So, how did your New Year's Eve go? Mine was pretty nifty.
We, Nancy Barr and myself, first attended the "That's Italian"
show at the new Cannery East on Boulder Highway.
"That's Italian" is a show created by Frankie Randall, who was a
very close personal friend of the late, great Francis Albert Sinatra.
Randall, who was Vice-President of Entertainment for Steve Wynn's Atlantic
City Golden Nugget at one time, was chatting with a few friends one night
in Palm Springs, and the discussion turned to, "what are some of the
older entertainers doing today?" A spark crossed Frankie's brain: Why not put
a few guys (or ladies) together, give it an Italian title and see if we could
get some work, Randall explained. "We would only work for a night or two, and
the entertainers would be rotated, depending on their availability. We would
not be looking for long term work, and we would always keep it within a
certain group of guys or ladies." The first job was, naturally, in Palm
Springs and it turned out perfect. Everyone loved it, according to Frankie.
The show at the Cannery consisted of Randall, Pete Barbutti,
Dick Contino and Jerry Vale, with Vince Falcone conducting
the orchestra. The Grand Ballroom seats about 1,000 for concerts, and I didn't
see too many empty chairs. The orchestra was wonderful as were the
entertainers. The audience seemed to enjoy the effort put forth by the five
performers: Randall sang a few Sinatra hits, Barbutti did his story telling
and played the piano with his nose, Contino played the accordion beautifully
and Vale sang a number of his hits. The evening was a "love fest for five
We followed that with a short drive to, Mrs. Robert (Vera) Goulet's beautifully
decorated home, for a gathering of old and new friends to await the countdown
to 2009. Vera Goulet is one talented lady when it comes to hosting a party
(among her many talents). She had valet service so the ladies would not have
to walk very far in the chill of the evening, where a wonderful balloon entranceway greeted the guests. The trees and shrubbery (both in front and back) were beautifully decorated with lights. And, of course, the interior of the spacious home was magnificent.
Among the more than 35 guests attending were Ms Phyllis McGuire,
Jackie Brett and Mel Carter, Mike and Annie Merrick, Nelson Sardelli
with his brother and wife (who had flown in from Brazil for the
holidays), Vince and Annette Falcone, Paige O'Hara and her husband,
Michael Piontek, Susie Perrine, Robert Goulet's drummer of many years,
Santo Savino, Tony Estrada and Patrick Hutchins, and Jeanne Bavaro.
After the blowing of horns, etc., most of the revelers called it an evening and headed for home. However, a few of us gathered in the living room where the Falcone's entertained everyone-Vince on the piano and his wife, Annette, singing a few ballads.
It was a beautiful evening with some wonderful friends. One this writer, and I'm sure everyone who was there, will long remember.
Sunday evening found Nancy and this writer driving to Mandalay Bay
where the final curtain for "Mamma Mia!" was being celebrated. I've
reviewed this show a number of times over the years, beginning with the
original opening night show. Needless to say this final performance was an
amazing event, with an audience filled with former members of the cast, other
show kids, media and friends. The performers even, sorta, went "out of book,"
(which is to say they adlibbed a few times).
This particular evening, showed why and how "Mamma Mia!" stood the
test of time. It outlasted a number of other Broadway shows that just
did not quite cut the mustard. One reason "Mamma Mia!" was so successful, was
the hit songs created by ABBA, from which the show was derived. Another
was the strong cast maintained over its six year run at Mandalay Bay.
At the after party, in the House of Blues Foundation Room, we ran
into the first mamma, Ms. Tina Walsh (who is now in "Phantom-The Las
Vegas Spectacular" at The Venetian, who was chatting with Carol
Linnea Johnson (the final mamma), and Michael Piontek, who was one
of the original three dads, who stopped to talk with Victor Wallace
(the last American dad).
"Mamma Mia!" is being replaced by "The Lion King" in April.
THIS AND THAT QUICKLY - It's only been 13 months since
Pole Position Raceway first opened its doors, for those who love speed
driving a state-of-the-sport Go Kart. It's become a local favorite as
well as a favorite for professional racers and celebrities who are in town for
various events... The Village People will be performing this Saturday
(Jan 10) at Terrible's Primm Valley Resort, with show time set for
8 p.m_It was announced that Britney Spears will bring her "Circus
Tour" to the MGM Grand Hotel on April 25. Tickets are now on sale
through Ticketmaster... This writer made a terrible goof recently. I
wrote that Bob Anderson, a buddy and great singer/impressionist, will
be coming to our little village in February, and would be entertaining
at Boulder Station. In reality, Anderson will be performing at the new
Cannery Hotel/Casino on Craig Road in North Las Vegas February, 13-14.
More on this later.
Well, gang, that's about it for another week. I'm outa here!
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