It's not everyone who has his or her birthday on such a special day as today. Yep, yours truly is a wonderful and beautiful Valentine baby. Of course the years have sorta taken a toll of the beautiful baby part, but it's still a wonderful day. Many of you readers have traveled with me through my various surgeries and of course my excursions into interesting areas of the world. But one thing remains constant in my life and that is Las Vegas is my home and I do honestly love it so.
Went to visit two fabulous entertainers the other week. Ronn Lucas, a fantastic ventriloquist, and my dear friend Marlene Ricci. Lucas opened the Masquerade Showroom (once called the Cocacabana Showroom) in the very popular Rio Hotel over on Flamingo for a long run in the afternoon, while Ricci was into her first few evenings in the new Le Bistro Showroom at the Riviera Hotel on the strip. Both trips were well worth the time and effort believe me.
Lucas is an amazing entertainer in that he can literally make anything talk and does. Know what is really scary? You will eventually begin to believe it. Take a microphone for example. During the 60 plus minutes Ronn is on stage his stage mike butts in on just about every conversation going on with this voice-throwing master. The show, which has a 3 pm. starting time except on Monday, is fast paced, comical and hits above and below the belt, if you know what I mean. Kids are welcome and he is careful to use innuendos instead of some words better not said in public.
Lucas does not use any wooden dummies as his stooges on stage. Instead he has two irrational cronies that are a constant thorn in his side. Buffalo Billy is without question a brash youngster raised in the west who, if left alone would hog the show by singing and auctioning off everything on stage. He does a great job of singing, but does not appreciate his buddies (Lucas) assistance. "The Auctioneer" is a great show of Ronn's ability to throw the voice faster and faster. A duet of "Row Your Boat" is equally interesting. His most popular buddy, however, is Scorch the green teenage dragon. Another is "George the Turtle," with a flat body (cardboard) that was created by Lucas' grandfather. As Joe Delaney wrote recently in his Las Vegas Sun column, "Lucas has raised the standard of afternoon entertainment in Las Vegas to the next plateau... " We agree 100 percent.
As you readers know I have been looking forward to Ricci's opening for weeks, ever since we announced she would be at the Riviera. Well, gang, this was a definite highlight of the week. The petite lady with a huge voice does it all from Broadway to an impersonation of Connie Francis to some oldies to the latest love songs. I would say this is a "love fest" between the artist and her audience. The show opens with a brief film segment followed by a couple of contemporary love songs. You will also notice something different right away, when you spot a terrific looking and talented violinist on stage. Sheila Arnold is her name and it's definitely a nice touch. For me the highlight of the evening was when she performed her Broadway segment, which included "Somewhere" from "West Side Story." Ricci then does a tribute to all the wonderful entertainers who mentored her over the years by singing "There You'll Be," while clips from her television special "Cinderella at the Palace" is shown. Another highlight, honestly there are so many, was when she teamed with Dave Hart on acoustic guitar to sing a very warm version of "Over the Rainbow." Wow, this is entertainment like it used to be many years ago: Up close and very personal!
That's it for this week. I'm outa here!
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