Went to the Wynn Resort a couple of weeks ago, to see the new highly touted show being produced by Steve Wynn, “ShowStoppers” in the Encore Theater. By the way, I was not invited as a member of the media (I have heard since that Media night actually consisted of a select few members of the local media—about six or seven), but by a friend who works at Neiman Marcus, who obtained an invitation. I have to tell you right off the bat, however, I once worked happily for Steve Wynn as his director of publicity and assistant entertainment director. Of course that was in 1973, when he first got into owning a casino, the Golden Nugget, downtown. I resigned in 1975 to go off-road racing full-time, and to write a book on the history of off-road racing. And, Steve was a great boss to work for as far as I am concerned!
But I digress. “Showstoppers,” is a nice show, but it’s not the great, fantastic production Mr. Wynn had been promoting. I was actually hoping to see something that would blow my mind, but it did not do it for me, or most of those I have since talked to about the show. Yes, it has fantastic dancer’s (if I counted correct there are 22 of them), and a fabulous 32 piece orchestra with a beautiful full string section (a rarity today). The male lead singers are David Burham, Randal Keith, and Andrew Ragone, with the female leads handled by Nicole Kaplan, Kerry O’Malley, and Lindsay Roginski. And, do they do the songs justice? You bet! With selected songs from such Broadway productions as, “Chicago,” “Chorus Line,” “Annie Get Your Gun,” and it’s great hit, “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” as sung by Ethel Merman in the movie, or “Damn Yankees,” and “Cabaret,” or other hits penned by such great composers as Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim or Kander & Ebb. You just can’t get much better than that, that’s for sure.
But, what is disappointing to me is that the songs presented are not from any of the hits of today, nor are they unusual, or even non-Broadway type hits. They are all either a Broadway production hit, or some great song from a movie from another century. The production I was hoping to see from Wynn was possibly the one he was involved with when he owned the Mirage, “Miss Spectacular,” which was only shown to a special audience once. It was a spectacular show specially created by Jerry Herman, and Steve supposedly had made a deal with Herman to bring it to the Mirage for a long run. But, before the show could settle down in Vegas, Wynn sold the Mirage and the new owners were not interested in keeping the show.
What Steve is gambling on I think, is that visitors and locals alike, are tired of seeing the collection of “Cirque” shows that have dominated the Las Vegas Strip, ever since Steve brought the first Cirque show, “Mystere,” to the Strip. He presented it in a tent behind the Mirage as it awaited the opening of his second Strip Hotel, “Treasure Island,” where it would have a permanent room specially designed for it.
I think Wynn is on the right track. Knowing Steve, the show will continue to evolve, and will constantly be tweaked by him and its production staff. As we were leaving the theater, after the 90 minute show, I heard someone mention that they would be constantly changing out songs and replacing them with other hits every now and then, to keep the show fresh. If that’s true, the show just might make it and be a hit. I hope so! I am personally tired of not seeing great musicals that at one time were the basic format of a Las Vegas showroom. And, of course, the stars who performed in those showrooms.
THIS AND THAT QUICKLY:
A vigorous trio of comedians has taken over the stage at the Laugh Factory this week (Monday through Sunday Dec. 29-Jan 4, 2015); including New Year’s Eve, inside the New Tropicana Hotel, with Adam Ray headlining what is sure to be a “Madcap” night of zingers. Assisting Ray will be, Sandy Danto, who never holds back on any subject that comes into his mind, and hosting the evening is Las Vegas resident, Penny Prince. Show times are 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.
