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 02, 2014
You can find the current column HERE


Las Vegas - May 2, 2014
(Running a bit later than usual today)


RIP Carolyn Freeman Hassell 1940-2014

A Parable of Immortality
By Henry Van Dyke
"I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch until at last she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says, "There she goes!"
Gone where? Gone from my sight ... that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination. Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says, "There she goes! there are other eyes watching her coming and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, "Here she comes!"

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Renee Hale

Sidro Garcia

Lots of worthwhile things going on in Southern Nevada this weekend. So many options. So little time.
Songstress Renee Hale sends along this information... This Sunday, May 4th, from 1 to 5 p.m., the Las Vegas Music Festival will present a fundraiser for the Foothill High School Marching Band, which will represent Nevada in New York's famous Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The 300-member Foothill Marching Band and color guard is one of only six high school bands in the country selected to participate in this year's Thanksgiving Day parade. Needless to say (but we are saying it anyway), this is a major honor for our state. The Las Vegas Music Festival will be held at the Henderson Pavilion, and will feature top Las Vegas entertainers. The All-star Variety Show Spectacular will include Sidro's Armada, Jonathan Potenciano (Music Magic), Denise Clemente, David Van Such, Jonas Vece, Jay Ramsey, Joni James, The Steven Lee Group, who are reuniting for this one performance, and the above mentioned, Ms. Hale. There will also be special performances by the Foothill High School Marching Band and Jazz Band. "The show will be awesome," says Renee, who will perform around 2 p.m., "and we are helping our kids represent Vegas!" General admission tickets are $20, and may be purchased by contacting www.hendersonlive.com/tickets, or calling (702) 267-4TIX. The Henderson Pavilion is located at 200 S Green Valley Parkway, in Henderson. All proceeds will go directly to the Foothill HS Band, to assist in the cost to get the members to New York, and with all the expense they will have in representing our community. For more information, please contact Linda Freeman at (702) 762-5898. The Foothill High School Marching Band, making Nevada proud.


Joni James

Steven Lee

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Last Sunday, in the Tuscany's Piazza Lounge, Nik at Nite and band members celebrated the music of George and Ira Gershwin in our first 2 sets, and there was an air of excitement in the room all night long. First of all, the Gershwins' music is always a crowd-pleaser. Second, we were joined by Rick Jones admirably sitting in on trumpet on several songs. Third, it was the last night that our good friend pianist Joey Singer will be with us for a while, as he will be returning to playing and conducting for Mamma Mia!, returning to Las Vegas at the Tropicana Hotel. Joey will be missed, but he promises to make time to drop in when he can. As usual, we had an enthusiastic crowd with visitors from as far away as England and Australia mixed in with our locals. We will have a different lineup for this Sunday, as we celebrate the music of Sammy Cahn, with Larry Millonzi on keys, Kenny Seiffert on bass and Adam Shendal on drums. For those of you unfamiliar with Sammy Cahn and his music, he was an American lyricist, songwriter and musician. Among his many impressive achievements were a series of hit recordings with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Doris Day and many others. Sammy has the distinction of winning four Academy Awards for the lyrics to "Three Coins in the Fountain," from the film of the same name (music by Jule Styne); "All The Way," from The Joker Is Wild (music by Jimmy Van Heusen); "High Hopes," from A Hole In the Head (music by Van Heusen); and "Call Me Irresponsible," from Papa‘s Delicate Condition (also with music by Van Heusen) . In addition to the four Oscars he won, Cahn was an Academy Award nominee 23 other times. The following Sunday, May 11th, Nik and company will have a special Mother's Day performance at the Piazza Lounge, with world-renowned guitarist, arranger and orchestrator, Joe Lano, who will join with Jeff Davis on bass, Boris Shapiro on drums and me for a celebration of moms with the music of the above mentioned, Jimmy Van Heusen. We will have more information about this special Mother's Day show in next Fridays' column. The Piazza Lounge is located inside the Tuscany Hotel (on the hotel side), 255 E Flamingo Rd. Word seems to be spreading that this is the coolest spot in town.


