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 18, 2013
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - January 18, 2013

Sasha Semenoff at The Venetian

Nelson Sardelli sends us this message to share with readers...
To all F.I.O.R.E. Presidents, First Ladies, Ambassadors and Friends.
On Sunday, January 27th, at 1 p.m., family, friends and fans of the late Sasha Semenoff, will gather at Maggiano's restaurant in the Fashion Show Mall to remember and celebrate the life of this wonderful man. It would be a fitting tribute to have present on that day, a large number of the F.I.O.R.E. members. Sasha was one of us, and we all loved, admired and respected him. I know I did. He had a way of brightening your day just by saying Hello. His smile was contagious. His kind words were uplifting; and when you consider that he lived through WWII, you realize the inner strength, character and heart he had. He will be terribly missed. We find comfort knowing that his soul will be received with open arms in that Mansion, not built by human hands, eternal in Heaven.
Attached is the link to an article, written by Ed Koch, in last Sunday's Las Vegas Sun (Page 4). Please, if you haven't seen this article, take the time to read it. It is a nice homage to Sasha.

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Esteban & Teresa Joy at LVH

Last Saturday night, we got over to the LVH to see and hear the world-famous guitarist, Esteban, and his violin-playing daughter, Teresa Joy, in their Music From the Heart concert. The Shimmer Cabaret is a nice fit for the musical duo. The space is comfortably able to accommodate 320 people, with good sight and sound lines for everybody. The show was wonderful, and greatly enjoyed by the approximately 170 people that were in the cabaret on the night we attended. The music selection was varied enough to provide something for all tastes, including songs from The Beatles, Walt Disney, Del Shannon, and Elvis Presley (whose performance home was at that very property for many years), to Celtic and classics, to Segovia-inspired melodies and more. Esteban and Teresa Joy were well accompanied by Raul Yanez on keyboards and Emmy-winning Joe Morris on drums. It is very evident that this father/daughter duo love what they do. As a result, so does the audience. Show times are at 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, with occasional Saturdays also available. Show running time is 70 minutes. Tickets range from $37.85, to $48.85. Locals, with proper Nevada ID, can buy their tickets for $26.85. For reservations, and to find out which Saturdays Esteban's Music From the Heart will be performed, call (702) 732-5755.

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If you are reading this in time...
Sandra Huntsman's Monthly Cabaret Series Continues at the off-Strip Onyx Theatre, late tonight, Friday, January 18th, at 11 p.m. The Broadway and Beyond Cabaret series, hosted and produced by Sandra Huntsman, brings you talented singers in a relaxed atmosphere with fun and exciting themes every month! This month, enjoy many of Las Vegas' finest musical theater performers fulfill the dreams that would never otherwise come true by doing songs from roles they would never be considered for in a musical. Promises to be an epic night of Broadways biggest a whole new light! Tickets are $15.

Sandra Huntsman

Sweeney Todd Back at The Onyx

Also, this is the last weekend for Sweeney Todd. Off-Strip Productions' fully staged rendition of Sondheim's Musical Thriller, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is back by popular demand (thanks to some outstanding reviews). This innovative production combines professional live musicians, direct from the Las Vegas Strip, with a powerhouse local cast to tell this tragic tale the way it deserves to be told. Be among the ghosts of Fleet Street as you witness murder, incest, and cannibalism set to music - an "in your face" experience you can only get at Las Vegas's premiere indie art house, the Onyx Theatre." Shows are tomorrow night at 8, and a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door.
The Onyx Theatre is located inside The Rack clothing store, at 953 E. Sahara Ave., in the Commercial Center. Call (702) 732-7225 for show reservations.

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A little ooops in last Friday's paragraph on the talented song and dance man, Travis Cloer, and his upcoming Monday, February 4th show, Setting the Standard, at The Smith Center's Cabaret Jazz. The Broadway star and recording artist, currently starring as Frankie Valli in the Las Vegas production of Jersey Boys, will NOT be giving a complementary copy of his CD, Setting the Standard, with each purchased ticket. We urge you not to let that stop you from seeing this talented young man in his own show. Experience a night of timeless songs from Broadway and jazz, to R&B and Pop, that will leave you on your feet begging for more. As Frankie Valli, Travis has been called "truly amazing." The Metro UK says, he "melts hearts with his voice." As a soloist with the Las Vegas Philharmonic, Travis was called "classy, jazzy, and Rat Pack smooth" by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Don't miss this intimate performance of one of the best voices to hit the stage in a long time! Show time is at 7 p.m. Tickets prices are $25 and $35. Call (702) 749-2000 for reservations.

