Sunday, December 3, 2000 PRIOR ISSUE   -   ARCHIVES
Tommy Tune, Mandel, Brenner, Manilow, Copperfield, Ho, More...

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Jackie Brett
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Tommy Tune, the towering 6-foot-6-inch star of "EFX" at the MGM Grand, will depart Las Vegas and his starring spot in the elaborate production show on Jan. 15, 2001. The 61-year-old Broadway legend will be leaving two years to the day after stepping into the role.

Comedian Howie Mandel will headline at two different Las Vegas hotels in December and January. He'll appear at the Monte Carlo before Christmas, Dec. 22-24, and at Bally's over Super Bowl weekend, Jan. 26 & 27.

Most recently, Mandel starred in his 10th cable special, "HBO Comedy Hour: Howie Mandel on Ice." His television role as Dr. Wayne Fiscus on the multi-Emmy Award-winning medical drama, "St. Elsewhere," which ran from 1982-88, made him a household name.

Before his comedy career, the Toronto native owned carpet stores. During a trip to Los Angeles in 1979, his friends coaxed him to perform on amateur night at the legendary Comedy Store. He was spotted by a producer and put on the comedy game show "Make Me Laugh." That run led to talk show appearances, a stint as Diana Ross' opening act and eventually his role on "St. Elsewhere."

Mandel has concluded eight seasons on the hit animated series "Bobby's World" which is syndicated six days a week in 65 countries. Also for children, he has released a series of interactive animated CD-ROM's aimed at educating children while entertaining them. The discs are distributed by 7th Level and the series has won 36 awards and worldwide critical acclaim.

Tickets to see Mandel are $55 at the Monte Carlo and $40 for balcony seating, call 1-877-386-8224 or 702-730-7160. At Bally's, ticket are also $55, phone 800-237-7469 or 702-967-4567.

Comedian David Brenner is bringing headline entertainment back to downtown by appearing at the Golden Nugget in the Theatre Ballroom for a two-month run through Jan. 27. Tickets are $35, call 702-796-9999.

Brenner was a Vegas showroom fixture from 1971 to 1990. He has his own signature style with a significant portion of his act being improvised. He also holds a record number of 158 appearances on the "Tonight Show" and continues to be a popular television talk show guest.

Sam's Town, a 21-year-old Boulder Strip property, has unveiled its $86 million expansion that includes a multi-use special events center, an 18-screen movie theater complex, a rotisserie buffet, child care center, and an expanded casino floor by 46,000 square feet. Over two decades, this is the eighth renovation.

The versatile 1,100-seat event center has about 700 seats on retractable rows and 400 removable floor seats. Concerts will be a mainstay. Lynyrd Skynyrd is scheduled for Dec. 29-30 and Travis Tritt will perform the first weekend in March when the NASCAR Winston Cup series is in town. The center called Sam's Town Live! also has two 50-foot movie screens that can be used for closed-circuit boxing and other events. Starting in February, there are plans to turn the event center into an all-night dance club.

The two-story movie complex is aiming at being a hangout for latte-sipping moviegoers. The 5,000-square-foot child-care center features an outdoor play area. There's also an arcade with more than 70 games for children of all ages.

Award winning singer/songwriter Barry Manilow will headline four shows at Paris-Las Vegas, Dec. 15-17. Tickets are $75, call 877-374-7469 or 702-946-4567.

One of the most successful recording artists off all times, Manilow began his stellar music career by writing advertising jingles in the `70s. "Mandy" began a decade of polished hits, and by the mid-`80s, he broadened his musical horizons by making records of jazz and pop standards. In the `90s, Manilow made nostalgia recordings like "Singin' with the Big Bands" in '94 and "Manilow Sings Sinatra" in '98.

This is really wild and it will be interesting to see if the project materializes. A Las Vegas company plans to build "Voyager", the world's largest Ferris wheel somewhere on the south end of the Strip. It would be a 518-foot tall ride costing $40 million with completion anticipated for mid-2002.

Billed as an "observation wheel," the attraction would have 35 enclosed air-conditioned cars. Each capsule would be outfitted with a bar and hold up to 16 riders for a 24-minute ride. Voyager would be taller than anything in Las Vegas except the 1,149-foot high Stratosphere tower, and taller then the current record holder, the 443-foot-tall "London Eye" Ferris wheel in Britain.

Contestants accumulate points throughout the year at approximately 700 PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) - sanctioned rodeos in the United States and Canada. Only the top 15 contestants in each event qualify for the NFR and the chance to be a world champion.

In conjunction with this citywide event, the Official NFR Cowboy Christmas Gift Show is being held at the Las Vegas Convention Center through Saturday, Dec. 9. There's over 200,000 square feet of exhibit space with 400 exhibitors selling Western themed merchandise, authentic Indian arts and crafts, and officially licensed PRCA / NFR memorabilia. Hours are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and admission is free.

