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 October 05, 2012
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - October 5, 2012

Big Dogs Cafe

As Bernard Ighner wrote in the song, "Everything must change, nothing stays the same...," and so it goes with the location for the monthly meetings of the F.I.O.R.E. (Fun Italians Organizing Ridiculous Events) group. From one of the F.I.O.R.E. presidents (all of the male members are presidents), Nelson Sardelli, comes this missive...
Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their non club club.
Dear Presidents, First ladies, Friends, Foes and Back Stabbers,
The Italian American Club is currently experiencing reorganization problems. Angelo Cassaro has done a tremendous job in the last year and a half, and we admire and appreciate his hard work and sincere admiration to this 52 years Las Vegas Landmark, that is the IAC. Without delving any further into matters that are not of our business, I can only say that after a long and friendly meeting with Angelo, we, Gene Vitale and I, agreed that it is time for a change. A new venue had to be found. Our next meeting will be held at a new location. Gene and I looked into many of the suggestions given by some of you. We, diligently, checked many different venues and we were lucky to find a place that can accommodate us and meet our requirements. The October 11th meeting will be held at our new headquarters: Big Dogs Café & Casino, located at 6390 W. Sahara Ave., between Jones and Torrey Pines. There is, however, a minor problem. Their banquet room is on the second floor and they do not have an elevator. There are exactly 22 steps going up...and then down. We can only suggest that those of you having a bit of trouble with stairways, come as early as you can and make the climbing in stages, four sets of five steps with rests in between and a final two step at the end. Due to the change in venue, we have postponed Linda November's program to a date to be announced. We may have many subjects to cover and it and it would not be fair to Ms. November. Everything else remains the same, including the part were you are requested to RSVP to Gene Vitale ASAP at [email protected]. We had to guarantee at least 35 attendees. Your presence would be appreciated on that day as a show of support. Help us to make a good impression at the new location.
Thank you
Nelson Sardelli
The working mule at the FIORE
For additional information about Big Dogs Café & Casino, call (702) 876-3647.
The Thursday, October 11th lunch buffet starts at 11:30 a.m. Price is $25, and the ladies are warmly welcome. Don't forget to RSVP.

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For TheaterMania by Bethany Rickwald
Bill Nolte
to Star in Westchester Broadway Theatre's Fiddler on the Roof
Westchester Broadway Theatre is set to present Fiddler on the Roof, October 11-November 25 and January 3-February 3. Richard Stafford will direct and choreograph, with musical direction by Leo P. Carusone. With music by Jerry Bock, lyrics Sheldon Harnick, and a book by Joseph Stein, Fiddler on the Roof is a timeless classic, woven with universal themes, music, dance, poignancy, and laughter. The cast will be lead by Bill Nolte as Tevye and will also feature Emily Zacharias (Golde), Rachel Prather (Tzeitel), Sarah Rolleston (Hodel), Dana Glaus (Chava), Gianna Florio and Julia Gold (alternating as Bielke), Samantha Robins and Shannon Stout (alternating as Shprintze), Terry Palasz (Yente), Andrew Boza (Motel), Eric Johnson (Lazar Wolfe), Joe Longthorne (Perchik), Chris Giordano (Fyedka), Michael J. Farina (Mordcha), Drew Martin (the Rabbi), Benjamin Dean (Mendel), Stephen Tewksbury (the constable), Lucas Thompson (Nachum), and Stephen Valenti (Avram). The ensemble will feature Jeremy Bensussan, Mark Chandler, Andrew Mayer as The Fiddler, Jason Moody, Amanda Pulcini, Paul Sabela, and Eadie Scott.

Bill Nolte as Tevye

Scandalous on Broadway

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To say that composer/performer, David Pomeranz, is excited, would be an understatement. On Monday, a huge billboard for his latest project, Scandalous: The Life and Trials of Aimee Semple McPherson, went up in New York's Times Square, joining the likes of major Broadway shows including Annie, Wicked, War Horse, Phantom of the Opera and others. Pomeranz, who wrote "The Old Songs" and "Tryin' To Get The Feeling Again," both hits for Barry Manilow, as well as many other songs recorded by singers of note, along with David Friedman, wrote the music for Scandalous, and Kathie Lee Gifford wrote the book and lyrics. Two-time Tony Award® nominee Carolee Carmello stars as Aimee Semple McPherson, the trailblazing media superstar whose passion for saving souls was matched by her passion for making headlines. Set in 1920s Los Angeles, holiness collides with Hollywood in the extraordinary tale of one woman's charismatic rise to fame. But as her popularity grows, so do her enemies, until her sermons, her celebrity and her past combine to put everything she believes in on trial. Two-time Tony Award® winner George Hearn leads a remarkable cast of 20 in this new musical about one woman's incredible rise to glory...and fall from grace. Pomeranz, who has written a marvelous musical based on the life of Charlie Chaplin, made too brief appearances at Las Vegas' Steve Wyrick Theatre (now the David Saxe Theater) and the private Stirling Club (now closed), in 2007. Previews for Scandalous begin at the famed Neil Simon Theater on October 13th, with opening night scheduled for November 15th.

