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 April 26, 2013
You can find the current column HERE

Las Vegas - April 26, 2013

Roseanne Barr

Adam James

On Tuesday night, a group of us comedy fans went to see Roseanne Barr at the Laugh Factory in the NEW Tropicana. Since her 7 p.m. show times attracts a lot of old, er, Baby Boomers, the comedian only drops the "F bomb" twice during her hour show. There is plenty to laugh at, even without that word, and in our (not so) humble opinion, the 60-year-old comedian has never looked better. Roseanne, who is guest starring in the final episodes of NBC’s The Office (the show is in its ninth season), winds up her Laugh Factory stint on May 5th. Shows are Saturdays through Thursdays at, as we already mentioned, 7 (dark on Fridays). Tickets are $49.95 to $69.95, plus taxes and fees. Call (702) 739-2411 for reservations.

After our recent visit to the Tropicana, in our (not necessarily) humble opinion, the only real reason we can see for locals to patronize the "New" Strip property would be for the entertainment - whether it be in the newly designed Tropicana Lounge, hosting Skye 5 and Adam James, and his clever one-man (arm) band, whatever is going on at the Laugh Factory - Roseanne Barr and/or alternating comics and Celebrity Magician Murray SawChuck from America’s Got Talent and Pawn Stars, and his cohorts, Chloe and Lefty), plus the Mob Museum attraction, featuring live actors, including friends Gary Olds and Paul Campanella. The hotel has been remodeled and looks attractive, but pretty is as pretty does. We think visitors would much more appreciate reasonably priced beverages and slot machines with better (not necessarily more often) payouts, in lieu of new flooring and paint. The odds on the video machines at the NEW Trop are lower than those in the neighborhood supermarkets, let alone other casinos. For example, in video poker, the usual payout for a full house on a Double Double machine is 9 to 1. Not at the NEW (or old) Trop. Most of their Double Double Game King machines only pay 6 to 1, while a few (try and find one) pay 8 to 1. Tourists may not realize they are getting less bang for their bucks, but locals will. What it means is, Las Vegans will spend their time (and money) gambling elsewhere...and who can blame them. And can we talk about the outrageous prices for beverages? Our friends ordered a Vodka and 7up, along with a Miller Lite at one of the hotel bars. The price for the two drinks? With a straight face, the bartender told them $24. The customer said, "Wow. That’s a lot!" She then asked if they had a players club card, and told them that if they had one, the price would be half. Needless to say, they ran and got a card. Even with the card, at the Comedy Club bar, the same two drinks were $17. We were charged $9 for a bottle of water, and 12 oz. bottle of Pepsi (with a plastic cup of ice), at the Laugh Factory bar (we weren’t laughing). Shame on them! For that price, it should have been a two litre bottle of Pepsi and a very long straw! Also, because we had someone in our party using mobility equipment, we found access to the coffee shop a bit challenging.

* * * * * * * *

A bit about the April Composers Showcase, which we didn’t have the time or space to write about last Friday. As it is every month, there were some amazing musical selections and performances. We can’t mention everything and everyone, but among the highlights, we have to give kudos to three of Keith Thompson's numbers, "Positive" (yes, about being HIV positive) that he performed, "Let the Change Begin In Me," sung by Kristen Hertzenberg with Philip Fortenberry on piano, and "There Is a Way," sung by Jimmy Lockett; Chris Lash's "I'd Rather Die Than Move to Texas, sung by Savannah Smith, Niki Scalera and Lisa Orchard; and Richard Oberacker's "Bandstand," with Travis Cloer, backed by six musicians, singing and telling the tale of Donnie Levinski. With approximately 46 contributors, hopefully you can understand why we can't give them all the individual credit that they deserve. We wish we could.

It's hard to believe, but in May, the popular monthly Composers Showcase begins its 7th year (how time flies when you‘re having fun)! We are sure that when musicians Keith Thompson and Michael Brennan started the series at Suede, a small bar on Paradise Road, they could never have imagined where the journey would take them. After outgrowing the space in the Las Vegas Fruit Loop, year number two began in the Cabaret Lounge at the Liberace Museum. Five years later, when the museum closed (don't get us started on that subject), the showcase jumped around from Creative Studios in southwest Las Vegas, to Garfield's Restaurant at Desert Shores. Last April, the showcase home became the Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center. Who knows what may come next.

