Updated March 12, 2021 - 7:59 am
I’ll always remember the night Enoch Augustus Scott unleashed the last line of dialogue before COVID shut down all live entertainment in VegasVille. “Ladies and gentlemen, if I can just say one thing. This town has been through a lot, and it will get through this. We will get through it together.”
That was last March 17, at the closing of “Zombie Burlesque” at V Theater at Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. Scott’s closing, crescendo call was, “Can you live your lives, people!?” with the crowd shouting back, “Yes!” just before being led from the theater.
Under normal conditions, Scott plays lead in the burlesque spoof of 1950s horror movies. He’ll return to the show, too, when producer David Saxe figures out how to reassemble the cast and make money in his company’s pandemic return.
Ever since that night last St. Patrick’s Day, Scott has kept remarkably busy — I’ve seen him perform more in the past year than at any period before COVID, hopping into the fray at Kenny Davidsen’s Friday-night shows at Piazza lounge at Tuscany, or during Monday’s Dark charity shows.
Scott’s latest adventure was inspired by the pandemic, specifically the “Tiger King” phenomenon that now seems so long ago. He’s released “The Tiger Thing,” a multimedia video/audio release of eight parody tunes themed for the Netflix series. The latest incarnation of this evolving work available on The Tiger Thing YouTube channel and official Facebook page. The clips were produced by Admit.VIP CEO Pete Housley and Vegas broadcaster Jonathan Scott, recorded at Alexis Park’s Pegasus Showroom.
The tunes were co-written by the wickedly talented and twisted Mark Wherry, whom we have enjoyed for more than a decade in his recurring performances at The Composers Showcase of Las Vegas. Wherry arrives from academia, director of vocal music at College of Southern Nevada.
he “Tiger King” content was ripe for these two composers. It wasn’t long after the series premiered that Scott started appearing around town in fully costumed as Joe Exotic, offering no particular reason.
”Honestly, Mark and I watched the Netflix series like everybody and we both started thinking that we absolutely have to come up with our own musical interpretation of this crazy story,” Scott says. “The absurdity of it all and the very nature of the characters made it ripe for satire and parody, and so was born ‘The Tiger Thing.’”
We endorse the song list, even if it’s only for the kick-off tune, “Vegasville.” A table-setting lyric, “We know we work in a fantasy, to take you away from reality.”
The creators are using the online premiere as something of a workshop, a process with which Wherry is familiar.
“Normally, we’d do this process at something like the Composer’s Showcase, perform the eight songs over eight months,” Wherry says. “Because of the lock down, that option wasn’t available, so we came up with this instead.”
It could be a quirky musical, in the right theater, similar to how “Zombie” started as an underground production and has been a hit for eight years. The support cast is full of able Vegas entertainment vets, led by vocalist Ashley Fuller and her husband, multi-instrumentalist Aaron Fuller; David Villella (“Vegas! The Show”), Katie Kenner (“Sex Tips” at Paris Las Vegas), with singer/songwriter/musician Shaun DeGraff on piano.
Wherry and Scott worked together on the comedy-singing project “Baritones of Love,” pre-COVID. Whether “The Tiger Thing” has is launching something long-term, or is just a silly diversion, remains to be seen. As Wherry says, “We’ve very excited to see how people react and to see where it goes from here.”
The same was said years ago, about a show centered on dancing zombies.
The V hive
On the topic of entertainment peripherally related to David Saxe Productions, on March 26 the Vegas producer plans to reopen “V — The Ultimate Variety Show,” “Popovich Comedy Pet Theater”starring Gregory Popovich, and “Nathan Burton Comedy Magic.” On April 2 it’s the Elvis tribute “All Shook Up,” “The Mentalist” starring Gerry McCambridge, and the Las Vegas Comedy Live club. Saxe says all other shows at V Theater and David Saxe Theater, including “Zombie” and “Vegas! The Show” are to be announced soon.
