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Las Vegas Strip producers wanted Cindy Williams back in show

Updated January 31, 2023 - 7:25 am

Cindy Williams was known for her enduring role as Shirley Feeney on the prime-time TV hit “Laverne & Shirley,” and her breakout portrayal of teenager Laurie Henderson in the 1973 film “American Graffiti.”

But there was another role character Williams loved playing.


Williams, who died Monday in L.A. at age 75, was cast for three years in “Menopause The Musical” at Harrah’s. She was never referred to by any name in the show, but audiences knew her as “Cindy.” Williams’ role was written specifically for her, outside of the usual script. The character needed no introduction, nor an actual title.

But as recently as last weekend, Las Vegas producers Alan and Kathi Glist were talking of inviting Williams back into the “Menopause” cast. Williams was a recurring guest star from 2016-18.

“Kathi and I were just talking casually about this over the weekend, ‘Maybe it’s time to bring Cindy back, maybe I’ll write her on Monday,’ then we heard this,” Alan Glist said Monday. “She was such a great addition to our show, and she really loved the role. She always said it was one of her favorite roles.”

Alan Glist was latest in contact with Williams on Jan. 8, when she wished him happy birthday.

“I’m stunned” Glist said. “It seemed like everything was fine. She never said she was sick or anything It’s just devastating news. One of the nicest, kindest, most humble people I’ve met in my life.”

That is right. During COVID-19, when we masks were still the norm in public places, I ran into Williams at the Italian American Club. I’d met her some time earlier, but a friend pulled me over toward her and said, “You have to meet Shirley!”

I walked over to this person in the buffet line and said, “Are you Shirley?”

She pulled her mask down and said, “It’s me! Cindy! But it happens all the time!”

MSG Sphere chat-chat-chatter

Harry Styles’ name has resurfaced as a possible headliner at The MSG Sphere. This, according to tabloid pub the U.S. Sun, which has been right, wrong and kinda right in its forecast of celeb news. Styles is certainly on any speculative list to join U2 as a headliner, given his capacity to fill arenas to capacity and the fact that he has never headlined a Vegas residency.

The site is reporting Styles would command a $49.5 million fee. The co-founding member of One Direction would join a roster of between four and six residency headliners, playing two shows per weekend over six weekends, and 10 to 12 shows. That is the format The MSG Sphere President Lucas Watson outlined last week at Preview Las Vegas.

Despite the reports, I categorize this as nonsense until more is revealed.

U2 is widely (like, all around the world) expected to open The Sphere this year. The band has reportedly been mapping a late-September opening, but that is not certain given the development of the venue. We anticipate announcement about the band’s plans to be public by mid-March.

The Sphere’s official capacity has recently been increased to 18,600, which allows for standing-room-only ticket holders. This was first mentioned by Watson, who happened to be standing at the time.

Moreno to the four

Frankie Moreno is now booked at three ticketed Las Vegas venues, all off the Strip, and another room known only through word of mouth.

Moreno is playing South Point Showroom at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday night. He packed hotel owner Michael Gaughan’s choice venue twice last weekend.

Meantime, Moreno’s next set of shows at Kaos at the Palms have been announced, March 23-24, April 20-21, May 18-19, June 15-16. These are all Thursday-Friday sets. Moreno has had strong sales on those nights, particularly Thursdays, which his FM Army prefers. They also prefer to carry big “FM Army” signs around the room.

And! Moreno returns to Myron’s at The Smith Center on Feb. 21. His “speakeasy” shows at a restaurant venue to the north continue Thursday, Feb. 7 (his birthday show), Feb. 11 and Feb. 18. Ask around and you’ll get the intel.

Of this four-pack, Moreno says, “Kaos is our residency. The speakeasy is for hardcore fans. We love South Point, we’ve been there for four years and we want to keep playing there occasionally. And Myron’s, we have a streamlined show, more of a rock ‘n’ roll show, and we just have to play there.”

Vohnn opens

Kelly Vohnn’s “Evolve” opened at Notoriety Live on Sunday night. The terrifically versatile entertainer (from “Vegas Gone Country” at V Theater, a few years ago) showed off her vocal, and also wardrobe, dexterity. I believe six costume changes in all.

Vohnn was joined by guest singer Chadwick Johnson and dancers Jeffrey DeBarathy (late of “Zombie Burlesque,” among many other projects) and Adam Barabáš (“Extravaganza,” at Bally’s-Horseshoe, and the Whitney Houston hologram extravaganza at Harrah’s).

The show also featured aerial-silk artist Julia Trushina. Aerial, you say? Yes, because this show was in Renkus-Heinz Theater, which has a high “fly”because it was originally one of the Galaxy Neonopolis 11 Theaters. (Renkus-Heinz is in a naming partnership with the venue, so the sound is Renkus, and also righteous.)

Vohnn is back at Sunday with rocker Michael Shapiro, and Feb. 12 with rocker Harry Shahoian (rockers abound in this format). Then Vohnn will review options for the beyond with producer Jennifer Romas.

Whatever the outcome, it was gratifying to see a Vegas performer take hold of the opportunity to make a show. There will be more evolution at Notoriety, where proprietor Ken Henderson is open to entertainers with a vision to fill his galaxy (lowercase, intended).

Cool Hang Alert

VegasVille production “Hitzville The Show” has moved out of V Theater and is now performing at The Duomo at Rio. Next show is 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. Tickets start at $40 (or thereabouts) for this Motown-driven production. For info, go to Caesars.com and drill through the options.

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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