And speaking of the Composers Showcase, we have news items involving two of its regular creative participants, Vita Corimbi and Clint Holmes.
Musician (she sings, she plays piano and writes)/actress (Menopause the Musical), Vita‘s mother, Bertine Corimby, died unexpectedly on April 6th. "My mom was healthy as a horse and sharp as a tack," says her grieving daughter. "She took a fall, got up, went right back to work in her garden on a project and passed out, whether from a concussion, or bleeding on the brain - not sure. But working on a project, exactly how she would have chosen to go! If she would have been hooked up to machines or less than independent in any way... THAT would have killed her!" Vita describes her musical mom as "a true trailblazer for musicians and especially women musicians in this town. She played with everyone from Elvis to Doug Henning!" Here are some facts about this unique woman, as conveyed by Vita. She was born in Chicago (age unknown - we have found two passports and two old licenses and NONE of the years are the same)! "Her age was a tighter secret than vaults at the Pentagon!," states Vita. Bertine was raised on the island of Corsica. Her first languages were French and Italian. She came to this country when officers invaded her family villa, and at the New York City dock, her uncle told her father they were broke - destitute. "He died within four months and my mom and my grandmother were on relief, waiting in line for shoes and on rations during the war. They literally went from wealthy to poor in half a year." Bertine never forgot that, and became a self-made woman, saving every dime and investing in real estate. She earned a Master of Music from Northwestern, and was a Fulbright Scholar, studying for two years at the Paris Conservatory. She was one of the first female musicians in a major symphony orchestra (in Indianapolis), was a member of the Baltimore Symphony; Grant Park Symphony (Chicago); Lyric Opera of Chicago; Orchestra Sinfonia de Chile; Florence Symphony (Italy); New York Festival Orchestra, Santa Barbara Symphony, and the Las Vegas Philharmonic (one of the original members). Bertine toured the world with the famous James Melton, a society bandleader in the ‘50s. She performed for three sitting presidents, and was in Havana performing at the famed Tropicana Club the night that Castro took power as everyone was whisked out of the country. Bertine came to Las Vegas in the ‘60s, where she played in an all-girl violin group called the Stringettes at the Sands, Frontier, Caesars, and Stardust. She also played in the showroom orchestras of the Sahara, Riviera, Caesars, Flamingo (where she was concertmistress), the Golden Nugget, Hacienda, Dunes, opened the International (later the LV Hilton in Barbra Streisand's orchestra), and was at the Hilton in the orchestra for 25 years (part of those years as concertmistress). She toured with Elvis, and was a part of the Aloha from Hawaii - Live Via Satellite Concert that was seen by 1.5 billion people. The violin solo on Elvis' "My Way" from that concert was played by Bertine. She was also featured in Elvis' concert documentary, That's the Way it Is, and toured with Frank Sinatra, Wayne Newton, Andrea Bocelli, and Lawrence Welk, just to name a few, traveling to more than 75 countries. "She played for Wayne when he was young, chubby and BLOND, and I have the picture to prove it!!!," says Vita, as well as for George Burns, Tom Jones, Engelbert Humperdinck, Raquel Welch, Petula Clark, Ann-Margret, Louis Armstrong, Paul Anka, and basically EVERY star who ever came through Vegas, and has autographed pictures of almost every single one of them. Wayne took her to Branson, where she then became part of the Lawrence Welk Show there. She stayed for 5 years before retiring in 2005. Bertine learned Russian, the upright bass and sign language in her 70s! "She made me into who I am as a person and a musician," says Vita. "I grew up seeing people like Don Ho and Juliet Prowse in my living room and at parties. In addition to her daughter, Vita, Bertine Corimby is survived by her sons Tino of Santiago, Chile, and Richard of San Francisco, along with four grandchildren. "We are establishing a scholarship for a young, in-need female violinist at the Nevada School of the Arts, in my mom's name! A Life Celebration/ Memorial Concert, with half the philharmonic and Celine Dion's orchestra, are playing in tribute to my mom, at 3 p.m., on Friday, May 17th, at the Desert Shores Clubhouse. There will also be some funny Bertine stories. It will be quite the event! We will be doing a yearly memorial concert to help the school, and assure the scholarship can sustain as well!," Vita tells us. She also tells us, "Mom's name ends with a "y" and mine ends with an "I." When we speak, I'll tell you the story!" When we learn the story, we will pass it on.

