Encore for Gans


Las Vegas has always been a town of change, so it's no surprise (actually it is) when it was announced that Danny Gans, one of Las Vegas' biggest stars, is leaving The Mirage and moving across the street to Wynn Las Vegas' new sister property, Encore. This won't happen until early next year when the singer/impressionist's eight-year contract with The Mirage runs out.

It will be a reunion between Gans and Steve Wynn, the man who built the Danny Gans Theatre in 2000, believing that Gans could become a major draw for his resort. He was right. Gans will perform in the Encore Theatre, the same room that now houses "Monty Python's Spamalot," which will, unfortunately, close July 13.

Since MGM Mirage bought Wynn's hotel-casinos in 2000, the relationship between Gans and his new bosses has been somewhat strained and in recent years, the writing's been on the wall that Gans would probably look for another venue. If you haven't been to his show, put it on your must-see list. Well worth the money.

FREE JAZZ IN THE PARK

Sticking with music, the free Jazz in the Park concert series will get under way again May 10 with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band bringing a little of New Orleans to the stage. The group got its start in the Crescent City in 1975 and consists of four horns -- trumpet, trombone; sousaphone and flugelhorn; soprano, tenor and baritone saxophones; guitar; and drums. It released its current album "What's Going On?" as an emotional tribute to the members' experiences during Hurricane Katrina.

It all takes place at the Clark County Amphitheater, 500 S. Grand Central Parkway, at 8 p.m. Seating for those with picnic baskets, blankets and low-back chairs will begin at 7 p.m. and parking is free.

BLACKJACK CHANGES AT BINION'S

Some gambling changes going on downtown at Binion's. The new owner of the casino has changed the house rules for blackjack and craps. Blackjack now pays 3 to 2 on double deck and shoe games, and bettors can wager 10 times odds on craps with a $5 minimum bet. Limits also have been raised for most of the blackjack games. In addition, a new game, Blackjack Switch, in which each player plays two hands with the option of switching cards between the hands, has been added to the casino.

"One of the very first things we wanted to do was offer more player-favorable action at Binion's," said Tim Lager, general manager. "We want to emphasize Binion's long-standing reputation as a true gamblers' casino."

Nice to see these things happening there as this once legendary casino has fallen on hard times over the past few years, especially after selling the World Series of Poker -- which founder Benny Binion established many years ago -- to Harrah's. Binion's, for years was the place to gamble on table games and was noted for accepting almost any size wager.

STARS WILL BE OUT FOR 'JERSEY BOYS'

"Jersey Boys," the much-hyped musical that tells the story of singer Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, will have its official opening night this Saturday, May 3, and the stars will be out to welcome it. Strolling the red carpet from 6 to 7 p.m. will be Andre Agassi with wife Steffi Graf, Siegfried & Roy, Donna Summer, John Cleese, Billy Crystal, Joe Pesci, "Ugly Betty"'s Michael Urie and Rita Rudner.

Also on hand, of course, will be the cast of Jersey Boys and the remaining original members of The Four Seasons -- Valli, Bob Gaudio and Tommy DeVito. The newest musical to hit our town is about a group of blue-collar boys from the wrong side of the tracks becoming one of the biggest American pop music sensations of all time. They wrote their own songs, invented their own sounds and sold 175 million records worldwide -- all before they were 30.

The show features such hits as "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You," "Oh, What a Night," and other songs that made The Four Seasons stars. It all takes place at the Jersey Boys Theatre and Salute Lounge at The Palazzo, next door to The Venetian.

'THIS MUST BE THE PLACE'

Always like to give a plug to young local talent. The Theater Department at Las Vegas High School will present "This Must Be the Place." The play is a romantic comedy set in Pahrump and involves a world-famous portrait artist, his best friend -- a soon-to-be debutante, a high-fashion designer, and a lovely young psychologist. When the debutante overhears the artist telling his plumber best friend of his plans to ask a charming young lady for her hand in marriage, she erroneously assumes he is referring to her.

In the midst of all this madness, the designer discovers the Desmond Diamonds have gone missing. Comedy and chaos ensue as four male and five female characters try to straighten "who done it" and who is who. The play will be presented at Las Vegas High School, 6500 E. Sahara Ave., at 7 p.m. on May 8, 9, and 10. Tickets are $5 at the door (cash only). For more info call the school's Theater Department at 702-799-0180 ext 4051. Should be a lot of fun, especially if you know any of the kids in the cast.

Good luck and I'll see you on the Strip. And don't forget to check out www.valleyblogs.com. If you have a question or a Las Vegas experience you would like to share with my readers, please e-mail me at lennylasvegas@gmail.com Please include your full name and the city or town where you live.

 

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