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Master magician and illusionist David Copperfield will return to the MGM Grand's Hollywood Theatre with his latest stage production show, "Unknown Dimension", Dec. 24-Jan. 1. Tickets are $97 inclusive and $150 for the special 10:30 p.m. New Year's Eve show with champagne or cocktails, party favors and a balloon drop, call 1-800-929-1111 or 702-891-7777.

Copperfield made his debut at the MGM last August. In his current show, he has a groundbreaking illusion encore where 13 members of the audience, chosen at random, vanish in a fiery blast. Some reappear miles away. Some don't come back at all.

Among his dazzling new illusions is "Test Conditions", performed under brightly lit lab specifications on a stage stripped to the essentials. Copperfield has performed seven times for Presidents of the United States.

The National Finals Rodeo (NFR) is currently making its 16th appearance in Las Vegas and celebrating its 42nd anniversary. The $4.5 million championship rodeo at the Thomas & Mack Center has a contract extending its appearance in Las Vegas through 2007. The 10 rounds of the NFR are televised on ESPN or ESPN 2, and "live telecast" transmissions are available at 32 hotel properties throughout Clark County.

Hawaiian legend Don Ho will celebrate the Christmas season with performances at The Orleans Showroom, Dec. 15-17. He'll be joined by Southern California's youth song and dance ensemble The Kids Next Door. Residing at the Orange County High School of the Arts, the young performers are between the ages of 4 and 18 and have come from all parts of the United States.

Ho is a mix of Hawaiian, Chinese, German, Portuguese and Dutch. He has 10 children and 10 grandchildren. His 17-year-old daughter Hoku often performs with her dad, who has appeared on television and in movies.

Tickets to Ho's shows are $24.95, $29.95 and $34.95 plus tax, call 702-365-7075.

The Nevada Ballet Theatre will be performing "The Nutcracker", at the Judy Bayley Theatre on the University of Las Vegas just one mile off the Strip, Dec. 14-26. Tickets range from $20 to $50, call 895-ARTS (2787) or visit www.nevadaballet.com. The Sugar Plum Parties are at 4 p.m. on Dec. 16 and 23 for $5.

The Las Vegas International Antique Fair will be held at the Sands Expo at the Venetian Hotel, Dec. 8-10. There will be over 200 exhibits featuring ancient through early 20th Century antiques and collector's items. Hours are 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. and until 6 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $9 for a single day and $15 for run of the show.

Asian singing sensation and film star Leslie Cheung will make a rare concert appearance in Las Vegas on Dec. 23, singing in Mandarin and Cantonese languages in a Christmas concert at the Caesars Palace Pavilion. Tickets are priced at $89 and $238 plus a $3 ticket-handling fee, call 1-800-455-4544 or 702-731-7333.

Cheung was born in Hong Kong in 1956 and educated in England. He began his singing career in 1977 and went on to also make films. He was nominated for Best Actor in the Hong Kong Golden Film Awards three times and won the award in 1991 for the movie "The Days of Being Wild."

In 1990, Cheung wrapped up his recording career and moved to Canada. After a hiatus, he made a triumphant return to the Hong Kong Coliseum in December 1996, and became the first person to have 100 shows there. With these performances, he regained his status as one of the top Asian singers in the world, and this year released two albums, "Leslie Untitled" and "The Best of Leslie Cheung."

Funnyman Allan Havey will headline the Improv Comedy Club at Harrah's, Dec. 12-16. He will use his anecdotes and unconventional slapstick humor to analyze life's oddities. Many television and film appearances have garnered him industry recognition. He'll appear with two fellow comedians Chris Mancini and Don Barnhart. Tickets are $24.95 plus tax.

The off-Broadway production, "Jarrett and Raja's Classical Magic", has relocated to Las Vegas and will be performed for a limited weekend engagement at the Regent Las Vegas, Dec. 15-Jan. 14.

Master illusionist Parker and classical pianist Rahman combined their talents in 1997 when they first appeared together at the Friars Club in New York. Parker is an accomplished illusionist who had starred in an MTV special called "Rock Magic Hour." His one-man show "Altered Realty", ran for 14 months off-Broadway. Rahman trained at The Juillard School and appeared in concerts in his native Canada, the United States and Europe.

In "Jarrett and Raja's Classical Magic", fireballs float through the air to "Scheherazad", tissue paper becomes live goldfish to the "Tempest Sonata," and razor blades are swallowed and reappear to Beethoven's "Funeral March." Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays and 3 p.m. on Sundays, call 877-869-8777.

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Editorial Content Copyright(c) 2000 Jackie Brett; Internet Presentation Copyright(c) Las Vegas Leisure Guide