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May 30, 2016

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It’s game(s) on at Encore Players Club; Adrian Zmed keeps score with ‘Grease 2’ revival

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Erik Kabik/ErikKabik.com

Adrian Zmed appears as Nick in “Surf the Musical” on July 10, 2012, at Planet Hollywood.

Charlotte McKinney at Encore Players Club

Charlotte McKinney, with Andrea Wynn, Steve Wynn and Nick Cannon, hosts the grand opening of Encore Players Club on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, at Encore. Launch slideshow »
The Kats Report Podcast

KWTD – Going Zombie

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This week, John Katsilometes is joined by longtime Las Vegas performer Enoch Augustus Scott, who plays the Zombie emcee Zenoch in the wild musical production “Zombie Burlesque” at V Theater at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. Learn how Scott beat an obsession with steroids, and landed the role in the David Saxe Productions after a fluke audition cal

The Kats Report Bureau at this writing is the sportsbook at Wynn Las Vegas, where the NFL conference championship game lines at the moment are Pats minus-3 and 44.5 and Panthers minus-3 and 47.5.

I like both unders. But I liked the Seahawks last week, too …

The reason for the visit to the Wynn/Encore metroplex is to stop into Encore Players Club, which formally opened Jan. 6 in the casino territory outside Andrea’s and across from Surrender. Captivating space, with table games sharing area with a pool table and shuffleboard.

The tabletops are equipped with what serves as a big smartphone, where you can dial up social media or drink orders and, one day, play games of chance right there from your seat.

This is an attempt to lure the club crowd, expressly the pesky Millennials, into an area that is not Surrender or XS. In researching how to use that space, Wynn/Encore COO Sean Christie and Surrender/Encore Beach Club GM Michael Waltman gauged their club crowd and sought ways to expand the entertainment offerings outside DJ-driven EDM.

They also checked out party pits throughout the city — including downtown — and you can feel the influence of such diverse hotels as the Gold Spike and the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

Setting up pool tables in the same neighborhood as traditional casino table games is one example, and the execs actually considered a real-size, floor shuffleboard game, bocce court, oversized Jenga game, horseshoe pit, beanbag toss and other related activities.

For the time being, they’ll settle for the table technology, craps and blackjack tables and existing games. But if they ever expand …

More from the scene:

Adrian Zmed in 'Surf the Musical'

Marshal Kennedy Carolan and Adrian Zmed in Launch slideshow »

• Adrian Zmed has reportedly played the role of Danny Zuko onstage more than any other actor, dating to various Broadway and national tours of “Grease.” He has appeared in the musical in five decades, remarkably, including a stint as Teen Angel in a production in Thousand Oaks, Calif., two years ago.

Zmed also is famous for his role as Officer Vince Romano alongside William Shatner and Heather Locklear in “T.J. Hooker," as the second host of “Dance Fever,” both in the ’80s, and starred in “Surf the Musical" at Planet Hollywood in 2012.

A Las Vegas resident, Zmed is reviving the film “Grease 2,” in which he starred as Johnny Nogerelli, with a night of bowling and viewing party for the film at Brooklyn Bowl. The event is Thursday. Doors are at 10:30 p.m., film at 11, no cover. Those who want to bowl pay $20, and you get the shoes and a beer. Pink Lady and T-Bird costumes from the film are encouraged.

Zmed will be performing a running commentary — giving him a chance to answer the many critics who dogged the luckless follow-up to “Grease” — and hosting various contests. You know, limbo, trivia, best costumes, best impression of Deney Terrio …

Regardless of its critical response and box office performance (which was acutely disappointing), Zmed has long said “Grease 2” was a more genuine adaptation of the musical than was the original film.

“Grease” was essentially a vehicle to showcase Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta and has become one of the most famous movie musical and film soundtracks ever. But “Grease 2,” too, holds a place in pop culture history, even if just for the bowling scene, set to “Score Tonight.”

And Michelle Pfeiffer, we’re holding a lane for you …

Vanilla Ice Performs at LAX

Vanilla Ice hosts and performs at LAX in the Luxor on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012. Launch slideshow »

• The appearance by Vanilla Ice in the promising “Throwback Thursdays” late-night sets at LAX at Luxor won’t be the last we see of the guy I met Thursday who goes by the offstage name Rob Van Winkle.

We know him better as Vanilla Ice, and he is back at Mandalay Bay Beach on June 24 as part of the “I Love the 90s” tour, joining Salt-N-Pepa, Tone Loc, Coolio, All 4 One, Kid N Play, Rob Base and Young MC. A similar lineup, under the “Legends of Hip-Hop” title, sells out arenas across the country.

Ice does not need to perform to make a living, as he is the host of “The Vanilla Ice” home-improvement series on HGTV. He is just rapping — I mean, wrapping — taping that series.

“Do I need to do this? Financially, no,” he said during Thursday’s walk-through at the club. “But as a performer, I absolutely need to do it.” He later followed with a set featuring “Ninja Rap," "Play That Funky Music" and the ever-famous "Ice Ice Baby." Those who turned up included Flavor Flav, so you know the party was in full force.

Artists booked in upcoming “Throwback Thursdays” are Salt-N-Pepa's DJ Spinderella on Feb. 4 and Young MC on Feb. 18. And, down the line, we’ll have more Ice, whose ability to draw a crowd (wait for it) never seems to melt.

Click to enlarge photo

Leigh Zimmerman and Domenick Allen perform during the Nevada Sesquicentennial All-Star Concert on Monday, Sept. 22, 2014, at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Las Vegas.

• Often, during a particularly inspiring show — like a Rush concert, performance of “Fantasy" at Luxor or Kenny Davidsen’s Bow Tie Cabaret at Tuscany Suites — I remark, “I shall rush the stage!”

The person who ignited that phrase was Domenick Allen, during a performance of “Vocal Soup” at Suncoast Showroom on June 20, 2009. My first use of that line: “Allen even played the soaring sax solo from “Urgent,” and for those of us who played Foreigner's “4” until the grooves wore down, it was a rush-the-stage moment.”

Allen and his wife, Leigh Zimmerman, are back in Las Vegas from Feb. 4-6 as Allen appears with Clint Holmes at Cabaret Jazz. Allen is one of these wonderfully talented people, a great singer (he toured for a time with Foreigner) and masterful multi-instrumentalist and singer.

Zimmerman and he had been time in London, for a time, as she performed in the West End production of “A Chorus Line,” winning an Olivier Award (akin to a Tony Award) for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical for her performance as Sheila.

Zimmerman is best known in the city for her portrayal of Ulla in “The Producers” at Paris Las Vegas. She also has played Velma Kelly in “Chicago” in London and on tour. She is hosting a daylong Masterclass at Best Agency on Feb. 6 titled “Mastering Musical Theater.”

Holmes, too, has hosted a couple of these seminars. For info, go to best-agencies.com. You might learn something, but don’t rush the stage. That is frowned upon … so I have learned.

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

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