Sammy Cahn

Penn & Teller

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AFAN's annual AIDS Walk, their 24th, takes place at UNLV on Sunday, May 4th. Join Grand Marshals Penn & Teller - along with local celebrities, businesses and community leaders - in making this a Las Vegas-style landmark event in the fight against HIV/AIDS. For AFAN's 30th anniversary, Penn & Teller are challenging walkers to raise at least $250. If you achieve this minimum goal, Penn and Teller will match your fundraising dollar for dollar!* If you want a shot at doubling your contribution, join the Penn & Teller Challenge when you register! For those who don't know, the University of Nevada Las Vegas is located at 4505 S Maryland Parkway.

Walk activities begin in front of the Student Union, with the walk route about three miles around the UNLV campus. Registration takes place at 8 a.m. Opening Ceremony is from 9 to 10:30 a.m. The AIDS Walk is from 10:30 a.m. to noon, followed by an After Walk Picnic, from noon to 2 p.m. Last year, more than 12,000 people walked to raise awareness for the cause. You are invited to walk with your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, or alongside the thousands of other members of our community who come together to show their support.

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The Osmonds

The Osmonds - brothers Merrill, Jay and Jimmy - will perform at The Orleans Showroom this weekend, through Sunday. Having thrilled millions with their signature brand of entertainment, the legendary brothers have mastered a range of musical styles, including barbershop, pop, rock, country and jazz. Known for such classic hits as "One Bad Apple," "Yo-Yo," "Down By The Lazy River" and "Love Me For A Reason," the brothers' close harmonies are unrivaled in the music world. More than five decades ago, the young Osmond boys made their first national TV appearance on The Andy Williams Show, in what was meant to be a one-time shot at the big time. That single appearance led the Osmonds to seven seasons as regulars on the show. The Osmond brothers enjoyed professional gigs at Disneyland and with The Jerry Lewis Show before signing with MGM Records and skyrocketing to worldwide recognition. Known for their versatility and for shaping musical styles to fit their talents - between them, they have mastered 28 musical instruments - the Osmonds gained further exposure with the 1976 premiere of The Donny and Marie Show. With the Osmond brothers as executive producers, the show was a true example of their abilities to project the unified quality of their own family relationship, and, in 1979, the show transformed into The Osmond Family Show. Success continued and, in 1982, the Osmonds transitioned their sound from pop to country music. Billboard magazine honored them with the "1982 Breakthrough Award," and acknowledged them as the "Number One New Singles Group of the Year." In 2003, the Osmond family was honored for their achievements in the entertainment industry with a star on the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Orleans show time for The Osmonds each evening is at 8 p.m. Tickets are available starting from $34.95, plus tax and convenience fees. They can be purchased at any Boyd Gaming Box Office, by calling (702) 365-7075, or by visiting www.orleanscasino.com.

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The Fab

Tomorrow night, between 8 p.m. and midnight, the Tuscany's Tspot Lounge will feature The Fab, billed as The Ultimate Beatles Music Celebration. This is not a costumed, try and look like John, Paul, George and Ringo show. The Fab features the music of the boys from Liverpool. There is no cover. Get there early. The Tuscany is at 255 E Flamingo.

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Also taking place this weekend, but in Southern California, it's Deana Martin, Live In Concert at Herb Alpert's Vibrato Grill Jazz, on Sunday, May 4th, beginning at 8:30 p.m. Billed as "A Special Event," it surely will be. Deana Martin is an influential American singer, actor and performer, and the very proud daughter of iconic entertainer, Dean Martin. Deana achieved success early in her career in films, theater and television, then quickly added to her repertoire — recording artist, best-selling author, nationally syndicated radio host, licensed pilot, and entrepreneur. As an internationally acclaimed entertainer, hit recording artist and an in-demand performer, playing to sold-out audiences worldwide, Deana Martin has become an instantly recognizable voice and figure in the pantheon of The Great American Songbook. Deana's 2006 debut CD release, Memories Are Made Of This, stayed in the top ten for 40 consecutive weeks. In 2009, another hit CD, Volare, was released; it debuted on the Billboard charts at No. 7, and the Jazz chart at No. 22. White Christmas, released in 2011, was another chart buster; it remained on the top ten throughout the Christmas season in 2011 and 2012. Deana's latest release, Destination Moon, opened to rave reviews and reinforces her renowned status as a hit recording artist. A celebrated author, Deana Martin found herself on the New York Times coveted Best Seller list with her 2004 memoir, Memories Are Made of This: Dean Martin Through His Daughters Eyes. In it, Deana delights in sharing wonderful, never-before-told stories about her father and his Pallies. To her, they were known as, Uncle Frank (Sinatra) and Uncle Sammy (Davis, Jr.) - to the world, they were known as The Rat Pack. The book will soon be made into a movie, directed by actor Joe Mantegna, with screenplay written by actor/writer/television host, Bonnie Hunt, and starring Jennifer Love Hewitt. Seeing Deana Martin in a live performance, you get the sense that there is nothing she cannot do. And you're right! With an abundance of success under her belt as a hit recording artist, highly praised concert performer, accomplished actor and best-selling author - Deana Martin seems to excel effortlessly at everything she does. Like her Dad, Deana makes it all look so easy, and audiences can't get enough. Tickets at Vibrato Grill Jazz are $25. For reservations, call (310) 474-9400. Vibrato Jazz is located at 2930 Beverly Glen Circle in Bel Air, California. If you are in the neighborhood on the evening of May 4th, you know where you should be!