Travis Cloer

Carmine Mandia

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You can catch singer Carmine Mandia & Friends at Piero's, 355 Convention Center Drive, tonight, Friday, January 18th, and tomorrow night, from 7 to 10:30 p.m. In addition to the music, you can also get some fine Italian cuisine at Piero's. For reservations, call (702) 369-2305. FYI...Carmine also appears with Shades of Sinatra, at the Clarion Hotel, just down the street from Piero's, at 305 Convention Center Drive, Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 9 p.m.

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What is, or more importantly, what ISN'T, going on with the supposed Giordano Theatre in the Fashion Show Mall??? A hotel could have been built and opened for occupancy quicker than this project is taking. It has been well over a year, maybe closer to two, since the place was "supposed" to be up and running, and still, no sign of an opening date. A number of trusting entertainers had pinned their hopes on this place. All they have to show for their wait time is broken promises. What gives?

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Lunch Meeting and Speaker
This is a reminder of the Las Vegas Media Group's upcoming meeting - always the 3rd Monday of the month - to be held on Monday, January 21st. Location once again is 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 $17, and the food is great! RSVPs are required. Contact Lisa at (702) 245-9206, or e-mail [email protected]. Monday's speaker is Mr. Howard Rosenberg, who is coming all the way from Reno. Howard is an art history professor, but he's going to talk mostly about his time as an entertainment critic and share some stories of his aunt, Sophie Tucker. Sounds like it's going to be a good time.
Also, Lisa is bringing the DVDs she created of the student interviews, papers, and presentations from the October session to give to those who were interviewed. For those who are not attending Monday, they will probably be mailed to you. You will need to provide Lisa, via email, your mailing address. If a projector and a screen can be secured, Lisa would like to take 10-15 minutes to do a presentation of her own, sharing the experience with the group. Please RSVP - coming to the meeting, YES OR NO?
P.S. Thalia Dondero's birthday is on Monday. She will turn 92, and is still running circles around us. Be sure and wish her a great day.

Howard Rosenberg

Jimmy Emerson & Sunset Thomas

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Comic/female impersonator, Jimmy Emerson, has been invited to escort porn star, Sunset Thomas, down the red carpet tomorrow, Saturday the 19th, for the 30th annual AVN Awards show, dubbed "the Oscars of adult," at the Adult Entertainment Expo at the Hard Rock. Jimmy met Sunset about a year ago at a fundraiser for animals at the Oracle Mansion. He didn't know who she was at first. They just started talking and laughing together. Jimmy wound up joining Sunset and her husband, Kent, at their table. When it was Sunset's turn to perform, she got up and started dancing around while her husband held up posters of her porn work. Jimmy was floored! He says, "she is a very sweet and cute girl, and I would have never thought that porn was her profession...which just goes to show you...looks can be deceiving! I mean to look at me, one would think I'm just your average truck driver!," joked Emerson.

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On Sunday, January 27th at 7 p.m., A Touch of Mystery, Las Vegas' premier interactive Murder Mystery company, is presenting a One Night Only performance of their hit musical murder mystery, Music Can Be Murder. Travel back in time to 1945, where two rival bands were hired to headline at the Swingin' '40s Big Band Extravaganza without the other knowing. There is no love lost between the two, and someone is about to go FLAT! The show stars the acclaimed singing trio, Dangerous Curves. In addition to the Curves - Lisa Smith as Phyllis Davis, Margaret Menzies as Rose MacGuire and Karen Michaels as Geraldine Shaw - the cast features actors Brian Gressley (Super Summer Theater) as Glen Grayson, John Ivanoff (Las Vegas Little Theatre, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas) as Artie Miller, and A Touch of Mystery owner, Jay Joseph (Best Little Whorehouse in Texas), as Rupert Barnes. The show, which runs about 90 minutes, will be performed at Don't Tell Mama, 715 Fremont Street, downtown. Advanced purchase tickets are only $16 per person, or $18 at the door. For more information, and to purchase advanced seats, go to, and click on Music Can Be Murder, or call (702) 497-7936.

