Las Vegas Sun

November 14, 2018

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Columnist John Katsilometes: The changes in Las Vegas’ favorite Broadway-style production show, ‘Mamma Mia!’

Fabulous Las Vegas runs Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday in the Las Vegas Sun. Reach John Katsilometes at [email protected] or at (702) 259-2327 or (702) 812-9812.

Jacquelyn Holland roamed the Mandalay Bay Theatre behaving as a common tourist Saturday night, having her photo taken with ushers who lead guests to their seats for "Mamma Mia!"

Holland's behavior -- which included passing out chocolates and saying thank-yous to the theater staff -- was rooted in nostalgia, as her run as Donna Sheridan in the hit musical ends this weekend.

Holland's Las Vegas resume includes stints in "EFX" at MGM Grand with Rick Springfield, "Jubilee" at Tropicana and as a backup singer for Wayne Newton. After eight years on the Strip, she's off to Honolulu to star in her own production show.

Meanwhile "Mamma Mia!" is conducting its annual revamping of its cast. All the lead characters are leaving, including Michael Piontek (Harry Bright), who dates to the original cast.

The big changes for the nearly three-year-old production (the show's third anniversary is Feb. 23) will be reflected in a new lineup replete with performers who have Broadway underpinnings.

The lead role of Donna will be played by Carol Linnea Johnson, who has performed in "The Full Monty" on Broadway, and "Law & Order" and "All My Children" on network TV. Robin Baxter, who appeared in "Footloose" and "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," plays Rosie. Vicki Van Tassel, who appeared in the off-Broadway musical "If It Was Easy," is Tanya. Kelly Anise Daniells, of Sacramento, plays Sophie; she has regional theater experience in "Annie Get Your Gun."

Among the men, Rick Negron, whose credits include "Leader of the Pack" on Broadway and the national tour of "West Side Story," is Sam Carmichael. Robert DuSold ("The Producers" and "Phantom of the Opera") is Harry. Jefferson Slinkard ("The Mystery of Attraction" and "The Firebugs" on Broadway) is Bill Austin. Patrick Sarb plays Sky, a role he assumed in the Broadway production.

The cast changes almost continually, but "Mamma Mia!" remains a proven winner as the longest-running Broadway-style musical to ever play on the Strip.


Lot of news: The Sahara Hotel sign -- which at the moment stands at the corner of Sahara Avenue and Paradise Road -- is about to be moved to the Neon Museum's Boneyard on Las Vegas Boulevard North, just south of Washington Avenue.

The sign will be split into three pieces for transport, which is scheduled to begin today after a news conference announcing the attraction called The Drive, taking over the 11 acres cleared by the departure of the sign ...

More Boneyard news: The effort to salvage the La Concha Motel lobby looks like it has succeeded, board member Patrick Duffy said Monday. Nearly all of the $300,000 raised by the committee (to be matched by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority) is in place to have the structure moved from the Strip to the Boneyard, where it will serve as the lobby for the Neon Museum. That effort should also culminate in the spring, probably in April.