Deana Martin

F.I.O.R.E. Guest Michele Fiore

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Don't forget, it's F.I.O.R.E. (Fun Italians Organizing Ridiculous Events) time on Thursday, the 8th. Mark your calendar for 11:30 a.m., when doors open for the luncheon gathering at the Italian American Club, 2333 E. Sahara. May's special guest speaker is Michele Fiore (yep, Fiore is her name), Nevada Assemblywoman, representing District 4. By our column deadline, about 60 people had RSVPd to say they were going to be at the party. Did we mention that RSVPs are a MUST? They are. The buffet lunch will cost you $25. The fun and camaraderie are thrown in for free, along with a real live band and raffle prizes. If it sounds like something you might enjoy, RSVP to [email protected].

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Last Saturday evening, singer/vocal coach, Jessica Kluger Marciel, and her partner, public speaker/blogger/web consultant, Andy Ebon, hosted a get-together at their lovely home, for former longtime Las Vegan (more than 30 years), singer/actress, Diane Ellis, who was visiting here rom Boston. Among the friends who turned out to share memories and have some laughs were musician Doug Taylor; art designer for UFC, Kyle Christian, and dancer/booking agent, Amanda Jordan; singer/actress/vocal coach, Dolly Coulter; John and Liza Grady, John sings at Vintners on W. Charleston; songstress Janice Sands and her mother, Dolly Wassel, visiting from Pennsylvania; Kathryn Arianoff, singer/musician; pianist Mike Shane; Tish and Tom Amador; vocalist Joni James; and Linda Freeman, who has her own interior plant company and also arranges charitable concerts, including the one taking place at the Henderson Pavilion on Sunday. Good company. Good food. And a good time was had by all.

What are the odds of this happening? In a group of fewer than 20 party attendees, there were two guests named Dolly (both female, thank you) - singer, Dolly Coulter, and Janice Sands' mother.


Chic Singers

Kathryn Arianoff

Photo: Chic Singers from left to right - Kathryn Arianoff, Diane Ellis, Jessica Marciel, Janice Sands and Dolly Coulter.

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And speaking of Kathryn Arianoff (Taylor & Taylor, Nunsense), she can currently be seen and heard, Sundays from 5 to 8 p.m., at Live Swingin' Sundays at the Viva Las Vegas Event Center, on the Strip at 1201 Las Vegas Blvd. So., next to Ron DeCar and Jamie Richards' Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel. The band backing Kathryn at Viva Las Vegas Event Center is made up of Jeanne Bullet (keys and vocals), Steve Poncar (sax and vocals), Steve Sheck (trombone), Cliff Workman (drums), and Larry Wooley (bass and vocals). The group features mostly jazz and R&B. There is great Southern Soul Food, and a full bar. Tickets are $10 at the door. For additional information, call (702) 384-0771.

