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Las Vegas entertainers say the time is now to mask up

Updated June 25, 2020 - 5:15 pm

It was a hot, sunny morning in VegasVille on Thursday. We know this because a tuxedoed, masked Phantom of the Opera sought shade under a palm tree near the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign.

He was Brent Barrett, who played that role for a time in “Phantom — The Las Vegas Spectacular” at The Venetian. The distinctively outfitted Barrett wore a modified Phantom mask with a full face cover as part of the launch of the pro-mask campaign #MaskUP4NV. The former Phantom was among the many entertainers who turned out for the face-cover effort.

The initiative has been organized by former MGM Resorts International executive Greg Chase and his Experience Strategy Associates consulting company. Chase wrangled a host of performers and Vegas luminaries for an appearance early Thursday at the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign.

“The entertainment community has been one of the hardest-hit in the pandemic,” Chase said. “We are here to remind everyone that if we wear masks, we can come back quicker.”

The launch was classically Las Vegas. Ex-“Chippendales” vocalist and Vegas philanthropist Bryan Chan and Edie of “Zumanity” hosted something of a fashion walk along a red carpet at the “Welcome” sign. Co-organizers Megan Belk of Music by Belk and E+ Productions President Douglas Johnson kept the event moving so the assembled volunteers didn’t overheat.

Those who took part included former “Jersey Boys” co-star Travis Cloer; the Australian Bee Gees; Thunder From Down Under; Jeffrey DeBarathy of “Zombie Burlesque”; Carnell “Golden Pipes” Johnson with Chance and the Golden Aces from the Vegas Golden Knights; Prince tribute artist Tony Torres; Elvis tribute artist Brendan Paul, the casts of “Chippendales,” “Wow” and “Extravaganza”; centurion and cigarette-girl models from Best Agency; Lady Gaga tribute artist Coty Alexander; Cirque Mechanics’ Trike Rover tricycle; David Matz’s Volta Wheel; female impersonator Jim “Norma Llyaman” McCoy; aerialist Alyssa Gray; Vegas musicians Michael Johnson and Keith Nelson, representing Musicians Union Local 369; Cirque artists Alyssa and David Grey; and the deft dance team of Sarah LeClear and Alejandro Domingo.

The campaign is as open-ended as the pandemic itself. Participants will be posting the #MaskUp4NV and #IMaskUP4 _ specifying the reason for wearing face covers.

“We are joining for the right message, to get through this together and show that the show must go on,” Chase said. “The governor has made it clear: This is the right thing at the right time.”

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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