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November 23, 2014

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‘Sydney’ might not go dark; Cheaza headed to China; fetching notes at Nevada SPCA charity event

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“Sydney After Dark” at Planet Hollywood.

‘Sydney After Dark’

Dancers rehearse for the new production “Sydney After Dark” on Saturday, July 5, 2014, at Planet Hollywood. Launch slideshow »

The Kats Report Bureau at this writing is Starbucks on Sunday at Planet Hollywood, where upstairs the new adult revue “Sydney After Dark” is performing its final show later at the old “Peepshow” showroom.

The future of the show starring a lineup of eight tall and curvaceous Aussie dancers, an aerialist and a very good vocalist in Natalie Conway is in doubt. “Sydney” was conceived as a full-scale production from Adam Steck’s SPI Entertainment featuring elaborate costumes and choreography and the set design of Emmy Award-winner Andy Walmsley.

But in the end, “Sydney After Dark” at PH Showroom is the rare show that actually announced it is closing before it had a chance to celebrate its official premiere, which was to be last Friday night. It played out the string over the weekend with little fanfare, and at the end “Sydney” merchandise was marked down by 50 percent.

Meantime, the indefatigable Steck is looking for a more intimate venue for a version of the show. The result could be something like an Australian variation of “Crazy Horse Paris,” which ran for nine years at MGM Grand before closing as “Beacher’s Madhouse” returned to town.

Whatever the outcome won’t be boring, and we give a tip of the Akubra to Steck for at least trying to keep the production onstage. Now let’s rake some brush, eh, mate?

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Cheaza Figueroa.

• On the topic of “Peepshow” and those it has touched, one of that show’s former stars is headed to China. We speak of onetime “Peep Diva” Cheaza, who has been a singer in “Jubilee” at Bally’s of late but is headed for Shenzhen, just north of Hong Kong, to perform a nightclub gig at one of the region’s chic restaurants and lounges. Cheaza’s band is named for her and is to play a mix of covers and her originals.

Cheaza has spent a dozen years in Las Vegas performing in a wide range of shows, including Wayne Brady’s headlining production at the Venetian to her run in “Jubilee.” She caught the latter show during its continuing overhaul, performing select numbers for a little less than six months.

Of that experience, she says, “It was a challenging experience in a lot of ways, but every person in that cast is awesome.” And of her upcoming experience, I say, inside of a month, Cheaza will be the most famous entertainer in all of Shenzhen.

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Principal dancer Tara Palsha performs her main number with Josh Strickland during her final night in "Vegas! The Show' on Friday, July 25, 2014.

• On the topic, still, of those who have “Peepshow” ties, our friend Tara Palsha (that show’s Little Red Riding Hood before she moved on to “Vegas! The Show”) is auditioning for roles in New York. One of her first calls was for the upcoming production “Honeymoon in Vegas.” Indeed, the former showgirl — Palsha also was in “Jubilee” — took a look at that show, which had already filled its lead roles and was looking only for “swings.” False alarm. Just as well.

Otherwise, Palsha and her fiance Scott Moats are digging it pretty well back in Manhattan. We’ll keep tabs on these kids, promise.

• Following up on my column from The Sunday, where I had noted Steve Wynn’s comments about the 2007 sale of the New Frontier parcel to El-Ad Group. The purchase price at the time was $1.3 billion, and Wynn has said the group far overpaid for that particular parcel, which last week was bought by Crown Resorts head James Packer in a partnership with former Wynn exec Andrew Pascal and investment firm Oaktree Capital Management.

Though Wynn criticized El-Ad’s lavish expenditure, talking of the group spending as if it were on a “drunken spree,” his comments were not directed at the man who helped make that deal happen, the late-great David Atwell. That deal was among many high-end commercial real estate sales in Atwell’s career, which included the sale of the land that became home to Forum Shops at Caesars.

