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Debbie Gibson-Joey McIntyre make it an octet on the Strip

Updated June 5, 2021 - 10:06 am

I remember last year at this time …

Wait. No I don’t.

Live entertainment, present tense, is flooding back to VegasVille. Here’s the latest as we ride the tide:

Debbie, Joey and you

The Debbie Gibson-Joey McIntyre limited engagement at The Venetian is looking more like a residency with every announcement. Friday the duo’s upcoming show schedule was expanded by four shows, Sept. 16, 17, 18 and 19 at the Sands Showroom. The previously announced shows running Aug. 26-29 are all sold out. Tickets for the new dates are on sale 10 a.m. Wednesday at Ticketmaster.com or venetian.com, or any Venetian box office (prices start at $69.50, plus fees).

Originally, Gibson and McIntyre had set a three-day series at Sands Showroom. Last month, it moved to four dates and (according to my Casio calculator) is now doubled to eight.

“I was so blown away by the original reaction to the first three dates, then the next date was added,” Gibson, a Vegas resident, said Friday. “This is a truly and extraordinary way to kick off a new chapter.”

Gibson plans a new album, to be released Aug. 20, just ahead of The Venetian dates. She and McIntyre have cut a new version of “Lost in Your Eyes,” to appear on that album and also be featured in the stage show.

The Gibson-McIntyre duet debuted during “The Mix Tape Tour” in 2019, which featured McIntyre with New Kids On The Block, Gibson, Salt-N-Pepa, Tiffany and Naughty By Nature. The tour played then-Mandalay Bay Events Center.

On Cinco de Mayo, I asked Gibson if this series might well turn into a residency run. “We haven’t talked about anything beyond these three shows, but who knows what will happen? We’ll let the universe play that out.”

Healing to the ceiling

Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns are back at the Copa Room at Bootlegger Bistro at 7:30 p.m. June 14. The room is improved, yet again, with band leader Jerry Lopez bringing in the theater department at UNLV to review sound and optics. Sax great Rob Mader, who has developed his own production company for live-stream video performances, is at the forefront of that process.

Sounds serious, because it is. Lopez is passionate about turning the Copa Room into a Vegas live-music destination, outside of his own bands. He’s twice staged his Windjammers yacht-rock outfit (which is becoming a movement, as we notice fans wearing captain’s hats in the room).

Just after Santa Fe returns, original Chicago drummer Danny Seraphine headlines at 7:30 p.m. June 18. For tickets and info about Seraphine, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and also Santa Fe, call (702) 609-3390.

“We have a lot of little moving parts building into something special,” Lopez said. “We want to turn this into an ‘Austin City Limits’-type, live-music possibility in Las Vegas.

Santa Fe is running with its highest ticket price ever, $30, which includes one drink. Pay it. The band is worth every cent.

As I said to Lopez when I saw him at “27” at Virgin Hotels the other night, this is a solid investment. There are times when Santa Fe plays a $35, even $40 show. You might make a little bread off this band.

Comedy upon us

What might be the biggest event yet at Notoriety is upon us. Emmy Award-winner Jeremy Piven, best-known as Ari Gold on HBO’s “Entourage”; Darrell Hammond, the brilliant comic actor from “Saturday Night Live”; and Vegas’ own Trumpian genius, John Di Domenico, head up a night of comedy at 9 p.m. Saturday.

Di Domenico and his sidekick Mikalah Gordon, who plays Melania Trump, are set to appear either Friday night or Monday night on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” Their recorded bit was bumped Wednesday and is now in a holding pattern.

Di Domenico is performing his whole set as Trump on Saturday. Show producer and pro stand-up Christine Peake is also on the bill.

The show further solidifies Notoriety’s prominence downtown over the past 18 months. Ken Henderson’s third-floor fortress has become a formidable entertainment destination. This is especially evident with the dearth of traditional theaters and showrooms downtown. Plaza Showroom and Golden Nugget Showroom remain active — the latter with Gordie Brown headlining — but the classically appointed venues are nearly extinct along the Fremont Street Experience.

But having said that …

Canyon’s club is back

We have a shift in the small-cap-theater community downtown. Comic-hypnotist (my favorite sort of hypnotist) Kevin Lepine is now putting audience members in trances at Canyon Club at Four Queens. His “Hypnosis Unleashed” show is 9 p.m. daily (dark Sundays and Mondays).

Lepine most recently plied his hypnosis at Binion’s. He is alternating show times with comic magician Mike Hammer, who (as already reported) is reopening the room July 6.

This shuffle has left the city’s longest-running Elvis tribute artist (counting those in ticketed shows, mind you), Steve Connolly, looking for a room. Connolly reports his “Spirit of the King” show was left out for financial reasons.

A 25-year Vegas performer, Connolly is something of a Renaissance artist who speed-paints (in character) an Elvis portrait in every show. He is also a licensed wedding officiant. He performs dozens of shows each month, in and out of his Elvis persona. He’s now looking for a venue, but for the time being, there is no Elvis show in downtown Las Vegas.

Count “The Spirit of the King,” at least at Four Queens, as a COVID casualty. Connolly is now on the hunt for a new room.

Cool Hang Alert

Vita Drew, whom we met at the second-ever Composers Showcase in May 2006 as Vita Corimbi, headlines the brunch show at The Nevada Room on Sunday. “Life Is A Cabernet” is the apt title. Brunch is at 1 p.m., the show at 2:30 p.m. Better to make reservations (TheNevadaRoom.com), but you can also walk in and order off the a la carte menu. No cover, but if the place is full, y’all outta luck.

Drew was originally set to play The Vegas Room, but quickly sold out. She is a cast member of “Menopause The Musical” at Harrah’s Cabaret, a great musician and (especially) novelty songwriter. It was Drew who said, “I take my kid to Chuck E. Cheese, so I can drink a beer! I’m the Mother of the Year!” What’s not to love?

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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