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 May 11, 2012
You can find the current column HERE


Las Vegas - May 11, 2012


Niki Scalera

Shirley Bassey

To borrow the title of a Rodgers and Hammerstein song, "There is Nothing like a Dame," unless it is someone paying homage to a dame, a dame such as Wales-born singer, Shirley Bassey. On Sunday, we were among a lucky bunch, invited by Leslie Frisbee, to attend a special Champagne Brunch at the, soon to close, Turnberry Towers' private Stirling Club. In addition to a delicious spread, a group of music lovers were treated at a sampling of Brunch, Broadway, Bassey, featuring singer/actress Niki Scalera performing the songs of Dame Shirley Bassey, "one of the most popular female vocalists in Britain during the last half of the 20th century." In the United States, Bassey is best known for recording the theme songs for the James Bond films Goldfinger (1964), Diamonds Are Forever (1971), and Moonraker (1979). Now 75, Bassey, who last performed here at the MGM Grand's 650-seat Hollywood Theatre in 2000, is the only artist to have recorded more than one Bond movie theme song. Accompanied by Jersey Boy's musical director, Keith Thompson, on piano, Niki Scalera showcased a portion of a show that she hopes to get booked into a performance space in Las Vegas. In her taste of Bassey, Niki sang both "Goldfinger" and "Diamonds Are Forever," along with Shirley's first single, "Burn My Candle" (recorded in 1956, when the diva was only 19), "I (Who Have Nothing)," "I Am What I Am" (from Jerry Herman's Broadway musical, La Cage aux Folles), and "This Is My Life (La Vita)," earning herself a standing ovation at the conclusion. Scalera will be one of the vocalists featured in Wednesday night's Composers Showcase at The Smith Center, where she will sing an original Keith Thompson song. If it were based solely on talent and charisma, Scalera, who has performed on Broadway in Tarzan and Hairspray, and in We Will Rock You at Paris Las Vegas, would have her room, and would build herself a strong, loyal following and long running show. Unfortunately, these days, it very rarely works that way. See our rant on this subject elsewhere in today's column.

The Composers Showcase is an entertainment forum that offers local songwriters the opportunity to present original musical material to a supportive audience in an informal cabaret-style setting. The showcase, presented once a month, focuses on uniting the Theatre community of Las Vegas, giving creative spirits an outlet for artistic expression, laughing a lot and having a great time. Show starts in The Smith Center's Cabaret Jazz club at 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $23 and may be purchased by calling (702) 749-2000.

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We love it when media-types get into bitchy battles with each other (unless we are one of those involved). In a recent Las Vegas Review-Journal column, a member of that paper's staff was critical of an unnamed "celebrity blogger" (obviously NOT with the Review-Journal). It seems that someone is in a snit because a onetime rich and famous personality is trying to take credit for "news" that had supposedly been scooped by his gossip-type opponent. Hopefully, the boys will patch up their differences and go on about their business, although sometimes the sniping is more interesting than the stuff they write about. Keep an eye on this one.

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Nelson Sardelli tells us that yesterday's F.I.O.R.E. (Fun Italians Organizing Ridiculous Events) luncheon, at the East Sahara Italian American Club, attracted more than 80 men and women, who enjoyed great food, great music (provided by Gary Anderson and The Usual Suspects), a great program (special guest, author/businesswoman, Susan T. Spencer), along with great camaraderie. For many years, the F.I.O.R.E. organization has been a Boys Club, with ladies invited to just a few of the monthly non-club club events. It looks like the presidents (all the men members are presidents) may have to get used to having the girls around (they do add a touch of class to the gatherings), as the co-ed thing has become quite popular and may become a permanent thing.

Photo caption from May F.I.O.R.E. meeting (from left to right): Amy Chelini, candidate for Justice of the Peace Department 8; F.I.O.R.E. President Nelson Sardelli; and guest speaker, author Susan T. Spencer.


