in a Minute Mysteries, available on eBook platforms including Kindle, NOOK and Smashwords. A spinoff of King's wildly popular and syndicated Magic-in-a-Minute comic strip, Magic in a Minute Mysteries is a thrill-packed eBook that features the familiar cast of the comic strip, Mac King and his sidekick Lewis T. Monkey. They are joined by a group of new characters; Harry Zimmerman, the narrator; Kelly Diaz, the heroine; and Contessa Vanessa D'Messa, an eccentric snooty pants and the Clubhouse O' Magic's landlord, who aid in solving the most confounding of mysteries through a series of loosely connected chapters. Through the narration of Harry Zimmerman, the book's interactive format takes the reader on an path encouraging them to perform a few of Mac King's illusions, which are then used to help solve the mystery. "With the growing popularity of eReaders like Kindle and Nook, I knew it was only a matter of time until my faithful and attention-craving sidekick, Lewis T. Monkey, would want to make his appearance in the digital world," said Mac King. "With Magic in a Minute Mysteries, kids can learn magic in a fun new way by reading and participating in a good book. Plus, Lewis' thirst for stardom is quenched for another day." Suited for children in grades 5-8, with a reading level of 9-12, Magic in a Minute Mysteries is a thrill-packed interactive book written by Mac King and R.G. Wyatt and is published by Mac King Industries. Magic in a Minute Mysteries features illustrations by Bill King that translate effectively to both color and black and white eReaders, and is available to download for $4.99 on Kindle and NOOK. Additionally, it is available for smart phones and tablets via Smashwords – the world's leading eBook publishing and distribution platform. More information on the book series can be found at In June of 2004, Mac King launched Magic In a Minute – a Sunday comic strip that runs in major national newspapers – alongside illustrator Bill King. The success of "Magic In a Minute" led to magic toys, magic sets and instructional videos that are sold in major box retailers nationwide. King debuted his first book, Great Big Ol' Book-O-Magic, in 2007. The magic book quickly became a hit among children. In 2009, Suitcase-O-Magic – a miniature suitcase filled with magic tricks and instructions – hit store shelves. Continuing the success of his bookstore endeavors, Mac King released Mac King's Campfire Magic in March 2010, followed by Mac King's Campfire Magic App for iPhone and iPad. In May 2010, King released his newest magic set Lunchbox-O-Magic. Now in his 12th year of headlining afternoons at Harrah's Las Vegas, Mac King has been consistently lauded throughout his impressive run, including recently being named "Best Strip headliner" in the Las Vegas Weekly's 2011 annual Vegas' best awards. Las Vegas Review-Journal's "Best of Las Vegas" readers' poll, named his show the "Best Bargain Show" for eight straight years (2003-2011), and deemed him "Favorite Male Las Vegan" in 2008. King has also been honored as Magic Magazine's "Funniest Act in Magic," the World Magic Awards' "Best Comedy Magician" and the Magic Castle's "Magician of the Year." Sought after worldwide, King has made television appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman, and all five of NBC's "The World's Greatest Magic" TV specials. King has also made several appearances at the "Just For Laughs" comedy festival in Montreal, and was a featured performer in the "Masters of Magic" series at the Luminato Festival in Toronto, Canada. King, one of today's brightest and most talented magicians, takes the stage twice daily, at 1 and 3 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays, in the Harrah's Las Vegas Showroom Theatre. Tickets are $29.95 plus tax. Additional information on The Mac King Comedy Magic Show can be found by visiting

Mac King

Human Nature by Erik Kabik

* * * * * * * *

The Tommy Thompson Project will be performing at Garfield's (at Desert Shores), tonight from 6 to 8 p.m., and will be at Onyx, 7770 W. Ann Rd., on January 20th from 6 to 9 p.m.