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Emilio Muscelli passed away in a Las Vegas hospital on April 15, at the age of 91. Born Aug. 11, 1922, in Ascoli Piceno, Italy, Muscelli served in the Italian Army during World War II and attended the University of Rome and studied economics. He came to the United States in 1948 initially working as a dishwasher and grave digger before being hired as a waiter, and eventually promoted to captain at the famed Copacabana in New York City. Emilio was sent to Las Vegas in 1952 to open the new Sands Hotel Copa Room. From 1958 to 1960, he was the showroom maitre d' at the El Rancho Vegas until it burned down in July 1960. He worked from 1960 to 1969, holding the same post at the Flamingo. He was executive maitre d' at the International/Hilton from 1969 until his retirement to the golf course in 1979. As a revered Las Vegas maitre d', he seated thousands of locals and visitors at the Rat Pack's performances at the Sands in the early 1950s and to Elvis Presley's attendance-record-setting shows at the Las Vegas Hilton in the 1970s. At the Sands, he became friends with several Rat Pack members, occasionally taking the Sinatra children with him to church on Sundays. "I had the best job anyone could have had in Las Vegas." "Las Vegas was so very good to me. Whatever I have today, I owe to Las Vegas. The key to my success was that early on I learned how to treat people right - with respect - and, over the years, I always saw the sweet side of life." He was a charter member of the Las Vegas Country Club. At age 90, he still played golf frequently, and loved tending to his rose garden. He is survived by his son, Perry, (Kathy); daughter, Gina; two grandsons, Spencer and Blake, all of Las Vegas; and sister, Licia of Italy. Viewing was from 3 to 7 p.m. today, Friday, May 2. Services will be at 1 p.m. tomorrow, May 3, both at Palm Mortuary, 7600 S. Eastern Ave., Las Vegas.


Emilio Muscelli & Elvis Presley

Anthony Brady & Larry "Wild" Wrice

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Satchmo -The Louis Armstrong Show will be at the Clark County Library Theater on Sunday, May 11th, at 3 p.m. In this Mother's Day performance, Anthony Brady will offer a stunning portrayal of the late great Louis Armstrong, with the six member Gents Of Swing backing him up. Audiences will enjoy many great Satchmo hits, including "What a Wonderful World," "Hello, Dolly!," and Mac the Knife." This is truly Las Vegas Entertainment at its very best! The concert will be held at the Clark County Library Theater, 1401 E Flamingo Rd. This is the kickoff for a nationwide tour. Tickets are $25 at the door. Save $5 by purchasing in advance for $20. Credit and debit cards may be used to pay for tickets in advance. For reservations or additional information, contact Larry "Wild" Wrice at (702) 647-4346, or (702) 504-9059.

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Mistinguett Productions presents The Phat Pack, Saturday, May 10th, 7 p.m., at the Starbright Theatre in Sun City Summerlin. Broadway singers and former cast mates of Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular have created a brand new show. Bruce Ewing, Ted Keegan, Randal Keith and Kevan Patriquin, accompanied by Alec Bart at the piano, are the Phat (a play on the word Phantom) Pack. The revue offers the best of Broadway - jam-packed with great MUSIC - Broadway, American Standards, Las Vegas favorites and original songs; LAUGHTER in song and story; and DREAMS - as the guys share their personal and career journeys. In addition to receiving rave reviews after opening in Las Vegas, The Phat Pack was named Best of Vegas 2013 - Best All Around Performers by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The Phat Pack has enjoyed successful appearances at The Smith Center's Cabaret Jazz, and the Showroom at the downtown Plaza, as well as at Windows Showroom at Bally's Hotel and Casino. The Phat Pack will soon be traveling, taking their unique concert to many theaters and concert series all over the US and Canada. Tickets are $15 for Sun City Summerlin residents and $18 for non-residents. 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. All ticket prices include Live Entertainment Tax. Tickets are non-refundable. 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. The Starbright Theatre is at 2215 Thomas W. Ryan Blvd. in the hills of Summerlin. Call the box office at (702) 240-1301.


The Phat Pack

Gret Menzies in A Love Story

On that same weekend, busy Mistinguett Productions is presenting A Love Story at Sun City Anthem's Freedom Hall Theatre, 2460 Hampton Road, in Henderson. A Love Story stars singers Tara Palsha, George DeMott, Gret Menzies, and Bill Fayne (Fayne is also the musical director and piano accompanist). "Bill's Piano Bar" is a fictional location where Bill tells the story of a guy and two ladies falling in and out of love. This enchanting musical show will debut at Sun City Anthem's Freedom Hall theater for one performance only, on Sunday, May 11th at 3 p.m. The musical tale looks at love through the journey of four people - thirty-something married couple, a young single entertainer, and their older divorced friend and confidant. Their lives and loves go through every emotion and many changes as the story unfolds in song favorites from the last 60 years of popular music. Conceived by Mistinguett, and written by Mistinguett and Fayne, A Love Story is told through hit songs such as "It Had to Be You," "Some Enchanted Evening," "How Long Has This Been Going On?," "I'm a Fool to Want You," "How Do You Keep the Music Playing?," "The Way We Were" and many more. Tickets are $15 for Sun City residents and $18 for non residents. Call the Box Office at (702) 614-5864.