Chelini, Sardelli & Spencer at May F.I.O.R.E. Meeting

Ronnie Rose & Nelson Sardelli at Nevada State Veterans Home

And speaking of Nelson Sardelli, he received the following letter from Angela Metcalf, Volunteer Coordinator at the Nevada State Veterans Home, 100 Veterans Memorial Drive, in Boulder City. The Nevada State Veterans Home will be hosting the Annual Father's Day Bash on Sunday, June 17th, and request the presence of Nelson Sardelli and Friends. The residents, families, visitors, staff, and volunteers look forward to this event every year and love the entertainment that is provided by Nelson and his many talented friends. We look forward to working with you and wish you a happy and safe spring. Thank you for your consideration of our request. We are "Caring for America's Heroes," Mr. Sardelli, himself a former member of the US Army, adds...For the last few years we have been a part of the Father's Day Celebration at the Veterans Home in Boulder City. They have just contacted me asking if they can count on our help for this year's June 17th event. Yes, it is a Sunday and a lot of us would like to spend it with our families, but for the past six years or so, you have found in your hearts a kind and unselfish generosity that propelled you to drive in the snow, sleet and rain and give some of your time to entertain our American Heroes. Somehow I know that this year will not be any different. A lot of you will gladly be there.

Gary Olds has also been contacted and he is putting together a dynamite group of musicians to play for the four (count 'em...four) hour event. Needless to say, it is imperative that we have a few acts that require no background music so the players can have a breather now and then.
To volunteer your talent and/or hugs for those who have served their country, call Nelson at (702) 646-1813 (no blocked calls please).
To quote famed football coach, Vince Lombardi (1913-1970), "The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor."

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Last Saturday, May 5th, the streets of downtown Las Vegas turned pink, thanks to the participants taking part in Southern Nevada's Susan G. Komen Race For the Cure to benefit breast cancer awareness and raise money for research and treatment. The Komen Southern Nevada Race for the Cure® has experienced tremendous growth since it's inception in 1996. What started in a mall parking lot with 1,359 participants, has grown into the largest, non-profit footrace in the state of Nevada. With more than 15,000 people traveling through the streets of downtown Las Vegas year after year, this one-day raises millions of dollars to help find a cure for breast cancer and provide life-saving services for those in the community.


Race For the Cure

Liberace

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We picked up this story on Broadway.com...
All That Glitters, a musical about the life of flamboyant entertainer Liberace, is eyeing a Broadway run in April 2013. Directed, composed and choreographed by Alexander DeJong, the show will have a workshop at the Baryshnikov Arts Center running from May 8th through May 11th. Three actors (Richard Kline, Zachary S. Berger and Kevin Dolan) will play the famed pianist at different stages of his life. The musical also features a book by DeJong and James A. Walsh and additional music by Tom Nelson. All That Glitters rockets through the flashy career of celebrated pianist and vocalist, Wladziu Valentino Liberace. Known for his showmanship and excessive style, Liberace bought Louis XIV furniture, candelabras from the Palace of Versailles, one of only five Phantom V Limousine Rolls Royces in existence, diamond encrusted coats, bejeweled pianos and plastic surgery. His musicianship was revered by the greatest piano manufacturers on earth, but all of his emotional carnage was drowned out by the deafening ovations of audiences all over the world. This is not the first time a musical about Liberace has set its sights on the Great White Way. Liberace: The Man, the Music and the Memories, directed by Pamela Hall and starring Wayland Pickard as Liberace, hoped to open in the fall of 2010. The show however has yet to make it to Broadway. All That Glitters includes costumes by Bob Mackie, scenery by John Arnone, lighting by Howell Binkley and musical direction by Jack Lee. We will stay on top of this.

And speaking of Mr. Showmanship...
Like just about everything "planned" relating to Liberace and Las Vegas, none of it has materialized. Since the inexcusable closing of the Liberace Museum in October of 2010, everything talked about/promised (a touring exhibit, for example) has yet to occur. How can you tell when the people involved with anything to do with the late entertainer are lying? The answer appears to be, "When their lips are moving." Sadly, there are no surviving family members to oversee what may be left of the assets (what assets?) and inventory in the museum, as well as the almost empty Liberace Plaza on East Tropicana in Las Vegas.

We are more than a little surprised that there has been no serious look (investigation) into the operation of the Liberace Museum and Foundation. If that had happened, there might have been some criminal charges filed against some of the people with control over there. What happened to the money...beside what was paid out in outlandish salaries? With what has happened to the Liberace legacy in the past few years (he was robbed), we suspect that Wladziu Valentino Liberace, not to mention his mama and brother, George, must be spinning in their graves.

