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October 18, 2017

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Cher on tour; Davi’s dynamite debut; Penn leads ‘Celebrity Apprentice’



Greg London, Robin Leach and Robert Davi backstage at the Venetian Showroom on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012.

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Chaz Bono, Cher and Lacey Schwimmer on Dancing With the Stars on Oct. 10, 2011.

Robert Davi at Venetian Showroom and Backstage

Robert Davi at the Venetian Showroom on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012. Launch slideshow »

Robert Davi sings Sinatra

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Penn Jillette at Opportunity Village.

Cher returns! Legendary and ageless singer and actress Cher (she’s actually 65 and has turned back time) is embarking on a world tour for the first time in seven years starting in Kansas in September. I’m told that the former two-year Caesars Palace headliner who vowed to never hit the road again will include Las Vegas on the itinerary. Her “Living Proof: Farewell Tour” ran from 2002 to 2005.

Cher says the global tour will feature her hits and newer songs from “Burlesque,” which featured Las Vegas darling Julianne Hough, and a new album due this summer ,which reportedly features “The Greatest Thing,” a duet with Lady Gaga.

On Thursday night, Cher used Twitter to confirm first details to fans and tell them that she’d just seen the set designs for the tour. “There’s so much magic, I am breathless,” she tweeted. “I am shaking from them.” She revealed that there will be set changes for each song in the production: “The whole set/look completely changes for every song.”

DAVI’S DYNAMITE DEBUT: I haven’t been to a first-night performance ever where the audience nearly refused to leave the showroom. Thursday night at singer and actor Robert Davi’s Frank Sinatra and the Great American Songbook tributes in the Venetian Showroom, fans wanted him to continue singing after nearly two hours of nonstop entertainment.

With applause and standing ovations, Robert told me that he was unable to sing his last four numbers because he was out of time. (He told the audience as they exited at 11 p.m., “Come back tomorrow for ‘New York, New York!’ I need to fill this room for two more nights.”) He will chop a couple of songs to add those tonight and Saturday.

Among the first-night guests were actress Joan Severance who starred with Davi, best known for playing villains and gangsters, in “Illicit Behavior” and “Wiseguy.” The night was dedicated to our military, and Doug Bradford, director of the USO Center here at McCarran Airport, presented Robert with a trophy recognizing his support.

Also there, the late Whitney Houston’s voice coach Gary Catona and Bruce Zoldan, who showed Robert his Kentucky Derby winner’s ring as owner of reigning champion Animal Kingdom. This year, he’s hoping his new horse Went the Day Well will make it into the Derby stakes. I have to thank Robert for giving me a belated birthday cake, which I shared with his former wife, Christina, mother of his twins, in his dressing room after the show.

Felix Rappaport, Mirage president who was in attendance, summed up the premiere best: “He captured Sinatra’s vibe, presence extremely well. His voice is richly melodious. Great selections, great band, great arrangements -- in all a great night of entertainment and an immensely enjoyable performance. His charisma with the audience was perfect.”

PENN LEADS ‘APPRENTICE’ TEAM: On this Sunday’s second episode of Season 5 of Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice,” Rio magic headliner Penn Jillette is chosen as project manager for the men’s Team Unanimous. As part of the episode, Penn will be seen at our beloved Opportunity Village campus because he’s hoping to win $250,000 for his designated charity on the NBC reality TV show.

The now 17 business-savvy celebrity contestants aren’t competing for a job with Trump but for the greater goal of raising money and awareness for their charity. Sunday’s show highlights Penn’s competitive spirit as his team -- rocker Dee Snider, comedian Arsenio Hall, actor Lou Ferrigno, radio host Adam Carolla and singer Clay Aiken -- raises money for O.V., which helps individuals with intellectual and related disabilities.

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.

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