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July 2, 2016

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‘Baz’ is back as ‘Star Crossed Love’ in June at Palazzo Theater

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Denise Truscello / WireImage / DeniseTruscello.net

Opening night of “For the Record: Baz” at Light on Friday, June 26, 2015, in Mandalay Bay.

Opening Night of ‘Baz’

Olivia Harris and James Byous perform during opening night of “For the Record: Baz” at Light on Friday, June 26, 2015, in Mandalay Bay. Launch slideshow »

‘For the Record: Baz’

Jason Paige and Jason Byous from “Moulin Rouge” in “For the Record: Baz.” Launch slideshow »

The Kats Report Bureau at this writing is Tuscany Suites Casino, where we are prepping for a big party at 9 p.m. Sunday to celebrate my 50th birthday and raise money for St. Baldrick’s Foundation in the name of Elann Saula. This is a special edition of Kenny Davidsen’s “Playlists” music showcases at the hotel’s Copa Room, which are themed for a particular artist, album or genre.

This music for The Kats Bash is all from 1966, my natal year, and proceeds go to St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which funds treatment for childhood cancer. Elann, who just turned 5, suffers from a rare mix of auto-immune diseases that compromise his capacity to fend off illnesses of all types. The son of “Ka” musician and artists Sami Saula and his artist wife, Leslie, Elann receives regular treatments to arrest his condition at Children’s Specialty Center of Nevada, the only nonprofit pediatric cancer outpatient treatment facility in the state. I will shave Elann’s head at his fundraising event at 12:30 p.m. March 5 at McMullan’s Irish Pub.

Without support from St. Baldrick’s, the center would not be able to afford to provide such care. In lieu of gifts, donate to Elann at StBaldricks.org/ and search for Elann S. It’s a free show, loaded with such talent as Davidsen and MC Jassen Allen, joined by Travis Cloer of “Jersey Boys,” Rob Lyons of “Million Dollar Quartet,” Melody Sweets of “Absinthe,” Anne Martinez of “Alice — A Steampunk Concert Fantasy,” Paul Shortino and Stephanie Calvert of “Raiding the Rock Vault,” Skye Dee Miles of the Cosmopolitan’s Rose. Rabbit. Lie., Rockie Brown of The Rockie Brown Band and The Rock Show at Rocks Lounge, Chris Phillips of Zowie Bowie, Jamie Hosmer of Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns and many more.

• On the topic of talented people in public performance, an audition posting has revealed the name and scheduled opening date of the new version of “Baz.” According to an online casting call, the show is to be titled “Star Crossed Love” and has a listed opening date of June 25 at Palazzo Theater. The change in title is to counter a concern from the original Las Vegas show "For the Record: Baz” at Light at Mandalay Bay, which is that the name often confused club-goers who thought Baz was a DJ instead of the great Australian writer and director Baz Luhrmann.

Auditions are March 7-9 and callbacks March 9. Rehearsals are to start May 17. The “Star Crossed Love” announcement refers to a refurbished venue, a 360-degree experience in the theater that most recently hosted “Frank: The Man, The Music,” which falls in line with reports that the theater is being redesigned for the show.

The music numbers are familiar to those who saw “For the Record: Baz” at Light, which closed in August. Sampled are the scores of “Romeo + Juliet,” “Moulin Rouge,” “The Great Gatsby,” “Strictly Ballroom,” “Australia” and “La Boheme.” The songs are to include “Back to Black, “Lady Marmalade,” “Your Song” and “When Doves Cry.” The marketing push will remind that the show is “part rock concert, part drama.”

The show’s casting company is Barbara Lauren Casting of Las Vegas. The show manager is the highly regarded Blair Farrington of Farrington Entertainment, long a producer of stage shows on the Strip (we most recently referred to his development of the Show in the Sky at the Rio, and he also produced the Britney Spears arrival spectacular at Planet Hollywood).

Five male and three female vocalists, along with four dancers, are being sought in what should be one of the hottest audition calls in recent memory on the Las Vegas entertainment scene. The leading roles of Romeo and Juliet, Master of Ceremonies (inspired by Zidler of “Moulin Rouge”) and a “Mick Jagger meets Hedwig” poet role are among those being cast. Performers of all ethnic and racial backgrounds are encouraged to seek out “Star Crossed Love,” a show we’re eager to visit. And, even, revisit.

• More from the Talent Files: My man Earl Turner is back, playing three shows at South Point Showroom tonight, Saturday and Sunday (times are 7:30 p.m., and the Sunday show is the one where you can still buy a ticket at SouthPointCasino.com and by calling 702-796-7111). Turner will be joined by his son Aaron, a finalist on Season 10 of “So You Think You Can Dance” and Checkmates legend Sonny Charles, recently of The Steve Miller Band.

Turner is unveiling the video of his new single, “Whatever Happens,” on an album he plans to release this summer. Very Lou Rawls vibe on this ballad, but don’t be fooled. The Turner live show is a real R&B revival. He wears you out, but not in a bad way.

• “Rock of Ages” cast member Colt Prattes, who plays Stacee Jaxx in the current production at the Rio, has earned a plumb role in the upcoming live presentation of “Dirty Dancing” on ABC. Prattes is taking the lead role of Johnny Castle, made famous by Patrick Swayze in the 1987 feature film, in the TV remake (no air date is yet announced).

Prattes, who was originally discussed as a possible member of the “Idaho! The Musical” cast at the Smith Center (more on that in a moment) will continue in “ROA” until a schedule for “Dirty Dancing” is sorted out. No word yet on how this affects Prattes’ duties as simple-minded rocker Jaxx, but we can note here that he has a quirky note in his bio on the “ROA” website: “Colt Prattes is writing this bio in the third person.” Johnny approves …

• The announcement of the robust lineup of productions in the Smith Center’s Broadway Series on Wednesday night at Cabaret Jazz led to a progress report on a musical being co-produced by Smith Center President Myron Martin and his team at the center. That would be “Idaho!” The sendup of the Gem State (“Oklahoma” meets “The Book of Mormon” is the vibe here) is set for July 6-17 at Reynolds Hall. The creative team is in the middle of the audition process, with a casting call in Las Vegas early last week, followed by auditions in L.A. In March, the crew convenes in New York to finish auditions.

The “Idaho!” creators — especially Martin, Smith Center exec Paul Beard and co-writer Keith Thompson of “Jersey Boys” — would love to fill those slots by Las Vegas performers

“We saw some great performers here in Las Vegas, and we know that the biggest turnout for the casting director was here and in Los Angeles,” Martin said. “That tells me there is a lot of buzz about ‘Idaho!’ ”

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats.

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