Keith Thompson hosts Composers Showcase at Smith Center.
Friday, Aug. 2, 2013 | 1:56 p.m.
Clint Holmes and John Wedemeyer.
Philip Fortenberry and Keith Thompson.
Philip Fortenberry performs in "The Man at the Piano."
The Apple Sisters perform at Art Square Theater.
Editor’s Note: As Robin Leach winds down his traditional summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy and heads to the East Coast for a brief visit before returning to the rigors of Vegas DeLuxe, many of our Strip personalities have stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. We continue today with Keith Thompson, conductor of “Jersey Boys” at Paris Las Vegas.
Being the full-time conductor for “Jersey Boys” at Paris Las Vegas keeps me plenty busy, but never too busy to support fellow performers who are out there showcasing their talents.
This month alone, I saw those wacky Apple Sisters perform at Arts Square Theater downtown on July 18. On July 21, I watched pianist Philip Fortenberry reprise his solo cabaret/concert at Smith Center’s Cabaret Jazz. And it’s always fun to catch the Phat Pack performing daily at the Plaza.
My true passion is pouring my heart and soul into organizing and hosting my favorite Las Vegas event: the Composers Showcase.
The Showcase began in spring 2006 at Suede, a tiny nightclub near the airport, as an insider’s party for Broadway and Las Vegas performers. The Showcase provided an opportunity to share our original compositions with one another in a supportive environment. After just one Showcase, we realized that we were on to something, so we kept it going once a month for a year.
After Suede, the good folks at the Liberace Museum invited us into their cabaret showroom. The Showcase flourished amid Liberace’s kitsch and bling for 3 1/2 years until the museum fell into financial problems and was forced to close its doors to the public.
However, the creative spirits of Las Vegas’ songwriters was not to be silenced by a little inconvenience like being homeless. After the close of the museum, Cockroach Theater’s Will Adamson stepped forward to host the showcase at Creative Studios LV, a loft space in the southwest part of town; Adamson also helped to secure the Atrium at Garfield’s on the Lake in Desert Shores.
Faithful Showcase audiences followed us all over town until, finally, the Smith Center for the Performing Arts was ready to open and take Las Vegas by storm. Thanks to the hospitality of Smith Center CEO Myron Martin and COO Paul Beard, the beautiful 250-seat Cabaret Jazz showroom was made available to us. The faithful following that had grown significantly in the six years since we began continued to expand.
The Showcase now sells out regularly and has begun to attract not only the best composers, singers and musicians from various production shows, but also headliners such as Taylor Hicks, Frankie Moreno, Esteban, Michael Cavanaugh, and Las Vegas’ very own treasure, singer-songwriter Clint Holmes, who delights audiences with his one-man show at Cabaret Jazz the first weekend of each month.
What was once considered one of Vegas’ best-kept secrets, Composers Showcase has quickly become a not-to-be-missed happening on the list of off-Strip entertainment options. The lineup varies, but you can count on a show that is true to its artistic heart and alive with new, original music and features some of the most spectacular talent you won’t find anywhere else.
Look for the next performance Aug. 14 and dates through the end of the year. Check the Smith Center website and TheComposersShowcase.com for updates.
Check out our other guest column today from actor Joseph Barbara, who has joined the cast of “Jersey Boys,” and on Sunday Derek Stevens of the D Hotel and producer Jeanie Linders.
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.
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Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
Paris Las Vegas The Paris Las Vegas transports visitors to the City of Light. Paris Las Vegas captures all the details of Paris, right down to the cobblestone sidewalks and half-scale replica of the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe. Wrought iron street lamps line the 85,000 square foot casino with the legs of the Eiffel Tower sit in the middle of 1,700 slots and 90 table games.
Guests can dine at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant, but beware, it's by reservation only. Diners can watch the world pass by at Mon Ami Gabi, a fine French restaurant where the most popular tables are the ones outside facing The Strip. Dining isn't just limited to the French, Asian restaurant Ah Sin is host to many dishes from the Pacific Rim. If you've just hit the jackpot on the casino floor, try the $777 Kobe beef and Maine lobster at Le Burger Brasserie.
Famous pastry chef Gaston Lenôtre opened a branch of his renowned pastry shop on the cobblestone-lined Le Boulevard, a street filled with intimate shops and restaurants, all underneath a blue cloud-filled ceiling. Strolling along Le Boulevard don't be surprised to see an extremely lifelike bronze statue move, that's because it's a real person
The City of Light doesn't go dark after dark. Anthony Cools - The Uncensored Hypnotist checks inhibitions at the door and pushes the limits of the audiences mind and body. Sitting right above the restaurant is nightclub Risqué, Paris' ultra lounge that is as fun as it is fantastic.
3655 S. Las Vegas Blvd. Las Vegas,
NV 89109 702-967-4111
Smith Center for the Performing Arts The Smith Center for the Performing Arts offers a blend of performances by resident companies and touring attractions. The 5-acre cultural campus features three performance spaces, which includes a main performance area with more than 2,000 seats. This downtown cultural center of Las Vegas looks to educate, entertain and excite community members.
To provide and preserve a high-quality performing arts center that is embraced by the community and recognized as a vital force by supporting artistic excellence, education and inspiration for all.
To entertain, educate, enrich and inspire the southern Nevada community.
Thanks to the generous support of our dedicated founders, members, donors and community partners, The Smith Center continues to provide a wide variety of services for Southern Nevada residents, including access to world-class performances, inspirational Education and Outreach programs for students and teachers, and a unique space to host events, meetings and special occasions. Celebrating our fifth season, we depend upon public support to fulfill our mission and serve as the Heart of the Arts® for many years to come.
With ticket sales covering just 75 percent of our operating budget for each season, the remaining 25 percent comes from the community we serve. Philanthropic support at all levels helps provide programming that entertains, educates, enriches and inspires. By giving to The Smith Center, you play a vital role in providing an important resource for our community.
There are many opportunities to volunteer and play a direct role with your community’s performing arts complex. Volunteers engage with staff and patrons to enhance experiences at The Smith Center, and can serve in various capacities including tour guide/docent, usher, security team member or community ambassador. As important members of The Smith Center team, volunteers help us remain financially sustainable and provide numerous services for the community. Please show your support for The Smith Center’s mission by gifting your time and unique skills.
Members’ annual support provides crucial resources for The Smith Center’s artistic programming, education opportunities and cultural enrichment each year. There are a variety of giving options and levels, and Members receive exclusive benefits and behind-the-scenes opportunities based on their level of support. To learn more, please visit www.thesmithcenter.com/support-us/members.
The Encore Society recognizes those generous donors who have included The Smith Center as a part of their estate plan. Corporate Sponsorship is available to companies to underwrite all, or part, of a program, performance or event.
Fanfare! is The Smith Center’s young progressional networking organization, open to anyone with an interest in the performing arts who is between the ages of 21-40. And our Show Dedication allows for the celebration of an individual or special occasion with unique recognition opportunities during a specific performance.
The Smith Center provides world-class performing arts and outreach and education throughout the Southern Nevada region.
The organization originally formed in 1996 as the Las Vegas Performing Arts Center.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Myron G. Martin President and CEO Donald D. Snyder Chairman Dr. Keith Boman Vice Chairman Mark Tratos Secretary Michael Yackira Treasurer David Dunn Alan M. Feldman Richard Haddrill Fred Hipwell Nancy Houssels Todd-Avery Lenahan Scott MacTaggart Jerry Nadal John Nelson Richard Plaster Rory Reid Kim Sinatra Roger P. Thomas
361 Symphony Park Ave Las Vegas, NV Las Vegas,
NV 89106 702-749-2000