Wayne Newton spent 1999 trying to perform while suffering from walking pneumonia. (See
Broadway To Vegas column of Nov. 21, 1999) He admitted that the illness strained his
The Midnight Idol has been in the business since he was a teenager and enjoys a rabid following
relished by few performers. He has an engaging personality, uses the best musicians - directed
by Greg Macaluso - and back-up singers he can sign on a dotted line and then gives it his
The fact that he now talks his way through most songs didn't bother the blue ribbon packed house
that attended last Monday's opening night at the Stardust Hotel, Las Vegas.
Some things stay the same - Wayne's dramatic entry through a space ship, the patter with
ringsiders, accepting flowers and kissing the ladies, playing the piano and a variety of instruments
- minus horns. He's also dropped most songs that would require vocal strength. Pneumonia has
taken its toll on Newton, who has also lost a lot of weight, but never looked better.
WAYNE NEWTON has lost weight and never
looked better. Photo By; Laura Deni
His personality is of showmanship quality. The part Indian performer, who tends to perspire,
termed it "my Cherokee drip." He pretended to be exasperated when a fan requested Danke
Schoen. Before singing the number Newton explained that the 1963 hit had been used in 17
motion pictures. The audience howled when he divulged that Matthew Broderick lip-synched it in
Ferris Bueller's Day Off. He added that he always breaks up watching the movie
Family Business in which Sean Connery - while in a bathtub - sings another of his hits,
Red Roses for a Blue Lady.
Newton effectively utilizes his backup singers; Jeff Brandt, Paula Harbin, Sasha Simms and
Genevi Bakeli. He offers a strong duet on Endless Love with Simms and spotlights
Brandt, who is a skilled singing impressionist.
The man known as Mr. Las Vegas closed his show by talking his way through MacArthur
Park complete with fog and fireworks.
Newton introduced Ernest Borgnine who had jumped into his car and driven by himself to Las
Vegas from Los Angeles, to celebrate his 83rd birthday by attending Newton's show. Newton led
the crowd in singing Happy Birthday to the Hamden, Connecticut born actor whose title role
portrayal in Marty earned him an Academy Award.
ERNEST BORGNINE celebrated his 83rd birthday by
attending Wayne Newton's show at the Stardust Hotel, Las Vegas. Photo By:
After the curtain went down it took Borgnine almost 30 minutes to leave the showroom. He was
mobbed by Newton fans who asked the actor to autograph their Newton ticket stubs. The
gracious actor obliged explaining "When you stop being nice to your fans, you are no longer a
In the Stardust casino Borgnine was again mobbed by not only employees but gamblers who left
their slot machines and table games to shake Borgnine's hand and request his autograph. In a
rather unauthorized move, Borgnine acknowledged the greetings from the casino dealers by
walking into the pit area to shake the outstretched hands and even used the roulette table as a
base for autograph signing.
BORGNINE USES A ROULETTE TABLE TO SIGN
AN AUTOGRAPH FOR THE DEALER Photo By: Laura Deni
He skipped Newton's post show party because he was driving back to LaLaLand.
Also in the Newton audience and staying on to have a grand time at the post show party were
Clint Holmes, who is enjoying his own successful show at Harrah's Hotel.
Jim Stafford flew in from Branson, Mo for his friend's opening night, before racing back to
Branson where he is set to open Feb. 9.
CLINT HOLMES enjoyed Newton's post show party
Photo By: Laura Deni
Breck Wall looked over the impressive dessert selection as he told us about the rave reviews his
new production Passions is receiving at Lake Tahoe.
Newton's wife was present as was Newton's daughter, Erin, who was celebrating her birthday.
Newton is back in the recording studio finishing up Wayne Newton and Friends which
includes Peabo Bryson, the Dixie Chicks, and Ray Charles. Newton would like to add Ricky
Martin to the list, cutting a duet with the teen heart throb.
Other celebs that turned out for Newton's show were Lance Burton who stars at the Monte Carlo
Hotel and impressionist Bill Acosta, who stars at the Luxor Hotel.