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The world-famous Improv at Harrah's Las Vegas is the longest-running comedy club on the Las Vegas Strip. The Improv's ability to showcase young comedians, as well as bring in big names, has attributed to its longevity and success. Each week, The Improv showcases three of the funniest and freshest faces in comedy, creating a show that is always unique and definitely funny. The comedians who will perform from May 15th through the 20th are Mark Cohen, Frances Dilorinzo and Dylan Mandlsohn. Mark Cohen moved to New York City at age 17 to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and soon began performing at the city's top comedy clubs. Cohen has performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, improvised on Whose Line Is It Anyway?, was the host of the Comedy Central series, Make Me Laugh, and starred as "The Mattress King" on the television show, Friends. What began as a mandatory speech class in college turned into a successful career as a comedian for Frances Dilorinzo, who spent a few years performing stand-up at nightclubs and bars in Los Angeles before working her way into television. Her enthusiasm for sarcasm and quick wit earned her appearances on Last Comic Standing, Comics Unleashed, Comedy Central and more. As one critic worded it, watching Dilorinzo do stand-up is "like ordering a Starbucks espresso with extra caffeine." Dylan Mandlsohn's rubber face and array of charismatic stand-up characters have made history by making him the first Canadian comic to be a back-to-back finalist at the prestigious San Francisco and Seattle Comedy competitions. Mandlsohn has since starred in his own Comedy Now Special for The Comedy Network and CTV. Inspired by Jim Carrey, Mandlsohn uses his own brilliant comedy to challenge social norms by pushing boundaries that promote forward thinking to his audiences across this globe. Shows are at 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. Please note that starting Tuesday, May 15th, the 10:30 p.m. show will be moved to 10 p.m. Tickets are $29.05 or $44.95 (plus applicable taxes and fees) for VIP tickets that include special seating, an Improv t-shirt and post-show meet-and-greet with the comics. Special two-for-one tickets are also available for locals for the 10:30 p.m. show. Tickets are available through Harrah's Box Office (702) 369-5223, and online at www.harrahslasvegas.com. Among the funny people appearing at Improv at Harrah's Las Vegas in upcoming weeks are Tommy Savitt, Yassir Lester, Tracey MacDonald, Todd Glass, Daniel Kinno, Bobby Miyamoto, Ian Bagg, Maryellen Hooper and Hiram Kasten.


Mark Cohen

Author Cork Proctor

And speaking of comics...
The University of Nevada at Las Vegas' (UNLV) Arnold Shaw Popular Music Center, and Stephens Press, have announced the forthcoming publication of Cork Proctor's memoir, My Mind is An Open Mouth: A Life Behind the Mic. The Arnold Shaw Center is sponsoring publication through the LifeStories Books imprint of Stephens Press. Cork Proctor is a Nevada comedy legend, having performed for five decades in major hotel lounges and main rooms in Reno, Lake Tahoe, and Las Vegas where he has opened for stars such as the Supremes and Mel Tillis. His memoir describes how he began as a Reno drummer and rose to a comedy career that has taken him all over the US and the Caribbean. The book is dedicated to three entertainment columnists who supported Las Vegas entertainers during the era: Bill Willard, Forrest Duke, and Joe Delaney. "As befitting a much-admired comedian, Cork's narrative is poignant, upbeat, and at times, hysterically funny," said Carolyn Hayes Uber, president of Stephens Press," and we're honored to have the opportunity to share his life story with fans and friends as well as preserve a slice of the Las Vegas entertainment history." The book will debut on Proctor's 80th birthday, July 22, at a Comedy Roast at the South Point Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas. The roast will benefit Proctor's favorite charity, Opportunity Village. My Mind is an Open Mouth will be available as an eBook at major online retailers, including Amazon.com, iTunes.com, BN.com, and Kobo and the print edition will be available from the publisher, online book retailers, and Las Vegas bookstores. A minimum $40 per person donation is requested.
For more information regarding Cork Proctor's 80th Birthday Comedy Roast, and to make reservations for the party, call Mary Ferber, Development & Operations Manager at Las Vegas' Opportunity Village, (702) 880-4081.

