Las Vegas Guide
Las Vegas News

Sunday, February 5, 2006 PRIOR ISSUE   -   ARCHIVES
Dolphin Trainer Program Begins, GM Test Track Speeds Up, 'Dragapella' Finds A Home, Neville Brothers Debut, Sheena Easton On Stage, Cirque Du Soleil Exhibit Artwork, Broadway Joins 'Mamma Mia!', World Poker Tour® Scheduled V, Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition Extended, BB's Opens, "Legends in Concert" Adds Jackie Wilson, Missing California Bear Comes To Nevada, Trump International Rising, More...


Jackie Brett
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The Mirage is now offering the experience of a lifetime for dolphin lovers with the new Trainer for a Day program that allows a participant to work side-by-side with animal experts and a family of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins at The Mirage's Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat.

Participants learn about dolphin health and behavior, as well as the Dolphin Habitat's research projects that aid in the survival of the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin in the wild.

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The program is open to everyone 13 years of age or older. To make the experience more intimate, the program is limited to four participants per day. Through Feb. 28, Trainer for a Day is offered five days a week, except Tuesday and Thursday. As of March 1, the program will be available six days a week, dark on Thursday. Reservations may be made up to 11 months in advance, call 702-792-7889.

The $500 all-day program includes a private lunch, 8x10 photo, Trainer for a Day certificate, admission to Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat, and the choice of a Trainer for a Day T-shirt, beach towel, hat or bag. Photos taken throughout the day are available on photo CD for an extra $75. Each participant may also bring along an observer for an additional $150 fee. Observers are welcome to join the morning orientation, the private lunch and shadow the participant all day from just a few feet away taking their own personal photos.

The adventure begins at 9:45 a.m. Guests enjoy a light continental breakfast while the facilitator teaches dolphin terms and hand signals used by the trainers. After a behind-the-scenes tour of the Dolphin Habitat, participants change into wetsuits before being introduced to the dolphin trainers for hands-on instruction. In the middle of the day, participants break to enjoy an exceptional private lunch served at a secluded poolside table.

Activities in the afternoon session may include additional dolphin training sessions or learning more about dolphin behavior, including their underwater sonar capabilities.

General Motors has made a deal to lease the 11-acre parking lot behind the Sahara and turn it into a new attraction. It will be converted into a test track facility called "The Drive," where the public can take their pick of cars, trucks or SUVs for a spin. The initial lease is for six months with 15 vehicles being available to the public. Hours could run from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

The Drive is an outgrowth of AutoShow in Motion, a GM traveling test track that toured nationally and set up shop briefly at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway last year.

Each driver will be given one trip around each test track on a single admission. Drivers will have to be 17 years of age, hold a valid driver's licenses and pass alcohol breath tests before being allowed to drive with a professional driver riding along. One track will be a traditional half-mile paved track, while the off-road dirt course will include a stream, logs and an incline nicknamed "Hummer Hill."

The Las Vegas Monorail portion of the deal will allow GM to decorate and rename the Sahara station for a six-month period, with multi-year options to extend the pact and ad-wrap monorail trains.

The drag show "Dragapella" has been making periodic stops in Las Vegas with the hopes of landing a home. At last, one resort was wise enough to give the drag quartet, the Kinsey Sicks, and their hilarious revue an open-ended run beginning on March 3, in the Las Vegas Hilton's Shimmer Cabaret. The incredibly talented comedy group sings a cappella, thus the play on the show's title. "Dragapella" will be staged at 9:30 pm. Tuesdays through Saturdays with a base ticket price of $42.50.

New Orleans natives, the Neville Brothers, will bring their distinctive R&B, jazz, reggae, rock and Zydeco sound to the intimate Golden Nugget Theatre Ballroom downtown, Feb. 17-18. For tickets, call 702-386-8100 or 866- 946-5336.

As a Grammy Award winning group, the Neville Brothers, featuring real-life siblings Arthur, Charles, Aaron and Cyril, have enjoyed nearly three decades of success together. In addition, each has experienced critical acclaim on individual projects.

In 2005, the Neville Brothers ended a five-year hiatus from recording with their CD, "Walkin' in the Shadow of Life." The CD features the song "Kingdom Come," which was written by Cyril Neville with Bono of U2.

Scottish-born pop singer and Prince-protégé, Sheena Easton will headline at the Silverton, located three miles south of Mandalay Bay off I-15, on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35, call 702-914-8557 or 1-866-946-4373.

After years of pursuing her singing career, Easton, born Sheena Shirley Orr, made an appearance on the BBC show "The Big Time: Pop Singer," which resulted in a record deal with EMI. Easton's 1980 debut singles, "Modern Girl" and "9 to 5," made the U.K. Top Ten, and made Easton the first female artist to score two simultaneous Top Ten hits.

Easton's self-titled debut album followed in 1981, while "9 to 5" was reissued in America under the title "Morning Train" to avoid confusion with Dolly Parton's hit of the same name. The single topped the U.S. pop charts and, a few months later, "Modern Girl" cracked the Top 20.

She's probably best known for singing the title theme of the James Bond film, "For Your Eyes Only" and an acting stint on "Miami Vice."

Her other milestones include a duet with Kenny Rogers on the smash single "We've Got Tonight" in 1983 and teaming up with Prince in 1984 to write and produce a new sound and hit songs "Strut" and the suggestive "Sugar Walls."

Most recently, Easton has appeared on stage, with roles in musical revivals of "Man of La Mancha" and "Grease," as well as on the seasonal tour, "The Colors of Christmas."

Everyone knows that Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman was a former local mob attorney. Another colorful defense attorney is James "Bucky" Buchanan and his new show "Las Vegas Law" has debuted on Court TV. The show is about how the law system works in Las Vegas. One interesting case involved people who punched out the center of gaming chips and inserted a $100 chip in lieu of a $1 chip and used them.