David Friedman, Kathie Lee Gifford & David Pomeranz

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It's Clint Holmes weekend at The Smith Center. As fans of Mr. Holmes know, Clint performs in the Cabaret Jazz room, the first weekend of every month. His shows usually take place on Friday and Saturday at 8:30 p.m., but just for October, because the Cabaret Jazz will be the site of a private party tomorrow night, his schedule will be a bit different, with an 8:30 p.m. performance tonight, Friday, October 5th, no Saturday show, and a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday. Each month, Clint's shows change, as do the occasional guest artists. The latest offering presents tributes to Bobby Short, Frank Sinatra and Mel Torme. Clint's special guest will be jazz vocalist, James Torme, the son of the legendary singer and British actress Janette Scott. Ticket prices are $35 and $45. For reservations, call (702) 749-2000.

James Torme

Jeff & Julie Neiman and Clint Holmes & Kelly Clinton

Clint and his multi-talented bride, Kelly Clinton, recently returned from a 12 day luxury cruise on the Seaborne Sojourn. In addition to this being a pleasure trip, coinciding with Kelly's birthday on September 18th, this was also a working cruise for the twosome. While sailing from Iceland to Greenland down the eastern coast of Canada to Quebec City and Montreal, Clint did two shows, first his semi-autobiographical show, and then a few nights later with Kelly joining him as his special guest. Mr. Holmes tells us that, following her appearance, his wife became the most popular person on the ship, "especially among the men," for the rest of the cruise. He also tells us that the ship is beautiful. The band leader was Kym Purling, who was in Clint's band for a while, during his long running Harrah's Las Vegas engagement. Clint's musical director, Jeff Neiman, and Jeff's wife, Julie, were also on the Sojourn, making it more fun for the Holmes', and giving the men time between meals to get some work done for their upcoming Cabaret Jazz show. During the trip, they met some interesting and inspiring people, and are now busy trying to lose the obligatory weight they gained eating absolutely sensational food on the ship.

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If you want a chance to see Garth Brooks in Las Vegas, your time is very limited to do so. Reporter John Katsilometes informs that Brooks will end his three year run at Wynn Las Vegas on November 17th. A popular draw here, even with ticket prices up over $200, we suspect that if Garth's November shows weren't already sold out, they will be following this announcement.

Garth Brooks

Dennis Ritz

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Veteran Las Vegas marketing man, Jim Seagrave, who currently holds the title of Vice President of Advertising & Marketing at Boyd Gaming, pointed out a mistake that we made, not just once, but TWO times, in last week's column. In our Andy Williams story, and in a caption of a photo with Donny Osmond, Dennis Ritz (like the cracker), became Dennis Rich. We wish we could blame someone else, but Cousin Claire, who knows better, and knows Mr. Ritz, goofed. Sorry, Dennis. The positive thing is, that you get another mention.

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Angela Acosta, the beautiful daughter of entertainer Bill Acosta and entertainment manager Jeanne Bavaro, is currently traveling as a magicians assistant with Masters of Illusion LIVE, the largest touring magic show in the world. The large scale production, produced by Gay Blackstone, wife of the late Harry Blackstone Jr. is currently in their second season. In recent months, the group has played Minneapolis, Chicago, Kansas city, and cities in Oklahoma and Iowa. Not only is Angela pretty (a plus for a female magicians' assistant), thanks to her dance background, she is also flexible, which is a very good thing when it comes to getting in and out of small, tight spaces.

Masters of Illusion LIVE

Shown in the accompanying photo (from left to right) are Darren Romeo, Farrell Dillon, Gay Blackstone, James Brandon, Angela, Michael Giles, George Tait, and Melanie Giles.