Stephens Press is a book publishing company headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada. The firm publishes and markets regional and national titles online, through newspapers, bookstores, and specialty retailers. Topics include history, current events, travel, entertainment, nature, sports, lifestyle and much more. It is a division of Stephens Media, parent company of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and daily and weekly newspapers in eight states.

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Tony n' Tina's Wedding has been an off-Broadway New York hit for more than 20 years. In Las Vegas, the interactive dinner theater production has not fared quite as well. The local production has ONLY been around for about 11 years (give them time to catch up to the Big Apple record). Never a show to rest on its laurels, over the past decade, Tony n' Tina has experienced some changes, both in cast members (including a number of celebrity guest performers, among them Frank Marino, Barry Williams of The Brady Bunch fame, former teen icon Tiffany, O.J.'s onetime friend/houseguest Kato Kaelin, and Howard Stern sidekick Jackie "The Jokeman" Martling), as well as locations. When it opened in Las Vegas on Valentine's Day, 2001, Tony n' Tina's Wedding was at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. The show then moved into the Planet Hollywood Hotel, before taking over space at the V Theatre, located in Planet Hollywood's Miracle Mile Shops. The wedding party, and a party it is, is on the move again. Beginning on June 1st, the interactive dinner theater show's new home will be in the space formerly occupied by the Bally's buffet, on the hotel's second floor. (The Sterling Brunch, a mainstay at Bally's for 25 years, continues in the hotel's Steakhouse.)



"Fluff" LeCoque by Leila Navidi

According to a press release on the subject, Tony n' Tina's Wedding is unique. Unlike traditional theatrical productions, it doesn't take place on a stage, but in a restaurant. The show, which includes a full Italian dinner, revolves around a wacky wedding, from the ceremony to the reception. Performers mingle with audience members throughout the evening. There is a lot of improvisation, meaning that things are unpredictable, and shows change constantly.

Thank you to longtime T n' T cast member, Larry Atello, for refreshing our fading memory and providing us with the names of some of the celebrity guests who have performed in the fun show.

And speaking of Bally's, the site of Las Vegas' original MGM Grand Hotel, "Fluff" (Ffolliott) LeCoque, the 30-year Company Manager for Donn Arden's Jubilee!, and before that, Hallelujah Hollywood, recently retired from her position. Fluff will be spending much of her retirement with her family in the Seattle area.

Also making a move, from one stage at the V Theatre, to another at the downtown Plaza,, are the men of American Storm. American Storm was named "Best Male Strip Show" by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The cast reveals their sexy side, catering to the fantasies of the audience, and is even known for being the "Sexiest Show on the Las Vegas Strip" by Where Magazine. This 75-minute, fully costumed and choreographed production show, is sure to have audience members wanting more. The American Storm cast includes Josh, Tony, Tommy, Sway, Terry, Justin, and Alex (shown from left to right in accompanying photo). Most of the cast originated as the winners of VH1's StripSearch reality show, and have been featured on a variety of programs including EXTRA! and Entertainment Tonight. Both Tony Cress and Josh Hall were recently voted "One of the 20 Most Beautiful People in Las Vegas" by JackColton.com. Many of the boys have graced the covers of such magazines as Muscle and Fitness, RX Fitness, and Playgirl to name a few. American Storm is produced by SPI Entertainment, which also produces the hit shows Thunder From Down Under, Human Nature -The Ultimate Celebration of Motown, Frank Marino's Divas Las Vegas, and The Australian Bee Gees Show - A Tribute to the Bee Gees. This is one night out that attendees won't soon forget! Show times at The Plaza are Thursdays through Sundays at 10:30 p.m. Call the Plaza Theater Box Office at (702) 946-8934, or (800) 793-9332 to confirm show times (times are subject to change) and purchase tickets. Tickets are $39.95 plus taxes and fees. Must be 18 or older to attend. Men are welcome.


The Men of American Storm

Mary Wilson

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Reminders:
The Supreme Mary Wilson stars in James Gavin's Stormy Weather: The Lena Horne Project, in The Smith Center's Cabaret Jazz, tonight (Friday) at 8:30 p.m., and tomorrow, Saturday, May 12th, at 7 p.m. With arrangements by Mike Renzi, Ms. Wilson will be backed by the Larry Dunlap Trio, as she performs many of the songs that made Lena Horne a star. Tickets are $5 to $69, plus applicable taxes and fees. Call (702) 749-2000.