ELVIS' DRUGS DO A ROAD SHOW
WHILE VEGAS NEEDS ELVIS IMPERSONATORS
Dr. George Nichopoulos, who was accused and then exonerated of improperly prescribing drugs
for Elvis Presley, has hit the road with what is billed as a traveling Elvis drug exhibit.
ELVIS PRESLEY his drug bottles
go on display
First stop is at the Hollywood Casino in Tunica, Miss. where Elvis fans and those that enjoy the
morbid can eyeball - among other things - 13 medicine bottles, including one for a powerful pain
killer Elvis consumed in the months prior to his death.
The Presley Estate called the exhibit "tacky, tasteless and unfortunate."
For what tacky is really meant to be - come to Las Vegas. A new movie 3000 Miles to
Memphis, starring Kurt Russell and Kevin Costner, needs 200 Elvis impersonators. All
wannabe Elvis copy cats must have the appropriate outfits and vocals.
Any version of The King - from sex god slim to the over-the-hill parody of himself - is hunka
The movie has a tentative start date of March 1. Any Elvis impersonator who wants to apply as an
extra should contact Lear Entertainment (702) 385-9000, ext 17.
RUBY MAZUR INVADES
Ruby Mazur of The Rolling Stones Mouth & Tongue logo fame has left New York for
Las Vegas. The artist whose works have graced everything album covers to cigar bands is
opening Star City Galleries - a celebrity art gallery - which will be located in the Desert Passage
Mall in the new Aladdin Hotel.
RUBY MAZUR's art work has appeared on everything
from record albums to this cigar band
Although the gallery isn't set to open until the first week of August rounding up the celebrities and
their artistic creations takes months of preparation. Mazur provided us with a partial list of
celebrities whose paintings will be exhibited.
Tony Bennett, David Bowie, Pierce Bronson, Jon Mellancamp, Anthony Quinn, Paul McCartney,
Tico Torres, Carly Simon, Peter Falk, Joni Mitchell, Tony Curtis, Billy D. Williams, Ronnie
Woods, Christie Brinkley, Johnny Cash, Donna Summer, Gene Hackman, Jack Palance, Sharon
Stone, Jane Seymore, Jon Entwistle, John Lennon, Diana Ross, Frank Sinatra, Sylvester Stallone
and Graham Nash.
"To celebrate the opening of the gallery there will be a group show consisting of myself, Tico
Torres, Peter Falk and Pierce Bronson," said Mazur. "At the opening evening these celebrities will
be there. Their original paintings will be for sale as well as signed and numbered lithographs. The
lithos will be very affordable for the public to purchase. The lithos will range in price form $1,500
to $7,500," Mazur continued.
"Every month there will be another opening with a different celebrity's work," added the
As for Mazur, he's known the world over for his legendary mouth and tongue logo used on The
Rolling Stones' Tumbling Dice record sleeve. At the age of 21, the Brooklyn born artist
was hired as Art Director of Paramount Records, and within that first year he received a Grammy
award nomination for his design on the Crowfoot album.
Innovative and influential, his outrageous and trendsetting designs have graced over 3,000 various
album covers for the likes of Elton John, Billy Joel, Ray Charles, Sarah Vaughn, Van Morrison,
Jim Croce and B.B. King in addition to such movie soundtracks as Love Story, Willy Wonka
and the Chocolate Factory, Malcolm X and Lenny Bruce.
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FROM GENERAL HOSPITAL
TO JEKYLL & HYDE
A stepping stone to starring in the Frank Wildhorn/Leslie Bricusse musical Jekyll & Hyde
just may be having starring on the popular ABC soap General Hospital! Having the last
name of Wagner also has a common thread.
CHUCK WAGNER as Jekyll turning into Mr. Hyde
Photo By: Carol Rosegg
Jack Wagner is making his Broadway debut in the two faced role, while Chuck Wagner, who also
appeared on General Hospital, is starring in the touring version of the show. The two stars are not
related. Chuck also played Javier in the 1992 touring company of Les
The Broadway production is in its third year, while the national touring company stages the show
Feb. 2-6 at the Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City as part of the Theatre League of Utah's
The road show version also includes numbers not in the Broadway version. Confrontation
is sung by Wagner when Dr. Jekyll is confronted by his monstrous alter ego - Hyde. Perhaps
taking a make-up cue from Phantom of the Opera, Chuck Wagner has long hair and a
fierce demeanor on one side of his head and the suave, sophisticated, kindly features of Jekyll on
Also included is Bring on the Men setting up the scene when the deranged Hyde heads
into the seedy brothels, and a power number I Need To Know, referred to by Wager
as his "schizophrenic primal scream therapy."