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Get out your medieval garb and head to the Silver Bowl Park in Las Vegas. For the 19th year, a medieval kingdom will unveil itself at the park, with lavishly costumed knights, knaves, fine ladies and wenches as Clark County Parks and Recreation present the annual Age of Chivalry Renaissance Festival, through this Sunday, the 7th. Several stages will feature entertainment with costumed performers, presenting more than 50 shows per day along with historical re-enactments, jousting tournaments, and medieval pageantry. More than 100 artisans - including blacksmiths, stained glass designers, jewelers, wood workers, toy makers, perfume blenders, stone carvers and sword, dagger and armor craftsman - will demonstrate and sell their wares. Authentic food, from fish and chips to an English feast, also will be available as will beer and ales for adults with proper identification. The Silver Bowl Park is in southeast Las Vegas, at 6800 E. Russell Road. Hours for the festival are today and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. General admission prices are $10; with seniors and children, from 5 to 12, at $5. Kids four and under are free.

Renaissance Festival

Bryan Chan

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Tomorrow, Saturday, October 6th, is the 11th annual National Coming Out Day (NCOD). In Las Vegas, the world famous Fruit Loop on Paradise (made up of businesses that include Get Booked, Gipsy, FreeZone, Piranha Nightclub, and 8˝ Ultra Lounge), will hold a Street Festival, beginning at 8 p.m. and running until 1 a.m. The event will be hosted by Bryan Chan of Chippendales, and Kitty Litter. There will be food, games and entertainment, with free parking and outside bars. This year's theme is Come Out to the Ballot Box. With the biggest election in American history taking place within a month of NCOD, people are encouraged to get out and vote. As Nevada is known nationally as a swing state, it is important for all Nevada residents to realize that their votes matter on national and local races. Election day is on November 6th.

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It's vocalist Pascale Elia back at the Dispensary Lounge tomorrow night, Saturday, October 6th, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Pascale, who has become a locals favorite, will be accompanied by Uli Geissendoerfer on keys, Steve Flora on bass, and Mike Mechem on drums. Enjoy jazz, Brazilian music and more. There is no cover charge and drinks are reasonable. The Dispensary also has a great burger special, at a hard to beat price. Vocalist and musicians are urged to join in the fun. Meet your friends at the Dispensary, located at 2451 E. Tropicana, on the southeast corner of Tropicana and Eastern.

Pascale Elia

The Tillerman

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Another big First Friday coming up. If you are downtown tonight, between 6 and 9 p.m., stop by TastySpace Gallery and see a new, eclectic body of work representing, celebrating, and benefiting members of Women In Music and Arts (W.I.M.A.), a Las Vegas-based organization dedicated to supporting women in music and arts. The work will be on display all month. TastySpace is located in the Emergency Arts Building, 520 Fremont St. at the corner of Fremont and 6th street in Suite 150. A portion of all sales will benefit Women In Music and Arts. Check them out at

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We were sorry, but not surprised, to learn that the Coachman's Inn had recently closed. The restaurant and bar, located on Eastern just north of Desert Inn, had been around since the 1970s. Once a popular hangout for locals, competition and the economy helped with the Coachman's demise. The Coachman's is one of a number of off-Strip, longtime dining establishments done in by the troubled economy, joining places including the Swiss Café, originally on East Charleston and then on East Tropicana; The Tillerman on Flamingo near Eastern; East Sahara's 40-year-old Cafe Heidelberg; Carluccio's in the pretty-much dead Liberace Plaza; and Al Basha, a small Mediterranean storefront restaurant in the Target center at Maryland Parkway and Flamingo. Also out of business are T.G.I. Friday's, on East Flamingo at Spencer; Chilis, on Green Valley Parkway, south of Sunset; and Marie Callender's on Eastern at Tropicana. The popular Rosemary's, on West Sahara, closed after a dozen years in business. Good news for fans of the restaurant is that they are reopening next year, as part of the remodeled Reed Whipple Cultural Center on Las Vegas Blvd. North. The cultural center will become the permanent home of the Las Vegas Shakespeare Company. A $45 million expansion will include a new theater and rehearsal space, a lounge, a gallery in conjunction with Opportunity Village, and Michael Jordan's Rosemary's Cafe. The planned "upscale eatery and bar" will include terrace seating.

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We are letting you know about this early, as the off-Strip Onyx Theatre has fewer than 100 seats, and this show should be a sellout. The unique and very entertaining Apple Sisters will be doing a Halloween Show at The Onyx on Saturday, October 27th. In Ghouls Night Out, someone or someTHING is haunting their Aunt Gala's mansion, and the girls must channel their inner Nancy Drews to suss out the suspect before they themselves get sussed. AND there is a murderer on the loose! Sing along with your favorite Apple Sisters Halloween delights, like the yummy tune "Trick or Treat"; prepare to meet your match with "Three Little Merry Murderers"; and your eyes won't be playing tricks on you when you see these ghosts come to life with the terrifying number "Rebels with Caws." Sponsored by Corndy, the corn flavored candy. Showtime is at 11:30 p.m., and tickets are $20. If you hurry, there is a $10 Early Bird Special for the first 20 people who purchase tickets at the Onyx Theatre box office, before October 10th, or before they sell out! The Onyx Theatre is located in the Commercial Center, inside The Rack clothing store at 953 E. Sahara Ave. Call (702) 732-7225 for more information.