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An eight-year run on Broadway and two revivals place Grease!, by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, among the world's most popular musicals. Enjoy an evening of fun with Rydell High's favorite students as they rock the stage of the Judy Bayley Theatre at UNLV, as The Nevada Conservatory Theatre presents the one that you want...the classic musical, Grease!, through May 11th. The productions' director, Tom Bennett, has enjoyed a career in the professional theater 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 Nevada Conservatory Grease! cast includes Darek Riley as Danny; Equity Actor Niki Scalera as Sandy (played in the film by Olivia Newton-John, now a resident performer at the Flamingo in Las Vegas); Sam Cordes as Kenickie; Alex Olson as Sonny; Jordan Fenn as Doody; Vince Brouwers as Roger; Marissa McCoy as Rizzo; Madison Kisst as Frenchy; Stefanie Resnick as Marty; Sydney Peca Story as Jan; Heather Tica as Cha Cha; Brian Gaunt as Eugene; Victoria Spelman as Patty; Equity Actor Norma Morrow as Miss Lynch; Equity Actors, Brandon Burk and Bruce Ewing, share the roles of Vince Fontaine and Teen Angel; and Christopher Lash as Johnny Casino. The ensemble includes Gianni Becker, Alexandra Celi, Olivia Hernando, Luca Rollo, Justin Velarde, and Katy Veneris. Remaining show times are at 8 p.m. on May 1, 2, 3, 8, 9 & 10, with matinees at 2 p.m. on May 3, 4, 10, & 11, in the Judy Bayley Theatre. Bring the family and enjoy an evening of fun with Rydell High's favorite students as they rock the stage with hit songs such as "Greased Lightnin'," "Beauty School Dropout," "Summer Nights," and "You're the One that I Want!" Tickets are $20 and $30, with 10 percent off for youngsters, 18 and under. For tickets or additional information, visit pac.unlv.edu, or call (702) 895-ARTS (2787).


Darek Riley & Niki Scalera in Grease!

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Sorry we missed these programs during the UNLV Jazz Studies 2014 Spring Invitational Jazz Festival, held in the Campus Black Box Theater, April 28th through 30th. On the 28th, UNLV Jazz Guitar Ensemble, directed by Jarret Myers and the UNLV Jazz Ensemble III, conducted by Paul Olesuk. The 29th, it was the UNLV Jazz Ensemble II, conducted by Nathan Tanouye and Dave Loeb and the UNLV Latin Jazz Ensemble, directed by Uli Geissendoerfer with guest jazz saxophonist Ed Calle. Jazz Ensemble I, conducted by Tanouye and Loeb, and the UNLV Contemporary Jazz Ensemble, directed by Tanouye with guest Calle, performed on April 30th. Saxophonist Calle is known for his extraordinary ability to play Latin, contemporary jazz and pop. Born in Caracas of Spanish parents, it was obvious from the start that he was a natural player and now, Calle can be heard on hundreds of recordings both as a sideman and soloist. He appears on Grammy award-winning albums by Frank Sinatra, Vikki Carr, Arturo Sandoval, and Jon Secada, as well as on numerous TV and motion picture soundtracks. He also has recorded and performed around the world with such artists as Gloria Estefan, Julio Iglesias, Michael Bolton, Bob James, Bobby Caldwell, Rihanna, Extreme, and Vanessa Williams. Among his many solo recordings, Ed Calle Plays Santanagarnered a Latin Grammy Award nomination in 2005. His release In the Zone (2006) features original compositions and jazz standards, and earned a Latin Grammy nomination in 2007. Besides being an internationally acclaimed jazz performer and prolific composer and arranger, Calle is in great demand as a jazz clinician and enjoys working with students. He has served as a guest artist and clinician with the Monk Institute and at universities including Brigham Young University, Temple College, University of North Florida, University of Florida, University of Miami, and West Palm Beach Community College.

