The dynamic cast of Legends in Concert, Las Vegas’ longest-running live tribute show (31 years) at the Flamingo Las Vegas, has greeted the winter season with its annual holiday show, which opened a week ago. Guests will enjoy holiday tunes performed by both classic and modern legends, alike. Bobby Darin, portrayed by Art Vargas, rocks the house with “Jingle Bell Rock”; Michael Jackson, performed by Jason Jarrett, brings the holiday cheer with “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”; Britney Spears, presented by Katie Murdock-Gunther, entices the audience with “Santa Baby”; Barbra Streisand, as depicted by Sharon Owens, makes the masses merry with “Jingle Bells”; and Elvis, portrayed by Bill Cherry, warms the showroom with “Blue Christmas.”
On the night we were there, the Coronado High School choir opened the evening with a couple of beautiful Christmas songs. From what I was told other local school choirs have been invited to sing, as have some performing art groups, thus providing our young Las Vegas talent an opportunity to perform on a historic stage.
One of this writers all-time favorites, and a really honest-to-God legend, is Bobby Darin. I had the good fortune of meeting him a few time, and sorta made a friend out of him. But, it was a short lived friendship as he died in 1973. And, my favorite song from all of his hits, “Beyond the Sea,” was Vargas’ opener, and he does an outstanding rendition of that wonderful song. Michael Jackson is the first act (following the special choir presentation) and Jarrett brings him alive on stage. Jason closes out his set with what else but, “Thriller,” and a bit of his performance on the NBC television classic, Motown 25, where he did the now famous “Moonwalk.” Sharon Owens hits all the high notes with a couple of Streisand’s hits, during her set: a wonderful, “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” a fabulous, “Memories,” and finishes with, “Somewhere.” Not being a fan of Ms. Spears, I can’t really say I liked it or didn’t, but the audience seemed to enjoy Ms. Murdock-Gunther’s performance. Bill Cherry definitely plays the part of a young Elvis and very nicely too. He has the power of Elvis and it shows when he sang, “C.C. Rider” (also known as See See Rider), and then a terrific, “Burning Love,” ending with “Suspicious Mind.” For a very merry finale, the full cast will performed, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and the Legends band played a stunning tribute to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Christmas Eve in Sarajevo” (“Carol of the Bells”) that brought the magic of the season to Las Vegas.
For more than three decades, Legends in Concert has proudly entertained more than 6.6 million Las Vegas visitors and residents, produced over 18,500 performances on the Las Vegas Strip and performed to more than 30 million fans worldwide. Legends is celebrating 31 years of success, and is the longest-running independently owned production show in Las Vegas history. It was created by a young performer from Los Angeles, who thought up the idea as he was singing in a show at Knott’s Berry Farm, John Stuart. John opened the show at the Imperial Palace on May 5, 1983, with a six-week contract. This writer was hired to publicize the show to the world. It is now owned and operated by On Stage Entertainment, who moved it to Flamingo Las Vegas. The legend-look-a-likes perform using their own natural voices, and are backed by a live five-piece band that rocks the house with vivacious back-up singers and dancers. In addition to Las Vegas, On Stage produces Legends shows in such markets as Branson, Foxwoods Resort Casino, Long Island, Myrtle Beach, Niagara Falls, in Waikiki at the Royal Hawaiian Theater, and on the high seas aboard the Norwegian EPIC, and produces the acclaimed theatrical production Elvis Lives: http://elvislivestour.com.
THIS AND THAT QUICKLY:
Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino will host the 6th Annual U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots Benefit Concert, sponsored by Cadillac of Las Vegas, on Saturday, December 13 at 8 p.m. Zowie Bowie will emcee the event that will feature many Las Vegas entertainers performing popular music with the theme, “Pop! Goes Las Vegas!” under the musical direction of David Perrico and Pop Evolution. There will be a special tribute to the late Michael Jackson from The Rock Center for Dance. This event is produced by Jonathan Scott, L.J. Harness and Mary Shriver. Active and retired military personnel and first responders with a valid ID will receive free admission. Those who bring a new and unwrapped toy valued at $20 or more will also receive a free ticket. Tickets can be purchased for a $20 donation at the Westgate Box Office.