BISTRO AWARDS ANNOUNCE
Back Stage: The Performing Arts Weekly has announced the winners of the 15th Annual
Bistro Awards for outstanding achievement in cabaret. The awards will be presented February 28
at the Supper Club in New York City.
The dynamic Sherry Eaker who as Editor-in-Chief of Backstage East has turned the
publication into a "must read" for the showbiz community, is producing and hosting the
The awards evening will feature performances from all Bistro-winning artists and shows.
Twenty-eight artists will be recognized for their distinguished work in 1999. In keeping with
tradition, the name of the recipient of the coveted Bob Harrington Lifetime Achievement Award
will be reveled at the ceremony. Past honorees include Julie Wilson, Barbara Cook, Marcia Lewis,
and Eartha Kitt.
Faith Prince will receive the award for Outstanding Major Engagement, and Lea De Laria is the
award recipient for Outstanding Musical Comedy. This year's Outstanding Vocalists are
Alexandra Haas, Lynn Lobban, Carlos Martin and Lennie Watts.
Other winners are; Michael Garin, the Howard Fishman Quartet, Marcy Heisler and Zina
Goldrich, Ton Andersen, Rich Vos, David Malocco, David Gurland, Dane Vannatter, Paula West,
Mark Nadler's Hard Candy, Heather Gilchriest and Gary Lyons' Looking Around
Corners For You, and Toujours Cabaret starring Sigrid Sunstedt.
This year there are three Special Awards: Karen Miller, Erv Raible, and Rochelle Seldin are being
honored for Eight Eight's, one of New York's most beloved cabarets, which closed its doors last
"TEDDYCARES" receives a special
A Special Award goes to Ruby Rims for almost a decade of "Teddycares," which brings holiday
cheer to countless hospitalized children and other patients.
And, for their many years of delightful entertainment, John Wallowitch and Bertram Ross will also
receive a Special Bistro Award.
Tina Turner impersonator Larry Edwards and Elton John
in Atlanta, where he and
his significant other, David Furnish, have a home, tossed a celebrity studded party last
The by invitation only event will benefit Elton's AIDS Foundation, as well as Gridiron
a traveling fashion show that benefits the HollyRod Foundation, raising money to fight breast
Attending were; Phil Collins, Rosie O'Donnell, Bruce Hornsby, Holly Robinson Peete,
Daisy Fuentes and Faith Hill.
When the Las Vegas Riviera Hotel based An Evening at La Cage star Larry Edwards,
who plays Tina
Turner, recently enjoyed a successful London romp, Edwards took the opportunity to his picture
taken with John.
In real life John and
Turner are on the outs. They don't speak to each other, much less stand next
to each other for a
on a professional winning streak, picked up the prestigious
Piper-Heidsieck Tribute to Independent Vision Award at the Sundance Film Festival. The
Piper-Heidsieck Award is given to actors who contribute to "the original voice and vision of
independent films." Previous honorees include: John Turturro, Denzel Washington, Gene
Rowlands, Nicolas Cage, Tim Robbins, Frances McDonald and Laura Dern.
The award was presented at a press conference that included a ceremony showcasing clips of
Spacey's works. Host was Danny Devito, who co-starred with Spacey in The Big Kahuna,
which Spacey also produced. The Big Kuhuna was debuted this year at Sundance. Not
even ringing cell phones could dampen Spacey's jubilant mood.Twice cell phones rang during
Spacey's thank you speech and news conference. Spacey quipped, "I'm not in, if that's for
STEVE MARTIN will receive the
Lifetime Achievement Award at the 14 annual American Comedy Awards February 6 at the Shrine
Exposition Center in Beverly Hills. Golden Hawn will do the honors in presenting Martin with
CAKEWALK by Peter
Feibleman, starring Elaine Stritch and Bruce Davison. Directed by Rosaline Ayers. Broadway star
Stritch plays legend Lillian Hellman in this beguiling account of Hellman's tumultuous relationship
across two decades with a man 25 years her junior. Elaine won raves when she created this
marvelous role at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge. Skirball Center, LA. Feb.