Let’s get righteous
Bootlegger Bistro is returning to the Vegas of yesteryear with late-night, no-cover-charge, live-music hangs in its main dining room. Its “After Hours” series opens March 19-20 with Bucky Heard of the Righteous Brothers and guitar master John Wedemeyer center stage. The format runs from 10 p.m.-1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays for at least seven weeks.
The Bootlegger kitchen and bar are open during these performances. We encourage supporting both, as this is how such hangs are subsidized.
Ages ago, the Bootlegger hosted similar late-night hangs, with drop-ins from such luminaries as Sonny King, Ruth Brown, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, and Tom Jones. As co-owner Lorraine Hunt says, “We want to give musicians some work, and people who love live entertainment to hang out, late at night.”
Am I alone in thinking a rock club themed for Vincent Van Gogh, called Whisky A Gogh Gogh, would be a hit here? No?
The “Immersive Van Gogh” exhibit has sparked such thinking, with the master’s works displayed in a projected, animated format beginning July 1 at a Vegas venue to be announced. The renowned Las Vegas art collector Patrick Duffy applauds the incoming attraction.
“Arts and culture in Las Vegas will be better supported and understood when we build consensus in our diverse community,” says Duffy, president and CEO of Nevada School of the Arts. “The few must never tell the many where to go, without explaining why.” As for the widespread commercialization of Van Gogh’s masterpieces, Duffy said, “There’s nothing wrong with making money, especially when you are advancing culture.”
Such is the drag
The “Faaabulous!” drag show begins its Friday night run at Notoriety this weekend. Show times are 8 p.m., and yes, this is a full, open-ended residency production conceived by Christopher Kenney (who for 13 years starred as Edie in “Zumanity”) and Jamie Morris (most recently co-star of “Puppetry of the Penis”).
The show features a half-dozen drag performers, singing without tracks, dancing without fear, delivering shtick with reckless abandon. There is a game show called “Tucked!” planned, down the line, so know you’re in for a treat.
Edie is joined onstage by such drag stalwarts as Dusty Muffin, Junebug (three segments on Zoom), Sandra Santigold, Vita Summers and Sunshine. As the creators say, they don’t portray divas. They are the divas. As we say, dress accordingly.
Love these ‘Letters’
Big ups to our friends at Las Vegas Little Theater, who have added three weekends to its “Love Letters” series. The show runs Friday through Sunday (starring April Sauline and Michael Kaczurak), and again March 19-21 (Teresa Fullerton and Glenn Heath) and March 26-28 (Monica Johns, with Heath). Show times are 8 p.m. Firdays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets $30, at lvlt.org or at the theater box office. The show is adjusting to new COVID parameters, with the 25-foot moat out, and audience members 12 feet from the stage.
Located at 3920 Schiff Drive, LVLT was founded in 1977 and is Southern Nevada’s longest-running community theater. It can use support, for COVID concerns, so get there.
Those who track my on social media have noticed quasi-random video posts over the years from Ely. It’s a stop when I drive to and from from Boise on U.S. 93, the Great Basin Highway. On my latest trip I stopped and hung with my dear friend Anne Kellogg and her hubby, Matt Disher.
Anne’s family owns the famous Hotel Nevada in downtown Ely (which is where you can find the Wayne Newton Suite). She is also an organizer of the Ely Film Festival, which begins in digital format Friday and runs through Sunday (for info, go to elyfilmfestival.com).
We wound up catching “Land” at the 425-seat Ely Central Theatre, opened in 1941. It was owner Don Purington’s 70th bithday Thursday. He and his wife, Shirley, celebrated their 41st anniversary on Monday. This is why Don handed out cupcakes to everyone attending the movie Monday night.
Wonderful guy, and the theater is just mesmerizing. I rarely attend movies in theaters anymore, and had not seen a film in this type of classic theater since I was in my teens. Quite an experience, which we shared with five other socially distant movie buffs.
The Ely film festival barely came off as an in-person event last March. Catch it on the Cya Live interactive platform this weekend. The event includes a First Lady Choice Award, as Kathy Sisolak is originally from Ely. GA tickets are $25. Find it online, for now. Next year, we’ll see you at the theater.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.