Sounds of yesteryear spice fundraiser for Opera Theater Guild


A capacity crowd of 228 filled the remodeled Italian American Club recently for the second annual Vintage Vegas Luncheon presented by the Nevada Opera Theatre Guild. The fundraiser featured silent and live auctions and entertainment reminiscent of Las Vegas lounge acts of the 1950s and ’60s.

Nevada Opera Theatre Association founder Eileen Hayes introduced Italian American Club President Angelo Cassaro and the event’s masters of ceremonies, Tony Sacca, a 33-year resident of Las Vegas and a singer, television host and producer, and Denny Weddle, president of the Nevada Opera Association.

Mayor Pro Tem Stavros Anthony presented the event’s honorees. Beverly and Mike Mykisen were recognized for their outstanding patronage of Nevada Opera Theatre since 1986. Cindy Doumani, a famous vintage Vegas showgirl, dancer, cowgirl and community leader, also was honored. Karen Fallon, Dan Franks and Virginia Schilpp received 10-year service awards.

Nevada Opera Theatre Association soloists Elaine Casale, Morton Hyson and the group’s UNLV scholarship winner, Sheronda McKee, led off the afternoon’s entertainment. Ryan Kelly accompanied them on piano.

Sacca followed by singing “This Is Las Vegas.” A video shown of Doumani’s dance showcased her beautiful costumes while another clip displayed her horsemanship in the Helldorado Parade. The pianist known as “The Magnificent Mafalda” played favorite selections.

Entertainment continued with comedian Pete Barbutti dusting off an old comic routine. Wes Winters introduced a video of Liberace. Rat Pack Impressions, including Doug Starks as Sammy Davis Jr., Carmine Mandia as Frank Sinatra and Robert Ensler as Dean Martin, performed.

Vocalist Pia Zadora, with piano accompaniment by Bill Fayne, offered many nostalgic popular songs from the 1950s. Sacca returned to sing “The Greatest Town Around” and Anthony Brady, as Louis Armstrong, had the whole room singing “It’s a Wonderful World.”

The Joe Darro Ensemble entertained during the reception.

Joe LaVigna, known as “The Singing Chef,” made an appearance as did Adam West of “Batman” fame, entertainer Tempest Storm and Brad Collins as Elvis. State Sens. Mark Manendo, David Parks and Ruben Kihuen, all D-Las Vegas, also were in attendance.

The late Sonny King’s wife, Peggy King, donated two rare art pictures given to her husband by Sinatra for the live auction.

Seen among the guests were Angie Wallin, Ray Rawson, Clint Holmes, Kelly Clinton-Holmes, Salve Vargas Edelman and Paul Edelman, Dorothy and Don Kemp, Lou Garcia, Maynard Slote, Grant Griffin, Gloria and Don Hill, Susan Staffer, Randy Soard, Elaine McNamara, Linn and Daryl Thome, Marilee Lear, Josette Leblond, Marilyn Faye O’Leary, Nicole Hyson, Mary Ann and San Porto, Donna Cutler, Karen Scherer, Sidra Kaine and Jimmy Girard.