• On the topic of the Atwell family, his daughter Aubrianna is getting married in a few months, Nov. 22, three days after the first anniversary of David’s passing. Aubrianna is engaged to Navy Lt. Junior Grade Daniel Weiss and has set plans for a ceremony at Malibu Lake Canyon Club in California.

Weiss had gotten to know David later in David’s life, taking a leave of absence to meet him in person just a week before David’s death. At one point, David said to his daughter, “That’s the guy you’re going to marry.”

As for the wedding date being so close to the anniversary of her father’s death, Aubrianna says, “I will be on emotional overload.”

‘Mondays Dark’ Benefits Nevada SPCA

Mark Shunock arrives at his “Mondays Dark,” benefiting Nevada SPCA, at Vinyl on Monday, Jan. 20, 2014, in the Hard Rock Hotel.
Launch slideshow »

• On Sunday afternoon, I hit the Nevada SPCA “Out of the Gutters” doggie-adoption event at Sam’s Town bowling lanes. This was the second event for the no-kill canine sanctuary. In the following paragraphs, here is what we plucked from the gutters:

Mo5aic has left Shimmer Cabaret at Westgate Resorts. Final night was July 26; the vocal group reasoned, logically, that the planned deconstruction of that room to create a lobby bar and lounge meant that they had no home under the new ownership. … Fright Dome founder Jason Egan has a big announcement coming soon about themes and development for his new Hong Kong and Chicago attractions. Fright Dome in Las Vegas has announced that it is filling 400 positions in Las Vegas beginning Saturday at 3 p.m. at Circus Circus.

… Las Vegas tattoo artist and musician Dirk Vermin’s “Bad Ink” on A&E has been canceled after two seasons (and that is fine with him, believe me). Up next for D.V. is his autobiography, titled “The Devil and Dirk Vermin,” due by spring. … The daughter of “Raiding the Rock Vault” bassist Hugh McDonald, Morgan Blackhurst, is Miss Rodeo Tennessee and is competing in Miss Rodeo America at the next Wrangler National Finals Rodeo event here in December. … More “Rock Vault:” Gina McAuley, the wife of singer Robin McAuley, makes sequined T-shirts of pets, working from photos and taking as long as five hours to finish one shirt. Sporting one of those shirts was Carmen Shortino, wife of “Vaulter” Paul Shortino, with the couple’s Podenco Canario named Dio depicted.

… Terry Fator bowled a 112 and beat his wife, Taylor, by “a few pins,” according to reports. Oddly, Winston the Impersonating Turtle bowled a 221 (hashtag-SheckyKats). … Master juggler Michael Holly of “Vegas! The Show” and “V — The Ultimate Variety Show” is the same Michael Holly who is the pole-vault coach at Green Valley High, and his son, Matteo, coaches at Bishop Gorman. Both are accomplished in the sport, which should be obvious.

• BBR is back, at Sunset Station’s Club Madrid. The oft-noted (at least in this column) steam-punk adaptation of “Alice in Wonderland” is being showcased for one night at that venue on Aug. 26. Show is at 11 p.m.; cover is $5. Also that night, in an unfortunate and unplanned coincidence, is the debut of Lon Bronson’s All-Star Band at Mizuya Lounge in Mandalay Bay. It also abuts Kenny Davidsen’s open-mic cabaret at Tuscany’s T-Spot Lounge. VegasVille scenesters have a real conundrum that night. Conundrum, I tell you!

Angel Porrino Debuts in 'Absinthe'

Angel Porrino in Absinthe at Caesars Palace on April 19, 2011. Launch slideshow »

• The bubble act has returned! We are speaking of the inflatable piece of performance art in “Absinthe,” which left the show when former bubble inhabitant Angel Porrino was let go from the cast in 2004 or whenever it was. The new cast member performing the routine is Charlie Starling of Newcastle, England.

Her performance reflects the original bubble routine, which was a stylish and refined act before it shifted to a comedic tap-dance number later in the show’s run. Either way, the balloon effect is once again a bubbly change of pace in “Absinthe.”

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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