Jay Joseph

Rob Garrett as Neil Diamond

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Sun City Summerlin's Starbright Theatre is presenting Neil Diamond - The Tribute
featuring Rob Garrett
, on Saturday, January 26th at 7 p.m. Longtime Las Vegas entertainer Rob Garrett and his band make a back-by-popular-demand return to the Starbright. Garrett has been performing his Neil Diamond tribute for audiences around the world for more than 17 years. He has become the most popular and most requested Neil Diamond tribute act in the business, and is known worldwide as the "King of Diamonds." Like his iconic counterpart, Rob was born and raised in New York City. His physical and vocal resemblance to the legendary singer/songwriter is uncanny. In 2008, Rob was awarded the Male Music Tribute Act of the Year in Las Vegas, marking the first time a Neil Diamond tribute act has won such an honor. Tickets, at $15 for Sun City Summerlin residents, and $18 for non-residents, are on sale at Desert Vista, Mountain Shadows and Pinnacle community centers. All ticket sales are check or cash (exact change required). No credit cards accepted. For up-to-date information on Starbright Theatre shows, call (702) 240-1301. There is a strong possibility that tickets for this show are already sold out, as Mr. Garrett is very popular in the community. Suggestion: Before you drive up there (the theater sits high on a hill and offers a great view of the city), make a phone call.

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Busy Nelson Sardelli (you may have seen his name in this column once or twice before), went to see Bobby Rydell at a hotel/casino in the Summerlin section of the city. Sardelli reports that Bobby was in top voice, and put on a great show that earned him standing ovations. Nelson and Rydell go back many years, even doing some shows together. "Bobby looked great," said Nelson. "A few years ago he had one foot and a few toes in the grave. Thank God and modern medicine. He is a gracious host...spent hours with fans and friends after the show...Classy guy. ITALIAN, you know." Yes, we know. The big question is, was Hugo Peabody Italian?

Nelson Sardelli & Bobby Rydell

Clint Holmes, Sherry Newby & Carme Pitrello in Palm Beach

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From Mariano Longo, Arranger/Conductor, Orchestral Events, comes this e-mail...
Hello Music Lovers,
I'm posting this video of the amazing Sonny Charles (The Checkmates, and currently featured vocalist with The Steve Miller Band). Late last year, Orchestral Events was honored to handle musical direction for the Jimmy Castor Tribute concert in Las Vegas. I had written this arrangement for Jimmy about four years before his passing in 2012. In my opinion, there is no other artist who could have done this justice like Jimmy's close friend, Sonny Charles. At rehearsal earlier that day, all the artists were coming in to go through the material they were to perform that night. Sonny Charles came on stage in his usual quiet and dignified manner. He then proceeded to rip the roof off the venue by the time he reached the first chorus. There was not a dry eye in the room - even among the veteran musicians who have seen and heard it all. Thank you Sonny, and the great players and vocalists in this ensemble; what a timeless and beautiful memory created here. Filmed and edited for history by Jimmy Castor Jr. - Enjoy!

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And, former Las Vegan, entertainer Carme Pitrello, who now makes his home in Florida, passes along this news..."We recently had a magical night in Palm Beach at The Colony Hotel. One of my favorite singers was performing there. We drove all the way across Florida to spend the night with Clint Holmes. He was wonderful. The audience was with him from start to finish. He played them like a harp. He knew what strings to pluck and when. Being in show biz my whole life, it's great to watch a real pro at work. And Clint is a pro. What a great weekend." Clint's gig at The Colony started on New Year's Eve, and runs through tomorrow, January 19th. Widely considered to be one of the top five cabaret venues in the country, The Colony's Royal Room has scheduled an audience-pleasing line-up of performers for its next few months, including Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr., Marilyn Maye, Christine Ebersole, Nicolas King, Steve Tyrell, Faith Prince, and sisters Ann Hampton Callaway & Liz Callaway. Mr. Holmes is in fine company.