THE CIVIL WAR starring Larry
Gatlin Indianapolis Feb 1-6
WIT Geffen Playhouse, West
Hollywood. The production stars the magnificent Kathleen Chalfant, who created the role
off-Broadway. Don't miss.
JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR
DREAMCOAT has some creative casting in the Grand Forks, ND
production. Director Kari Miller, a former church youth music director in Lakerville, Minn.,
before entering medical school is serving a family practice residency at Altru. When not tending to
the ill and injured she keeps her hand in the theater. In this contemporary version of the show that
gave us Donny Osmond in a loin cloth, Dr. Miller has the pharaoh costumed as an Elvis
impersonator, the storytellers are dressed in genie outfits, and Joseph wears ice hockey star Jay
Penzer's old University of North Dakota jersey. Joseph's brothers are mostly sisters, each of
whom wears a robe to represent various walks of life; cowboy, physician, beauty queen. Casey
Koop stars as Joseph. Scott Vaupel is musical director.
Playwright, who has chronicled blacks in America, has three of his plays being performed in
Joe Turner's Come and Gone, based on the real life enslavement of blacks by a
Tennessee bounty hunter, continues through February 13 at the Tennessee Performing Arts
Seven Guitars has performances at Tennessee State University through
February 9 and the most commercially successful of Wilson's plays The Piano Lesson
by Murfeesboro Ensemble Theater is at the Murfeesboro/Rutherford County Center for the Arts
SAY THE WORD a singular
group of comedy writers reading their own words including; Scott Carter (Politically
Incorrect), Larry Charles (Seinfeld, Dilbert), Wendy Goldman, Laura Knightlinger
(Quick Shots of False Hope), Merrill Markoe (What The Dogs Taught Me),
George Meyer (The Simpsons), Bruce Wagner (I'm Losing You) and others.
Skirball Center, LA Feb. 5.
COLORADO BALLET under
the artistic direction of Martin Fredmann, makes its first ever Manhattan appearance with its
Joyce Theater debut, Feb. 1-6. The program includes Sir Frederick Ashton's Facade, Peter
Pucci's gritty and powerful Picture of Sedalia and the New York premiere of Stantion
Welch's Of Blessed Memory, set to Joseph Contaloube's haunting Chants
D'Auvergne. Welch, a principal dancer and resident choreographer with the Australian Ballet,
is considered one of the dance world's up-and-coming choreographers.
LYNNEA BENSON and JAIME SANCHEZ star in
the Frog & Peach Theatre Company presentation of King Lear at The Theatre at the
West-Park Church, NYC. Photo By: David Cross
tragedy that shows what happens when a father has committed incest with two of his three
daughters and then decides to give away all of his wealth and power.
In this complex
play we get
to see the destruction of family and the downfall of an absolute tyrant.
King Lear presented by Frog & Peach Theatre Co, and directed by Ted Zurkowski
officially opens tonight with performances running through Feb 20 at The Theatre at the
West-Park Church, NYC.
Award winning actor Jaime Sanchez stars as Lear with company co-founder Lynnea Benson
doubling in the roles of Cordelia and The Fool. Other cast members include; Phillipe
Brenninkemeyer, Joe Corey, Tom Fenaughty, Matthew Freeman, Maervyn Haines, Jr., Ted
Joseph, Stephen T. Kaiser, Vivien Landau, Robert Lehrer, Andrea Leigh, Tom Marsden, Hal
Smith-Reynolds, and John Steinfels.
Set design and lighting design by Gabe Hakvaag. Ian
Marshall serves as Fight Director for the production.
will make a rare
Las Vegas appearance opening Feb. 3 at the MGM Grand Hotel. Sitting ringside will be her old
friends Siegfried & Roy.
British born song stylist shot to
she performed the title tune from the
action-packed James Bond thrilled, Goldfinger, beneath the
actual film credits, and then
the selection was issue as a single.