* * * * * * * *

Guests who purchase tickets to see the hit show, Smokey Robinson Presents Australia's Human Nature The Ultimate Celebration of the Motown Sound, at the Imperial Palace, will receive two free song downloads from the group's website,, providing fans the opportunity to take the show's music home with them. The world-renowned group has pre-selected 11 of their greatest and fan favorite Motown hits to be included in the free song selection. Fans can enjoy such classics as "Dancing In The Street" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," or groove to Motown soul classics, "My Girl" and "Just My Imagination." Whatever songs are selected, Human Nature has made it easy to pair and personalize from the 11 track bonus offer. "We're making history by including two free downloadable songs with every paid ticket, as this has never been done before in Las Vegas," said Adam Steck, CEO of SPI Entertainment. "We are excited to be able to give guests the gift of Human Nature's Motown music. My prediction is that other musical headliners on the Strip will take our lead and start doing this as well." "It means a lot that people choose to spend the night with us when there are so many great entertainment options in this town," said Andrew Tierney, a member of Human Nature. "We want to give these free downloads to the audience as our way to say thank you - it also helps keep this amazing Motown music alive and playing in people's homes and lives." Named "Best Singers" by editors of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the vocal quartet's contract was extended for two years, through May 2012, after only a year at Imperial Palace. To further sing their praises, the 653-seat showroom in which the group performs was renamed the Human Nature Theater. In addition, the group recently premiered their very own PBS special "Human Nature Sings Motown with Special Guest Smokey Robinson" in November. The four members of Human Nature – Toby Allen, Phil Burton, Andrew Tierney and Michael Tierney – perform Motown's greatest hits with distinctive and soulful harmonies. Known for outstanding concert and stage performances, the group has opened for superstars Celine Dion and Michael Jackson, and has made several international television appearances, including on the Oprah Winfrey show. Human Nature has racked up an impressive 70 Top 40 hits, and five Top 10 hits, on the Australian pop charts. The band's previous albums have all gone multi-platinum in Australia, and have been successful on international charts. Human Nature recently released a tenth studio album, Vegas: Songs from Sin City, featuring 12 Vegas-themed tracks. Produced by Adam Steck, together with Human Nature, Smokey Robinson Presents Australia's Human Nature – The Ultimate Celebration of the Motown Sound performs six nights a week (dark Friday) at 7:30 p.m. in the Human Nature Theater at Imperial Palace. Tickets range in price from $52.95 to $72.95 (plus tax and fees) and may be purchased by calling (888) 777-7664 or online at

* * * * * * * *

During pageant week, it is a custom for the Miss America Pageant to honor a Miss America who is celebrating her 50th Anniversary of winning the national crown. Maria Fletcher, Miss America 1962, will be honored at the 2012 Miss America Pageant, which is being held at Planet Hollywood through tomorrow, Saturday, January 14th. Prior to winning the crown, Maria was a Radio City Music Hall Rockette. In 1961, she won the title of Miss North Carolina and was a swimsuit winner at the Miss America Pageant. The scholarship money she earned, by winning the title of Miss America, gave her the opportunity to become a Vanderbilt graduate. The Fletcher family has a remarkable show business history. Maria's parents were vaudeville performers, who later became prominent dance instructors in North Carolina. Maria's sister, Bonnie Fletcher, was one of the Bluebell Dancers in the Donn Arden Lido de Paris production at the Las Vegas Stardust Hotel. Throughout the years, Maria has resided in the state of Nevada in such places as Reno, Incline Village, and now calls Las Vegas her home, where she is enjoying life as a numerologist.

Maria Fletcher, Miss America 1962

Felix Silla

* * * * * * * *

Happy birthday, Capricorns (December 22nd to January 19th), Evan Davis, Carme Pitrello, Bob Kaz, Cayleigh Capaldi, Ari Dane, Larry "Hot Chocolate" Edwards, Roslyn Kind, Jan Wood Lovelady, Gina Eckstine (a REAL child of Billy Eckstine), Jennifer Flanigan, Maggie Peterson Mancuso, Frankie Randall, Rip Taylor, Rose Eurdekian, Ricky Martin, Tony Martin, Jimmy Buffett, Barbara Mandrell, Annie Lennox, David Sedaris, Chris Daughtry, Tovah Feldshuh, Charles Neville, Edgar Winter, John Legend, Paula Poundstone, Jon Voight, Donna Summer, Bebe Neuwirth, Raul Rodriguez, Marilyn Manson, Nicolas Cage, Shirley Bassey, Little Anthony Gourdine, David Bowie, R. Kelly, Dave Matthews, Crystal Gayle, Joan Baez, Frank Sinatra Jr., Donald Fagen (Steely Dan), Pat Benatar, George Foreman, Rod Stewart, Felix Silla, Mary J. Blige, Naomi Judd, The Amazing Kreskin, LL Cool J, Muhammad Ali, Kid Rock, Dick Contino, Bobby Goldsboro, Desi Arnaz Jr., Dolly Parton and Michael Crawford.
And special happy birthday wishes to Betty White who turns 90 on the 17th of January, and Oscar-winning actress Luise Rainer (The Great Ziegfeld, The Good Earth) who turned 102 yesterday, January 12th.