The story of Adam Ray is interesting. It all began in a small little suburb in Washington State called Lake Forest Park. It was there where Adam ate a lot of bad food, and became what is known in today’s society as a “fat kid.” When the time grew near that Adam would have to slip into a suit for his Bar Mitzvah, he cut the out the bad food, lost the childhood fat, and grew up to be a man. After graduating from the acting school at the University of Southern California, and studying for a year at the British American Drama Academy in London, Adam began working the comedy circuit, beginning in Seattle and all points east and west. His sketch show pilot, “AdamRayTV,” took home viewer’s choice for best new pilot at the 2007 ITVfest in Los Angeles. Ray has been seen guest-starring on, “2 Broke Girls,” “Workaholics,” “Arrested Development,” “According to Jim,” and Adult Swim’s “NTSF:SD: SUV.” He has also written for MTV’s “Punk’d” Ray,” and can be seen in the hit comedy film, “The Heat,” starring Sandra Bullock, as well as Comedy Central’s show “Adam DeVine’s House Party.”
Sandy Danto is an actor, writer and comedian who performed all over the world with ’90s icon, Pauly Shore. His antics can be seen in a variety of Comedy Central shows, including “Mash Up” and “Enjoy It.” Danto is most known for his roles in “Funny Fat Guy,” “The Network!” and “Fat Guy Nation.” Sandy’s resume is a who’s who of legendary comedy clubs around the world. His actual life lends itself to the most unique stories that could be written for TV and film. He references tough times in his life that in no way, should be funny, but he pulls it off. The reaction received from taking in his creativity isn’t just a laugh, or a “That’s funny,” it’s a thought process that activates inspiration and emotion and you’ll be grateful for it.
Amazingly hysterical” and “outrageous” are just some of the adjectives used to describe Penny Prince, and his rapid fire act. For years, Penny has entertained audiences big and small with his dead-on impressions, and wickedly funny observations. He started his comedy journey in Northern California, and quickly gained a reputation for his ability to impersonate just about anyone. He currently resides in Las Vegas, where he served as the house MC for three-years in the hit burlesque/comedy show, “Sin City Comedy.” He has also been seen on, NBC’s “Animal Planet,” and on “Comedy Central.” Tickets are priced at $34.95 and $44.95. For further information call 702-739-2411 or 800-829-9034.
Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino has opened its newest restaurant, Sid’s Cafe, named after owner, David Siegel’s father, Sid Siegel. The restaurant, offering a creative approach to home style cooking, opened on Wednesday, December 17 at 5 p.m. Opened 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Sid’s Cafe is a 200-seat, eatery in the heart of the casino. The restaurant is awash in elegance, offering large marble columns and rich tones of warm gold and brown, as it sits in what was once was the casino’s former High Limit room. In addition to the ambience, Sid’s boasts attentive service and large plates of freshly prepared food. The restaurant’s slogan states that “we treat everyone like a high roller.”
“My father would come to Las Vegas twice a month from Florida and loved how he was always treated like a high roller,” David Siegel, CEO of Westgate Resorts, said. “Everyone knew his name and catered to his every need which made him feel important. At Sid’s, everyone will be treated with the same level of customer service that my father received.”
Menu options range from appetizers, salads, burgers, sandwiches, main plates and desserts. Chicken Lollipops, tender chicken lollipops deep-fried and tossed in your choice of sauces; The Best Chopped Italian Salad in Vegas, made with finely chopped greens mixed with sliced salami, diced turkey breast, and mozzarella cheese, tossed in a signature herb-mustard parmesan dressing; New York Reuben Burger, grilled tender sliced pastrami, crisp sauerkraut, sliced Swiss cheese, and thousand island dressing, all topped on a signature blend burger between two thick cut slices of Jewish rye; North Shore Lobster Roll, tender lobster tossed in just the right blend of spice and enough mayo, served on a butter toasted roll; Mom’s Meatloaf and Mashed, homemade meatloaf made with roasted peppers and onions.
For dessert, guests have many options including a tribute to “The King” himself with The Elvis Sandwich, made with peanut butter, grape jelly, sliced bananas all battered and fried. For more information or to book accommodations at the new Westgate, call toll free at (800) 732-7117 or log on to www.westgatelasvegasresort.com.
Well, gang, that’s about it for this week. Hope you have a wonderful New Year’s Eve, and please remember to be cautious out there if you’re driving.
I’m outa here!