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How an A-lister helped a Las Vegas act reach 2K shows

Updated June 7, 2024 - 6:51 pm

The great actor Chazz Palminteri knows enough about the Bronx that he wrote a play about the place. “A Bronx Tale” is the famous film and play.

Palminteri is also an expert on reading talent, especially from the old neighborhood.

The result is the Bronx Wanderers. The family act celebrated its 2,000th show in Vegas during its run at South Point Showroom on Thursday. The run continues 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Palminteri has been friends with the Adinolfi family, around which the band is formed, for decades. The founder and father, Vinny, was rocking along in his own band when sons Vincent and Nick were learning instruments — guitar for Vincent (today known as Vincent John), and drums for Nick.

“I remember when Vinny was lead singer with another group, and he was kind of down about things, and he was telling me about his kids,” Palminteri said in a phone chat this week. “I had known them by that time, and I saw they had talent. I said, ‘You have a great angle, start singing with your kids. You can sing whatever you want.’

“I kind of persuaded him to do it, but he’s the one who went out and did it.”

That ended the elder Adinolfi’s time with the entity known as the Streets of the Bronx.

Arriving in Vegas a decade ago, the Wanderers (as Palminteri refers to the act), have hopscotched from South Point to Windows Showroom at Bally’s (now Horseshoe Las Vegas), to Mat Franco Theater at Linq Hotel, to Westgate Cabaret and Harrah’s Showroom — where a promising residency was swiftly snuffed by the pandemic.

They are now performing a few weeks a year at the locals’-friendly South Point. The show covers Dad’s favorites (Dion and the Belmonts, the Four Seasons) those picked by the sons (Bruno Mars and Stray Cats), and something everyone can agree on (a show-closing Beatles medley).

Somehow, personal favorite “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” has evaded the set list. But the crusade to add this song will not cease.

As anyone who has caught their show knows, the Wanderers succeed beyond their musicianship. They have formed consequential alliances over the years, dating to when Vinny was a New York record executive. Tony Orlando is a longtime friend and tireless supporter. Wayne Newton, with whom the band shared the Windows room, has become an invaluable confidant.

The bracelet Vinny wears, always, was a gift from Newton. It matches the bracelet Frank Sinatra gave to Newton on Newton’s 35th birthday. When Vinny turned 60 in 2018, Newton and Orlando both attended the show at Bally’s to celebrate.

The Wanderers also intuitively hold sway over an audience as they unspool the family story. You want to spend time with them. I once joked that they might have hypnotised my mom years ago, during a show at the Linq. She just loves these guys and still wears the T-shirt from that show.

Palminteri, a star of stage and screen, feels the affection and shares the love with a video clip placed in the middle of the live performance.

“They are natural entertainers. When they get out there, they shine, and people love them,” Palminteri said. “There are people who are good, and then there are people who are not only good, but they are so damn likable you can’t wait to see them. That’s what makes the Wanderers extra-special.”

A bit more ‘Bronx’

Palminteri has performed “A Bronx Tale” at multiple venues in Vegas — over the years I caught him at Sands Showroom (today’s Summit Showroom) and the Mirage Theater. He has captured the stage show for a concert film, which is debuting June 13 at Tribeca Film Festival in New York. I highly recommend this, having seen the play multiple times. Palminteri plays all 13 characters with complete conviction, and doesn’t take a sip of water.

Docksiders for sail

Somewhere in this we mentioned Orlando (the pop icon, not the city). He has also backed Kevin Sucher’s passion project, The Docksiders, making their debut 8:30 p.m. Friday at 1923 Live at Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian.

The yacht rockers hit the high C’s with samples of Toto, ABBA, Michael McDonald and (for Erin Sucher) a terrific turn of Olivia Newton John’s “Hopelessly Devoted To You.” Tickets at 1923lv.com.

Tiny bulbs, on the wall …

Area15’s Illuminarium has what seems another winner with “Lite Brite: Worlds of Wonder,” a 60-minute, walk-around experience that opened Thursday. This is a show leaning into nostalgia, especially for those of us who had to work these illuminating toys and try to figure out how to best create Bozo the Clown.

And, back to Mom, we recall the plaintive wail of her stepping on one of these hardened bulbs on the kitchen floor.

At Illuminarium, the Lite Brite images glow and flow with lights following your feet as you walk the space. It’s futuristic yet vintage, reviving what we thought was sci-fi in 1983.

A tease-this moment, too, from the media preview: A classic-rock attraction, creating a behind-the-scenes experience from some of rock’s most legendary albums and performances, is being planned for either the holidays or early 2025.

This is a partnership between Illuminarium producers Secret Location and Rolling Stone. That should, you know, rock — and I’d wait for the holidays to clear for this concept.

Intense twin-bill action

Michelle Johnson, Las Vegas’ First Lady of Jazz, returns to Myron’s at 7 p.m. Saturday with “The Look of Love: A Tribute to Burt Bacharach.” Across the way, at 7:30 p.m., the velvet-voiced Jonathan Karrant celebrates his birthday at Vic’s Las Vegas. If you time this right you can catch segments of both shows (Karrant ends at 9:30 p.m.). So be inventive.

Cool Hang Alert

A pair of column faves are collaborating at the Stirling Club at 7 p.m. Saturday. Travis Cloer and John Wedemeyer are in Spirits Supper Club, debuting their two-man show. Some untrammeled talent and experience in this one. Go to thestirlingclub.friendlysky.com for intel, and to book.

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 X, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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