Bertine Corimby 1957

Frank Wildhorn

Tomorrow night and Sunday, in the Cabaret Jazz club at The Smith Center, it's Broadway composer Frank Wildhorn, with Jane Monheit and Clint Holmes. Show times are tomorrow, Saturday, the 27th at 8:30 p.m., and Sunday at 6. Tickets start at $39. Monheit and Holmes join the multi-Grammy® and Tony®-nominated composer as his famed "Frank and Friends" concert returns to Cabaret Jazz. Through dazzling performances, they will chronicle Frank's legendary career, including his hits from Broadway's Jekyll and Hyde and The Scarlet Pimpernel, as well as Whitney Houston's "Where Do Broken Hearts Go." For reservations, call The Smith Center Box Office at (702) 749-2000.

* * * * * * * *

The Enoch Augustus Scott Experience, a one night only departure for Las Vegas' Singular Gay, Actor, Author and Performance Artist, will play at The Onyx Theatre tomorrow night (Saturday, April 27th) with a show at 11 p.m. It's Enoch Augustus Scott, with No Script and No Agenda, just some songs he wants to sing and whatever he wants to talk about. Joined by his partner, Spencer Baker, on piano, and acoustic guitar gangster, Garret Harbison, along with some surprise guest stars, following his Confessions of a Roid Fag or How He-Man Made Me Gay show at the Onyx, Enoch takes a swing at a more traditional cabaret in his most untraditional and iconoclastic way. It's sure to be a night to remember. Tickets are $15. Call (702) 732-7225.

Enoch Augustus Scott

Stephen McClelland

* * * * * * * *

On Sunday, May 5th, The Performing Arts Society of Nevada will present Fly Me To the Moon - Music That's Simply Out of This World. The program will feature Stephen McClelland, Allison Rajcevic, Artie Anderson, Kirbi Jo Long, dancer Julie Taber, and special guest, Jersey Boy Travis Cloer. The program will feature extraordinary vocalists performing celestially themed songs from superstars of yesteryear like Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and Bing Crosby, as well as smash hits from stellar artists/musicals of today. Travis will include his rendition of the Crosby favorite, "The Moon Got In My Eyes," and his Frankie Valli-like soprano voice in the classic, "In The Still Of The Night." The Performing Arts Society of Nevada is a non-profit organization dedicated to affordably bringing the Performing Arts to the public and creating a venue for artists to explore new work and hone their craft. The society has been conducting programs and educational trips for more than twenty years. Winchester Theater is located inside of the Winchester Cultural Center at 3130 McLeod, just north of Desert Inn and east of Eastern. PASNV Sunday afternoon programs begin at 2 p.m., with doors opening at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, and $18 at the door with unreserved seating. For more information on how purchase tickets, please call PASNV at (702) 658-6741, or email [email protected]

* * * * * * * *

A Claire Voyant column without a Sardelli mentioned, is like a day without sunshine, so, with that thought in mind...
With the glowing reviews it has received, it isn't too surprising that FINKS, a play by Joe Gilford, directed by Giovanna Sardelli (daughter of Las Vegan Nelson Sardelli), and choreographed by Greg Graham, has been extended through May 5th. FINKS opened at New York's Ensemble Studio Theatre on March 28th. Based on the true experiences of Jack Gilford and Madeline Lee Gilford and the Blacklist of the 1950s, FINKS is a play of show biz and subversion. It is Joe Gilford's fictionalized account of his parents. It is a tale of a scoundrel time, a time of paranoia, loyalty and betrayal, show business and show trials, told from the life of two young entertainers who, at the birth of their careers, had to confront the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). This play is about names, the naming of names, career-determining choices and finks. Jack is most famous for bringing his inimitable pantomime to the 1960s TV ads for Cracker Jacks. Born in Brooklyn, he began as a club comic and went on to the stage. He was a starring actor in dozens of TV shows, films and Broadway, earning two Tony nominations (for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Cabaret), and an Oscar nomination (for Save the Tiger). Madeline was born in the Bronx. She was a child actress, a teenage activist and a radio and stage performer. She later became a theater producer and continued acting throughout her life. Jack and Madeline remained activists for their whole lives. Mr. Gilford hopes that "my play will recreate the hardships that actors experienced having to make choices that artists should never be asked to make." Playwright Joe Gilford remembers the paranoia of the blacklist years as a small child. "We were always told not to discuss something called 'communism'. We didn't really know what that meant, but understood to keep our mouths shut." Finks has been developing for many years, he adds. "I always thought that my parents' refusal to name names was heroic. But they always explained that they had no choice. They could never hurt their friends." When the moment came to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), some artists chose to name names, others chose to risk their careers rather than betray their friends. FINKS is the real life story of young entertainers on the brink of success, who found themselves playing roles they never dreamed they'd have to play. FINKS features actors Michael Cullen, Ned Eisenberg, Leo Ash Evans, Kenney M. Green, Jason Liebman, Thomas Lyons, Aaron Serotsky and Miriam Silverman. Here is what some of the critics had to say about the production...
"Forget blue jokes; the humor in FINKS, Joe Gilford's farsighted yet tender tribute to his blacklisted parents, is distinctly red. But it's part of what makes this play, directed with vitality by Giovanna Sardelli, a nifty bit of theater. The eight-person ensemble is uniformly strong and as Gilford tries to understand why some of the accused betrayed friends to keep their livelihoods, he demonstrates a pluck similar to that of his parents." - Time Out New York

