Las Vegas Sun

November 19, 2017

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Powerhouse stars, acts lining up for Nevada 150th anniversary show at Smith Center


Tom Donoghue /

Jeff Leibow, Travis Cloer, Graham Fenton and Deven May of “Jersey Boys” at the Paris arrive at the 2014 Fighters Only World Mixed Martial Arts Awards on Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, at the Venetian.

Symphony Park in Downtown Las Vegas

Symphony Park -- including the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and the Smith Center for the Performing Arts -- in downtown Las Vegas on Sunday, March 4, 2012. Launch slideshow »

Myron Martin was around for one of the greatest events ever in Strip entertainment, the USO benefit show from November 2001 titled “Las Vegas Salutes the Spirit of America.”

To say Martin was “around” for the event is not quite giving full credit, actually. He helped produce the event, which sold all 7,500 tickets made available to the public at $25 apiece.

The show drew an array of headliners who (at that point) had strong ties to Las Vegas, including Wayne Newton, Clint Holmes, Earl Turner, The Scintas, Lance Burton, The Amazing Johnathan, Siegfried & Roy, Robert Goulet, Carrot Top, Rich Little, Bill Acosta and Bob Anderson.

Nearly every name performer turned out to help raise money for the USO just two months after 9/11. It was thought that we would not see such a show again, but we will, and Martin, who was a guest columnist for the Las Vegas Sun on Sunday, is again at the center as he is helping amass the talent and providing the stage for the “Nevada Sesquicentennial All-Star Concert” set for Sept. 22 at Reynolds Hall in the Smith Center for the Performing Arts.

(Tickets go on sale Friday and are $25 to $100; go to the Smith Center website for information.)

Acts, individuals and shows to be represented thus far include Las Vegas entertainment legend Jerry Lewis, Cirque du Soleil, “Jubilee,” “Jersey Boys,” “Million Dollar Quartet,” Penn & Teller, Human Nature, Clint Holmes, Frankie Moreno, Bob Anderson, Susan Anton, Antonio Fargas and Mark Shunock of “Rock of Ages.”

The house band is a dandy: The Lon Bronson All-Star Band, boosted by the Las Vegas Mass Choir. Cowboy poet Waddie Mitchell will hearken to the state’s infancy, and tributes to Frank Sinatra, Mark Twain and Liberace (separately, we can expect) will be performed.

More acts and celebrities will be added, to be certain, as there are some big stars not on that list. But Martin, president and CEO of the Smith Center, already has a fantastic, freewheeling lineup.

“Nevada has a rich and eclectic history that started with President Lincoln during the Civil War,” Martin said in a news release. “What better way to commemorate the state’s 150th anniversary than by inviting the entertainment community to come together to celebrate Nevada’s cultural heritage in Las Vegas, the Entertainment Capital of the World?”

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