And tomorrow night, another diva, Liza Minnelli takes to the stage in the showroom at the LVH Hotel (formerly the Las Vegas Hilton), with one show only at 8 p.m. Up and coming 18-year-old singer Nicolas King will open for Liza. Tickets range from $89 to $250, plus tax and service charge, and can be purchased at the LVH box office by phone at (702) 732-5755, or (800) 222-5361, or by logging onto www.thelvh.com or www.ticketmaster.com.


Liza Minnelli

Rich Little & Friends

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Legendary comedian and impressionist, Rich Little, has returned to the Las Vegas stage with his one-man show, Jimmy Stewart & Friends. And where is the onetime main showroom headliner performing? In a hotel lounge. A NICE lounge with a small theater feel, but a lounge, nonetheless. Ten years ago, Rich Little would have never been seen in a Vegas lounge, unless it was to be an audience member watching another act. That was then. This is now. Rich Little's show premiered on April 30th, in the Shimmer Cabaret inside the LVH – Las Vegas Hotel & Casino (formerly the Las Vegas Hilton), and is scheduled to run through May 23rd. Featuring more than 25 celebrity icon voices, including Cary Grant, George Burns, Ronald Reagan, Katharine Hepburn and John Wayne, among others, Jimmy Stewart & Friends will take you through the life of the famed actor. "In addition to being my first celebrity impression, Jimmy Stewart was a dear friend and a life-long inspiration of mine," said Little. "Jimmy had no idea how he affected my life; but I did and you will too." Noted for his skewering of political figures, Little has charmed, amused, intrigued and gotten the best of politicians from here to his native Canada. A master mimic of more than 200 voices, including presidents John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, both George Bushes, and Barack Obama. Little continues to perform throughout the world, with regular stops in Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Reno, Hawaii, Chicago, New York, Canada and London. In his early 20s, Little was discovered while working in the United States. His friend, singer Mel Torme, then on the musical team of CBS network's The Judy Garland Show, asked him to make a tape. Instead of the usual impressions, Little did voices rarely if ever done by others, including Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles and Dennis Weaver. Garland thought it was great, particularly his take on James Mason, Garland's co-star in A Star Is Born, and Little was signed to the show. Over the years, Little appeared on TV variety shows starring Ed Sullivan, Jackie Gleason, Glen Campbell and Dean Martin, as well as on TV series such as Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, The John Davidson Summer Show and The Julie Andrews Show. Little also had his own variety show in the 70s and was the star of TV's KopyKats. Little was a guest host early on for The Tonight Show, filling in for Johnny Carson 12 times. Rich Little quickly became a household name, sitting in one of the Hollywood Squares, and went on to do The Muppet Show. Named "Comedy Star of the Year" by the American Guild of Variety Artists, Little produced nine comedy albums and three HBO comedy specials, as well as the Emmy Award-winning specials, Rich Little's Christmas Carol, with "W.C. Fields" as Scrooge, "Humphrey Bogart" as one of the ghosts, and "Paul Lynde" as Bob Cratchit. Jimmy Stewart & Friends, written by Little and Steve Rossi, and produced by Jay Harvey, will be performed Saturdays through Wednesdays at the Shimmer Cabaret. All performances begin at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $63.90 plus tax and applicable fees. A VIP package, which includes premium seating and a meet and greet with Rich Little following the show, is available for $73.90 plus tax and applicable fees. Nevada residents and LVH Hotel guests receive a $10 discount. Tickets can be purchased at the LVH box office, or by logging on to www.thelvh.com or by phone at (702) 732-5755 or (800) 222-5361. Guests under 21 years must be accompanied by an adult.