"Joe Gilford's impassioned, autobiographical FINKS... directed with concomitant fervor by Giovanna Sardelli and dressed with period accuracy by Sydney Maresca, is a testament to the parents who managed to maintain their indomitable spirit throughout the ordeal." - Huffington Post

"FINKS is rife with family pride, and while names have been changed to protect the innocent, the passions are real. The deliciously wry Miriam Silverman seems to have stepped straight out of the '50s and under Giovanna Sardelli's skillful direction, Thomas Lyons & Jason Liebman nimbly handle a wide range of supporting characters. Sydney Maresca's costumes beautifully evoke a period young theatergoers may not know existed. For them, FINKS will be more than a son's loving tribute to his courageous parents; it's also a valuable history lesson." - New York Post

"The scenes bristle with tension. The performances are top rate... the play holds together beautifully under the taut direction of Giovanna Sardelli. FINKS makes for an exciting and informative evening in the theater." - The Epoch Times

Performances are weekdays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 7 p.m., and Sundays at 5 p.m. Tickets range from $20 to $40. To order click, or call (866) 811-4111. The Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST) was founded in the belief that extraordinary support yields extraordinary work. We are a dynamic and expanding company of artists committed to the discovery and nurturing of new voices and the continued support and growth of artists throughout their creative lives. Through our unique collaborative process we develop and produce original, provocative, and authentic new plays that engage and challenge our audience and audiences across the country. It is located at 549 West 52nd Street.

Following the Sunday, April 14th 5 p.m. performance, FINKS hosted Children of the Blacklist: a conversation with children of blacklisted entertainers. Panelists include: Kate Lardner, daughter of screenwriter Ring Lardner Jr.; Julie Garfield, daughter of actor John Garfield; Lee Grant, blacklisted actress; Joshua Mostel, son of actor Zero Mostel (who co-starred with Jack Gilford in Forum); Deborah Offner, daughter of writer Mortimer Offner; and FINKS author, Joe Gilford, son of actors Jack and Madeline Gilford. The discussion was moderated by Tony Kahn, NPR radio host and son of blacklisted screenwriter, Gordan Kahn.

Jack Gilford

Richie Havens 1941-2013

* * * * * * * *

Singer/songwriter/guitarist, Richie Havens, passed away on April 22nd at the age of 72.
Richard Pierce Havens was born in Brooklyn, January 21, 1941. His music encompassed elements of folk, soul, and rhythm and blues. He is best known for his intense and rhythmic guitar style, soulful covers of pop and folk songs, such as "Here Comes the Sun" and "Freedom," and his opening performance at the 1969 Woodstock Festival.

Country music legend, George Jones, died earlier today (April 26th) at the age of 81. Jones had more than 150 hits during his career, both as a solo artist and in duets with other artists, among them, "He Stopped Loving Her Today" and "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool" with Barbara Mandrell. Throughout his long career, Jones made headlines, often as much for tales of his drinking, stormy relationships with women (including his third marriage to singer Tammy Wynette), and violent rages as for his prolific career of making records and touring. His wild lifestyle led to Jones missing many performances, earning him the nickname "No Show Jones." With the help of his fourth wife, Nancy Sepulvado, he was sober for more than the last 10 years. In the later part of his life, Jones was frequently referred to as the greatest living country singer. He received many honors during his long career, from Most Promising New Country Vocalist in 1956, being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992, and being named a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2008. In 2012 he was presented with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award. George Jones is survived by his wife of 30 years, Nancy, and four grown children.

