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Sunday, April 23, 2006 PRIOR ISSUE   -   ARCHIVES
Red Rock Resort Opens, Harrah's Snags 'The Producers', 'Cats' Celebrates Aladdin Anniversary, 'Hairspray' Gets New Stars, David Copperfield Appears, Commodores Headline Silverton, Barry Williams Performs At Riviera, Mike Metzger Attempts World Record Motorcycle Jump, Barry Manilow On Board, "Avenue Q" Closes, Helldorado Days Return, Walk of Stars Honoree, More...

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Jackie Brett
by
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The new Red Rock Resort in northwest Las Vegas opened last week after two years since its groundbreaking on a 70-acre patch of land near Charleston Blvd. and the Las Vegas Beltway in Summerlin. The plush resort opened with 415 of its planned 850 hotel rooms and suites. A 435-room expansion is expected to open by December.

The 87,000-square-foot casino includes 3,000 slot machines, 62 table games, a poker room, a race and sports book, and a bingo room. In the dining arena, there are nine restaurants and a seven-tenant food court.

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Additional amenities include a 16-screen cinema, a three-acre pool area, 94,000 square feet of meeting space, a luxury spa and the Cherry nightclub.

Harrah's Entertainment has confirmed that the smash Broadway hit "The Producers" will open at Paris Las Vegas this summer. It hasn't been decided yet if big name stars will be a part of the Mel Brooks - penned adaptation of his successful 1967 movie.

"CATS," the Tony Award-winning show that revolutionized musical theatre, will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in Las Vegas at the Aladdin Theatre for Performing Arts when it plays eight performances from June 7 through 11. Tickets are priced between $37 and $92 plus service charges and tax; call Ticketmaster at 702-474-4000.

Before Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera," "CATS" exploded onto the stage as the first mega-musical. On May 11, 1981, "CATS" opened at the New London Theatre in the West End becoming the longest running musical in the history of British theatre. In 1982, "CATS" opened at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York City and became the longest running musical in Broadway history in 1997. "CATS" ended its 18-year run on Sept. 10, 2000.

Who says cats only have nine lives? In October of 1991, "CATS" became the longest continuously touring show in American theatre history.

The Broadway musical "Hairspray" at the Luxor is preparing to usher in two new lead stars on May 1. Comic actor and "Mad TV" sketch comedian, Paul Vogt, and veteran theater actor and "Laverne & Shirley" alum, Eddie Mekka will join the star-studded cast as the devoted and thoughtful parents of plus-size trendsetter Tracy Turnblad. Vogt stars in the role of the caring and concerned mother, Edna Turnblad with Mekka by his side as the loveable and quirky Wilbur Turnblad.

Vogt, best known for his recurring role on "MAD TV," first received Hollywood recognition when he starred on NBC's "The Rerun Show." His theater credits include "The Grand Duchess," "Happy Days The Musical" and "Beanstalk." His film credits include "Princess Diaries II," "Raising Helen" and "Lilo & Stitch 2."

Mekka debuted on Broadway in 1974 starring in "Jumpers" followed by his big break as the lead in "Lieutenant," earning him a Best Actor nomination from both the Tony Award and Drama Desk committees. His television credits include "24," "The Guiding Light," "Happy Days," and his most memorable role, Carmine "The Big Ragoo" Ragusa, from the hit television series "Laverne & Shirley."

Master magician and illusionist David Copperfield will kick off his 2006 tour at the MGM Grand's intimate 740-seat Hollywood Theatre with scheduled performances June 1-14 and June 20 - July 5. Show times for his "An Intimate Evening of Grand Illusion" are 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. nightly, with additional shows on Saturdays at 3 p.m. Tickets are $97 inclusive, phone 800-929-1111.

The "New York Times" calls Copperfield, who has always charted new territory, as "our era's giant of magic." Audiences and critics alike have hailed him as the greatest magician in the world. In addition to decades of network television events, worldwide tours, and "Dreams and Nightmares," the critically acclaimed Broadway show that set box-office records, Copperfield has been featured on the covers of "Forbes," "Architectural Digest" and "Esquire." He has performed seven times for presidents of the United States and was inducted into the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame. His celebrated feats and sense of theater have won "The Magic of David Copperfield" dozens of Emmy® Awards.

Legendary soul supergroup, The Commodores, will play the "night shift" at the Silverton off I-15, for two performances on Friday and Saturday, May 5 and 6 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $40 for the concerts being held at the Silverton's Outdoor Events Center; call 702-914-8557 or 866-946-4373.

After meeting at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, six friends and musicians banded together to form the soulful R&B act, The Commodores. In 1971, The Commodores joined the wildly popular Jackson 5 on a two-and-a-half year tour and a lucrative record deal with Motown records followed. Their first release "Machine Gun" was a top ten hit. The group's first No. 1 hit, "Slippery When Wet," rocketed them to stardom.

In September 1976, the band released "Just to Be Close to You," their second No. 1 single. In the wake of their scorching success, the group released their biggest hits, like "Fancy Dancer," "Easy," "Brickhouse" "Too Hot ta Trot," "Three Times a Lady" and "Still."

In 1982, Lionel Richie left the group to seek solo success. The band replaced him with tenor J.D. Nicholas, who was with the group when they released their biggest hit, "Nightshift," in 1985. Their only Grammy song pays tribute to the late soul singers Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson. In 1985, the group split with Motown and, under the Polydor label, charted another top ten hit with the single, "Goin' to the Bank."

Las Vegas Helldorado Days will take place this year from May 5-14, with all the action happening at the new South Coast Hotel/Arena. The one constant will be the Western Village Exhibits and continuous entertainment.

Special equestrian events will include: the Silver State Paint Horse Show May 5-7; the Mexican Rodeo May 8-10; and the WRCA Ranch Rodeo May 11-14.

