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Charo to bring the ‘Cuchi-Cuchi’ to downtown Las Vegas

Updated April 13, 2021 - 7:34 am

Charo is such a tease.

The pop-culture icon, Flamenco-guitar legend and creator of the “Cuchi-Cuchi” move is planning a return to VegasVille, hinting strongly at Notoriety at Neonopolis.

Word of this project has spilled out through a Best Agency audition post for a casting call Monday from noon-3 p.m. at a facility on Main Street.

Neither the show nor the venue have been officially announced, but no worries. We have deduced it will be Notoriety, even though proprietor Ken Henderson (who is also CEO of Best Agency) stops short of formally confirming the showroom. But the show is being promoted as Charo’s new residency, three to four nights over multiple weekends, in a theater in downtown Las Vegas.

That narrows down such available locations to Notoriety, and maybe a few latent hotel ballrooms. The production is looking for six female dancers, six male dancers (hello), all professionally trained (dang).

Enrique Lugo is the Charo show’s assigned choreographer. The Latin-dance vet worked on the wonderful “Fashionistas” in the late-2000s at Krave/Harmon Theater on the Strip.

A classically trained musician, Charo and famed bandleader Javier Cugat held their wedding ceremony at Caesars Palace in 1966. She was a phenomenon beginning in the mid-1960s, headlining on the Strip at Caesars, the Riviera and Sahara. Her most recent Las Vegas performance was at South Point Showroom in 2016.

In that show, she performed a dazzling version of Abba’s “Fernando” and “Chiquitita” and introduced herself by her full legal name, María del Rosario Mercedes Pilar Martínez Molina Baeza.

The 70-year-old artist was also a favorite on talk shows, game shows and on “Love Boat” in her 1970s heyday, peppering her appearances with her trademark “Cuchi-Cuchi!” call out. She performed the move for Jerry Lewis at in September 2015, when she introduced Lewis as he was honored with the Global Gaming Expo’s Legend of the Year award.

That move itself is worthy of an award, as is its creator.

Top o’ the Plaza

An inevitability in VegasVille unfolded at the Plaza on Wednesday night, as Oscar B. Goodman met Billy F. Gibbons. Yes, icons abounded at the return of Goodman’s dinner series chats. This session was moved into the main dining room at Oscar’s Steakhouse, with Goodman retelling his “Casino” movie experience.

“I am not hip enough to have known who Billy Gibbons was before I met him, but I had heard of ZZ Top,” Goodman said Friday. “What a really nice man, and he loves Las Vegas. I hope he can make it again.”

Saturday, Gibbons said, “An unexpected, enjoyable evening. The oration was refreshingly unfiltered.”

The former mayor and mob lawyer (and still, part-time actor) recalled the cast dinner from 25 years ago, with Martin Scorsese, Sharon Stone, Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci hanging at Oscar and Carolyn Goodman’s home. This is the party where neighbor Steve Wynn asked Elaine Wynn to call Carolyn Goodman and ask to be invited. The crowd ate it up. Same for the four-course meal.

Goodman will resume the series April 28. The restaurant’s main room is a fine setting and Goodman says he prefers it to the unmarked hideaway dining area where the dinners are usually staged.

Plaza CEO Jonathan Jossel says he’s not sure which venue to use in future events. Maybe, as someone once suggested, we can have a party on the patio.

Serving Ace

Ace Frehley celebrated his 70th birthday a bit early Thursday night. The Kiss co-founder and guitar great was joined by Vegas musician and studio operator Ron Mancuso in the VIP Vegas Room at Bootlegger Bistro, co-owned by Mancuso’s mom, Lorraine Hunt-Bono.

Frehley and Mancuso were joined by rock-radio personality and historian Eddie Trunk, and guitarist John 5 (late of Marilyn Manson’s band, currently with Rob Zombie). Frehley, who originated the Spaceman persona in Kiss’ original lineup, turns 70 on April 27. How can he be 70, when he was just on the cover of Circus magazine? I guess I’ve lost track of the time …

Wind at the sails

On the topic of Bootlegger and music, the Jerry Lopez’s Windjammers yacht-rock band have sold all 80 seats for its performance Saturday at the Copa Room. It’s the first ticketed event at the venue, just down from the Bootlegger restaurant, since Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns pumped the pandemic brakes in February 2020.

The tickets went for $45 (including two drinks, so make ‘em count), but Windjammers easily filled the room. Mancuso, who books the venue, and Lopez are now reviewing a plan to make this a weekly hang.

Lopez also says he might well take the lead on programming the Copa Room seven nights a week. Different bands, but a cool hang every night.

Justin time

Keep an eye on Justin Shandor’s evolution beyond his Elvis persona. We’ve noted before Shandor has been shifting away from his Presley stage performances. Shandor’s shows with pianist/music director Bill Fayne at The Vegas Room this weekend (where he closes Saturday night) have created something of a buzz around the entertainment scene.

The former “Million Dollar Quartet” co-star and 2010 International Elvis Tribute Artist champion is also a talented cabaret artist. He and Fayne are performing “Music of the Night” from “Phantom Of The Opera,” the Harold Arlen-Johnny Mercer classic “That Old Black Magic,” “Pure Imagination” from “Willie Wonka & The Chocolate Factory” and a geared-down cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely.”

Having said all that, Shandor is not finished with Elvis. But even his next appearance is something different. He’s joined by drummer Pepe Jimenez and guitarists Martin Zimmerman and Elvis Lederer (yes, the Elvis in real life is not the stage Elvis) for “Elvis & Friends: The ‘68 Comeback” at Notoriety on April 24. The show is a return to the all-acoustic set Presley performed on national TV in ‘68, which broadcast less than a year before he opened his Vegas residency at the International.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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