The talents of Cirque du Soleil performers and crew extend well beyond the theatre. In the art exhibition, The Collective, Cirque du Soleil employees are showcasing their artistic skills at the Arts Factory in downtown Las Vegas through Feb. 26. No limitations were set and all artistic mediums of any dimension were accepted. This creative freedom resulted in more than 20 pieces for the exhibition with works ranging from paintings, photography, sculptures and drawings. All artwork featured in The Collective is available for purchase.

The global smash musical, "Mamma Mia!," based on the songs of ABBA will enter its fourth hit year in Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay on Feb. 13.

The permanent "Mamma Mia!" production remains the longest running and most successful full-scale Broadway musical ever to play the Las Vegas Strip. On Jan. 30, a new cast of Broadway actors was introduced.

Direct from New York, original "Mamma Mia!" cast member Carol Linnea Johnson, whose credits include "The Full Monty" on Broadway and "Law and Order" and "All My Children" on television is starring as Donna Sheridan. Johnson is joined by co-star Robin Baxter as Rosie, one of Donna's sidekicks and best friends. Baxter also comes to Las Vegas from Broadway where she appeared in "Footloose" and "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum." Completing the dynamo trio and former rock chick band is Vicki Van Tassel as Tanya, from the Off-Broadway musical "If It Was Easy."

Having starred in a Las Vegas revue at age 15 prior to Broadway roles, Rick Negron returns to the Strip as Sam Carmichael. Negron's credits include Broadway's "Leader of the Pack" and the national tour of "West Side Story." Joining him from the Great White Way is Robert DuSold, who will play the role of Harry Bright, following his Broadway and national tours of "The Producer" and "Phantom of the Opera." Jefferson Slinkard rounds out the three men from Donna's past as Bill Austin. Slinkard's New York credits include "The Mystery of Attraction" and "The Firebugs."

Assuming the role of bride-to-be Sophie Sheridan, Kelly Anise Daniells hails from Sacramento, where her regional credits include "Annie Get Your Gun" and "Pirates of Penzance." Patrick Sarb, who plays Sophie's love interest "Sky," comes directly from the Broadway production of "Mamma Mia!"

With more productions playing simultaneously around the world than any other musical - 11 productions in six languages - "Mamma Mia!" has surpassed a gross of $1 billion in worldwide box office sales.

The WORLD POKER TOUR® has announced that Mandalay Bay has joined its roster of host casinos for a new event that will be staged as the second stop of the Season V calendar. The Mandalay Bay Poker Championship, to be held June 4-8, will become the next big event on the WPT's storied 17-stop tour. In Season V, the WPT is expected to surpass its Quarter Billion Dollar mark in prize money.

Season V will begin and end in Las Vegas, initially with The Mirage Poker Showdown May 14, at The Mirage and conclude April 27, 2007 at Bellagio. The WPT launched the poker phenomenon when it first aired on the Travel Channel on March 30, 2003, and it continues to lead the way in developing poker as a major international sport.

The limited engagement of Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition has been extended through March 5, at the Tropicana. More than a hundred thousand visitors have seen the 25,000-square-foot exhibit that showcases hundreds of artifacts recovered from the wreck site including the massive piece of the ship's hull known as the "Big Piece." It is the largest recovered piece of the ship measuring approximately 23 feet by 12 feet and weighing about 15 tons. Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The Riviera has opened a new Prime Rib and Barbeque restaurant, BB's, located on the hotel's mezzanine level. The new eatery offers slow-roasted Prime Rib, as well as a selection of tender Smoked Ribs and Barbeque Chicken entrées. All entrées include assorted bread with honey butter and side selections (i.e. garlic fries, three cheese macaroni, Cole Slaw, broccoli soufflé, corn fritters, creamed corn or spinach, and bacon and onion style green beans.) The restaurant is open daily from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; call 702-734-5110.

Bobby Brooks has joined the "Legends in Concert" cast at the Imperial Palace gliding through a five-octave range in his portrayal of the legendary rhythm and blues superstar Jackie Wilson. Last year, he performed in Legends, now in its 23rd year, as Stevie Wonder. Brooks replaces Shania Twain in the current show, which also includes Prince, Celine Dion, Aretha Franklin, the Blues Brothers and Elvis Presley.

ShoWest, the largest gathering of motion picture professionals in the world, will be held at Paris Las Vegas, March 13-16.

The Las Vegas Home Improvement & Decorating Show will be held at Cashman Center, April 28-30.

Robin Leach of "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" television fame is returning to his electronic roots with two Las Vegas centered shows. He will host and produce VH1's "Fame Games," which will air this summer on MTV, and play host to a prime-time variety show this fall on Retro Television Network (RTN).

The State of Nevada has launched a new campaign, the Missing California Bear, targeting California businesses to relocate to Nevada.

The campaign points to Nevada's pro-business climate to out-of-state businesses.

Nevada fishing and hunting licenses for 2006-07 are now available and on sales through the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW), Licenses are good from March 1 through the end of February.

All three 40-story towers of The Residences at MGM Grand are under construction. The joint project with Turnberry Associates is located on the mega-resort's property. The first tower will be completed in June 2006 and feature 576 residences. Sales are underway for the third tower. The sales office is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily in the resort's Studio Walk.

Construction has reached the third floor at the Trump International Hotel and Tower Las Vegas. The $2 million-square-foot, 64-story, 24-carat-gold and glass encased tower will include 880 studio and 352 one-bedroom suites on floors 16 through 59, as well as 50 one-, two- and three-bedroom penthouses on the upper five floors.

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