George Jones 1931-2013

Neil Diamond On The Diamond

And speaking of music legends...
A tip of the baseball cap to Neil Diamond. There's a longtime musical tradition when the eighth inning arrives at Fenway Park - the playing of a recording of Diamond's 1969 hit, "Sweet Caroline." Since 2002, Red Sox fans have grown accustomed to hearing Diamond's voice singing, "Hands, touching hands. Reaching out, touching me, touching you." Following the horrendous Boston Marathon bombings on April 15th, on Saturday, the 20th, the 72-year-old composer and singer decided to deliver the message in person. Diamond flew to Boston, calling officials at Fenway Park about 40 minutes before the first pitch to say he was in the city. When the eighth inning arrived, Diamond walked out onto the field. "I bring love from the whole country," Diamond, wearing a Red Sox hat, told the crowd. He waved encouragingly as "Sweet Caroline" began to play on the loudspeakers. He sang along, his voice soaring on the familiar chorus - "Sweet Caroline. Good times never seemed so good." His presence, along with special pre-game ceremonies and a Red Sox victory over the Kansas City Royals, was a boost for a city in need of one. Neil Diamond will be donating royalties from sales of "Sweet Caroline," since the Boston Marathon bombings, to a charity that is helping victims of the terrorist incident. "Sweet Caroline" saw a sales boost of almost 600 percent following the attacks. Neil Diamond is a real gem. We are sure that Rob Garrett would agree with us.

* * * * * * * *

Singer/actress, Olivia Newton-John, who was scheduled to begin a residency at the Flamingo in Las Vegas, during regular headliners, Donny and Marie Osmond's, time away. Olivia postponed the shows after confirming that her older sister, Rona Newton-John, has been diagnosed with brain cancer. Olivia, herself, was diagnosed with breast cancer close to 20 years ago. Now 64, she has been free of the disease since undergoing treatment and a mastectomy.

Olivia Newton-John

Kevin Burke

* * * * * * * *

After 10 years playing the lead role in Defending the Caveman, comic actor Kevin Burke will step down from the role following his May 13th performance. Since 2003, Burke has starred in the critically acclaimed Broadway tour of Defending the Caveman – a role he was hand-selected for by the show's creator and original caveman, Rob Becker. In 2007 Burke planted roots as star of the permanent Las Vegas run of the show. He has performed more than 3,000 shows during the Las Vegas run, and more shows than any other actor in Defending the Caveman. Defending the Caveman, currently playing inside The Improv Showroom at Harrah's Las Vegas, invites locals to see Burke one last time with a special ticket offer. Simply show your Nevada ID at the Harrah's Las Vegas Box office to receive two tickets for $50, now through May 13th. Second City alum, Chris Allen, has been named as Burke's replacement.

Defending the Caveman is performed nightly at 7 p.m., with additional matinee shows on Sundays and Mondays at 4 p.m. Tickets for Defending the Caveman start at $39.95 for Regular Reserved, $49.95 for VIP including a t-shirt, and $59.95 for Premium VIP, which includes a t-shirt and premium seating. There is a $5 discount on all ticket levels for matinee shows. All prices are plus tax and fees.

Although you only have a short time to catch Kevin Burke in the Las Vegas production of Defending the Caveman, you have plenty of time to see the glamour girls of the hot and sexy X Burlesque at the Flamingo. The topless show, that just celebrated its 11th anniversary, has been extended for three more years at the Flamingo, taking them, at least, into 2016.

