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September 16, 2014

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Strip Scribbles: NeNe Leakes in ‘Zumanity’; Celine vs. Muppets; Shirley Chung; and Nick Cannon

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Erik Kabik/Retna/www.erikkabikphoto.com

Nene Leakes of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” at Tao in The Venetian on Nov. 12, 2009.

NeNe Leakes at Tao

Nene Leakes of Launch slideshow »
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Tony Dovolani and NeNe Leakes on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars."

“The Real Housewives of Atlanta” star NeNe Leakes will play the erotic and sexy role of the Mistress of Sensuality in the adult show “Zumanity” by Cirque du Soleil at New York-New York.

It’s her live theatrical debut for a 10-show engagement twice nightly from June 27 to July 1 to celebrate the seductive cabaret’s 10th anniversary. It marks the first time Cirque has integrated a celebrity into one of its shows in the company’s 30-year history.

Currently competing on ABC’s Season 18 of “Dancing With the Stars,” where she’s partnered with Tony Dovolani, NeNe said: “I can’t wait to be in the sexiest show on the Strip and perform on a Cirque du Soleil stage! I am so excited to be starring in ‘Zumanity.’ The show is absolutely fabulous, and the cast members are so talented!”

NeNe has been with Bravo TV’s “Atlanta” since 2008 and won her own spin-off series, “I Dream of NeNe,” last year. She also has appeared on Fox’s “Glee” and NBC’s “The New Normal.”

NeNe competed on Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice,” where she wound up in a verbal war with Star Jones. She rejoined some of the cast for its screening party given by Lil Jon here at Encore where he DJs . It was the same season most viewers remember the wild row between Planet Hollywood headliner Meat Loaf and actor Gary Busey.

“ ‘Zumanity’ has been a favorite of celebrity guests for 10 years,” said Jerry Nadal, senior VP of resident shows. “Being able to take a fan like NeNe and make her a part of our show is an exciting, creative opportunity for all of us.”

NeNe will make the most of her bold and vivacious personality as the show host working with a sex-fueled cast of multi-talented acrobats, contortionists, aerial artists and dancers, NeNe promises that she will be fully immersed in the Cirque experience with extravagant, custom costume creations and dramatically designed makeup looks.

On Monday night on “DWTS,” she was ruled safe for dancing a surprise jive, while daredevil swimmer Diana Nyad and former NHL star Sean Avery were both KO’d in a surprise double elimination.

NeNe lives in Duluth, Ga., with her two children and husband Gregg. A limited quantity of VIP meet-and-greet experiences with NeNe will be available nightly after each performance.

Celine Dion vs. The Muppets

Celine Dion and Miss Piggy

CELINE & THE MUPPETS: Miss Piggy and our Caesars Palace headliner Celine Dion went head-to-head in the new film “Muppets Most Wanted,” and Celine talked about the experience.

The duo has a show-stopping emotional ballad, “Something So Right,” as the movie ends. Miss Piggy commented: “Working with Celine was a pleasure. It was a joy for her, naturally. We only spent a little time together, but it was very meaningful to her. I was only too happy to let her ride my coattails up to the Oscar stage.”

Celine deadpanned her response: “I’ve had the opportunity to sing with some of the greatest voices of all time, but none of them could compare to Miss Piggy. She has a very sensual voice.”

‘MAMMA MIA!’: The cast has been finalized for the musical “Mamma Mia! that begins performances at the Tropicana on May 8. Several Las Vegas locals will be in the company. Cast, crew and musicians all assemble here April 10 to begin rehearsals at the newly transformed Tropicana Theater.

The cast will be led by Christine Sherrill as Donna Sheridan, Kimbre Lancaster as Sophie Sheridan, Mary Callanan as Rosie, Alison Ewing as Tanya, Trey Ellett as Harry Bright, Steve Judkins as Bill Austin, Sean Allan Krill as Sam Carmichael and Jordan Bondurant as Sky.

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Chef Shirley Chung made a trip to South Korea after competing on Season 11 of “Top Chef” in New Orleans.

CULINARY BATTLES: Our “Top Chef” finalist Shirley Chung has been tapped to judge the finals of the 2014 Culinary Battle on April 26 at Caesars Palace. The event, in its second year, sets out to give top honors to America’s Supreme Asian Chef.

After this month’s regional finals, the Top Six chefs from the East and the West will battle on the Strip. Celebrity chef Jet Tila (Kuma Snow Cream) also will be here on the judging panel.

MIXOLOGY WIN: This year’s Nightclub & Bar Convention award for best cocktail bar in America went to Walt Disney’s worldwide beverage director Stuart McGuire, who turned to Las Vegas mixologist Francesco Lafranconi at Southern Wine and Spirits to create the cocktail and concoctions program.

ANOTHER FIRST: The newest employee at the Palms is a check-in beverage butler. The clock is ticking because if you wait in line for five minutes or more ,the cocktails served from the bar cart are free. If less than five minutes, the drink is only $5. Recently, the Palms offered travelers another innovative option, allowing them a 24-hour check-in checkout, so whatever the time they arrived, the room was there for the full 24 hours.

STAR SURVEILLANCE:

TV cameras filmed comedienne Judy Gold and Penn Jillette’s wife, Emily Jillette, at his magic show with Teller at the Rio, but nobody is saying why.

Retired UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian in the spirit of March Madness watched college basketball games in a VIP suite with his family at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel.

Imagine Dragons at the Joint; Dan Reynolds Spins at Body English

Las Vegas rockers Imagine Dragons in concert at the Joint on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013, in the Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas. Afterward, frontman Dan Reynolds played DJ at nearby after-hours club Body English. Launch slideshow »

Dan Reynolds, lead singer of Las Vegas’ Imagine Dragons, and his wife, Aja Volkman, lead singer of Nico Vega, watched London Grammar at Vinyl in the Hard Rock Hotel.

TONIGHT’S TIPS

Execs at the Paris with its Eiffel Tower Experience throw a block party at the resort’s Arc de Triomphe porte cochere to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the original Tour Eiffel in the French capital. Since the half-scale replica opened here in 1999, more than 10 million visitors have visited the landmark.

“America’s Got Talent” host, singer, actor and DJ Nick Cannon spins at 1 OAK in the Mirage.

Punk princess Lydia Loveless sings for her supper at Dive Bar on S. Maryland Parkway.

John Caponera, Zach Risen and Marc Price headlines at the Improv in Harrah’s through Sunday.

TOMORROW’S TEASE

Veteran comedy king Marty Allen celebrates his 92nd birthday and looks back over seven decades of entertainment from Joan Crawford to The Beatles, and he’s still going strong. Plus, Candace Nelson’s conversation about the success of her cupcake business Sprinkles.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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