Big night celebrates Nevada sesquicentennial

With a lineup featuring 27 acts and a cast of 250, the largest of the sesquicentennial celebrations unfolds tonight at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts with musical tributes to Nevada’s biggest names.

It’s a sold-out exclamation point on the 450-some celebrations around the state marking Nevada’s 150th birthday.

The two-hour show event will start on a patriotic note, the color guard from Nellis Air Force Base, and finish with Clint Holmes singing “Hallelujah” and “Mr. Las Vegas” Wayne Newton offering some final words.

“As soon as Miss Nevada Ellie Smith sings the national anthem, we’re off to the races with Penn and Teller and Human Nature,” said Myron Martin, Smith Center president and CEO.

“I went out and bought a shepherd’s crook to make sure nobody runs long,” he added, with a laugh.

One of the two gospel choirs will tip a hat to Sammy Davis Jr.’s role in desegregating Las Vegas. The stirring evening will include salutes to entertainment icons Frank Sinatra and Liberace, along with humorist Mark Twain.

Nevada’s roots will be celebrated with a reading by cowboy poet Waddie Mitchell.

Frankie Moreno will join Gilbert Magnet School choir in singing the state song, “Home Means Nevada.”

THE SCENE AND HEARD

The Public Education Foundation’s 18th annual Education Hero Award dinner delivered a big emotional moment Saturday at Mandarin Oriental. When Holmes received the Champion of Children award, the surprise artist was his 11-year-old granddaughter, Asia McCoy, who sang Mariah Carey’s “Then a Hero Comes Along.” Also honored: Kris Engelstad McGarry and the Engelstad Family Foundation and Dorothy Eisenberg. …

Martin Luther King III, the founder of the African-American broadcast network, Bounce TV, is eyeing Las Vegas for some ventures. He’s been talking with Hoodworx Entertainment and Mucketty Muck Productions, the team behind the Discovery Studios show, “Vegas 24-7.”

SIGHTINGS

The Jennifer Lawrence-Chris Martin romance moved to Las Vegas on Saturday. People magazine reported she was spotted off to the side of the stage during Coldplay’s performance at the iHeartRadio festival at MGM Grand Garden. … Arnold Schwarzenegger and son Patrick, at Beacher’s Madhouse (MGM Grand) on Saturday for Patrick’s 21st birthday celebration with 30 of his friends. Earlier ,they dined at Strip Steak at Planet Hollywood with Beacher and one of his star’s, Donny Davis. … Singing legend Paul Anka, visiting with Rod Stewart before the latter’s Saturday show at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace on Saturday. … At SLS on Saturday: Chris Brown, partying with friends at Life nightclub and singer/keyboardist Sebu Simonian and his wife, at The Griddle Café. … Laverne Cox of “Orange is the New Black,” hosting the grand opening of Liaison nightclub at Bally’s on Saturday. The evening included a performance by Iggy Azalea, who joined Cox at a VIP table. … One Direction’s Harry Styles, arriving at the Delano Hotel at 1 a.m. Friday after a gig in Texas. After the band’s performance in the iHeartRadio festival on Saturday, he dined at Akira Back’s Kumi Restaurant. Also in: Vince Vaughan and Marc Anthony. … At 1 OAK (Mirage) over the weekend: Ashton Kutcher, Jamie Foxx and Diddy, nightlife impresario Richie Akiva, singer Ariana Grande with Big Sean, Jason Derulo, former NBA player Rick Fox and Brandon Davis. … At The Bank (Bellagio) on Friday: Eddie Murphy’s ex, Nicole Murphy of “Hollywood Exes.” … At Tryst (Wynn) over the weekend: Brown and girlfriend Karrueche Tran, One Direction’s Niall Horan, singer Ed Sheeran, Macklemore, Brody Jenner, with girlfriend Kaitlynn Carter, and four-time Mr. Olympia champion Phil “The Gift” Heath. … Former reality TV star and current fashion designer Whitney Port, dining at STK (Cosmopolitan).

THE PUNCH LINE

“A recent report says the majority of Americans cannot name the three branches of government: judicial, executive and legislative. To make it easier, the government is renaming those branches Kim, Khloe and Kourtney.” — Conan O’Brien

Norm Clarke’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He can be reached at 702-383-0244 or email him at norm@reviewjournal.com. Find more online at www.normclarke.com. Follow Norm on Twitter @Norm_Clarke.

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