* * * * * * * *

Cockroach Theatre presents the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play, Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. This is the finale to the Cockroach Theatre's 2012-2013 Season of Plays, and opens tonight, Friday, April 26th, at Art Square Theatre in the heart of the 18b Arts District. The show and season will end on May 19th. Critically acclaimed Ernie Curcio stars as Willy Loman, leading a cast of 13 that features some of Las Vegas' best talent. Award-winning director, Troy Heard, takes the helm, presenting a vision for the play that marries traditional stagecraft with the latest in technological performance art. "I think people will be surprised upon rediscovering this play. Like a lot of people in this town, I grew up knowing the play as some dusty old text I was forced to read in high school," said Erik Amblad, Cockroach Theatre's Artistic Director. "From the beauty of Miller's writing, to the electricity of Ernie's performance, to the innovation of Troy's audio/visual dreamscape—this will be a breathtaking production unlike anything anyone has ever seen." Actor Ernie Curcio returns to the Las Vegas stage to tackle the role of Willy Loman. Willy is a man coming to the end of his career, who cannot understand how he failed to win success and happiness. Over the course of two days, as Willy drifts in and out of his daydreams, we see how his pursuit of the "American Dream" has gotten in the way of appreciating the love his family has for him. Casting Ernie as the patriarch continues a tradition of young powerhouse actors playing the itinerant salesman. Lee J. Cobb was 37 when he originated the role in the 1949 Tony Award-winning production. Dustin Hoffman famously played the role at 47, and, most recently, Phillip Seymour Hoffman led the 2012 Tony Award-winning revival at age 44. To accomplish Troy Heard's vision of bringing the storytelling into the 21st Century, Cockroach Theatre has partnered with Space Cadets AV, a brand new company born in the 18b Arts District and founded by Brett Bolton and Benton Corder. "Fourteen months ago, when Erik first showed me the new space, I thought it was perfect. I told him we won't need a set, we can just do video projection," said Heard, describing the first time Amblad gave him a tour of the new Art Square Theatre. "That's when Erik said I had to meet Brett Bolton." When producing the 18b music festival three years ago, Amblad first met Bolton as a member of Kid Meets Cougar, the celebrated music/ performance art duo. Bolton's work on video projection already caught Amblad's attention, but then Bolton pushed forward into numerous innovations such as motion-capture, video isolation, and interactive projections with live performers. "When Troy described what he wanted—after all, this is a Dream Play—I knew that we could only do this right if we worked with Brett Bolton," said Amblad. Cockroach Theatre approached Brett Bolton with the idea just as Bolton was partnering with Benton Corder to form Space Cadets AV, pushing the boundaries of sound and AV design. Cockroach Theatre is extraordinarily excited to work with Space Cadets AV as they launch their new company. The technology that they bring to the design of this production will debut an entirely new way of performing live theatre. The rest of the cast and crew is made up of Valerie Carpenter Bernstein, Joe Basso, Aaron Oetting, Ross Horvitz, David Sankuer, Kerry Carnohan, Kyle Boatwright, Sophia Martin, Kady Kay, Nick Batton, Anita Bean and Erik Ambled (who also serves as artistic director). Performance dates and times are Friday, April 26th; Saturday, the 27th; Thursday, May 2nd; Friday, the 3rd; Saturday, the 4th; Thursday, the 9th; Friday, the 10th; Saturday, the 11th; Thursday, the 16th; Friday, the 17th; and Saturday, the 18th, all at 8 p.m. There are 2 p.m. matinees on Sundays, April 28th, May 5th, 12th and 19th. Tickets for Death of a Salesman ($18 for general admission and $15 for Seniors/Students/Military) are available online at, or at the door at Art Square Theatre, located at 1025 S. First Street #110 in downtown Las Vegas. Contact [email protected], or visit for more information.

And still more theater news. The Nevada Conservatory Theatre at UNLV concludes its 10th Anniversary Season, May 3rd through 12th, with Urinetown - music by Mark Hollmann, lyrics by Hollmann and Greg Kotis, and book by Kotis - in the Judy Bayley Theatre. Tim Bennett is director and choreographer. This hilarious musical exposes a world of greed, corruption, love and revolution during a time when water is worth its weight in gold and private bathrooms are outlawed. Residents of this Gotham-like city are required to use public restrooms that are regulated by a single malevolent company, which profits by charging admission for one of humanity's most basic needs. During this time of bathroom repression, one hero decides he's had enough and plans a revolution to lead his fellow citizens to toilet freedom! Bennett has enjoyed a career in the professional theatre for more than 30 years, both in the U.S. and around the world. He has worked with such diverse groups as the Boston Pops and the Radio City Rockettes, and in such celebrated performance venues as The Frankfurt Opera House, Tanglewood and on the Las Vegas Strip. Starting his career as an actor, dancer, and singer, Bennett quickly found roles in everything from national and international tours (Steel Pier, Phantom opposite Kristin Chenoweth, South Pacific with Robert Goulet, My Fair Lady with Richard Chamberlain) and Emmy Award-winning primetime television (Growing Pains) to feature films, commercials, Off-Broadway and daytime drama. Today, he works primarily as a director and choreographer. He enjoys helming a wide variety of theatrical productions. Bennett also was the resident director of Disney's production of The Lion King in Las Vegas. The cast includes Equity Actor Adam Kozlowski as Office Lockstock; Paris McCarthy as Little Sally; Jordan Bondurant as Bobby Strong; Equity Actor Joan Sobel as Penelope Pennywise; Equity Actor Nate Bynum as Caldwell B. Caldwell; Alan Dronek as Officer Barrel; Brian Miller as Mr. McQueen; Donald Leonard as Senator Fipp; Scott Hale as Old Man Strong/Josephine Strong; Jordan Fenn as Tiny Tom/Dr. Billeaux; Billy Reed as Robby the Stockfish/Caldwell Minion/Cop; Justin Quintos as Billy Boy Bill/Caldwell Minion/Cop; Gerrad Taylor as Hot Blades Harry/Caldwell Minion/Cop; Melissa Ritzas Soupy Sue/Showgirl/Cop; Casey Lee Earl as Little Becky Two Shoes/Caldwell Minion/Cop; and Christine de Chavez as Unnamed Rebel Poor/Mrs. Millennium/Cop. The production and design team include associate director and choreographer Andrea Avruskin, scenic designer Shannon Moore, lighting designer Kurt Jung, sound designer Alan Holton, technical director Scott Hansen, costume designer Alexandra Lambert, and production stage manager Erin Guernsey. Show times are at 8 p.m. on May 3, 4, 9, 10 and 11. Matinees are at 2 p.m. on May 5 and 12. Tickets are $20-30 for adults, and 10 percent off for those under 18. For tickets or additional information, visit, or call (702) 895-ARTS (2787).

