The Kats! Bureau is International Theater at Westgate Las Vegas, the site of “The 10th Annual Toys for Tots Variety Show” set for 7 p.m. Saturday night. We’re at rehearsals/sound check now, and a bunch of entertainers from Vegas and beyond are populating the stage. We can confirm “Dust in the Wind,” led by longtime Kansas violinist and co-singer Robby Steinhardt, is to be played. The band is playing it now, actually, and the song still brings the chills.
Tickets are still available to anyone who brings an unwrapped toy valued at $20 or more to Westgate Las Vegas. It’s just. That. Simple.
More from this scene, and beyond ..
Mystere at 25
Nobody parties like Cirque du Soleil, even at its advanced age.
The company hosted a throwdown Thursday night t at the Industrial Events Space on 2330 Industrial Road. “Mystere” is marking its 25th anniversary on Christmas Day at Treasure Island. A highlight was a surprise visit from Cirque co-founder Gilles Ste. Croix, a man I had not seen in Vegas since the opening news conference at Luxor for Criss Angel’s “Believe” show in 2008. In the fray were long-running cast members R.J. Owens (Bebe François) and Brian Dewhurst (still killing it at age 86 as clown usher Brian LePetit).
I was actually Owens’ plus-one, but we were hardly able to converse, grooving at opposite ends of the 500-plus party. Last I saw Owens, he was heading to the tattoo station, seemingly with ill intent …
A standing O (to invoke another long-running Cirque show) for PR official Karin Tomcik, who organized the entire fete. By the time the second wave of food arrived (headed up by a long hot-dog cart), I had to bounce. But it went on at least until 3 a.m. Respectable, but not a Cirque record — the openings of “Zumanity” in 2003 and “Love” in ‘06 went on for like 24 hours.
One famous story from “Love” is the opening party went on so long that Paul McCartney arrived at the red-carpet opening, hung for a while, then left to sleep. He returned several hours later, rested and ready, and waded back into the event.
Joshua Bell and Frankie Moreno performed “Eleanor Rigby” that night, and Tomcik had the assignment of a lifetime as the PR rep assigned to McCartney, who played mandolin as he walked through the Mirage and was extremely gracious to everyone he met. “I have to get out of this flashy area!” is, at this moment, the one thing McCartney has said to me, as I asked for a photo. Next time.
Imagine Dragons kicks off 2019
As reported, Imagine Dragons are the halftime entertainment at the College Football Playoff National Championship on Jan. 7. The band is set to perform at Treasure Island, as a cut-away show during the break in the game to be played at at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.
I asked band manager Mac Reynolds if this performance could conceivably lead to the band playing a Super Bowl halftime show.
Careful with that idea.
“I’d better be careful about what I say about that at this point in time,” Reynolds said in a phone conversation this week. “We’ve never really thought seriously about it, and if they ever did get an offer, I don’t know if they would play. I mean can anybody play it after Prince did it? There have been so many great, great performances.”
We also spoke of the concept of Imagine Dragons, a rock band born in Las Vegas, would play an extended run at a Las Vegas theater.
“Yes, it would be meaningful to do at some stage,” Reynolds said. “But it would be a down-the-line kind of thing.” The band’s next date is New Year’s Eve at such a potential residency room — Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
What Works In Vegas …
Penn & Teller’s stage show at the Rio, and also the duo’s annual 13 Bloody Days of Christmas blood donation drive. The event is set for Wednesday through Jan. 1 at any Vitalant (formerly United Blood Cervices) donor center. The duo kicks off the campaign 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the center at 6930 W Charleston Blvd. Everyone who donates during the campaign will receive a voucher for two free tickets to Penn & Teller show at the Rio.
Officials convey at that donors of all blood types are needed, especially O-negative, the universal blood that can be substituted for all other types in emergencies. For locations and appointments, call (877-258-4825) or visit www.BloodHero.com.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.