And more about UNLV's Jazz department...
In DownBeat Magazine's 2014 Student Music Awards, the UNLV Latin Jazz Ensemble, directed by Uli Geissendoerfer, received Outstanding Performance, Latin Group-Graduate College. UNLV student Carlos Mata-Alvarez also earned a Large Ensemble-Arrangement, Undergraduate College. DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards are considered to be among the most prestigious recognitions in jazz education worldwide. There were 1,020 entries in the 2014 DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards, as judged by a distinguished group of top jazz artists and educators in a rigorous competition. Congratulations one and all.

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Sin City Opera is proud to once again be teaming up with Off-Strip Productions for its 6th engagement at the Onyx Theatre, 953 E. Sahara, Bldg 16 in Commercial Center, where we will present two operas, Gian Carlo Menotti's The Telephone and a brand-new English translation of Francis Poulenc's The Human Voice (La Voix Humaine). The two works focus on women at extreme moments of their relationships. One is at the beginning, afraid to say hello. The other is at the end and afraid to say goodbye. Each woman has one tool in common to help them make their journey: a telephone. The two stories will explore the themes of the telephone as a distraction, a shield, a weapon, and ultimately as an extension of our very selves, the ways we really talk-and don't talk-to those we love. The production is helmed by Skip Galla, Artistic Director and SCO co-founder, along with Jack Gaughan, resident Music Director. Three of Las Vegas' most brilliant operatic voices will be playing the lead roles. International soprano and recent Las Vegas resident, Marcie Ley, will be the featured voice in The Human Voice, with local operatic standouts Athena Mertes, and Nathan Van Arsdale as Lucy and Ben respectively in The Telephone. This production will be uniquely staged; the two works will be completely interwoven, one in color and the other in black and white. Everyone from opera newbies to seasoned lovers of these two works should be sure not to miss this lush and provocative dual production as it's never been presented before. A portion of the proceeds from this production will be donated to Variety - The Children's Charity of Southern Nevada. See www.varietysn.org. Please visit www.sincityopera.com, or become a fan of Sin City Opera on Facebook to learn more details about our upcoming works and how you can support our efforts or become involved. Show times continue at 8 p.m., May 3rd, 9th and 10th. Tickets are $15. For reservations, please call The Onyx Box Office at (702) 732-7225 or visit their website at www.onyxtheatre.com.

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Reminder...
This weekend, the historic California Hotel and Casino will be celebrating May Day with the 17th Annual Lei Day Polynesian Festival. 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. Two exciting concerts will take place during the special weekend. Tonight, Friday, May 2nd at 7:30 p.m., inside the Ohana/Maile Room at the California Hotel and Casino, Hawaiian recording artists and musicians will perform. Makani Tabura will serve as emcee. Doors open at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 3 at 7:30 p.m., on the festival grounds, Hawaiian recording artists and musicians will perform. Tickets are $20 in advance, and $25 at the gate. Gates open at 7 p.m. Parking is available at Stewart and Main Street, adjacent to the California Hotel and Casino. Additional event information is available at www.thecal.com, or by calling (702) 385-1222 or (800) 634-6505.

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If it's not one thing, it's another. If it's not football, it's the Kentucky Derby. Please note: Due to the Kentucky Derby Handicapping Seminar in the South Point's Grandview Lounge, Wes Winters will begin his performance this Friday, May 2nd, at 7:30 p.m., instead of the usual 6 p.m. start. Tomorrow, Saturday, May 3rd, Wes' Grandview Lounge performance is at the usual time, from 6 to 9 p.m. Wes resumes his Rampart Addison's Lounge schedule , beginning on Tuesday, May 6th from 6 to 9 p.m. He will be performing at the Rampart every Tuesday in May. To see Wes' performance dates, please visit www.weswinters.com, and click on Shows & Schedule.