Other featured events include the Whiskerino Contest on May 11 and the Helldorado Days Parade from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 13.

The Grand Opening for the Empire Ballroom located across the Strip from the Monte Carlo resort will be Wednesday, April 26 at 10 p.m. The Stevie B Dance party featuring live performances from the most renowned 80s dance and music artists will do the opening honors and kick off the weekly televised event. Pre-sale tickets are $20 and $30 at the door; call 702-440-7777.



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Singer actor Barry Williams will bring his one-man show that includes stories, songs, dance, multi-media and audience participation to the Riviera's Le Bistro Theatre at 8:30 p.m. on special dates - May 6, 11, 12, 19, and 20. Tickets are $21.95; call 702-794-9433.

Williams is well known for his portrayal of Greg Brady on the hit television series "The Brady Bunch" and the many Brady television reunions, specials and movies that followed.

Williams has released his first pop CD entitled "The Return of Johnny Bravo." The CD contains a combination of great classic pop songs that hold a special personal meaning for Barry. After "The Brady Bunch," he starred in "Pippin" on Broadway and in the national tour. Since then, Williams has starred in more than 75 productions.

His No. 1 best selling book "Growing Up Brady / I Was A Teenage Greg" sold more than 300,000 copies and has been updated. Williams produced his book into a two-hour television movie for NBC. The movie was watched by more than 20 million viewers and was one of the highest rated made-for-TV movies in NBC's history.

His recent television credits include a re-occurring role on "S Club 7," appearances on" Fear Factor" and Fox Television's "Celebrity Boot Camp," as well as a role in Paramount Pictures feature film, "Dickie Roberts."

In conjunction with the May 5 release of "Mission: Impossible III" and the 40th anniversary of Caesars Palace this August, ESPN and ESPN HD will showcase in a live telecast X Games gold medalist Mike Metzger, 30, as he attempts to set a world record and become the first rider to successfully perform a back-flip over the fountains at Caesars Palace. The fountains are famous for the legendary motorcycle jump attempted in 1968 by Evel Knievel.

"The Impossible Jump presented by Mission: Impossible III" will be produced under the ESPN Original Entertainment banner and air live on ESPN and ESPN HD, May 4 at 8:30 p.m. ET. The world record attempt will also be shown live on ESPN International Networks to more than 33 million homes across the globe. The event is free to the public.

In the event that Metzger sets a world record for longest back-flip, Guinness World Record representatives will be present at Caesars Palace to officially acknowledge the feat.

Complementing the live jump coverage will be a one-hour show that explores the incredible action in "Mission: Impossible III," focusing on stunts performed by Tom Cruise himself and a team led by legendary stunt coordinator, Vic Armstrong (Indiana Jones trilogy and James Bond films).

The telecast will also feature highlights from Knievel's 1968 jump and the progression of freestyle motorcycle jumping; more specifically, the evolution of the back-flip. Other highlights featured will include Carey Hart's back-flip attempt at the X Games in 2001 and Metzger's back-to-back flips one year later in the X Games. Only two other Caesars Palace jumps have been tried and they include an attempt by Gary Wells in 1980 and the only successful jump by Knievel's son, Robbie, in 1989.

Metzger, one of the most influential riders in the history of freestyle motocross, has five X Games medals and was the first rider to land back-to-back flips in the history of the sport.

Barry Manilow, who is headlining at the Las Vegas Hilton through 2008, will kick off the NBC "Today Show" Summer Concert Series onboard the world's largest ship, the Royal Caribbean International's Freedom of the Seas, when she debuts in New York Harbor on May 12.

The "Avenue Q" showroom will be undergoing a $10 million conversion to increase seating from 1,200 to 1,499 for the Broadway show "Spamalot" that will be opening at the Wynn resort. Work on the showroom will begin in June.

Star Trek: The Experience™ at the Las Vegas Hilton is now offering a "Latinum Package," which includes a dual-admission ticket for Klingon Encounter™ and BORG Invasion 4D™, a ticket to "The Experience: Secrets Unveiled" exclusive behind-the-scenes tour, and two free photos - the Captain's Chair and Borg Regeneration Chamber. The package is $75.99. FYI - Latinum is a Ferengi form of currency.

The Hogs & Heifers Saloon downtown started weekly Hard Hat Fridays earlier this month. The Friday events offer $2 pints of Bud / Bud Light drafts for workers in the construction and maintenance industry from 3 to 6 p.m. Participants must present proof of vocation to receive the discount card and bring in a hard hat to receive a Hogs & Heifers sticker for it.

The historic former post office and courthouse downtown is being rehabilitated at the tune of $30 million. The Post Modern building is the largest historic preservation project in the city's history. Options are being considered for what will occupy the renovated space. One museum thought is mob-themed.

The Las Vegas Walk of Stars in cooperation with Clark County has sanctioned four miles of sidewalk to the East and West of Las Vegas Boulevard South between Sahara and Russell. The Las Vegas project honors people of prominence in Las Vegas. Each star is a three feet square slab of polished granite weighing 180 lbs. and inlaid with the recipient's name and specialty. For information, visit www.lasvegaswalkofstars.com.

On April 27 at 6 p.m., the Las Vegas Walk of Stars will honor Las Vegas entertainer and humanitarian Dr. Toni Aileen Hart for her commitment to the development and global expansion of Las Vegas.

Hart and her family toured for 50 weeks a year around the world, performing for 5,000 to 15,000 people per night and her family sold a staggering 13- million albums including the family's groundbreaking record album that she produced and which landed her son, Larry, his first Grammy Award nomination for the standard hymn "Amazing Grace." The Harts also entertained at the MGM Grand, Caesars Palace, the Tropicana and the Aladdin Hotel for eight years.

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