We are quick, yet thorough, as we take a rake to VegasVille:
• Zowie Bowie, known more commonly these days as the singularly esteemed and unseasonably bronzed Chris Phillips, is hosting the 4th annual Cadillac of Las Vegas Celebrity Benefit Show at LVH Theater at 8 p.m. Saturday.
The show is not to benefit Cadillac of Las Vegas, which is the event sponsor, but rather the Las Vegas arm of the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots foundation. Tickets are available for a $19 donation, or guests will be admitted free with an unwrapped new toy valued at $19.
Joining the reliably excited and extensively bejeweled Phillips is ace trumpeter/bandleader David Perrico, serving as the night’s music director. Scheduled to appear (and look twice at the word “scheduled,” as this list is subject to change) are this alphabetized collection of performers: Louie Anderson, Gordie Brown, Elisa Furr, Mark Giovi, Sandy Kastel, Skye Dee Miles, Frankie Moreno, Lorena Peril, Steve Rossi, Paul Shortino, Pia Zadora and Murray Sawchuck.
And whenever anyone asks why I so love Las Vegas, I will point to that collection of performers and say, “Louie Anderson and Pia Zadora … in the same show!” A to Z, we’ve got it covered, and this is one of the more headliner-stuffed benefit shows of the year.
More on the LVH in the following assemblage of words …
• The “Showstoppers” Broadway tribute performance Nov. 17 at LVH Theater was about capacity -- in terms of the material jammed into a production that exceeded three hours and also in terms of attendance. The theater, remarkably and (perhaps) magically, was full. About 1,800 folks filed into the International -- did I say International? I meant LVH, of course. About 500 of those show-goers paid, if that, with LVH execs enacting an array of free-ticket methods to fill the theater.
The response was strong enough that co-producers Bill Fayne and RagTag Entertainment are planning a series of Broadway productions, including “Guys and Dolls” and “Les Miserables.” The “Guys and Dolls” performances will be in the spring and “Les Mis” on July 5-6. The plan is to stage Broadway shows at LVH every couple of months, and that’s a groovy idea, particularly when that famous theater can be filled. Getting the majority of folks to pay is a concept that is, shall we say, evolving.
• Ovation has closed, formally, at Green Valley Ranch. The finals show was Saturday, as country favorite Sam Riddle performed the send-off show. I caught Lon Bronson’s All-Star Band on Friday night as part of a jammed audience with my head still buzzing from the Rush show earlier at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Never prone to self-editing his stage banter, Bronson held a glass of vino in one hand and his trumpet in the other while ranting against rumored plans to turn Ovation into a “bingo hall.” Not surprisingly, that notion was lustily booed by a few hundred music fans. Station Casinos officials say they have not sorted out how to use Ovation other than to expand guests’ entertainment options while taking apart the room.
My vote: Turn Ovation into a big jungle gym!
Bronson is still a presence at Stations and did praise the hotel for remaining supportive of live entertainment at its other mid-size venues at locals’ hotels throughout the valley. Tonight at 7 at Chrome Showroom at Santa Fe Station, Bronson and the band is holding a CD release party for its collaboration with Tower of Power founder Doc Kupka, aptly titled “Doc Goes Vegas.” Members of Tower of Power are in town to join Bronson’s band for a show that is 1 ... 2 … free. Just how Lon likes it. And, there is some serious discussion happening between Bronson and Smith Center for the Performing Arts President Myron Martin about bringing the All-Star Band into Cabaret Jazz as early as January. Speaking of that cool music haunt …
• Clint Holmes might as well drag a cot, or maybe an inflatable Washington Redskins loveseat, into Cabaret Jazz. One of the truly great vocalists in Las Vegas or anywhere else is at the swank music venue five times over the next couple of weeks. Tonight at 7, he is performing the second of two “Frank & Friends” shows with famed composer Frank Wildhorn, who has written the scores to such shows as “Jekyll & Hyde,” “The Scarlet Pimpernel” and “The Civil War.” Wildhorn and Holmes are joined by Grammy-nominated vocalist Jane Monheit, and judging by my percolating text message field, Wednesday’s show was terrific (tickets for tonight are still available for $40 and $95 and are available at the Smith Center website).
On Wednesday, Holmes is the featured guest in the monthly (give or take) Composers Showcase performance beginning at 10:30 p.m. (tickets to that show are $20 a pop). He’ll be joined by pianist Philip Fortenberry, "Phantom's" Kristen Hertzenberg, the Comedy Duo of "Tony and Lloyd" and cast members from "Jersey Boys," "Tony and Tina's Wedding" and "Menopause the Musical," Vita Corimbi, Jason Martinez and Joel Ferguson, along with Keith Thompson, Michael Brennan and a special guest appearance by Rebecca Ramsey and the Firenze Strings.
Holmes also will be back for his regular monthly weekend stretch at Cabaret Jazz from Dec. 7-9. Hit the Smith Center website, or call 749-2000, for details on any of these performances. It’s a lot to process, but it’s worth the trip. Great fun.