Monday, March 25, 2013 | 11:15 a.m.
Days before opening night of the new Scintas family reunion residency show Downtown at The D Hotel, Chrissi Scinta has been KO’d and unable to sing. At the last minute, her brothers Frankie and Joe Scinta and honorary brother drummer Pete O’Donnell are busy auditioning singers for their yearlong run at The D that starts April 3.
In barely a weak whisper, a very hoarse Chrissi told me: “It’s impossible for me to sing with my larynx problems. I just lost my voice during the first rehearsals. I am heartbroken. It has completely failed me. Say prayers for me because we don’t know when, if it will come back.”
Chrissi underwent microsurgery last June to repair a serious vocal chord problem similar to the benign polyp that Grammy Award-winning vocalist Adele battled for more than a year. Caesars Palace headliner and Grammy winner Celine Dion faced similar vocal problems that caused her to cancel performances at The Colosseum last year.
Chrissi was off-stage for several months last year, and her daughter Deonna filled in for some of the group’s dates. The family had turned to her again last week when it was obvious that Chrissi was in danger of doing further irreparable damage.
“She’s busy working, though, in California,” whispered Chrissi to me. “So we decided that it was best to audition a new singer altogether. I am so sad; I am in tears.”
Chrissi was silenced in December 2011 and had sought help from seven specialists in the following months. Some warned her that even talking could seriously damage her throat. She followed a year of medical advice to rest her voice.
But when D hotel owner Derek Stevens and its Andiamo restaurateur Joe Vicari agreed to back their new residency in the showroom at The D, Chrissi began rehearsals. The Scintas have the 9 p.m. slot in the 220-seat showroom that will eventually be rebuilt as a larger capacity showroom. (“Marriage Can Be Murder” precedes it, and the new topless cabaret “Raack ’n’ Roll” follows.)
Regrettably, just as fast as the deal for the new run of shows came together was as fast as Chrissi lost her voice. As upset as she is about the loss of her voice, she still plans to be there on opening night April 3 to wish her family good luck.
“That won’t be easy, though,” she said. “I’m very sad; I’m heartbroken.”
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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