The Apple Sisters

Jeff Hobson

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Paul Stone, in association with Vegas Magic Theatre, presents World Stars of Magic, continuing at the Gold Coast through Sunday. The very entertaining show features magician Christopher Hart, illusionists Kyle and Mistie Knight, Quick-Change costume artists Sos and Victoria, the hysterical Jeff Hobson, and is hosted by singing magic man Ben Stone. The main show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $24.95 plus tax, which includes a pre-show, beginning at 6:30. Locals, with proper ID, can get 2 for 1 tickets. Call (702) 251-3574 for reservations, go online at, or purchase in person at the Gold Coast Gift Shop. World Stars of Magic would be a bargain at double the price. At THIS price, it is probably the best deal in Vegas. Don't miss the show.

The World Premiere Production of Cockroach Theatre's Nurture, by Johnna Adams, opened in their new home at The Art Square Theatre in downtown Las Vegas, on September 21st.

Directed by Jason Aaron Goldberg, and starring Erik Amblad and Francine Gordon, Nurture was the winner of the 2012 Sin City New Play Contest. It is a dark comedy about two horrible single parents, who are drawn together by their equally horrible children, and their attempt to form a modern nuclear family. The remaining performance times are tomorrow night, Saturday, October 6th, at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. General Admission tickets are $18, and Students and Seniors can get in for $15. Tickets are available at the theater Box Office, 1025 S. 1st Street, #110. Cockroach Inc., doing business as Cockroach Theatre, is a federally recognized 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

And the Starbright Theatre, at 2215 Thomas W. Ryan Blvd. in Sun City Summerlin, is presenting Mistinguett Productions The Best of Las Vegas Variety Showcase, this Sunday, October 7th at 3 p.m. The revue is made up of talented singers, dancers, comedians, and a variety of novelty acts, that are currently playing, or have played, on the Las Vegas Strip. Tickets are $15 for Sun City Summerlin residents, and $18 for non-residents. All ticket sales are check or cash (exact change required). No credit cards accepted. For up-to-date information on Starbright Theatre shows, call (702) 240-1301. All shows at the Starbright Theatre are first come, first served with no limit on the number of tickets purchased. Saving seats is prohibited. Be sure to get your tickets early so you don't miss out! Show tickets may be purchased at Desert Vista, Mountain Shadows and Pinnacle Community Centers in Sun City Summerlin. All ticket prices include Live Entertainment Tax. Tickets are non-refundable.

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If you happen to be in New York, Mark Nadler, who has appeared in Las Vegas at the Charleston Heights Arts Center, and, last February, at the Historic Fifth Street School with KT Sullivan, will perform at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall, at 7 p.m. on Sunday, October 14th.

Gerstein Fisher and Karen Lotman Productions present Defying Gravity, Nadler's Art Start benefit concert for New York's at-risk youth. Along with Nadler, who will star, special guests, from the world of Broadway and film, include: Andre De Sheilds, Tony and Drama Desk nominee (The Full Monty, Ain't Misbehavin', The Wiz); Eden Espinosa (Wicked, Rent); Tony, Drama Desk and Emmy nominee, and recent Smith Center performer, Tovah Feldshuh (Irene's Vow, Golda's Balcony, Kissing Jessica Stein); Lauren Fox (Hillbilly Woman, Love, Lust, Fear & Freedom: The Songs of Joni Mitchell & Leonard Cohen); Sandra Reaves-Phillips (American Dreams, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Blues In the Night); Marta Sanders (The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas); Sean Young (Blade Runner, Wall Street, Cousins, Stardust); plus performances by Art Start Youth. For 100% tax deductible tickets, call (212) 460-0019, or visit

Mark Nadler

Ben Hale

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Gateway Arts Foundation presents Ben Hale's '60s Show, at the Starbright Theatre, 2215 Thomas W. Ryan Blvd. in Sun City Summerlin, Sunday, October 14th, at 2 p.m. Benjamin Hale, former cast member of Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, and friends, invite you to enjoy an afternoon of rock 'n' roll and some original music inspired by some of your old favorites, from The Beatles, Harry Nilsson, Mama Cass, The Righteous Brothers and more. Join Ben and his talented friends for an afternoon of music you won't want to miss. Tickets are $12 for Sun City Summerlin Residents, and $15 for non-residents. As mentioned above, all ticket sales are check or cash (exact change required). No credit cards accepted. For up-to-date information on Starbright Theatre shows, call (702) 240-1301. All shows at the Starbright Theatre are first come, first served with no limit on the number of tickets purchased. Saving seats is prohibited. Be sure to get your tickets early so you don't miss out! Show tickets may be purchased at Desert Vista, Mountain Shadows and Pinnacle Community Centers in Sun City Summerlin. All ticket prices include Live Entertainment Tax. Tickets are non-refundable.

