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November 16, 2018

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Frankie Moreno hitting Carnegie Hall in 2015; Wynn gives ‘Showstoppers’ dancers room to stretch legs


Leila Navidi

Frankie Moreno performs at the Stratosphere on Thursday, April 5, 2012.

New Year Fireworks

Fireworks light the sky above the Cathedral Square in Vilnius, Lithuania shortly after midnight during the New Year's Eve celebrations, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. Thousands of people celebrated the beginning of the New Year 2014  in the Lithuanian capital. Launch slideshow »

The Kats Report Bureau this week made a stop at an open terrace just outside the 50th-floor Voodoo Steakhouse at the Rio for announcement of the New Year’s Eve fireworks show on the Strip.

Seven hotels will fire pyrotechnics during a show to last 7 minutes, 11 seconds. The count is to remind numerically of a craps roll and not a cherry Slurpee. The Grucci fireworks family, which has been lighting off effects since the first sparkler rolled off the conveyor belt, is again running this New Year’s Eve spectacular. The Rio will again serve as the command center, where Grucci officials will coordinate firing points from the participating hotels: MGM Grand, Aria, Planet Hollywood, Caesars Palace, Treasure Island, the Venetian and Stratosphere.

The theme is “Don’t Stop the Party.” The music is a mash of Whitney Houston’s “Star Spangled Banner,” Alica Keys’ “Girl on Fire,” One Republic’s “Counting Stars,” Ellie Goulding’s “Burn” and the Pitbull dance track for which the party is named. Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Las Vegas Events President Pat Christenson led the lineup of dignitaries announcing the event. Absent, and missed, were any reps from the Clark County Commission, as Tom Collins was feeling unwell (he tweeted about being resigned to the couch).

Nonetheless, it would have been great to see the mayor joined at the podium by some County Commission board member to announce this event, given that all the resorts (save the Strat) sit in unincorporated Clark County. There has been a continuing dispute about who should turn up for these sorts of formal announcements, with Goodman arriving whenever asked, even when the events are not technically inside the city limits, a practice favored by Oscar Goodman when he was mayor.

County officials have wanted to represent the county at county events, and the results have led to some public snipping between these officials. Maybe the turn of the clock on midnight will lead to better diplomacy among our public officials in 2015 because, honestly, this dispute has been pretty unseemly.


• Frankie Moreno’s guest stars during the final week of his performances at the Stratosphere Showroom have included ex-Rock Vault-ian John Payne (who has met with hotel officials about possibly staging a type of rock revival in that room), longtime showroom firebrand Earl Turner, current Rock Vault-ian Paul Shortino and Lacey Schwimmer, who makes intermittent appearances as a dancer but also sang Thursday night.

Frankie Moreno Performs at Stratosphere

Frankie Moreno performs in the showroom at the Stratosphere Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014 Launch slideshow »

Moreno is down to his final show, No. 599, on Saturday night. Among his upcoming projects is an April 10 appearance at Carnegie Hall in a Frank Sinatra tribute show titled “Let’s Be Frank,” marking the 100th anniversary of Sinatra’s birth (he was born Dec. 12, 1915). Moreno will appear with the New York Pops in a lineup featuring singer-songwriter-stage star Storm Large and Broadway performer Ryan Silverman (“Side Show” and “Somewhere in Time” among his most recent productions). Large appeared in November at Cabaret Jazz in the Smith Center; Silverman has joined Moreno onstage at the Stratosphere.

Moreno is still seeking a new venue, and his search will only intensify Saturday night. And the hotel will intensify its attention on “Pin Up” while meeting with potential suitors. The hope is the hotel will remain interested in funding entertainment in its versatile showroom.

During Moreno’s run, the Stratosphere has drawn scores of visitors who would otherwise have not walked onto that property, and the quality of his performances was a positive reflection of the hotel’s willingness to invest in a five-star entertainer.

And, everything else aside as the Moreno era closes, that is a good thing.

• Saturday marks the premiere of “Steve Wynn’s Showstoppers” after a set of preview shows beginning Tuesday. Wynn has said he had such a strong response to his casting call from dancers across the country (a total of 600) because the show allows these artists to do what they were trained to do.

“All the kids who spend their time studying ballet and dance, and get to be 20-odd years old, and are gifted, if they go looking for work today, if they’re lucky they’re doing backup for Beyonce,” Wynn said in an interview in October before the show was announced. “Or, if they’re lucky, J.Lo or Gaga, which is six moves and two songs. … in this show, they get to do these numbers from great shows in the same night, and that is very rare.”

• This is the moment I clear up a note that appeared last week in my column in The Sunday. This was a note in a piece marking the dismissal of the lawsuit against Westgate Resorts filed by Heather Atwell, who is making a claim of $1.5 million against the resort and founder David Siegel for the commission of his purchase of the property from a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs. I had misstated the court’s findings in that ruling as it pertained to David Atwell’s status as a licensed real-estate agent. Atwell, a powerhouse commercial Realtor who was the father of Heather and founder of RPA Inc., was operating under a proper real-estate license in 2011 and 2012. Heather Atwell says she is refiling her case next week.

“The court did not dismiss the case due to the overall facts presented in complaint, as we didn’t even get to the discovery to see and hear the proof yet. It was primarily dismissed due to the fact that pleading as only plaintiff, RPA Inc. (presented) a technicality issue with being able to collect commission for a cause arising in 2011. We didn’t incorporate our 35-year-old company until 2013,” Atwell said in an email. “My father’s death also made matters further complicated as Westgate is trying to use his death to not pay our commission. We are amending our complaint to fix the technicalities currently.”

Siegel has consistently said he never signed any agreement with the Atwells to make the purchase of the old LVH and has paid the commission fee for the transaction to California agent Mayur Shetty. Nonetheless, Atwell, represented by the Las Vegas law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Shreck, is continuing to press her case.

• More out of Westgate: The hotel has opened one restaurant and closed another. Its new Sid’s Cafe is named for Siegel’s father. The 200-seat cafe is just off the casino floor, on the left-hand side as you walk in from the main entrance in what used to be the High Limit room. “My father would come to Las Vegas twice a month from Florida and loved how he was always treated like a high roller,” Siegel said in a statement. “Everyone knew his name and catered to his every need, which made him feel important. At Sid’s, everyone will be treated with the same level of customer service that my father received.”

As Sid’s begins service, the Mexican bar and eatery Tatuado Restaurant & Cantina owned by Vince Neil has closed. When Siegel took over the hotel, he talked of plans to open a new Mexican restaurant, so this move is not entirely a surprise. No word on what will go into the old Tatuado space.

• When Sin City Theater operator John Padon told me this week two shows in that venue were closing, that was news to the folks directly involved in those shows, including the producer and casts of each of those shows. They are saying they had no idea they were being shooed from the theater at the mezzanine level of Planet Hollywood.

To recap: Padon reported that “Celebrity Idols,” fronted by former “Fame” star Billy Hufsey, was to be closed Wednesday night. The still-in-production “Hollywood Bombshells,” a topless revue fronted by Angelica Bridges, never did reach the stage and also was scuttled.

But let’s not be so hasty, both sides are now saying, as Padon and producer Nannette Barbera are negotiating a possible return of both shows to the stage. At issue is rent for use of the Sin City Theater stage and crew. We have seen shows close before they open in Las Vegas (please don’t ask me to list which ones). But this could be the odd instance where a show closes, then reopens, before it ever opens. Maybe the real show here is some sort of adaptation of these negotiations. I know of a room that’s available …

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