Joan Sobel

Alton Fitzgerald White

* * * * * * * *

New York cabaret star Michael Feinstein has signed on to open a San Francisco branch of his popular, upscale New York club in the former Rrazz Room space on the second floor of the City By the Bay's Hotel Nikko. Feinstein's at Loews Regency had long been (it closed in January) a place where up and coming Broadways stars, as well as established masters like Betty Buckley, Tyne Daly, Bebe Neuwirth, Chita Rivera, David Hyde Pierce and Linda Eder, would go to perform intimate shows. The new Feinstein's is scheduled to open in San Francisco in early May.

And speaking of cabaret, and we often do, in the April 17th Times Square Chronicles, Susan Hasho wrote...Alton Fitzgerald White is an elegant, experienced performer of Broadway music having spent many years of his career happily on Broadway in such musicals as Miss Saigon, The Who's Tommy, Smoky Joe's Café, Ragtime: The Musical, The Color Purple and The Lion King. His show at The Metropolitan Room Broadway My Way on April 8th, was a collection of songs he has performed in shows, and songs that he loves from other musicals. His overriding message was clearly about gratitude. It was several days before his 49th birthday, his family was in the audience and the audience was full of fans—a good opportunity to talk about coming from the Chicago (stet) projects and how fortunate he is to be experiencing such a good career. He has the kind of voice you instinctively lean into because it's beautiful and more importantly because it touches you. He sang "Bui Doi" from Miss Saigon, the gorgeous "When I First Saw You" from Dreamgirls and "Pretty Women" from Sweeney Todd—all lyrical, emotional showstoppers. I particularly liked his performance of "Santa Fe" from the musical Newsies for its bittersweet message about the need for possibility: "I ain't got nothin' if I ain't got Santa Fe." He introduced "Promises, Promises" as the perfect song about knowing when to leave and sang one of the best versions of it I've ever heard—he made a perfect vocal and emotional connection through a very complicated and rhythmically challenging song. He closed with Javert's song from Les Miserables, "Stars" and, most movingly, Coalhouse Walker's song "Wheels of a Dream" from Dreamgirls (stet). Alton Fitzgerald White can play and sing like a man with a passionate dream because that's who he is. And as he made quite clear at The Metropolitan Room—he is also a man with the heart and talent to attain his dreams. He'll be back. He appears at The Metropolitan Room often. Go!

We must correct a couple of errors in Ms. Hasho's article...No. 1, Alton Fitzgerald White did not come from the Chicago projects, he came from Cincinnati. And No. 2, the song "Wheels of a Dream" is not from Dreamgirls, it is from Ragtime. If the dramatic "Wheels of a Dream" isn't officially considered the show's "11 O'clock number," it should be.
And belated birthday greetings to Aries Alton, who, unbeknownst to us, celebrated on April 10th. Now that we DO know, next year, he will be on our Aries list, along with the other honorees.