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The current edition (October 4-10) of the classy Vegas Seven magazine, features the unusual home of Michael and Karen Feder as the cover story in the special Art & Design Issue. The cover of the magazine features pop artist Martin Kreloff's pencil portrait of Miss Ezra Tulip, the Feder's very cute canine. Mr. Kreloff is a favorite artist of the collecting Feders, as well as a favorite of Cousin Claire's. For those interested in taking a peek inside the lovely residence of Michael and Karen, you can view much of it in the digital edition of the article online.

Vegas Seven

Eric Comstock & Barbara Fasano

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Pianist/vocalist, Eric Comstock, and his singing wife, Barbara Fasano, with Sean Smith on bass, return to Manhattan's Metropolitan Room with their new show, The Night Has a Thousand Eyes, October 15th through 20th. Show times are Monday, the 15th at 9:30 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at 7 p.m., and Thursday and Saturday at 9:30 p.m. The Metropolitan Room is at 34 West 22nd Street. If you plan to be in New York, and want to see this talented trio, call (212) 206-0440 for reservations.

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The Nevada Conservatory Theatre (NCT) at UNLV, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this season. The NCT is the professional theater-training program of UNLV, and is committed to bringing the highest quality theater to Las Vegas, by featuring professional artists and advanced students recruited from around the country. Their mission is to entertain, provoke and inspire. Playing at the Judy Bayley Theatre, through October 14th, is Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare's classic story of two star-crossed lovers caught in the midst of a deeply rooted family feud. This tale, fueled by love, revenge and family ties, portrays the tragic romance of the young couple. For ticket information on any performance, or for season ticket information, please call (702) 895-ARTS (2787).

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Henry Shead 1941-2012

Late breaking news...
Minutes after we sent off today’s column, Cousin Claire got a phone call from friend Jeanette Shead, telling us that her husband, musician Henry Shead (spelled Shed for business purposes) had passed away early this morning, October 5th. We are sharing some of Henry's history, with additional details to follow next Friday. Born in Fordyce, Arkansas, on March 31, 1941, Henry Wallace Shead was raised in Little Rock. The son of a reverend, Henry was one of five children.

At the tender age of six, Henry was introduced to the keyboards by his mother who immediately recognized his natural talent. Henry's mother saw to it that her son had piano lessons, while his father's church provided the place for his early public performances. As part of a musical combo, Shead played for junior high and high school dances and later in small clubs. He also performed regularly on a local American Bandstand-type TV show. Shead was awarded a scholarship to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff ,and majored in music while entertaining around the area. He became a high school choral director and music teacher, all the while continuing to work in local nightspots like the Drummer‘s Club in Little Rock. As his popularity increased, Shead stopped teaching to devote all his time to performing. In 1971, he moved to Los Angeles. During his time there, he made his acting debut appearing in Chicago and Washington, D.C., with Henry Fonda, Richard Dreyfuss and Jane Alexander in William Saroyan's The Time of Your Life. He wrote and arranged music for stage plays and television, sang the title song for a United Artist film, did studio work on a Johnny Mathis album, and recorded for the Liberty/United Artists and Cream labels. Over the years, Shead did a number of national radio jingles and appeared on network television with Dinah Shore, Johnny Carson and Jerry Lewis. He has also performed at parties for Pearl Bailey, The Carpenters, President Lyndon Johnson, Henry Mancini, Sergio Mendes and Barbra Streisand. During years in Las Vegas, the city where he lived since 1974, Shead entertained at most of the major hotels, with long engagements at the Stardust, Hacienda, MGM Grand (now Bally's) and Sahara. In 1977, the Henry Shead Band with Denise Clemente was voted Las Vegas' Best Lounge Act of the Year. His last long-term run was at AJ's Steakhouse at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, retiring about five years ago. Henry is survived by his wife, Jeanette; sons, Henry Jr. of New York, Todd in Northern California, and Rohn in Los Angeles: daughter Lori Lilly of Los Angeles; and four grandchildren, Sydney, Simmone and Juliet Shead, and Michael Lilly; sister, Jean Peters of Little Rock. Henry was predeceased by three brothers. Services will be announced shortly. Henry Shead was an amazing talent. He will be missed.

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