Robin Leach

Strip Scribbles: Liberace musical to open in London before Broadway?

Johnny Rodgers and Anna Nateece.
Photo: Anna Hafner

Johnny Rodgers

An under-the-radar sneak preview of the songs and music for a proposed new Liberace musical was given to investors, theatrical producers and members of our hometown Liberace Foundation this week. Reaction to the presentation at the former Michael Jackson villa here was “overwhelmingly positive.”

I’m reliably told that singer and pianist Johnny Rodgers, who co-wrote the musical, was an “absolute showman.” Said manager Anna Hafner: “He was wonderful. He played a crystal piano wearing a gold jacket, and everybody wanted to buy opening-night tickets there and then.”

Now producer and co-writer Barbara Carole Sickmen is in talks with a British producer who wants the musical to open in London. “They loved Liberace and the score-driven musical. They felt it had great potential for global success, first in the West End and then to Broadway.

“It was important that members of the foundation were as thrilled with it as everybody else. I’d always wanted it to open in London first because that’s where Liberace celebrated the best of times with three command performances for the British Royal Family.”

MORE SHe SECRETS: It’s a multimillion-dollar transformation of Eva Longoria’s former nightclub Eve atop her restaurant Beso in Crystals at MGM’s CityCenter. I’m reliably told it’s been gutted, and the new steakhouse SHe and theatrical nightclub experience are on track for a Dec. 27 opening.

Beso Grand Opening @CityCenter

The inside of the nightclub will have “projection mapping” that allows producer Jeff Kutash, creator of “Splash” at the Riviera, to wrap the interior in a vision of any building or scenery from anywhere in the world. He’s also installing a programmable water curtain, a much larger and more ambitious “shower” than Celine Dion stands in for her “Titanic” number in the Colosseum at Caesars Palace.

SHe owner and Golden Nugget backer Tilman Fertitta has been told that Jeff will have 15 top-notch global dancers to perform in, around and through the water. Additionally, there will be outrageous global variety acts that he’s secured. His stage and performance areas take up nearly half of Eve, and the audiences will sit around and among the performers. Jeff says Las Vegas has never seen anything like this before.

LOVE IS MAGIC: Congratulations to English magician and singer Ben Stone and Jasmine Trias, appearing in Society of Seven at the Riviera, on their new romance. Jasmine placed 3rd in Season 3 of “American Idol,” and Ben headlines in the magic theater at Gold Coast.

Buddy Valastro of "Cake Boss" and Las Vegas-based Elvis Presley tribute artist Jesse Garon.

Buddy Valastro of "Cake Boss" and Las Vegas-based Elvis Presley tribute artist Jesse Garon.


Reality TV star Buddy Valestro of “Cake Boss” on the Learning Channel was here filming “The Next Great Baer” competition segment for the hit reality TV show. Scenes were shot at the Little White Wedding Chapel with the Rev. Charlotte Richards.

The competition’s two finalists, two Las Vegas showgirls and the Rev. Jesse Garon, the Official Elvis of Las Vegas, cruised the strip in a 1955 pink Cadillac convertible to party at Gallery in Planet Hollywood. They stayed until 3:30 a.m. before retiring to their suites in the Venetian.

Castmates of the new reality TV series “Vegas High Rollers” attended Stripper 101 classes at the Miracle Mile Shops in Planet Hollywood.

ALTERNATIVE FILM FESTIVAL PREMIERES: Tonight’s PollyGrind film festival opening night will be hosted by Will Edwards and the lovely Danette Tull. PollyGrind founder and director Chad Clinton Freeman will be there with legendary filmmaker Albert Pyun, and the opening-night premiere film is “Road to Hell,” with Michael Pare, Deborah Van Valkenburgh, Das Reverend, Chris Rejection, The Roxy Gunn Project, Cynthia Curnan, Michael Su, Sazzy Calhoun and Tony Riparetti expected on the red carpet.

Others appearing include Kim Couture, Mike Pyle, Shane Ryan, Christopher Lee Sun, Allira Jaques, Brandon Slagle, Devanny Pinn, David Gregory, Corinne Garfield, MC Randumb and Jewish Dave. All PollyGrind screenings are free this year at downtown’s Theater7 in hopes of raising 1,000 pounds of food for our food bank Three Square. For more info and screening times, go to


“American Idol” Season 5 winner Taylor Hicks resumes his residency at Indigo Lounge in Bally’s.

Comedienne Rita Rudner is back at the Venetian Showroom for one night.

The Lied Animal Foundation hosts a benefit Dinner for the Dogs at La Cave in the Wynn.

The new Audi Speakers series of lectures and discussions kicks off with celebrated journalists Fran Lebowitz and Frank Rich at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts.

German trance music producers Kyau & Albert spin at Surrender in Steve Wynn’s Encore.


The ugly fights and feuds behind the scenes of “Vegas High Rollers,” and it’s not pretty! Plus, the amazing new illusionists magic show touring the world is geared up to land on the Strip.

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.

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