My, oh my, how things have changed on the local entertainment scene, and, for the most part, not for the better. Many of the shows and acts around here these days are using the "Pay to Play" arrangement in order for performers to work. Also known as a "two wall" or "four wall" deal, the performer rents the showroom, or space, from the hotel, leaving them with all of the risk and most, if not all, of the costs. The hotels risk virtually nothing. Most of the time, although a well-publicized four-wall act is the magnet that brings customers into the property, the establishments don't even help with advertising costs, a necessary evil for any chance at all of success. Once the customer is in the hotel, although they may only have come to the place because of the entertainment, chances are they will spend other money at the property - eating, drinking, gambling, shopping - that will not benefit the tenant in the theater space in any way. One of the latest casualties of this trend is impressionist Houston MacPherson. Last Tuesday's afternoon media event for Houston, late at the Clarion, has been postponed. As we have noted before, for entertainers trying to get a toehold in Las Vegas, it's a jungle out there. Gone are the days when a "newcomer" could move from a lounge performer to a showroom headliner (ala Don Rickles). Part of the problem is that the Las Vegas lounges, the training ground for many, have pretty much disappeared. As for Houston, he joins a list that no one wants to be on...those entertainers that bravely tried it in Las Vegas and failed. Some of them have thrown in the Vegas towel, at least for now, while others have moved (or are planning to move) on to other venues. Maybe the second, or third, or fourth time will be the charm, or maybe not. Steve Wyrick (who has moved from hotel to hotel during his approximately 15 years in Vegas), former Jersey Boy Rick Faugno (who has taken shots as a "resident" act in two different venues), impressionist Bethany Owen (who stuck it out for a few months at the Rio), Triumph (which wasn't, and disappeared before it got started), and more Clarion casualties - Linda Bulgo, Tony Pace, Jan Rouven (who started at the Clarion, but is now at the Riviera), and Tommy Wind (his last show at the Clarion is on Saturday, May 19th), come immediately to mind. Talent isn't always the determining factor when it comes to success or failure in The Entertainment Capital of the World. Timing, location, money to invest in the business of show (the right advertising being most important), and good old fashioned luck, all play a big part in the city that attracts gamblers of every type. Good luck to all (or most) who take the gamble.


Bethany Owen

Spyro Gyra

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The Nevada Conservatory Theatre (NCT) at UNLV hosts an intimate evening of champagne and exciting musical entertainment at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 21st, in a fundraising benefit celebrating another successful theater season at UNLV. The festivities begin with a cocktail reception in the Peter Lind Hayes and Mary Healy Gallery at Artemus Ham Concert Hall. Guests will have the opportunity to meet and mingle with cast members from the evening's entertainment line-up. A silent auction will be available for guests to bid on tickets to several of Las Vegas' Broadway and production shows, as well as other services and prizes donated by patrons and supporters of NCT. The reception is followed at 8 p.m. by a cabaret-style musical performance entitled On With the Show!, featuring headliner Clint Holmes, along with Megan Arnoldy, Bruce Ewing, Graham Fenton, Christine Hudman, Matthew Hydzik, Christopher Lash, Tim Molyneux, Jeff Neiman, Jon Peterson, Billy Reed, Peter Saide, Niki Scalera, Keith Thompson, Nikka Wahl, and members of the casts of Jersey Boys, Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, Broadway's West Side Story, Hairspray, and Tarzan: The Musical, as well as NCT's own season finale production, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. On With the Show! also features a special performance by pianist Philip Fortenberry, and is hosted by NCT Board member and Jersey Boys conductor, Keith Thompson, co-founder and host of Las Vegas' popular monthly Composers Showcase. "As creative and performing artists, it is our duty to keep the theatre a vibrant part of our artistic experience here in the desert," said Thompson. "It's important to ensure that live music and theatrical arts remain cornerstones of our the Southern Nevada community." Tickets are $50 and available at the UNLV Performing Arts Center Box Office or online at pac.unlv.edu, or by calling (702) 895-ARTS (2787). All proceeds benefit the guest artist program of Nevada Conservatory Theatre ("Elevating Theatrical Arts"), which provides theater students with the invaluable experience of working alongside and under the direction of professional directors, designers and actors in the theater and entertainment fields, raising the level of excellence of the students' craft and educational experience. Yearly subscriptions to the 2012-2013 Nevada Conservatory Theatre Season are now available by contacting (702) 895-ARTS (2787). Availability for season tickets is limited, and prices vary, depending on category level. For details, visit nct.unlv.edu.