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Karole Foreman & Alexander Pimentel in Next To Normal

Reviews for Next To Normal, playing in Long Beach, California, have been raves (see below), and the audiences great. The show runs for only two more weeks, through May 10th on the Queen Mary. Tickets are still available, but are selling fast. Excerpts from Steven Stanley's April 22, STAGEsceneLA review of Next To Normal. California Repertory Company and director Joanne Gordon bring Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey's Next To Normal to the Queen Mary's Royal Theater in an excitingly imaginative rendition of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winner, one featuring a star-turn lead performance by Karole Foreman. (Karole Foreman was one of the stars of Mamma Mia!, when it played here at Mandalay Bay, so we are highlighting the parts in this review that mention her. A new company of Mamma Mia! Opens at the Tropicana on Thursday, May 8th. ) Foreman and Jeff Paul are Diana and Dan Goodman, a middle-aged married couple who would, on the surface at least, appear to be heading "the perfect loving family." Sure, as Diana sings in "Just Another Day," "my son's a little shit, my husband's boring, and my daughter, though a genius, is a freak," but what family is perfect? Dan, Diana, Gabe (Alexander Pimentel), and Natalie (Maddie Larson) would seem to be living the all-American dream, that is until you scratch a little deeper and discover some very big cracks indeed. That Diana is battling bipolar disorder is something we begin to suspect a few minutes in, from the moment she begins to scatter slice upon slice of bread...on the kitchen floor, the better to speed up sandwich prep for husband, son, and daughter. No, indeed, something isn't quite right at the Goodmans'. Next To Normal book writer Yorkey drops a bombshell that causes us to reevaluate all we've come to believe about this next-to-normal family—and we're still only about twenty minutes into the show. As thoroughly as any other Broadway hit in recent memory, Next To Normal demonstrates just how far "musical comedy" has come since Rodgers & Hammerstein redefined it back in 1944 with Oklahoma! As deep and dramatic and compelling as the best-written contemporary two-act play, Next To Normal takes the often overblown "sung-through" musical (think Evita, Les Miz, Miss Saigon, and Cats) and scales it down to an intimacy that would work equally well on a 99-seat stage as on a 1000-plus-seat regional stage. Add to that a score by composer Kitt and lyricist Yorkey that combines rock rhythms, catchy melodies, and clever, insightful lyrics, and you've got a musical that will leave you entertained, shaken, better informed about mental illness, and profoundly moved. Director Gordon's most innovative departure is in taking Next To Normal out of its cookie-cutter two-story suburban-home setting and transporting it into the more abstract territory of Diana's mind, aided and abetted quite ingeniously indeed by scenic designer Elizabeth Smith. A tree grows center stage, its branches sky high, a double bed sprouting from its trunk about halfway up. This allows Gordon and her players considerable room to "explore" Diana's mind to strikingly visual effect. Smith's design keeps Gabe an ever-present observer to what is going on below, the significance of which will become clear about a quarter-hour in, give or take five minutes, as will the toddler outfits hanging from various branches. The use of white confetti-like paper chits as Diana's pills in another powerfully visual Gordon touch. The director approaches Next To Normal like a play, seamless transitions from song to dialog and back again leaving no room for traditional musical theater applause, though just about every song rendition merits cheers. Other design elements—Cara Baker's costumes, Toranj Noroozi's lighting, Cricket S. Myers' sound, Narges Noroozi's props, and Vicky Tajeb's makeup and hair—all contribute to giving the production a thoroughly professional air. (Cal Rep is comprised primarily of graduate students, faculty, and staff from the Theatre Arts Department at California State University, Long Beach.) Musical director Jarod Sheahan plays piano in Next To Normal's three-piece band (Shane Savala on guitar and Greg Erskine on percussion), about half the original's number, but more than adequate for the Royal's relative intimacy. Performers' vocals are only slightly amplified, giving the production a refreshingly "unplugged" sound. Above all, it is Forman's powerful, deeply felt performance that provides the very best reason to catch Next To Normal in this non-traditionally cast production, one that begs the question: Why doesn't this out-of-the-box casting take place more often? Forman combines exquisite vocals and topnotch acting chops to give us Diana in all her complexities and contradictions—her feistiness, her fears, her vulnerabilities, her joys, and her profound sadness. It is a star performance and one not to be missed. (If only Foreman were given the individual curtain call the role and her performance deserves.) Best of all among supporting players is charismatic newcomer Pimentel, his Gabe a homecoming king with a dangerous edge. Pimentel's stellar vocals and the abundant athleticism required by Gordon's staging are two more reasons to declare the recent LAMDA grad "one to watch." (A pair of beautifully choreographed Gabe-Diana dance sequences are performed by Pimentel and Foreman to heartrending effect.) A hybrid student/professional production (and one that benefits enormously from its leading lady's extensive Equity credits), Cal Rep's Next To Normal is that rarity: a musical that high schoolers, university-aged young adults, and those decades their senior, can enjoy and be moved by in equal measure. It is well worth a visit to the Queen Mary. California Repertory at the Royal Theatre aboard the Queen Mary, is at 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach. Through May 10th, Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. The theater entrance is accessed from outside the ship, at the Queen Mary's aft. A ticket, therefore, does not allow access to the ship. However, for $15 you can get a dining voucher to be used in the ship's several restaurants and bars that will allow you to stroll about the legendary ocean liner. A Cal Rep parking validation helps make Queen Mary parking a bit more affordable, and at a mere $25 for the general public, individual tickets are as affordable as it gets for musical theater of this caliber. For reservations, call (562) 985-5526. Check out www.calrep.org.