* * * * * * * *

The Dr. Miriam & Sheldon G. Adelson Educational Campus will present Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical extravaganza, The Wizard of Oz, Wednesday, May 1st and Thursday, the 2nd, at 6:30 p.m. Theater veterans who have worked on Les Miserables and Disney's Beauty and the Beast, local musicals, and award winning short films, will assist with the production. Jeff Knaggs, who is co-directing the production, is an experienced producer and make-up artist. He has worked on more than 15 Broadway shows, including Les Miserables, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, and Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein. Adelson Educational Campus theater teacher, Thom Culcasi, is co-director as well as musical director for the show. Culcasi recently conducted members of the Houston Symphony in a production of Man of La Mancha. Actress Joan Sobel will provide vocal coaching for the production. For seven years, Sobel played Carlotta in Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular, and will play the lead role of Pennywise in Nevada Conservatory Theater's Urinetown at the University of Nevada Las Vegas' Judy Bayley Theater, from May 3rd through 12th. This production of The Wizard of Oz will feature lighting designs by Michael Tushaus. He has worked on many award-winning short films, including Whatever It Takes, that won the 2010 Silver Ace Award for Excellence in Filmmaking from the Las Vegas International Film Festival. The Wizard of Oz is a musical based on the 1939 Judy Garland-starring film, and Frank L. Baum's novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jeremy Sans' adaptation includes new songs from Andrew Lloyd Weber and lyrics by Tim Rice, as well as original songs from the film. The Wizard of Oz invites the audience into the imagination of Dorothy Gale, a misunderstood teen who finds herself in the magical land of Oz after a violent tornado blows through her town. This time-honored classic is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Featuring musical numbers, such as "Over the Rainbow," "We're Off To See the Wizard" and "Follow the Yellow Brick Road," this musical promises a good time for the whole family. Adelson Educational Campus' The Wizard of Oz stars Sarah Littman as Dorothy Gale, Nicole Derei as the Lion, Sydney Sponer as the Scarecrow, Adam Adelson as the Tinman, Bailey Braner as Glinda, Makenna Jansen as the Wicked Witch of the West and Mendy Berrebi as The Wizard of Oz/Professor Marvel. The mission of The Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Educational Campus is to instruct and inspire new generations of students who will draw strength from a rich Jewish heritage, use their knowledge, values and vision to fulfill their own potential, and build a better world. Adelson Educational Campus was originally founded in 1980, and now educates children from 18 months through 12th grade. Adelson Educational Campus accepts students of all faiths and affiliations, and offers a drug-free commitment to its students and faculty. Adelson Educational Campus is located at 9700 West Hillpointe Road in Summerlin. The show is free and open to the public. Seats can be reserved. For more information, or to reserve seats prior to the show, please call (702) 255-4500, or visit, or Facebook/Adelson Campus.

* * * * * * * *

California Hotel Polynesian Festival

The historic California Hotel and Casino will celebrate May Day with the 16th Annual Lei Day Polynesian Festival, Saturday, May 4th, and Sunday, May 5th, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days.
The annual Polynesian festival brings together musicians, dancers, artists, craftsmen and food and beverage vendors, to showcase the very best of Hawaii. Entry to the two- day event is FREE. Throughout the festivities, a continual flow of Hawaiian and Polynesian musicians and dancers will entertain attendees. Special demonstrations and activities will highlight Hawaiian culture, and a number of vendors will be on hand to display and sell arts and crafts. Traditional Hawaiian dishes and delicacies will be available for purchase, including kalua pig, lau lau, poi, beef teriyaki sticks and hot malasadas. The 11th Annual Tahiti Taurua Nui I Las Vegas Dance Competition will be held on May 4th, from 7 to 11 p.m. To watch the competition, tickets are $20. A special concert, featuring Hawaiian recording artists Gary and Sheldeen Haleamau, Na Hoa and Mark Yamanaka, will be held on Saturday, at 7:30 p.m. inside the Ohana/Maile Room at the Cal. This concert is a paid event, and tickets are $20 in advance, and $25 at the door. Parking venue at Stewart and Main Street, adjacent to the California Hotel and Casino.
Further event information is available at, or by calling (702) 385-1222 or (800) 634-6505.

* * * * * * * *

Las Vegas Shakespeare Company brings to the stage of the Henderson Pavilion outdoor theater, a live musical theatrical performance of Charlotte's Web, the classic story of loyalty, trust, and sacrifice. The remaining performances are tomorrow, Saturday, April 27th at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday the 28th at 4 p.m. All seats are $10. Henderson Pavilion Box Office is located at 200 South Green Valley Parkway, at the intersection of Green Valley Parkway and Paseo Verde, across from The District at Green Valley Ranch. Contact the Box Office by phone at (702) 267-4TIX(4849). Tickets may be purchased online, by phone at (702) 267-4TIX, or in person at the Box Office. The Henderson Pavilion accepts the following forms of payment: cash, American Express, MasterCard, Discover and Visa. When purchasing tickets with a credit card, you must show a valid photo identification to complete the transaction. Personal checks are not accepted.

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