Las Vegas entertainers scheduled to perform include Pop Evolution vocalist Naomi Mauro, BBR with Anne Martinez and Savannah Smith, opening the show with her emotional rendition of “God Bless America” will be Vegas! The Show stars Lorena Peril with the Marine Corps Honor Guard. The show will also feature comedians Dennis Blair, Paul Scally and Geechy Guy, British singing sensation Ben Stone and American Idol star Jasmine Trias, Zowie Bowie violinist Lydia Ansel, sultry songstress Nieve Malandra, star of stage and screen Pia Zadora accompanied by Frank Sinatra’s conductor and piano player Vinnie Falcone.
Additional headline talent includes pop star Maren Wade, entertainer Eric Jordan Young with a tribute to Sammy Davis Jr., American Trilogy with star of Neil Diamond-The Tribute Rob Garrett, Rosanna Telford, Justin Shandor, Gary Anthony, the cast of Purple Reign: THE Prince Tribute Show at the Westgate, actor, singer and dancer Adrian Zmed, powerhouse vocalist Lyssa Lynn, Kent Foote and the Vegas Good Fellas, and a special appearance from the lead singer of Motley Crue, Las Vegas local Rock Star Vince Neil. Last year this event raised enough money to distribute more than $200,000 worth of toys to the Toys for Tots organization. This year, the event has a goal to raise $250,000.
“Our goal is to have every child in Las Vegas wake up on Christmas morning and have a new toy,” Jonathan Scott, Executive Producer of this concert, said. “It’s great to have the new Westgate Las Vegas carry on the tradition of this great U.S. Marine Corps benefit concert.”
Doors open at 6:00 p.m., with a celebrity red carpet taking place at 6:30 p.m. After the concert, attendees can head to Tempo lounge for the concert after party.
Nick Mastrangelo, better known as “Nik at Nite,” reports that he had a great crowd enjoying some fantastic music last Sunday at the Piazza Lounge, inside the Tuscany Hotel, 255 E Flamingo Rd. as Joey Singer, Bob Sachs, Mike Mechem and Nick celebrated the music of Nat King Cole. “I simply cannot say enough about the profound talent of the gentlemen who accompany me every Sunday,” Nick said. “And when you have a delightful crowd that knows and appreciates this talent, it certainly makes our Sundays a joyous occasion. Helping us out last Sunday were Martin Mancuso, who sat in on alto sax, and Joyce Carole who shared a couple of vocals with us as well.” This week marks Francis Albert Sinatra’s 99th birthday, and the “Nik at Nite” gang are planning a very special evening to celebrate it in fine fashion. The last time the group celebrated “The Man,” was last October. “I’m also excited to let you know about our upcoming special holiday show at the Piazza lounge on December 21,” Nick said. “In addition to celebrating the music of Irving Berlin (“White Christmas,” and “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm,” etc.), we’ll be performing plenty of other holiday favorites in keeping with this wonderful, magical time of year. We’ll also have some other surprises in store for you, so mark your calendar for December 21 at 7 pm.”
The annual F.I.O.R.E. Christmas event takes place this Thursday (Dec.11), beginning at 11:30 a.m., inside the Italian American Club, 2333 East Sahara. Live entertainment with Grammy Award-winner Gary Anderson & the F.I.O.R.E band, will be on hand to provide the great music of Christmas, along with a delicious buffet, the famous F.I.O.R.E. 50/50 money event, with roses and chocolates presented to the ladies. Santa Clause will be on hand in the guise of F.I.O.R/E. founder and an all-year-all around-good guy, Nelson Sardelli. Cost is $25 per person. All widows of past presidents are always F.I.O.R.E. guests. Special guests this month are Grammy Award-winner, Rod Henley (formerly of The Four Freshmen) and the JAZZMIN Vocal Band, performing their Christmas Concert with jazz diva, Laura Taylor, as their featured soloist.
So, gang, that’s about it for this week.