Her debut recital at Carnegie Hall concluded with the audience awarding Shirley a ten minute
Shirley is swept off her feet by Siegfried and Roy. The illusionists will welcome their
chum back to Vegas when Bassey
attends their February 1 performance at the Mirage.
Bassey first met the illusionists when
they both performed at a Monte Carlo benefit (pictured) in the Theatre Princess
TIM CONWAY AND HARVEY KORMAN bring their slide spitting skits to the Florida Atlantic University Auditorium
in Boca Raton, Florida on February 4.
TONY BENNETT King Center in
Melbourne, FL on February 3.
THE PITTSBURGH POPS in its
Carnegie Hall debut with Marvin Hamlisch February 1.
LINDA EDER makes her Carnegie
Hall debut on February 2.
THE EVERLY BROTHERS who
don't speak to each other off stage, closed out an engagement at the Orleans Hotel, Las Vegas
last night. Al Martino opens on February 4.
ANITA O'DAY the 80 -year old jazz
legend who nearly died from pneumonia and blood poisoning in 1997, does a one-nighter Jan. 31
in New York City's Blue Note. She'll be backed by an eight-piece band that calls itself "Legends
of the Swing Era." The ageless O'Day won't be the one on stage who has celebrated the most
birthdays. The band includes 92-year-young Larry Lucie.
THIS AND THAT
LEIF GARRET was to have
performed last Thursday in Las Vegas. That engagement was canceled when fewer than 20 tickets
BINION'S HORSESHOE CASINO
was the Las Vegas joint that had $1 million on display. It was a tourist gimmick that worked.
People from all walks of life stood in front of the horseshoe shaped display to have their picture
snapped next to the molah. Even Charles Manson and his geeks got their picture taken. The
display was the largest single collection of $10,000 bills in existence. Reason for the removal?
According to hotel officials, "A million dollars just isn't what it used to be."
is a delightful British import.
The latest television daytimer has a talk cum cooking show - sort of a cross between Dinah Shore
and the guy who discovered him - Merv Griffin.
This chap, who really does know how to cook,
has a cunning way of making people cooperate.
Although she feigned to faint in his arms, he got
Dyan Cannon to eat meat and Virgin mogul Richard Branson to admit that he should have
married before he had children.
Harriott also brews a wicked cup of tea and you can't help but feel good after watching his
MIKE LEIGH writer/director of
Topsy Turvy, the award winning Gilbert and Sullivan film will guest February 3 on Theater
Talk which airs on NY's thirteen/WNET, hosted by Michael Riedel of The New York
Post and Susan Haskins.
MISS CHINESE INTERNATIONAL PAGEANT will take place Feb. 5 at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas. The resort has teamed
with Television Broadcast Ltd. and Designer Productions to present the 12th annual event.
Previously staged in Hong Kong, this year the pageant will be broadcast from Las Vegas via
satellite to Hong Kong, North America and the Far East. The expected viewing audience is about
50 million. Approximately 20 contestants, winners of local pageants in San Francisco, Los
Angeles, Seattle, Vancouver, Toronto, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and other Asian
countries, will compete before a panel of five judges.
BILL WILLIARD 86, former Las
Vegas based correspondent for Daily Variety died in Las Vegas last Thursday. One of the
nicest people you'd ever hope to know, Williard was the first executive director of the Nevada
State Council on the Arts in 1966. Born in Terre Haute, Indiana on April 27, 1913, he is survived
by his wife Lucy, a former June Taylor Dancer. Also surviving are a brother Bertram Williard of
Alameda, Ca, and a sister, Frances Willard of London, England. Services were private.
ELIZABETH SUE "BETTY" MORGAN mother of comedian Rip Taylor died Monday in Las Vegas. She was 88.
She was buried Wednesday and, as she would have wanted, that night Rip performed two shows
at the Flamingo Hilton Hotel where he is starring in The Great Radio City Musical Hall
Spectacular. The comedian moved his mother to Las Vegas 25 years ago, and preferred to
accept Las Vegas engagements so he could remain close to her.
Mention BROADWAY TO VEGAS for Special Consideration
Call (800) 942-9027
Next Column: February 6, 2000
Copyright: January 30, 2000. All Rights Reserved. Reviews, Interviews, Commentary,
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