Photo by Keith Ian Polakoff

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Evil Dead the Musical is looking for a few good men (and women) to join the cast. The summer is quickly approaching, and they are gearing up for the rush by looking for some performers to join their merry band of mischief-makers. The show is a multi-media over-the-top camp comedy experience featuring an undead horde, a hero with a chainsaw for a hand, and a pit called the Splatter Zone where diehard fans are covered in gallons and gallons of fresh warm blood every night. Endorsed by Bruce Campbell and embraced by Sam Raimi, Evil Dead the Musical is the official live stage show of the cult classic film trilogy, and they have been bringing the bloody fun to Las Vegas since 2011. Two male and two female performers of various ages are being sought for positions. They must meet the following criteria: 1. Located in Vegas; 2. Able to sing. Ability to read music is a plus but not mandatory; 3. Have comedic timing; 4. Love to have fun onstage; 5. Be 18 years of age or older.
You don't need to know the show, but it is advised you familiarize yourself with it if you are auditioning.
CHARACTER BREAKDOWN (MALES)
Ash (Tenor/Baritone): The hero and iconic character of the musical. This devoted S-Mart house wares employee evolves over the course of the show from a cowardly college student to a wise cracking deadite slayer with his detachable hand chainsaw and 12 gauge "boomstick." Must be at least 6" tall, in good shape, and good looking. Must have dark hair or be willing to dye hair to suit.
Scotty (Tenor/Baritone): Cocky, a prankster, and Ash's best friend. Thinks himself the brave one until he's forced to kill, then his panic leads him to flee. He returns to warn Ash about the woods and attempts to help his friend even as he is knocking on death's door.
Ed (Tenor/Baritone): Annie's coworker, boyfriend, and doormat. He travels with her to the cabin to proceed with their research of the book of the dead. After turning evil, his confidence may lack but this "Bit Part Demon" is ready to sing!
CHARACTER BREAKDOWN (FEMALES)
Linda (Soprano): The prototypical girl next door. Linda is sweet, thoughtful, and completely devoted to Ash, until she turns evil and tries to kill him. She laughs an annoyingly inordinate amount of time after transforming. Must be in good shape and attractive. Cannot be over 5'10" tall.
Cheryl (Mezzo-Soprano): Ash's sister and the odd woman out in the group. Looking to spend a week relaxing, she is the recipient of Scotty's jokes and torment. The only one to sense the evil surrounding the cabin, she is the first to be possessed, turning her into an aggressive, foul mouthed demon that speaks in very bad puns. Spends the majority of the show locked in the cellar. Cannot be over 5'5" tall.
Shelly (Mezzo-Soprano): Beautiful, easy, and not too smart. She is Scotty's latest fling and looking to party. Just because she becomes an evil demon doesn't mean she can't look good doing it! Must be in good shape and comfortable in a revealing costume. This same performer plays the role of Annie.
Annie (Mezzo-Soprano): The overbearing, sexy, explorer who finds missing pages to the Necronomicon and wants to reunite with her father to continue their research. Very bossy and drawn to Ash. Must be in good shape and comfortable in a tear away revealing costume. This same performer plays the role of Shelly.

Submit headshot and resume to [email protected]. They will contact you to schedule a time to come in and audition. These are non-union, paid positions. Auditions will be held in person the week of May 12th, and are by appointment only. Video submissions will not be accepted.

Note: Don't forget that, beginning tomorrow, May 3rd, all Nevada phone numbers in the 702 area code, will have to be dialed with that 702 prefix.






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