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Luke Bryan ready to show some rodeo love in Vegas

Updated November 29, 2022 - 4:39 pm

Luke Bryan is not often an opening act, but he’s the special guest Friday night at the National Finals Rodeo.

The country superstar is playing a song at Thomas & Mack Center to kick off the NFR’s second night. The appearance lines up with Bryan’s return to The Theatre at Resorts World from Wednesday through Dec. 10.

In announcing his extended dates at Resorts World, running from Feb. 1-April 1, Bryan said, “I’m planning on showing some love to the cowboys and cowgirls.”

The NFR hosts Vegas Night, an introduction of top contestants in all division, to kick off Thursday’s event. Entertainers appear every night thereafter, with Bryan on Friday, Lainey Wilson on Saturday, Adrian Brannan on Sunday, Chancey Williams on Monday, Ben Gallaher on Dec. 6, Steve Amerson on Dec. 7, Joe Nichols on Dec. 8, Heath Sanders on Dec. 9, and the Gold Night closing on Dec. 10.

Expect lasers, pyro and extensive LED staging for all of these performances.

Entering the event, Fremont Street Experience hosts its Downtown Howdown. Neal McCoy opens the show at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Main Street Stage, Wilson is 6:30 p.m. on 1st Street Stage, Nate Smith is 8 p.m. at 3rd Street Stage, and Scotty McCreery at 9 p.m. on 3rd Street Stage. All of these performances are free.

Reynolds, Kelly sightings

Dan Reynolds has made the TMZ feed. This happens to newly single celebs hanging out in L.A. The Imagine Dragons front man has been spotted alongside with actress Minka Kelly, of the series “Friday Night Lights,” “Parenthood” and “Charlie’s Angels.”

Over the weekend, the two held hands while walking through a park, and also dined together at a restaurant in the Silver Lake residential neighborhood. Reynolds separated amicably from his wife, Aja Volkman, in September. Kelly recently split with “Daily Show” host and headlining comic Trevor Noah.

Spin this 45

The Nevada School of the Arts (NSA, for you acronym fans) celebrates its 45th anniversary at with its Dream Gala 2022 from 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m. Dec. 6 at Myron’s at the Smith Center. Piano virtuoso Raja Rahman is the school’s recently appointed president, stepping in for famed art collector Patrick Duffy, who vacated the position when he moved to Chicago.

There are performances, amid the silent auction and champagne imbibing. Artists from Cirque du Soleil join Vegas entertainers Kelly Clinton-Holmes, Brett Alters of “Opium,” longtime Prince backing vocalist Elisa Fiorillo, and sax great Charles McNeal of David Perrico and the Raiders House Band and Delilah at the Wynn. Students from Las Vegas Academy will perform production numbers (for information and tickets, go to nevadaschoolofthearts.org).

You might know Rahman as half of the veteran comedy-music-magic act Jarrett & Raja, along with partner Jarrett Parker. But Rahman is also a classically trained pianist who studied at The Julliard School. An adept entertainer and instructor, Rahman would love to expand NSA’s presence throughout the city.

“We want to be more relevant and important, more popular for lack of a better term,” Rahman says. “We run the full gamut of piano, guitar, voice, strings, brasswinds, drama. We are open for enrollment in December, and we want to get the word out.”

With a lift from Parker and iconic illusionist Jeff McBride, NSA is developing a master-class program for magicians.

The Cirque contribution to this gala is something to watch for, too. The city’s predominant production company is contributing two acts developed specifically for the event. Both are directed by the expert Cirque choreographer Caine Keenan. We feel a bond is forming between these two Vegas arts institutions.

Cool Hang Alert(s)

A pair of young guys with old souls headline Italian American Club Showroom this week. At 6:30 p.m. (dinner) and 8 p.m. (show) Wednesday, Chris Ruggiero headlines his Christmas production. Ruggerio’s album, “Christmas with Chris Ruggiero,” is out now. The show samples that release.

On Thursday, same times, Chadwick Johnson celebrates his birthday and release of the single “It’s Almost Christmas.” Johnson will show off the vocal acrobatics by sampling Stevie Wonder, Kenny Loggins, Billy Joel, Chris Stapleton and Journey. Superb performers, and also pasta. Go to IACVegas.com for more info.

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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