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Happy birthday Capricorns (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) - Jordin Sparks, Ricky Martin, Jimmy Buffett, Barbara Mandrell, Annie Lennox, Abdul "Duke" Fakir (Four Tops), Chris Daughtry, Tovah Feldshuh, Charles Neville, Edgar Winter, John Legend, Paula Poundstone, Jon Voight, Joseph Bologna, Michael Nesmith, Noel Paul Stookey (Peter, Paul & Mary), Bebe Neuwirth, Don Diamont, Raul Rodriguez, Stephen Stills, Marilyn Manson, Nicolas Cage, Paul Revere, Kenny Loggins, 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, Rip Taylor, Trace Adkins, LL Cool J, Pitbull, Ronnie Milsap, Jim Stafford, Debbie Allen, Sade, Betty White, Muhammad Ali, Kid Rock, Dick Contino, Steve Harvey, Bobby Goldsboro, Dave Attell, Desi Arnaz Jr., Dolly Parton, Michael Crawford, Phil Everly, Paul Rodriguez, Frank Caliendo, Carme Pitrello, Evan Davis, Bob Kaz, Michael Carter, Cayleigh Capaldi, Ari Dane, Larry Edwards, Roslyn Kind, Jan Wood Lovelady, Gina Eckstine, Maggie Peterson Mancuso, Frankie Randall, Eleanor Louise Bailey, Barbara Sue Ann "Babs" Singer McKiernan, Jaci Zweig, Jennifer Flanigan, Bill Vergis, Rose Eurdekian and Sullivan Charlotte McNeeley.

Don Diamont

Frankie Randall in Concert

And speaking of birthdays, Frankie Randall had a very happy 75th one on January the 11th. He spent part of his milestone day performing in front of the Desert Symphony at the prestigious McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, California, where Frankie now spends much of his time.

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Dana Satterwhite's TastySpace Art Gallery, in the Emergency Arts building at 520 E. Fremont Street, Suite 150, at the corner of 6th Street, will host a Tea Party and closing reception for artist, Susanne Forestieri, on the 20th, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tea will be provided by Iron Kettle Tea, at Super Tasty Sunday, and acoustic music will be by Justin Peterson and Sam Lemos. Susanne's show at Tastyspace, The Life Frenetic, will wrap up next week. Here's one more opportunity to meet her, see her work, and come in out of the cold. Gallery owner, Dana, is married to the talented Kristen Hertzenberg, who played Christine in Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular.

And speaking of Phantom, Rebecca Spencer, who played Madam Giry in the same production, she is currently re-creating the role in Seoul, Korea. The second leg of her International Phantom Asia Tour began in December. This International cast, with only four Americans in the company, and surrounded by cast and crew from S. Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Canada, Sweden, the Philippines and the UK! Rebecca will take her bow from this tour as they close the season in Seoul on March 25th. She will return to the U.S., and her, and hubby's new home in Woodland Hills, California. "Wonderful to have reunited with so many in L.A., from my early New York days," says Becky, "and I am especially happy knowing that I am not only still a close distance to that wonderful Las Vegas Community but I am neighbors to some of my pals from the Vegas Phantom, including Nicole Pryor, Maureen Dobson and Kristi Holden!" We will have more news from the busy Ms. Spencer next Friday.

Rebecca Spencer & Marc Goldberg in Seoul, Korea

Eric Comstock & Barbara Fasano

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Legal Eagle, Nik Mastrangelo, is back at the Blue Fire Supper Club, 4275 S. Durango, singing jazz and standards, tomorrow night from 7 to 10 p.m. He will be accompanied by Larry Millonzi on keyboard, John Plows on drums, and Tom Hall on reeds. Make your dinner reservations for 6ish and stay for the show. The Blue Fire is Scorching Hot! Call (702) 462-5400.

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Locals, with a Las Vegas Hotel & Casino (formerly the Las Vegas Hilton) Players Club card and valid Nevada ID, can save some big bucks while having a delicious meal at the hotel's Buffet. From Sundays through Thursdays, lucky Las Vegans can dine at The Buffet, now located near the Race & Sports Book, for some hard to beat prices - $4, instead of $15,99 for lunch (12 to 5 p.m.); only $5, not $19.99 for dinner (5 to 8 p.m.); and $7, in lieu of $19.99, for Sunday Brunch, that includes all-you-can-eat crab legs (8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.). Don't have an LVH Players Club card? Can't think of a better reason than this, to get one! (Another bonus - The Buffet is a non-smoking restaurant.)