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Tomorrow, Saturday, May 12th at 6 p.m., the third annual Las Vegas Honors St. Jude: An Affair of the Art, takes place at the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel and Resort. This dazzling, black-tie gala will feature hosted cocktails, sophisticated silent and live auctions that include a collection of custom artwork by renowned artists, a signature dinner, and star-studded entertainment and appearances. The phenomenal art exhibit will feature three-dimensional, five-foot tall heart statues, each custom created by a professional local artist (including one of our favorites, Martin Kreloff). The artists give each heart "life" through their vision and interpretation of what a heart or life for a child means to them. These unique creations have been on exhibit at Symphony Park, across the street from The Smith Center's Reynolds Hall. Major corporations, celebrities and the city of Las Vegas are showing their support by generously sponsoring the hearts. Sponsors of this project are playing a major role in creating awareness for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and its mission of finding cures and saving children. One-hundred percent of the proceeds raised benefit the children of St Jude in the fight against childhood cancer and other deadly diseases. Price is $250 for individual tickets (limited tickets available). For more information, please contact Lauren Hanna at ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital-Pacific Coast Region, (800) 701-4443, or [email protected]

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Clark County Parks and Recreation presents Jazz in the Park, tomorrow, May 12th, featuring the jazz fusion band, Spyro Gyra. Opening act for Spyro Gyra is from the Las Vegas Academy Jazz Combo. The free concert takes place at the outdoor Clark County Government Center Amphitheater, 500 S. Grand Central Parkway, downtown. Food and drink are available for purchase on site. Picnics, blankets, and low-back chairs are welcome. Pets are not. Doors open at 7 p.m. Performance starts at 7:30. Take advantage of the great weather. Gather up the family and have a nice night out. The price is definitely right.

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In the coming months, Tropical Smoothie Café, the popular restaurant chain serving healthy, real-fruit smoothies and tasty sandwiches, wraps and salads, will open three new locations in Southern Nevada. The first store will open on May 25th, at 3717 Las Vegas Blvd. South at Harmon, adjacent to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. Stores inside the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower and the Excalibur Hotel Casino are set to open in late summer. "I am so excited to finally have the opportunity to bring Tropical Smoothie Café to the Las Vegas Strip," said Dina Mitchell, Tropical Smoothie Café Area Developer and Marketing Director for Nevada. "Eleven years ago, it was a tough sell to get a landlord to give us a chance. I would hear 'We just don't think smoothies will sell in Vegas...' Well, with the addition of this first Strip location, we have 19 stores open." Two additional Strip-based stores are under construction, and the company is in negotiations for three more Strip locations. Mitchell brought Tropical Smoothie Café to Southern Nevada in 2001, opening the first store in Henderson. Six of the 19 Vegas area stores are among the top 10 in sales throughout company, and the top-selling store within the entire company is located at Flamingo and I-215. "It feels great to have the Strip-based hotels taking notice of the brand that I have always believed in," Mitchell continued. Under Mitchell's leadership, area stores have been active in philanthropy with local and national nonprofit organizations for the past 11 years. The Boys and Girls Club of Southern Nevada, Camp Sunshine, Salvation Army, Public Education Foundation and Las Vegas Philharmonic, are among the organizations that have benefited from Tropical Smoothie Café's community outreach efforts. This summer, on June 15th, Tropical Smoothie Café will once again host its annual National Flip Flop Day celebration at all locations. Customers need only visit a Tropical Smoothie Café that day between 2-7 p.m., wearing flip flop sandals, and they will receive a free 24-oz. Jetty Punch smoothie. National Flip Flop Day also doubles as a fundraiser for Camp Sunshine – a summer camp designed specifically for children with life-threatening illnesses, and their families. Donations will be accepted at all Tropical Smoothie Café locations beginning May 28th. For further information about Tropical Smoothie Café, locations and the complete menu, visit www.tropicalsmoothiecafe.com. Founded in Destin, Florida, in 1997, Tropical Smoothie Café is in a niche category of the quick service restaurant industry providing diners healthier food with a tropical twist. The company offers made-to-order toasted wraps, flatbreads, sandwiches and gourmet salads, while continuing to provide consumers with a variety of high-quality real fruit smoothies. Tropical Smoothie Café includes dine-in, take-out and catering menu options for breakfast, lunch and dinner, available through online ordering. Ranked by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the fastest growing franchises of 2010, the chain currently has more than 300 locations nationwide. For more information, visit www.tropicalsmoothiecafe.com or call (888) 292-2522.



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