Idina Menzel, Chris Botti, Diana Krall, Steve Martin at Smith Center

Steve Martin arrives at the 47th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sunday, April 1, 2012.
Photo: Glenn Pinkerton/Las Vegas News Bureau

The new Smith Center for the Performing Arts in downtown’s Symphony Park has announced its summer lineup that begins in June, and it is star-studded and jam-packed with Tony Award winners, Grammy Award recipients and some of the most respected names in entertainment today.

It also marks the return of one of Senior Editor John Katsilometes’ favorite former Las Vegans. Without further ado, here is the spectacular lineup:

Idina Menzel, Reynolds Hall, June 10 at 7:30 p.m.

Menzel achieved stardom on Broadway with her Tony-winning performance as Elphaba in “Wicked” and in her Tony-nominated role as Maureen in “Rent.” TV viewers know her as Shelby Corcoran, Rachel Berry’s biological mother on “Glee.” Stage, film, TV and music star Mendel recently released the CD and DVD “Idina Menzel Live: Barefoot at the Symphony,” in which she performs classic pop and musical theater favorites led by composer/conductor Marvin Hamlisch at the Royal Conservatory’s Koerner Hall in Toronto.

Leach Blog Photo

Broadway star Idina Menzel comes to the Smith Center this June.

Chris Botti, Reynolds Hall, July 6 at 8:30 p.m.

Trumpeter Botti, one the world’s bestselling jazz instrumentalists, will perform in support of his latest CD, “Impressions,” which was released Tuesday. The album includes works by Frederic Chopin, George Gershwin, Harold Arlen, R. Kelly, Randy Newman, Bob Thiele, David Weiss, Ivan Lins, Astor Piazolla, Cesar Portillo de la Luz, plus two songs co-written by Botti. William Ross, Vince Mendoza, Gil Goldstein and Jacques Morelenbaum created the orchestrations.

CTA Featuring Danny Seraphine, Reynolds Hall, July 6 at 8 p.m., July 7 at 7:30 p.m.

California Transit Authority has been described as Chicago on steroids. Seraphine, a founding member of Chicago, the second most successful U.S. band in history behind the Beach Boys, and CTA, has a recognizable style and sound, and he is ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the top rock drummers in history. From 1967 to 1990, Seraphine played on and helped produce 18 gold and 13 platinum albums and 50 Top 40 hits, including 20 Top 10 singles and five chart-toppers.

K.D. Lang and the Siss Boom Bang, Reynolds Hall, July 13 at 7:30 p.m.

Lang’s tour with her new band, the Siss Boom Bang, spans her entire career, from her hit “Constant Craving” to songs from her new album, “Sing It Loud.” In 2010, Lang marked the 25th anniversary of her recording debut with the career retrospective “Recollections.” She has won four Grammy, eight Junos, a Brit, an American Music Award, an MTV Video Music Award and four awards from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. She has performed with legends including Roy Orbison, Bonnie Raitt, Elton John, Loretta Lynn and Tony Bennett.

Leach Blog Photo

Brian Stokes Mitchell on the Smith Center for the Performing Arts grand-opening red carpet on Saturday, March 10, 2012.

Stephen Sondheim, A Life in the Theater: An Evening of Music and Conversation, Reynolds Hall, July 14, 8 p.m.

The accomplishments of Sondheim, one of the most important artists to work in musical theater in the past 50 years, include award-winning shows and standards and bringing the Broadway musical into the modern age. Sondheim, unscripted, will discuss Leonard Bernstein, Jerome Robbins, Tim Burton, Oscar Hammerstein II, the state of musical theater and his creative process. His resume includes “Gypsy,” “West Side Story,” “Company,” “Follies” and “Sweeney Todd,” and Christine Ebersole and Brian Stokes Mitchell will perform.

Leach Blog Photo

Diana Krall.

Diana Krall, Reynolds Hall, Aug. 13, 7:30 p.m.

Grammy-winning Krall, who has had an unprecedented nine #1 Billboard jazz chart debuts, brings her Summer Nights 2012 tour to Smith Center. Since her Grammy-winning 10th studio album “Quiet Nights (Verve)” in 2009, Krall has performed on four continents, produced Barbra Streisand’s “Love Is the Answer,” contributed “Simple Twist of Fate” to “Chimes of Freedom: the Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International” and performed on Paul McCartney’s new CD “Kisses on the Bottom.”

Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers

Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers: An Evening of Bluegrass and Comedy, Reynolds Hall, Aug. 22, 7:30 p.m.

Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers are touring in support of their #1 bluegrass album “Rare Bird Alert,” which garnered a Grammy nod for Best Bluegrass Album. Named Entertainer of the Year at the 2011 International Bluegrass Association Awards, the group has been touring together for some three years, and their gigs have included Bonnaroo, the New Orleans Jazzfest and Newport Folk Festival.

Leach Blog Photo

Brody Dolyniuk, frontman of Yellow Brick Road, performs during the opening night of his one-man show on Tuesday, June 29, 2010, at Ovation at Green Valley Ranch.

Symphonic Rock Show, Reynolds Hall, Aug. 24, 7:30 p.m.

SRS is the vision of vocalist, musician and entertainer Brody Dolyniuk, one of Katsilometes’ favorite artists and late of Yellow Brick Road at Green Valley Ranch. The heart of SRS is a group performing songs that span the classic rock spectrum, from Aerosmith to Led Zeppelin and everyone in between, with the added arsenal of a 21-piece orchestra and a quartet of backup singers. The rock concert atmosphere also includes a 40-foot video screen, pyrotechnics, laser projectors, “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Stairway to Heaven.”

Tickets to all performances go on sale April 27. For more information, go to

Don Chareunsy is editor of and arts and entertainment editor of

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at

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