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The Eric Comstock/Barbara Fasano Quartet, with Sean Smith on bass, and Vito Lesczak on drums, celebrates 2013 with two sets at the Kitano Hotel, 66 Park Avenue at 38th Street, in New York City, on Saturday, January 26th. Show times are at 8 and 10 p.m. Dinner is available, and we hear tell the food is really very good. For reservations, call (212) 885-7119...if you happen to be in the neighborhood.

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We have written about choreographer Kenny Ortega before (in 2009, we think), but since he is newsworthy around here these days, we are repeating much of that earlier story again. Hotel mogul, Steve Wynn, has hired Michael Jackson's This Is It show director, Ortega, to help execute Funhouse, Wynn's own imagined creation. Lest we not forget, it was Wynn who brought Cirqu du Soleil to Vegas, when he opened Mystere at Treasure Island in 1993. How many longtime Las Vegans or Vegas visitors remember when the Riviera was the home of a very good musical revue called The Latin Quarter? The show was housed in one of the upstairs showrooms, in a space that had been cleverly redone to look like a street in Mexico or another Latin country. There were building facades and balconies created on the walls, giving the room a very comfortable and "authentic" feel. Who was the chorographer for this production, heavy on dance? None other than Kenny Ortega, the same talented man who was working with Michael on his much anticipated, upcoming concert tour. Ortega has a long history with the Jackson family. As a matter of fact, at the media opening for The Latin Quarter, both the matriarch of the family, Katherine Jackson, and her daughter, LaToya, were present. We were quite surprised, and very impressed (as were our Vegas friends), when both of the Jackson women recognized Cousin Claire, after more than 10 years since they had last seen each other. For those not familiar with Kenny Ortega, the Emmy-winning producer, director, and choreographer also worked with actor/dancer/choreographer, Gene Kelly, on Xanadu, the 1980 film starring Olivia Newton-John. Ortega went on to choreograph 1987's Dirty Dancing, and has won awards for his choreography in music videos, such as Madonna's Material Girl. Together with Michael Jackson, Kenny created and designed the Dangerous World Tour (1992-1993), and the HIStory World Tour (1996-1997). In addition to choreography, Ortega has directed the three High School Musical films. Kenny can also take credit for the Las Vegas Strip's Sirens of T.I., directing 1992's film, Newsies, and the event choreography for the 1996 and 2002 Olympics, Super Bowl XXX and the 72nd Academy Awards. Funhouse is expected to open at Wynn's Encore later this year.

Kenny Ortega & Friend


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Tickets are now on sale for the Sunday, January 25th, Sounds Of The Cinema concert by Presidio Brass at the Historic Fifth Street School, located at 401 S. Fourth Street in downtown Las Vegas. The 7 p.m. show features the Presidio Brass quintet performing well-known jazz and classical music used in film soundtracks. Presidio Brass is based in San Diego and is featured regularly as a part of Millennia Consort, California's premiere brass, organ and percussion ensemble. They have entertained in more than 30 states, and with major symphony orchestras, including the London Philharmonic and Los Angeles Philharmonic. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Students, seniors and military personnel will be charged $10 at the door. For tickets and more information, call (702) 229-3515 or (702) 229-6469 or visit

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Spectrum, the internationally acclaimed Motown-style vocal quartet brings its award-winning show back to The Smith Center's Cabaret Jazz room, tomorrow evening, for the third time since performing arts center's opening less than a year ago. The show features classic songs from the Temptations, Four Tops, Miracles, Stylistics and many more of the popular early "boy bands," as well as the close harmonies and deft choreography that have become Spectrum trademarks. Each of the previous shows were sold out weeks ahead of time. Hopefully, if you want to go, and haven't gotten your tickets yet, there are still seats available.
Showtime on Sunday, January 19th, is at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 and $33. Call (702) 749-2000.

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Tickets are now available for non-residents of Sun City Anthem's performance of Liza & Judy Together Again. Presented by Mistinguett Productions, and starring Suzanne Goulet as Liza Minnelli, and Denise Rose as Judy Garland, show time is at 3 p.m., Sunday, January 27th, at the Freedom Hall Theatre, 2450 Hampton Road in Henderson. Tickets are only $15, and may be purchased by phone when paying by credit card. Call (702) 614-5864.

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