Anthony Gourdine

Bebe Neuwirth

* * * * * * * *

On Saturday, January 21st at 2 p.m., Vegas Jazz presents This Is New, featuring vocalist extraordinaire, Lynn Bush, accompanied by Frank Leone on piano, Phil Wigfall on woodwinds, Jeff Davis on bass, and Jim Belk on drums, at the Winchester Cultural Center, 3130 S. McLeod Drive (just north of Desert Inn). Katrina Sumner tells us that, every year Vegas Jazz has an annual meeting in which members are encouraged to attend to join the board and discuss the "state of the jazz." Immediately after the meeting, there is a concert.

Lynn Bush was born in Wichita Kansas, Lynn's first memories were of music; listening to her Mother's extensive collection of Classical and Broadway recordings. She also had a deep affinity for the natural rhythms of life in the country that has influenced her unique approach to song-craft. These were lessons that would follow her through life. As a young woman in Oklahoma City she began singing professionally at 18 with a small blues group, exploring multiple genres of styles, from folk to musical theater to cabaret, eventually returning to university studies in voice and jazz. Her musical path in vocal jazz allowed her the opportunity to work with musicians who followed the traditions that have long been a part of the Mid-Western Jazz Culture. She gained a hands-on education from the musicians that helped lay the foundation for modern jazz music. Lynn studied classical vocal technique receiving her BA in Communications from the University of Central Oklahoma. She made her festival debut in 1997 at the*Jazz in June* festival in Oklahoma as featured artist with the Michael Wolff Quartet and performed with her own quartet at Festivals throughout Oklahoma. Her career includes performances with bop icon Max Roach, as part of his special studies program on the "History and Future of Jazz," and opening for Buddy Rich's Big Band in Oklahoma City. Lynn was also winner of the Jazz in June Vocal Competition and Producer for Barney Kessel's weekly radio series, Inside Jazz with Barney Kessel, that aired weekly on KCSC-FM. Her relocation to the Pacific Northwest in 1997 provided the opportunity for her to expand her studies and performance opportunities. She studied with Seattle's legendary jazz coach, Jerome Gray, as well as Modern jazz vocalist, Mark Murphy. Lynn performed regularly with New Stories, and recorded her first project titled Still Life, which was released on Origin Records, gaining an international audience and critical acclaim. She was nominated for Jazz Vocalist of the Year by Earshot Jazz and performed at Seattle's Bumbershoot Music Festival. Lynn has performed numerous concerts and club dates throughout the Mid-West and the Pacific NW. Her path has brought her to the Las Vegas area where she now resides with her three granddaughters. This will be an excellent concert of straight ahead jazz , but with unusual material. Those interested can call the Winchester Cultural Center at (702) 455-7340, or visit the website at

Lynn Bush

Disney's Toy Story 3 On Ice

* * * * * * * *

You don't have to be a kid (except at heart) to enjoy Disney's Toy Story 3 On Ice, at the Thomas & Mack Center, through Sunday. Produced by Feld Entertainment (Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, Siegfried & Roy), show times are today, Friday the 13th (yipes!) at 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, the 14th and 15th, at 11:30 a.m., and 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $17 to $53. Call (702) 739-3267.

Have a question about Las Vegas? Want to make a comment (be nice, now)?
If so, drop an e-mail and ask. Click Here
Cousin Claire will do her best to find the answer for you.
You can find Past Columns HERE

     Like to be notified when Claire Voyant's next column is available?
Then join Claire Voyant's announcement mailing list!
Enter your email address below, then click the 'Join List' button:

Claire Voyant's portrait by Charlie Frye