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Iconic Vegas show turns 24; Bruno Mars pops into Bellagio club

Updated February 16, 2024 - 9:42 am

The Kats! Bureau at this writing is at the bar at South Point Showroom, where “The Dennis Bono Show” is celebrating its 24th anniversary.

Straight-up, vintage Vegas is spilling forth. Bono’s guests include Tony Orlando, Rich Little, Bob Anderson, Lorraine Hunt-Bono, Dennis Blair, Clint Holmes, Earl Turner, Rita Lim and Kelly Vohnn. Corrie Sachs continues her 24-year run as Bono’s sidekick. Vinny Adinolfi and Zowie Bowie just made a guest appearance to sing a novelty tune honoring Bono.

Whither Topo Gigio, I ask? Look that up. The folks in this crowd don’t need to.

The place is packed, commonplace for the experience, at 2 p.m. Thursdays.

Hotel owner Michael Gaughan just brought up a cake. “It was for the 14th and I had the ‘1’ switched to a ‘2.’ Enjoy it,” the iconic resort exec said. Gaughan is still topping the Las Vegas Class Act Hall of Fame.

More from this scene, and elsewhere:

More from Mars

Bruno Mars ventured back to The Pinky Rink at Bellagio on Monday night. We can expect more of these pop-ins. Mars’ backing band, The Hooligans, are in regular performance. Brian Newman, with a lift from members of his band, is also aiding the club’s programming.

Newman is actually involved in the careers of two superstars: Mars, and his longtime friend and collaborator Lady Gaga. There is something to be said for talent, tenacity, threads … And also hair.

The Slatkin effect

Las Vegas Philharmonic first chair violinist De Ann Letourneau is, we can say with great affection, excited about her craft. Beyond so when she talks of Leonard Slatkin joining the company.

“Part of what makes him so unique is, he grew up in this kind of Vegas world with Sinatra and the amazing music of the Great American Songbook,” Letourneau said, referring to Slatkin’s father, Felix Slatkin, who recorded Frank Sinatra at Capitol Records. “And that’s the cornerstone, honestly, besides playing Beethoven and Mozart, especially in this city. To have somebody of his level who celebrates that is really, really great.”

Letourneau mentioned Slatkin would be at the Philharmonic’s gala concert at Reynolds Hall on Feb. 24. “I mean, Maestro Slatkin? Just forget it. I’m almost too nervous to play just because he’s going to be listening.”

That is no small assessment. Letourneau is concertmaster in Adele’s orchestra, and was assistant concertmaster for Celine Dion, both at the Colosseum. Letourneau has also backed Andrea Bocelli, the Eagles, Barbra Streisand the Who and Imagine Dragons.

JLo’s tour ripple

Jennifer Lopez took a tour of Las Vegas theaters in October, reviewing venues for return to a residency production on the Strip. Thursday, she announced “This Is Me … Now” tour stop at T-Mobile Arena on July 20. I still feel an extended engagement in Vegas is an option for 2025, with Dolby Live the leading candidate.

What residency?

There has been some energy behind Fontainebleau being in talks for a residency show, with Miley Cyrus held up as a candidate. But the focus at Fountainebleau”s BleauLive Theater remains on building a calendar showcasing a variety of touring artists, rather than the traditional residency model.

I’m in favor of Cyrus as a resident headliner (she is a fierce live performer), but I would not look for her to be (for example) the Adele of BleauLive Theater.

’Jazz + Piano’ in crescendo

It’s just a matter of “when” with LG’s return to Dolby Live. I’m thinking June.

LG is Lady Gaga, incidentally.

Sphere strategy

Beyonce’s name surfaces every few weeks in Sphere speculation. I understand she has asked for U2-level money to play the venue. And, there has been no announcement that she will play the venue. The timeline has moved from likely 2025, to fall of this year, and back again to next. But the sense from this perch is it would do the Sphere a world (like, a globe) of good to come with a younger artist in its next announcement. The venue has three iconic rock bands in the mix now with U2, Phish and Dead & Company. Amazing acts. Now enlist some variety.

Sew sexy

Horseshoe Las Vegas headliner Dita Von Teese joined David Blaine’s show at Encore Theater on Wednesday. The international burlesque star participated in the Valentine’s Day tradition of sewing a magician’s mouth shut. Blaine called Von Teese to the stage to assist in that act.

Von Teese continues her “Dita Las Vegas” series at the former Jubilee Theater; Blaine is in town Friday and Saturday, returning Mach 27, 29-30.

Great Moments in Social Media

The Palms’ X account is posting a series about how to play craps. If nothing else, this will help understand the blowing-on-some-other-guy’s-dice reference in “Luck Be a Lady.

What Works in Vegas

Pete “Big Elvis” Vallee at a place that is not Harrah’s Piano Bar. Vallee packed the showroom at The Composers Room on Valentine’s Day.

Cool Hang Alert

Vic’s celebrates its first anniversary in Symphony Park this weekend. Jazz guitar great Graham Dechter is featured Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Go to vicslasvegas.com to reserve.

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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