It's The Norm 07-7-2010

Believe it or not, Nancy Barr and this writer were part of the reported 1800 who attended the Fourth Anniversary of The Phantom of the Opera Las Vegas Spectacular, at the Venetian Resort last week. And, to prove it, there is a photo of us with our face partially covered by a Phantom mask. This was a promotion by the producers to create the most ‘Phantoms’ (the mask) ever assembled, and therefore make it into the Guinness Book of Records.

We have been very fortunate to attend all three of its previous anniversaries, plus the opening back in 2007. If you have not taken the time to stop whatever you’re doing for a couple of hours, and travel to the Venetian, then shame on you. The Phantom is a wonderfully produced show, with top notch performers, sets and music. Of course the cast has changed over the four years, but there has been no loss in excitement and vocals.

Tony Award winner, Anthony Crivello (he has a list of awards a mile long) plays the Phantom and has, in this writer’s opinion, a true and beautiful voice, and when he sings the hit song, “The Music of the Night,” you will hear perfect pitch and a sense of reality in his voice. It’s a rare moment in the play.

Basically the plot of the show is that The Phantom has his eyes on only one person, who he is in love with, and that person is the beautiful Christine, as played by Kristi Holden (or Kristen Hertzenberg on Wednesday and Thursday), who is also the lady being pursued by Raoul, portrayed by Andrew Ragone.

What sells this play, besides the wonderful performers and music, is the fabulous stage and its fantastic sets, lighting and unbelievable effects. Of course the showroom, which was specially designed and built just for the play, adds greatly to the entire evening, and the costuming is unbelievable. Oh, yes, and one must not forget the huge Chandelier, that scares the hell out of you, as it falls from the ceiling into the audience (a beautiful touch by the way).

Tickets for The Phantom Las Vegas Spectacular range in price from $69.00 to $165.00 plus fees. Showtimes are 7 and 9:30 p.m. Monday and Saturday with all other nights 7 p.m. (dark most Sundays).

Tim Walkoe, a very talented musician and one funny guy, headlines this week at Bob Kephart’s Comedy Stop at the Sahara Hotel. Walkoe is a story teller, as well as a quick-on-the-trigger comedian, who uses his favorite prop, a guitar, to keep the audience laughing. Sharing the stage with Tim, is the equally talented Karen Rontowski, a former cigarette girl at Caesars Palace (Las Vegas), and Chris Coccia, a native of Philadelphia, who uses his personal life situations to create funny stories everyone can relate to.

Tickets for the 9 p.m. show are priced from $24.95 plus tax and fees, with a very special $19.95 ticket for locals (with proof of residence). For reservations call the Sahara box office at (702)737-2878.

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to interview one of my favorite entertainers (and a personal friend), Rich Little, who will be appearing in The Club at the Cannery Casino in North Las Vegas, Saturday, July 10. It’s an interesting look back at a career, and a man, who has entertained us for more than 47 years. It will be my lead item in next weeks’ column. But, hey, you can get your tickets now, as it’s sure to be a SRO crowd for this one-night only performance.

Known throughout the world as the premier Neil Diamond tribute artist, my friend and fellow Las Vegan, Jay White, will do his very special tribute show in the 500-seat Suncoast Showroom, July 31 and August 1, with show times set for 7:30 p.m. More on this as the date gets nearer. Tickets are priced from $29.95 plus fees.

The Fremont Street Experience continues its “Summer of the 70s” promotion with a weekend full of fun and music for the Fourth of July celebration. The multi-platinum recording artists, Little River Band, will play on the 3rd Street stage Saturday, July 3 at 9 p.m. as part of the downtown festivities.

Ron and Lisa Smith, she of the fabulous “Shades of Sinatra” and “Dangerous Curves,” will perform a unique revue at the Starbright Theatre, Saturday, July 31 at 7 p.m. The title tells it all, “Back to Broadway–A musical Revue.” The very talented husband and wife team covers the gamut of musicals from “The Music Man” to “Les Miserables” and some of the newer hits from the Broadway of today.

Well, gang, that’s about it for this week. I’m outa here!